Castlevania Bloodlines

Developer: Konami
Publisher:  Konami

As the first Castlevania game to grace a Sega console you'd think bloodlines would've attracted more attention, but instead the game seems to have fallen into relative obscurity and that's a damn shame because I've always felt this was one of the better entries of its time.

For starters, it was the first uncensored Castlevania to have been released in the west and the game wastes no time in telling you how 'mature' it is by having showing you a pool of blood in the Title screen.

As you start the game you can choose between two characters, the first being the whip-wielding John Morris (who?), he plays like a cross between Castlevania IV and the original Castlevania, on the ground he can only whip forward like in the NES games, but, when jumping, he can whip in seven directions (he can't whip straight up), at first I thought this design decision was kind of weird, but I assume it was done to promote the player to make a better use of the sub-weapons which have actually been upgraded in this game, now each sub-weapon performs two attacks though one of them will consume more hearts.

John can also swing from ceilings with his whip, similarly to Super Castlevania IV, though this time you're not restricted to only doing this when the developer wants you to.

You can also play as the spear-wielding Eric Lecarde (who?), he plays almost exactly like you would in Castlevania IV, meaning you can attack in all directions, though, instead of swinging from ceilings he has a vertical high-jump attack, so he's pretty overpowered when compared to Quincy, one thing I loved about Eric, is that when he dies, his spear falls right on top of him, OUCH! 

In fact, this game is pretty violent when compared to relatively tame Castlevania IV, you'll be decapitating Harpies, walking by tortured and bloody corpses and all this is definitely enhanced the music which is some of the best I've ever heard on the Genesis, though it goes for a different feel then previous games, instead of trying to aim for an Orchestral soundtrack, it plays to the system's strengths in its synthesizer.

Another oddity about this game is that for the first time in the series, you'll be playing outside Romania, yes, the first level starts you off in Dracula's Castle, but from there on you'll visit Greece, Italy, France and Germany and while the level design is excellent, I've always felt that some of these levels don't feel very Castlevania-y, this applies specially to the munitions factory stage.

Graphically the game looks pretty good for the hardware it's on, everything is well animated, there's a good use of colors and some of the bosses use pre-rendered graphics, but it never quite reaches the detail of its SNES counterparts.

Overall the game takes a few liberties with the formula but I feel it works to its advantage, I like that you have two characters to choose from (even if one of them is overpowered) and the improvements made to the sub-weapons, however, the game is relatively short and the graphics could've used more detail

Warning: The Pal version of this game, Castlevania: Generations is heavily censored, all of the blood and decapitations were removed. Even Lecarde's spear doesn't fall on him when he dies, instead it just flies away never to been again.

- Two characters to choose from
- Improved Sub-weapons
- Great Soundtrack
- First Castlevania to have been released in the West uncensored

- Too short
- Graphics could use more detail 
- Some of the levels don't feel very Castlevania-y 

Final Grade: B+

I like the artwork for this the character running while monster are looming over him, I don't quite get why John Morris looks like he's pushing 50, but that's a minor nitpick when compared how good everything looks, specially the countess who looks like she's ready to kill you while still showing a bit of cleavage.

Unfortunately, this is the Majesco re-print line which took place in the mid-to-late 90s. The publisher was trying to save money by reducing the quality of the packaging in their games. As a result, gone are the useful shock resistance plastic boxes and the color manuals. Instead we get  these flimsy cardboard boxes and manuals printed in black and white on poor quality paper and that's a real shame too because the manual's contents are awesome.

In it you'll find some of the game's backstory, but the real appeal is seeing just how much fun the manual itself seems to be having, it doesn't give you instructions, it gives you the 'Rules of the bloody road', you don't start the game, instead you 'begin the hunt' and my personal favorite: You don't receive instructions on controlling you character, instead you must 'Control the horror'.

Whoever wrote this must've been having the time of his life! It's just a shame the materials used for this are so poor, I would've gladly given the packaging an A, instead it'll have to settle for a B.

Packaging Grade: B

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