Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles

Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles for the PSP collects two (or three, depending on how you look at it) separate installments of Konami's Castlevania series together on a single disc. The formerly Japanese-exclusive Dracula X: Rondo of Blood represents two of the three games on the disc. You can play this old-school classic in its remade form, which features 3D graphics and newly recorded music and voice acting. Alternately, you can play it just as PC Engine CD-ROM owners experienced it back in 1993, with its original music and 2D graphics, as well as your choice of the original Japanese dialogue or a new English translation. The third game on the disc is a rendition of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night that boasts some miscellaneous improvements over the PlayStation and Xbox 360 versions you might already be familiar with.

Rondo of Blood was the last level-based Castlevania produced before Konami shifted gears to the interconnected rooms found in recent installments. In it, you control either Richter Belmont, a vampire hunter armed with a whip, or Maria Renard, a young girl that tosses doves at her enemies, and guide your chosen hero through side-scrolling levels populated with bottomless pits, surprise traps, and loads of creepy monsters. Both characters have a no-nonsense repertoire of moves: they can walk, jump, and unleash an attack directly ahead, as well as make use of various projectile subweapons. Richter has more health than Maria, but he walks more slowly and his backflip-style double jump is tougher to use. Conversely, Maria's speed and traditional front-flip double jump make her easier to use, but her miserly stamina means she's dead meat in two or three hits. At the end of each level, you'll match skills against a boss based on a familiar horror villain, such as a werewolf, the headless horseman, or Dracula. Read more on Gamespot >>

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