E3 '07: Castlevania Dracula X Chronicles Hands-On

Konami's showing off an updated build of Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles at E3 07, and we take a look.

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Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles
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Konami showed off Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles at their E3 booth this year. It's an upcoming adaptation of Castlevania: Rondo of Blood, which was originally released in Japan on the PC Engine in 1993. The game has never appeared outside Japan before, but now Konami has taken the original title and completely remade it for the PSP.

Anyone who's played Castlevania: Symphony of the Night will be somewhat familiar with Richter Belmont, the lead character in that game, as well as Rondo of Blood. Rondo was actually the predecessor to Symphony of the Night, so we're told that playing the games in the correct sequence will give you some idea of what Richter's relationship is to the other characters in that game. If you're familiar with the Castlevania series in even the most tangential sense, however, you'll probably be able to guess the core motivation of Richter here: Dracula has risen again, and he needs to be put down before he spreads his darkness across the land. To make matters worse, though, he's kidnapped Richter's girlfriend Annette and spirited her away to his castle, giving Richter an even greater desire to take Dracula out.

Click to enlarge!
Click to enlarge!

Although the original Rondo of Blood was entirely in 2D, the Dracula X Chronicles (so named because Rondo of Blood was the tenth Castlevania game released in Japan) features entirely redone graphics, with most of the enemies, backgrounds, and characters redone in full 3D, although you still move in a pure 2D plane. As with the PSP version of Ghosts and Goblins, the effect is somewhat striking, and the graphics are quite nice. That said, this is still the classic side-scrolling gameplay, and the game is designed to be played through in one sitting, although that might make it an ideal game to be played on a portable platform.

In addition to the updated version of Rondo of Blood, Dracula X Chronicles will also feature unlockable editions of the original Rondo of Blood and its sequel, Symphony of the Night, both of which have been issued with new translations for the American market. (Which means that this version of Symphony may technically be superior to the Xbox Live Arcade version released recently.) That's one more reason to like the package that Konami is putting out. Stay tuned to GameSpot for a full review when the game comes out later this year.

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