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Sony PSP Review: Castlevania: Dracula X Chronicles

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At $30, you’re paying a meager $10 per game for Castlevania: Dracula X Chronicles. Two are classics that would have been worth the price of the compilation by themselves. The other is a full on 2 ½-D remake, complete with remixed music and updated cinematics. The PSP will have a hard time finding a piece of software this untouchable for some time.

It’s taken a ridiculously long time for the Turbo Duo version of Dracula X to find its way to the U.S. Japanese players have enjoyed this classic and debatably best entry in the franchise since 1993. This is the pinnacle of the franchise’s original style of play before it would take an RPG style approach. Unlocking the original version will either be a new experience that holds up to time or refresher course in how brutally difficult these games can be.

Memorable for numerous reasons, Dracula X is a packed game. Nearly all levels branch off through hidden exits, leading to new characters (Maria is fully playable) and extra stages. Multiple endings create replay value, and controlling Richter feels right at home in the Castlevania universe.

This is 2007 however, and the time has finally come to update this phenomenal title with today’s technology. Konami has done a fabulous job of remaking Dracula X. Sprites are now full 3-D models, backgrounds are loaded with depth, and most importantly, the game play is maintained beautifully.

A few newly added cinematics disrupt play, though thankfully, these are brief. New voice acting, stiff as it is, replaces the original set of dialogue. Minor tweaks and changes are noticeable in the levels, including unlockables that slowly reveal the full soundtrack as you find the tracks.

Dracula X has always carried the mark of greatness for its music. It should, as the original set a new standard for how video game music should be. Chronicles changes a few tracks around, and remixes the rest. The result is mixes stuffed into the background of the action, lacking the impact the originals have. Certain themes do sound slightly better, yet nothing can top the classics.

For a final unlockable, Symphony of the Night is included. Intact and with new dialogue (replacing the hilariously awful Dracula confrontation speech at the start), this is a fine version of this PlayStation classic. Some sound is slightly off, and the same can be said for the retro version of Dracula X. Certain monsters death howls are altered beyond recognition.

When playing the original versions, there is no option to stretch the video to fill the screen. You’ll need to live the borders. Also, these are dark games, and the low refresh rate of the PSP’s screen becomes deadly in spots.

These are the minor complaints of this no-brainer purchase. For the truly hardcore, the radically different (and underrated) Super Nintendo port of Dracula X would have been home here. That’s the only noticeable missing piece to this collection, and any of the three included games would have been worth the price by themselves. For one price, this is the best value you’ll find on the PSP.

Castlevania: Dracula X Chronicles is rated T (Teen) by the ESRB for Blood and Gore, Mild Suggestive Themes, Violence.


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About Matt Paprocki

Matt Paprocki has critiqued home media and video games for 13 years and is the reviews editor for Pulp365.com. His current passion project is the technically minded DoBlu.com. You can read Matt's body of work via his personal WordPress blog, and follow him on Twitter @Matt_Paprocki.
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