Released: May 2019
Developer: Konami Digital Entertainment/Konami Industry Co. Ltd
Also Available For: Nintendo Switch, PC, and PlayStation 4
A Brief Background:
First announced back in March 2019, the Castlevania Anniversary Collection is just one of three bundles of old school Konami goodness cobbled together to celebrate the game publisher’s fiftieth anniversary.
First released on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) all the way back in 1986, the Castlevania series has gone on to become one of the most lauded and well-received videogame franchises. As I grew up mostly playing SEGA consoles, my Castlevania experience has been understandably limited outside of the abysmal Nintendo 64 Castlevania (Konami Computer Entertainment Kobe, 1999) and the franchise’s spiritual successors, Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon (Inti Creates, 2018) and Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night (ArtPlay, 2019).
After playing these, and one of Castlevania’s most celebrated titles, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (Konami Computer Entertainment Tokyo, 1997), I leapt at the opportunity to buy the Castlevania Anniversary Collection for Xbox One when it was on sale earlier this year and to finally put some proper time and effort into these classic titles.
Castlevania Anniversary Collection brings together all of the classic Castlevania titles of the 8-bit and 16-bit era; it’s got everything from the ground-breaking original, the much-appalled sequel, the obscure title published on the Mega Drive, and even a handful of Game Boy titles.
Each game comes with a substantial piece of text detailing the story, a manual explaining the controls, and the ability to save your progress whenever you wish using save states. This is how I will be playing these games; understandably, a lot of people decry save states but the feature is there and it makes my life easier so I don’t really care.
Additionally, you can set different frames and display options (though there is no HD filter, so you’ll mostly just increase the pixilation of these classic titles) and there are two books (one for the Japanese releases and one for the US) filled with art work, development details, concept art, and other helpful hints As you might expect, you can also unlock Achievements for beating each game; unfortunately, only a few of the titles contained in the collection have more than one Achievement assigned to them, which is a shame as Konami really could have stacked in a bunch of fun Achievements alongside the generic ones for completing the games.
With Halloween right around the corner, I figured that there is no better time to review these games and this is, undoubtedly, the definitive way to experience these classic titles. As a result, every Saturday for the next few weeks, I will be uploading a review of each of the games as they are listed in the collection, so be sure to come back and see what I have to say and leave your thoughts on this series in the comments.
Are you a fan of Castlevania? If so, how would you rank this collection, and the series overall? If not, would you be tempted to pick up the Castlevania Anniversary Collection and give them a try? Either way, please leave a comment and pop back every Saturday to read my reviews of these Castlevania titles.