I am often somewhat torn when discussing retro video games here on The Witching Hour. I do my best to prioritize movies, TV shows and games that are reasonably accessible for the average user. Let’s face it, most people are not going to track down old consoles just to play an older game. Fortunately, the recent re-release of Castlevania: Bloodlines on modern consoles (including the recently launched Sega Genesis Mini) makes this the perfect time to look at one of the Castlevania games that many of us overlooked back in the day.
Some of our younger readers may not realize how unique the competition between Nintendo and Sega was during the 16-bit generation. These days a game released on the PS4 and Xbox One (and possibly the Switch) will more or less be the same game but that was not always the case back then. It was not uncommon for a developer to make a completely different version of a game for the Sega Genesis. Castlevania: Bloodlines is one such example as it is a radically different experience than Super Castlevania IV for the SNES offered. It was a great way to introduce Castlevania – considered to be a Nintendo exclusive franchise back then – to another community of gamers.
While the Castlevania titles from the Nintendo systems pitted you against Dracula, this title mostly focuses on a new villain, a female vampire named Elizabeth Bartley. She is the niece of Dracula and her mission is to resurrect her uncle.
Oddly enough, this game borrows more heavily from Bram Stoker’s novel, Dracula. It turns out that Quincy Morris is actually distantly related to the Belmont clan of vampire killers. You play as his son, Quincy Morris, and his pal Eric. These characters play quite differently from each other. John has the traditional whip while Eric uses a spear. I have to wonder if this was done in order to differentiate this title from the Nintendo games. That is not the only way the game separates itself from others in the franchise. You use gems to power your special weapons instead of hearts and levels in the game are based on real locations such as Italy and Germany.
To be completely honest, the graphics in Castlevania: Bloodlines are not quite as detailed as they are in Super Castlevania IV but there are some nice visual effects throughout the game. One of my favorite moments is platforming your way around a circular tower to ultimately fight the stage boss when you finally ascend to the top.
If you are like me and prefer your Castlevania games as 2D action experiences, then you should definitely check this one out. You can play it on Steam, Nintendo Switch, PS4 or Xbox One through the Castlevania Anniversary Collection and it is also available on the aforementioned Sega Genesis Mini console.