- 1 Player
- Castlevania: The New Generation
- Castlevania: Bloodlines
The year is 1917 and the villainous Elizabeth Bartley is attempting to resurrect the Dark Lord Dracula. Only two heroes stand in her way – American John Morris and Spaniard Eric Lecarde. Armed with the legendary Vampire Killer whip and the Alucard Spear respectively, this intrepid duo must battle across Europe to reach the Castle Proserpina before Bartley can fulfill her demented plan and plunge the world into total darkness.
Released quite late on in the lifespan of the Mega Drive, Vampire Killer is a technical tour de force so full of visual treats you’d be forgiven for assuming that Konami packed each cart with custom graphics chips. Sprite rotation and scaling are commonplace, yet the action is always swift and engaging. It’s a very different proposition from the SNES/Super Famicom Super Castlevania IV, which adopted a much more sedate pace.
One of the first titles in the Castlevania lineage to take the action outside of Transylvania’s boundaries, Vampire Killer boasts an astonishing degree of variety in its level design. From the watery depths of Atlantis to the terrifying heights of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, each stage offers a strikingly different visual style. The music – which is composed by Michiru Yamane, who would later write the score for Castlevania: Symphony of the Night – is wonderful, although at times it does feel as if the tunes deserve better audio hardware than the Mega Drive can offer.
Challenging, inventive and thoroughly enjoyable, it’s hardly surprising that Vampire Killer is regarded as one of the best ‘traditional’ Castlevania releases.
Vampire Killer was released in the US as Castlevania: Bloodlines and in Europe as Castlevania: The New Generation. The European version was subjected to heavy censorship; the pool of blood on the title screen was changed to water, and other alterations were made in order to make the game less gruesome.
Rumour has it that only 4,000 copies of the Japanese version were ever produced, and this has kept the second-hand value of the game high over the past decade. The western editions have been cheaper in comparison, but even that is now changing as the Castlevania series continues to grow in popularity.