Castlevania Requiem: Symphony of the Night & Rondo of Blood is here and it is an opportunity. These two games are classics and among the most memorable installments in the series. Rondo of Blood follows Richter Belmont as he goes to confront and vanquish Dracula after one of his servants kidnaps his girlfriend, Annette, and a number of other people. Symphony of the Night takes place four years after the previous game. Dracula’s castle has reappeared, Richter has disappeared, and Alucard has entered it to discover what is going on. Both games are absolutely incredible, and the best thing about this PlayStation 4 collection is that we have have more immediate and easy access to them.
For those who missed the PlayStation Portable release of Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles, Castlevania Requiem is essentially the PlayStation 4, albeit with a bit less content to it. While the handheld release had a both the original 2D and 2.5D remake of Castlevania: Rondo of Blood, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, and the Akumajyo Dracula Peke minigame, this gives people the original takes on Castlevania: Rondo of Blood and Symphony of the Night. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Both of these are fantastic installments in the series. I would even say Symphony of the Night might be in the top three entries overall. (Some Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS installments are also exceptional.)
There are some things that make Castlevania Requiem a lot of fun and worth picking up, whether you are a fan for years or someone who got into the games later in the series. Especially since this collection marks the easiest way to currently play Castlevania: Rondo of Blood. That game was a Japan-exclusive PC Engine game originally and only appeared in other regions in the PlayStation Portable version of Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles. (That game can be played on the PlayStation Vita, by the way.) You do have English and Japanese voice acting options, with the English version using the PlayStation Portable version’s newer voice acting. There are quick save options, in case you want to save immediately and move on to a different activity. (I would rely on regular saves, as they are more reliable.) You can play as people other than Alucard in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. There are trophies to earn. Rondo of Blood’s action buttons can even be adjusted, which is very helpful. (I definitely suggest setting sub-weapon to circle right away.)
The different rendering options are one of the major features added to Castlevania Requiem. I would recommend not using them. The first screenshot in this article uses the Normal display size and none of the optional display effects. It makes the Castlevania: Symphony of the Night look great. The other two images here use the other optional effects. That picture from Rondo of Blood has Scanlines and Smoothing on. While it does look better in action than it does in that picture, I feel it does not do the games justice. The third screenshot is from Symphony of the Night with the Interlace and Smoothing on. Again, some people might go for that kind of look. It is nice that those options are there. I would definitely recommend avoiding both of those looks. Maybe consider turning Smoothing on, but go ahead and savor the upscaling, full presentation, and sprites as they are sometimes too.
There is just one feature where I wish Castlevania Requiem had been a little more tactful. If you have a DualShock 4 and have vibration enabled, you will constantly feel the rumble. Both games have the features, with no way to turn it off in the game’s option menu. With Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, it is slightly more subdued and has varying degrees of intensity that lend a bit of nuance to the experience. Using Richter’s whip will result in a very slight vibration. Going through the score tally at the end of the stage and defeating certain enemies results in slightly larger tremors. Defeating a major enemy, opening a door, taking damage, or dying really gets the controller shaking.
But in Castlevania: Rondo of Blood, there are times when it feels like the controller never stops moving. When you make a decision in any menu, the DualShock 4 vibrates. It also starts shaking if there are effects in the background (like lightning), when you decide to save, when a save file has just loaded and you are in a save room, when you take damage, when you deal damage, when you land after jumping or falling, when you acquire an item, when you go through a door, and of course if you happen to die. I also did not notice the same degrees of variation here that were present in the version of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, which struck me as a bit odd. I would have thought they would have similar rumble properties.
This disparity occurs with the controller speaker sounds and volume in Castlevania Requiem. With Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, I heard a lot of sounds from the speaker and they were very audible. If I picked up an item, defeated an enemy, tied, or reached the score tally at the end of the level, I could very clearly hear the noises from the DualShock 4. In Castlevania: Rondo of Blood, the sound is much more subdued. I only really noticed it if I muted the TV. Even then, I would usually only hear anything if I picked up an item or used certain sub-weapons. It would have been nice to have the same frequency and volume with the second game that was present in the first.
There are definitely reasons to play Castlevania Requiem: Symphony of the Night & Rondo of Blood. It might be more convenient and affordable than hunting down the original versions. (Though, if you have a PlayStation Portable or PlayStation Vita, those are also good systems to play the games on too.) The language and visual options are best, and I recommend going with the Full display size with interlace, scanlines, and smoothing off. You also might want to consider adjusting your DualShock 4 settings when you play as well, as the rumble and speaker functionality may not be to your liking. Still, this collection does mean more people have an easier way to play two classics, and that is something to celebrate.
Castlevania Requiem: Symphony of the Night & Rondo of Blood is available for the PlayStation 4.