Many people who grew up playing the old, side-scrolling Castlevania games will likely remember the original, Simon’s Quest, Super Castlevania IV on the SNES, and probably Dracula X on the SNES as well. Yet, there was another major game that predated the so-called “Metroidvania” style of games that started with Castlevania: Symphony of the Night in 1997, and that was Castlevania: Bloodlines.
Bloodlines was different than the other games available in a couple of different ways. For starters, at the opening of the game, the player gets to select from two characters, one being a member of the Morris family (the cousins of the Belmonts and keepers of the Vampire Killer whip) and the other a spear-wielder who is new to the saga, who play quite differently and can access different areas in the various stages. This concept was used in Dracula X: Rondo of Blood, though that game was only available in Japan at the time and thus this concept remained novel to Western audiences. The other interesting thing is that the game was set against the backdrop of World War I, in 1917, and as such was the most modernly-occurring title in the franchise then.
As a whole, the game is fairly short – a mere six stages – but these stages are quite long, all featuring some sort of mini-boss, and the game does have its difficult moments. For me, this is a game I didn’t get until a few years after it was released, finding a brand-new copy in a Walmart bargain bin, and the game had its charms even then. But, in this playthrough that I did on July 13, 2014, I found that the game was a bit easier than I remembered. Maybe, though, that’s because my skills have improved? Who knows. Still, I hope you enjoy this session!