Castlevania Requiem: Symphony of the Night & Rondo of Blood

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Castlevania Requiem: Symphony of the Night & Rondo of Blood Game Poster Image
Bundle of two bloodsucking action classics has few extras.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

There’s a basic theme of “good vs. evil,” fighting against monsters to rescue others and to ultimately save the world from eternal darkness.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Richter Belmont and Alucard are both good and honorable characters, facing insurmountable odds to defeat evil. Richter is fighting to save his lost love, and Alucard is fighting to prove that he's not beholden to the evil of his lineage.

Ease of Play

Both Symphony of the Night and Rondo of Blood are easy games to pick up and play. Most of the complexity comes in keeping track of the various locations and how to reach them, as well as learning which weapons and abilities are best suited to each situation.

Violence

This is a violent horror themed game, with players using a variety of weapons against enemies. There are all kinds of monstrous creatures, including undead zombies and demons. There's quite a bit of blood and gore, though the visuals are pixelated, reducing the impact.

Sex

Some female monsters in the game are topless, though the pixelated art style keeps it from being too detailed or showing any real nudity.

Language
Consumerism

This is a collection of two select titles from Konami’s hit Castlevania franchise, which has included numerous games, books, figures and collectibles, and a popular anime series on Netflix.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Castlevania Requiem: Symphony of the Night & Rondo of Blood, available for PlayStation 4, is a downloadable double header re-release of two classic games from Konami’s popular vampire hunting Castlevania franchise. Both games are 2D side scrollers, where players explore a castle and fight against armies of monsters, demons, and ghosts. While the action's constant and violent, including sprays of blood and decapitations, the pixelated visuals limits the graphic look of any gore. The various enemies are interpretations of many different monsters of myth, some of which are female creatures that appear topless, though like the gore, the pixelated style of the game keeps any detail from showing apparent nudity.

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What's it about?

CASTLEVANIA REQUIEM: SYMPHONY OF THE NIGHT & RONDO OF BLOOD brings two classic games from Konami’s Castlevania franchise back from the grave in a special double header release. Rondo of Blood tells the tale of Richter Belmont, descendant of the Belmont clan of vampire hunters and the latest to challenge the dark power of Dracula after his love is kidnapped by the vampire’s forces. Armed with the legendary Vampire Killer, Richter sets out to storm Dracula’s castle and drive back the darkness once and for all. Symphony of the Night picks up immediately after the events of Rondo of Blood, with Dracula seemingly defeated by Richter. But when Castlevania appears once more five years later, Richter's nowhere to be found. With no Belmont to face the looming threat, an unlikely hero rises to the challenge: Alucard, the half-human/half vampire son of Dracula himself. Now it falls to Alucard to find out why the castle has returned, what has become of Richter Belmont, and to face his father’s dark forces in one final epic battle between good and evil.

Is it any good?

While this collection of two classic games showcases great action, the technical issues and limited content makes this one for action fans only. Castlevania Requiem: Symphony of the Night & Rondo of Blood presents two classics in their original forms for the most part. It revisits the never-ending battle between the Belmont clan and the Prince of Darkness, Dracula, which has been told in numerous games, books, anime series, and more. These two games:1993’s Rondo of Blood and its 1997 follow-up, Symphony of the Night, just happen to be two of the most popular of the franchise. But while this is great for purists looking to relive the monster hunting action in all its retro glory, the collection still feels a bit anemic in terms of features that Castlevania fans might be looking for.

Both games look and play exactly like they did back when they were released in the ‘90s. The controls are responsive enough and haven’t aged a day since either game’s original release. But that’s about all that hasn’t aged. By attempting to remain fully faithful to the original games, neither game has been enhanced for the current generation of consoles. This makes both games look rough and jagged in hi-def. There's a filter available to smooth things out, but all that seems to do is make the visuals appear blurry and out of focus. There’s another filter which is meant to further replicate the original experience, but all it actually does is add irritating screen flicker. It’s hard to understand how something that was a technical limitation in the past is being touted as a feature in the present. All of this is even more mind boggling when it comes to Rondo of Blood, as that particular game was already remade and polished up once before. Ultimately, while it’s fun to dive deep into the halls of Castlevania and take up the fight against Dracula once more, Castlevania Requiem feels more like a missed opportunity that doesn’t quite get the blood pumping.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in Castlevania Requiem: Symphony of the Night & Rondo of Blood affected by the lack of realistic visuals? Would the impact be intensified by more lifelike imagery?

  • Why do we enjoy being frightened from time to time in entertainment? What's the appeal of watching horror movies, playing scary games, visiting haunted houses, etc.? What are some of your fun ways to “get a good scare”?

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