Originally leaked on the Australian rating board, a new collection for ported Castlevania games had been rumored for several months but never confirmed by Konami or the outsourced developers. However, the Nintendo Direct that took place on September 23rd not only confirmed but revealed the new collection to be available for purchase the same day, and with an extra surprise that no one could have expected! Castlevania: Advance Collection is here, delivering four titles in a stunning HD remaster.
Castlevania: Circle of the Moon
The very first game was released on the Gameboy Advance back in 2001. When the official Castlevania timeline was released, Koji Igarashi’s reveal that Circle of the Moon was a stand-alone title, not part of the official canon, met with some criticism. Taking place about 35 years after the events of Symphony of the Night, the game follows one of the few protagonists not a member of the Belmont clan. Instead, players take on the role of Nathan Graves, who charges into Dracula’s castle to prevent his early resurrection by his minions. To his horror, they arrive just a few minutes too late, and must now navigate the castle to put a stop to Dracula’s reign of terror once again.
Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance
Fifty years after the events of the very first Castlevania game, players take control of Simon Belmont’s grandson, Juste Belmont. Fifty years have passed since Simon vanquished Dracula and it seems that his followers are up to no good, plotting an early resurrection once again. This time, in the year 1748, Juste storms the castle alongside his fellow vampire hunter Maxim when his girlfriend is kidnapped. Taking influence from Symphony of the Night, the castle begins to change. It is then that Juste realizes that the castle exists between two parallel worlds, and he must navigate his way through both dimensions if he’s to defeat Dracula.
Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow
In the year 2035, Dracula’s soul has been eternally sealed away from the world of man… or so we thought. When Dracula’s castle suddenly appears with no explanation or master it’s up to a Japanese high school student named Soma Cruz to become the hero. She becomes locked inside the castle with Julius Belmont. Players will take control of Soma to infiltrate the castle, collect the souls of various demons, and unlock the secret of Dracula’s mysteriously incomplete reincarnation.
But the real surprise was the inclusion of…
Castlevania: Dracula X
Originally released on the SNES back in 1995, Dracula X was meant to serve as an alternative way of playing Rondo of Blood, released for the CD Engine. It is easily the most challenging of the four in this collection. Dracula X tells the classic trials of Richter Belmont in his quest to save his girlfriend from the clutches of Dracula.
Castlevania: Advance Collection includes a number of bonus features and quality of life improvements. Just like with the previous collection, the Advance Collection includes an art gallery, as well as a new music gallery complete with playlist customizers. The game also supports region selection, allowing players to play any version of either game in any language provided. An added encyclopedia contains every piece of information you could hope to learn about the game’s lore, from monsters to collectible souls, to locations, and everything in between.
For the gameplay, there is now a “rewind” feature, which allows players to rewind gameplay a few seconds and save themselves from pitfalls or deadly attacks, preventing game overs. Lastly, quick save! Save your game anywhere you want and reload it when you need. It’s all about trial and error now instead of griding skill and timing to deliver a perfect at every boss and level.
With Castlevania: Advance Collection and Castlevania: Grimoire of Souls, Konami is really revving its engines. The new collection is available now on all current-gen gaming consoles and on Steam for PC.