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September 12 2007
Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles - PSP Preview
Release Date Distributer Publisher Developer Anticipation Players Price
28/2/2008AtariKonamiKonami1$79.95
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The graphics look pretty sharp ...
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... and have been improved from the original.

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In fact this is one impressive PSP game!
September 26, 1986 is a date that videogame addicts should be very grateful for. On that day Konami released Akumajo Dracula for the Nintendo Disc System. While that system never made it to Australia the game was ported to cartridge for the Nintendo Entertainment System. It was the start of a franchise that has since earnt millions of fans worldwide and now has (by our count) 22 titles released to date. This game is actually a remake of the 1993 PC Engine and 1995 SNES title (known as Castlevania: Vampire's Kiss in Europe) - although it has undergone several major enhancements for the PSP.

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Ummm, you may want to duck now!
Set in in 1792, Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles follows Richter Belmont as he battles to return Dracula to the oblivion from which he came. Having seen his beloved Annette kidnapped by his vampiric nemesis, Richter and his loyal friend, Maria, must wield the legendary Vampire Hunter whip and fight through the tainted countryside and enter Dracula's Castle to stop this horrific scenario from destroying humanity. While the trusty whip remains the weapon of choice there will also be quite a few secondary weapons available in the game.

This side-scrolling platform game takes place across 10 fairly large stages. Gamers can take on the role of either Richter or Maria, each of which has their own unique skills and abilities. One neat feature, and one which promises to add much replay value, is the ability to return to stages they have previously completed to compete for high scores or rare items.

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OK, so this isn't too exciting!
Graphically this game looks pretty sharp - damn sharp in fact. As you have probably seen much of the artwork has been redone using 3D visuals, although the game will remain very much in the 2D realm. As long as the developers push a solid frame rate we could be looking at one of the most visually impressive games on the PSP to date. Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles boasts new character designs by renowned Castlevania artist Ayumi Kojima, and introduces a new sound collection feature that will let players unlock music to listen to, and assign as they wish to produce their bespoke soundtracks.

Konami's Castlevania series has a long history of solid platforming action and while there has been the odd mis-step along the way (including some dire 3D efforts) this is a return to the 2D roots of the series. Perhaps the best news is that the disc will apparently come with the PC Engine version as a bonus - as well as Symphony of the Night! The game has a solid history and the enhancements to the Playstation Portable version should make it an impressive release early next year.