rondo of blood

Been really digging into Dracula X : Rondo of Blood the last couple days, to the point where I’m not Getting Stuff Done that I should … but anyway, Castlevania fans may recognize this one as the entry in the series said to be second in quality only to Symphony of the Night, yet never released outside of Japan (and only released there for the TurboDuo CD which was a pretty obscure system). Of course no one wants to buy some expensive obsolete system secondhand just to play one game, no matter how awesome it might be, but there have been emulators capable of running the game 100% floating around for a couple years now … of course that doesn’t make the game itself any less of a pain to obtain – it’s a choice of either expensive ebay purchase of a used copy or finding a working torrent or IRC group or something of it (and it’s a 220 MB download once you do).

Groader stumbled across something really cool the other day that he floated over to me – someone took it upon themselves to port the game to the PC. Apparently they either wrote their own TurboDuo emulator or modified one of the existing ones to just work with this game – that in and of itself wouldn’t really be all that impressive, but they did a couple of nice things. They made the game and the emulator a standalone Windows executable so those not comfortable or familiar with emulation don’t have to futz around with settings and different programs and burning CDs or mounting ISOs with Daemon Tools or whatever, you just double-click and go, it’s totally idiot proof. The other nice touch is that they ultra-compressed all the music down to Ogg Vorbis format – anyone who’s downloaded the ISO of this game can tell you it’s only like 25 MB of data and the rest of it is huge audio tracks. Obviously since it’s compressed it’s not totally perfect – it’s very quiet and requires cranking of the volume to get up to a good level, and it has that sort of “distant” quality, but there’s no hissing or crackling and nothing seems to be missing that I’ve noticed. It makes the whole package a 27 MB download, and you get all the voice acting, all the music, all the cutscenes, etc. The game is 100% there.

It’s pretty mysterious, though – no one takes credit for it in the game or in any of the TXT files that come with it. There’s plenty of documentation on how to play and bugfixes and stuff, but no information on who was behind it. The only clue in the About tab of the game is a reference to someone named the “Irrepresibly Gay Asian” (I was hesitant to Google that one but it turns out there’s no results). After some Dick Hardtop style sleuthing I’m like 90% sure I know who was behind it – I think it’s the final version of this seemingly discontinued project at PCEngineFX.com .
The version on the site is a 0.4 from 2006 that is supposedly riddled with bugs, the one I’m playing is a 1.1 that I’m nearly at 100% completion on and haven’t seen a bug yet. The guy’s last name is Nanto (a Japanese name – gay AZN, remember) and the structure of it has way too many similarities to his Lords of Thunder port to be a coincidence. My best guess is that Konami found out about this and contacted him with the usual vague legal threats (probably in light of the fact that they’re re-releasing this game as the Dracula X Chronicles on PSP) and rather than killing the project he just finished it on the quiet and released it through torrents, IRC, whatever, and scrubbed his name out of it.

OBJECTION! : Well on the surface that was a good theory but I think I pointed the finger at the wrong guy. I found some other page that said his project was a Game Maker re-creation and not an emulation … and after trying out his Lords of Thunder project, well I’ve never played the original Lords of Thunder, but it looks pretty Game Maker-ish. So I guess this was just done by some random haxors who used some OGG ultimate compression technique I still haven’t figured out yet. Oh well. It’s a secret to everyone apparently.

Back to your regularly scheduled original post ….

As far as the download goes, I dunno about a direct link to it because apparently Konami is being a bunch of assholes about this. I’ll tell you this much – Groader found it on Megaupload, and you know how to use Google and Boolean commands right? So there you go. Anyway, this game is highly worth checking out.

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One Response to “rondo of blood”

  1. Mike

    I guess it’s ok


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