When the news first broke that Konami was releasing a collection based entirely on one of the most beloved franchises in gaming I will be completely honest, I was worried. For every fantastic collection title out there, there are plenty of cheap cash grabs that offer no fan service and end up being a downloadable emulator for your game system rather that a heartfelt tribute.
After digging into the Castlevania Anniversary Collection, I am extremely happy to say that Konami did right by the Belmont Family and by fans who haved live their stories through countless games.
When it was first announced I was initially worried with how quick saves and special frames would look and work when playing a game. Compilation titles implement them but for the most part it can sometimes get in the way and cause some pretty frustrating moments when playing the game how it’s supposed to be played. Through the hard work of M2, the Castlevania Anniversary Collection offers a fun and intuitive menu that offers quick saving, loading, and plenty of fanservice.
To access the in game menu all you do is press the left trigger and you will be brought to a polished menu with several options ranging from your typical save and load options to more fun things like arcade style frames and aspect ratios. The aspect ratios was an incredibly pleasant surprise as you are allowed to toggle with how the game works for you.
For example: if you’re feeling like a purist you can select the pixel perfect option which will give you one of the crispiest cleanest versions of the game out there or maybe you’re feeling a little nostalgic and feel like adding a scan line filter.
The games need no introduction or review as these games have been out for decades but just as a friendly reminder, these games are good. The entire catalog of games feature a fun variety of Castlevania adventure new, old, and some that have never been seen in the west. Games like:
Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest
Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse
Super Castlevania IV
Castlevania The Adventure
Castlevania II: Belmont’s Revenge
Some other touches have been added to the game including special filters for the gameboy games and the inclusion of Kid Dracula.
A Long Time Exclusive
Kid Dracula was originally release as a Japan exclusive in 1990 on Famicom and in 1993 for the Game Boy but stayed exclusive to Japan until the release of the Castlevania Anniversary Collection. The game itself is incredibly fun and hardly feels like it was made for something as old as the Famicom.
The controls feel extremely precise, the shooting is loads of fun, the gameplay is excellently paced, and the platforming is pretty stellar making me wonder why it took so long to be localized.
Another extremely welcomed feature is a special digital ‘Bonus Book’ that includes concept art, developer diary, and interviews with a few key Castlevania legends including composer Michiru Yamane and the producer of the Netflix series Adi Shankar. These 78 pages are crammed with a canon timeline of the Belmont family, history of the series, development diaries showing off working development of enemies, and some amazing concept art of characters that fans have come to love.
Castlevania Anniversary Collection is hands down one of the best classic collections available period. It doesn’t feel like a heartless cashgrab, each menu layout, option, and game feels like it belongs there as a tribute to those who have stuck with the series to this point.
For the abysmal price tag of $19.99 and the amount of content you receive, the Castlevania Anniversary Collection slays the competition and keeps the candle alive for fans who have stuck by the Belmont’s side for generations.
Castlevania Anniversary Collection is now available for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and Steam.