Castlevania always appeared to be a franchise only for Nintendo consoles and handhelds. In 1993, Genesis/Mega Drive owners finally got to experience this classic series. Castlevania: Bloodlines features one of the best presentations of the entire series. Aside from a generally engaging story and gameplay as fun as ever, Castlevania: Bloodlines is just a “good” entry in the series. Not as great as other entries, but absolutely worth owning for the Genesis.
Sega’s only Castlevania game is a one bloody adventure
Bloodlines is, strangely enough, connected to a famous literary source. Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula actually plays a part in this game. The main character, John Morris is the son of Quincey Morris from the novel.
Taking place in the early 1900s, Countess Elizabeth Bartley, based off of the infamous historical figure Elizabeth Bathory, is resurrecting her uncle. And his name is Count Dracula. John and his friend Eric Lecarde, a French knight wielding a lance, travel all over Europe to put a stop to the evil Countess. It’s a great framing device and does not rehash the same old “Belmont v Dracula” story.
Bloodlines is an adventure, as the player is no longer just confined to a castle. Instead, John and Eric’s excellent adventure has them traveling all over Europe. The two will be fighting all kinds of monsters in Atlantis, a munitions factory in Germany and in the Leaning Tower of Pisa. It’s easily one of the more creative set ups in the whole series, as each level has its own unique flavor. There is also some unique graphical tricks that rival Super Castlevania IV. For a console considered to be inferior in terms of graphics and sound, Castlevania: Bloodlines absolutely holds its own.
Bloody does describe the game quite well. This is one of the few 2D Castlevanias which features blood on enemies. It’s a little gimmicky, but it fits the atmosphere of certain stages. It was so bloody, the game was actually censored in Europe and retitled Castlevania: The New Generation.
Castlevania Bloodlines reaches for greatness, but falls short in one way
Castlevania: Bloodlines has a few flaws that set it back from greatness. The controls are a little awkward at first, but once a player gets used to them, it’s no trouble.
Oddly enough, the game’s biggest flaw is the gameplay. It’s as fun and challenging as ever, but there is not real additions to it. It plays fine, but for a game which is pushing the boundaries in terms of level design and graphical aesthetics, it would have been nice to see a little more improvement or additions to the gameplay.
As a standalone Genesis action game, Castlevania: Bloodlines is great. As an entry to the legendary Castlevania franchise, it’s one of the better entries. Not one of the best, but still a solid game in its own right.