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Cult Video Game Essentials: Castlevania – Bloodlines (1994)

Castlevania: Bloodlines is a platform game developed and published by Konami for Sega in 1994. It is the only Castlevania video game released on the Mega Drive. The Japanese version featured a considerable amount of violence, with the American port containing a surprising amount of blood and gore for a game of its “GA” rating. The European and Australian titles were censored and both titled Castlevania: The New Generation.

The legendary vampire Elizabeth Bartley, Dracula’s niece, suddenly appears in the 20th century. Plotting a sacrificial war in order to bring her uncle back to life, she orchestrates the beginning of World War I. Quincy Morris’ son, John, and his best friend Eric Lecarde, vow to take up the fight against evil. Together they manage to prevent Dracula’s full resurrection.

As with most early Castlevania games, players proceed through each level, defeating enemies and collecting gems (hearts in previous games) to power special weapons (in this game, the axe, boomerang, and holy water). Each stage is sectioned, and has a sub-boss battle in the middle, with a main boss battle at the end. Some items will increase the power of the characters’ weapons. Some portions of the game split into different paths, depending on which character is chosen. John is able to swing past huge gaps with his whip, whereas Eric must use a different route by performing high jumps by using his spear.

Bloodlines is also noteworthy for its abundance of special effects, such as the Atlantis Shrine’s water reflections, the swaying tower of Pisa, and large multi-jointed bosses. The final stage even uses effects to add challenge, such as playing upside-down or playing while the screen divides up into sections. The “Item Crash” feature (from Castlevania: Rondo of Blood) makes its return in Bloodlines.

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