May 4, 2019 at 1:43 AM #573
Castlevania Requiem: Symphony of the Night & Rondo of Blood
Rating: 3.0 – Fair
One legendary video game and one dumpster fire.
If you’ve never played Rondo of Blood, no worries. You missed nothing and it’s a literal 2/10 video game. As far as I’m concerned, it exists only to set up the intro sequence for Symphony of the Night, which is a video game that redefined this series and invented a genre. "Metroidvania" did not exist in parlance until Symphony of the Night happened. That game happens to be a perfect 10/10 video game in my book. Unfortunately, this particular Playstation 4 port has both games on it, and I have to take an average of both. 6/10. Sorry guys, but it is what it is.
I’ve written separate reviews for both games so I won’t go crazy here. As someone who got the platinum trophy in this game, my recommendation is to skip Rondo of Blood entirely and only play Symphony of the Night. You’re much less likely to have a sour taste in your mouth that way, because Rondo is flat-out unplayable by 2019 standards. It should be unplayable by 1993 standards as well, but what can you do.
Both games are 2D platformers, with Rondo having only platformer elements and Symphony adding in RPG elements. In both games, your abilities and weapons will all be of the anti-vampire variety. In Rondo, you play as Richter Belmont or Maria Renard, two characters will wildly different styles of play. You play through some singular levels, kill some bosses, and eventually fight Dracula and win. If you’ve played Symphony of the Night, the intro for that game is literally exactly how Rondo ends. So you don’t actually need to play Rondo. If you’re going to suffer through it anyway, I recommend unlocking Maria ASAP and just playing as her for the entire time. It’s actually bearable, as opposed to Richter’s garbage handling.
The highlight of buying this port for you will be Symphony of the Night, which is still a 10/10 game even by today’s standards. In that game you control Alucard, whose name should never be read backwards under any circumstances. Symphony might be a 2D Metroidvania, but the whole key to that game’s success is the RPG element. The sheer variety of things you get to beat up enemies with is unmatched in the genre, and all of it is very, very fun. Pretty much the exact opposite of Rondo of Blood, actually. Then you eventually get a Crissaegrim and just end the game, but still! You’ll go through the game in all of its 2D glory, unlock new abilities, unlock new weapons, enjoy some amazing graphics and music, and you’ll never stop having fun from minute #1 until minute # last. It is a truly perfect video game in every way, and by itself makes this port worth the price of admission.
If you are the platinum type, just suffer through Rondo first with a guide and use Maria as quickly as you can, kind of like how you force down veggies before eating something you actually like. After that, enjoy Symphony of the Night if you haven’t already, because you’re in for one hell of a treat.
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