Sorry I’ve been away a bit longer than I expected… and where are my shoes? Wait did I leave them back… Ah never mind. Anyway it’s time to as mentioned earlier look at Castlevania Bloodlines. The Castlevania game released on a Sega console (yes Sega used to make consoles you young whipper snappers).
Released in 1994 for the Sega Genesis/Megadrive, Castlevania Bloodlines takes a very different route than Castlevania 4. [Sgathaich: Super Castlevania IV ] With 4 it was more advancing and making the next evolution of the Castelvania franchise. Abilities were improved as were graphics but Bloodlines did something different, a lot of things different.
While 4 felt like the natural evolution of the format to possibly its best rendition Bloodlines chooses to be more experimental. Right away the game shows pools of blood (not sure if Nintendo said no to blood as much back then but I suspect it was to show this as a game not on a Nintendo console) followed by a character select screen. While Castlevania 3 had multiple characters you had to find them and they weren’t accessible from the start. Bloodlines lets you choose between John Morris and Eric Lecarde so right away no Belmont’s.
John Morris plays just like a Belmont (though not as smooth and awesome as Simon in 4) while Eric uses a spear and has a higher jump. Each however has access to sub weapons as per norm and weapon upgrades till they die. They also get an additional super power they can find by getting an additional upgrade but it goes back down to the previous level when they take damage (so much like Link’s beam from his sword).
Right away the game goes out of its way game playwise to stand apart from 4. You start out in Dracula’s Castle, but it’s in ruins and it’s the first level. So here’s the gimmick, while the Castlevania games before had all been around the 17th century, Bloodlines goes for a more modern time period, WW1. Rather than set around trying to get to Dracula’s Castle instead you go around Europe to hunt down Elizabeth Bartley a vampire trying to revive Dracula. This means that rather than be stuck to just a Gothic setting the levels are more varied, such as Atlantised based ruins and even a German munitions factory.
I definitely enjoyed the different paths this and 4 took. One evolving the usual to its next level while this being more experimental. Both ended up giving developments to the franchise as a whole. This was the first game that took the franchise out of its usual setting and it would be awhile before it happened, when the Metroidvania era games in on the GBA and DS started. It still plays as a Castlevania game so fans of the franchise won’t feel alienated but I would still say 4 is the better game due to how much better Simon plays than ether character but It’s still worth checking out.