Four years later, I heard about the newest Castlevania game, this time on the Sega Genesis. But Castlevania: Bloodlines, I was told, was not worth playing. “It’s not Super Castlevania IV!” exclaimed the masses, “therefore it isn’t fun!” But something inside me just couldn’t let it go, and I was drawn to that new Castlevania game anyway. I learned two things the day it finally found its way to my Genesis: the masses are pretty dumb, and Bloodlines is freakin’ awesome.
The sloppy controls of Castlevanias past have vanished; in their place is a responsive layout that hardly ever has my hero careening into a bottomless pit unless it’s my own stupid fault. The graphics are detailed and creepy, with rotting flesh, severed heads and bloody skeletons populating some of the most interesting locations early 20th century Europe had to offer. And let me tell you, that sunset over the lake in the second stage is permanently etched into my mind as one of the greatest video game moments of all time: Even with the Genesis’s limited pallet, the colors of the setting sun are brilliant. Combined with the urgency and hope inherent in the soundtrack, Bloodlines establishes a sort of heroic duty within the player that lasts throughout the offering.
Without a doubt, Bloodlines was, and still is, a great game. When I first played it, I couldn’t put the controller down for hours. And that’s when I knew I had fallen back in love. Hard.
I’ll never leave you again, baby. Never again.