Systems: PC Engine-Duo (Japanese TurboGrafx 16 CD)
Remember the TurboGrafx 16 with the CD-ROM? Well, in Japan they called it PC Engine-Duo, and it debuted as one of the first console systems with a CD-ROM. And, boy, the Japanese are good at making CD-ROM games: huge Japanese-animation cut scenes, well-written and acted dialogue, original music made specifically for the game, major and minor characters, and large injections of story-led drama.
As far as our lovable Castlevania series goes, Rondo of Blood was no different. Rondo - with all its intro animations, intermissions, levels and secret levels, and music and voice tracks - is huge. No written list can give you the true scope of the game.
Now, as for the plot... Well, this is going to sound a bit familiar. Beware. You are Richter Belmont. Dracula has imprisoned your lover Annette, Maria, Tera (a nun), and Irisu inside Demon Castle. You, ever dutiful, venture in to save everyone. Sounds a lot like Dracula X for the SNES, doesn't it?
Like Castlevania III, Rondo is a maze of longcuts and shortcuts. So, here are all the stages, laid in their... ahem... order. Always remember, each alternative (secret) level has two exits.
Stage 0: Trek through the woods on top of a stage coach. Kill Death.
Stage 1: A village in the background is ablaze. You whip away at skeletons, bats, and so on. At the end, near the gates of Castlevania, a wyvern attacks.
Stage 2: Hack through a courtyard and into Castlevania where a hell hound pursues you. Stay away from him, find a key, and rescue Maria from Shaft. Then, should you die, you're give the chance to play her.
Stage 3: Next, head into a church. Skeletons swing on ropes. A thief tries to steal your weapon away from you, and one nasty minotaur waits at the end.
Stage 4: You're in the inner halls of Castlevania. Watch out for lots of tricks and traps, like arrows shooting out of walls and spikes that poke up from the ground. The path splits and then converges later, flea men hunting you all the way through. Dullaron waits at the end.
Stage 5: On a haunted ship, you fight around platforms, where winged creatures fly at you. A spectral sword (the same one from Symphony) fights you, and you find a painting that, if it traps you, will kill you. Atop the masts of the ship you fight Death (again).
Stage 6: Shaft's back, and this time he summons a bunch of enemies from earlier Castlevania games: bat, medusa, mummy and Frankenstein. Get through them, and you must kill Shaft again.
Stage 7: That's right, another clock tower. (Isn't this getting a bit old?) Annette is held here past a swarm of bats. Remember to get the key from the hawk. Shaft's ghost (jeez) comes at you at the end.
Stage 8: Drac - 'nuff said.
The history of Castlevania: The Lost Title
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