It’s been seven years since the last Castlevania game, and Konami has shown zero interest in resurrecting the venerable vampire-whippin’ franchise. But it’s not all doom and gloom, as the classic games are getting contemporary re-releases.
2019’s Castlevania Anniversary Collection was a compilation of the 8 and 16-bit games. Rondo of Blood and Symphony of the Night are in the Castlevania Requiem PS4 package, and the Game Boy Advance games have just been made available in the Castlevania Advance Collection.
This comprises Circle of the Moon, Harmony of Despair, and Aria of Sorrow, which were released on Nintendo’s handheld between 2001 and 2003. They follow the ‘Metroidvania’ style design of Symphony of the Night, putting you in the boots of a variety of adventurers as they explore Dracula’s castle and battle all manner of supernatural monsters.
As a bonus, they’ve also thrown in 1995’s Dracula X, an attempt to rework the PC Engine CD game Rondo of Blood for the Super Nintendo. Rondo of Blood is the far superior game, though I’m glad Dracula X is there simply for the sake of completeness.
Aria of Sorrow is my top pick here. Whereas the rest of the series is set in the past, this one takes place in 2035 and sees mysterious lead character Soma Cruz getting sucked into Dracula’s Castle. It’s got a pretty wild plot and went on to receive a direct sequel in Dawn of Sorrow on the Nintendo DS in 2005.
If Konami continues these retro collections, we may yet see the DS games get a re-release. Each uses touch-screen controls for various aspects, though it should be possible to port them to Switch with all features intact.
Sadly, I doubt we’ll see a new Castlevania anytime soon, though the baton is being ably carried by sister series Bloodstained, which reunites many former Castlevania staff and has a new title currently in development. More on that as we hear it.