Vampire-Killers from Japan

Konami's Dracula X: Rondo of Blood will bring its monster-stomping action to the U.S. and PSP this fall

Konami's Dracula X: Rondo of Blood was a big hit with Castlevania fans, despite it being a Japan only release. However, Konami will bring Rondo to the U.S. with Castlevania: Dracula X Chronicles for PSP, slated to arrive this fall.

In the game, Richter Belmont (from the original Castlevania NES game) returns to his vampire-stomping roots. His beloved bride Annette has been snatched away as part of a plot to resurrect Dracula. Using the infamous whip Vampire Killer and various other weapons, Richter sets out to stop this dastardly plot before big Drac makes the world his personal buffet.

Instead of following the more complex adventure approach, Dracula X Chronicles plays like the first (and more linear) Castlevania games. Richter fights his way through a series of levels, battling enemies both large and small. One scenario in particular requires Richter to keep moving forward, destroying foes in his path while outrunning a humongous, rampaging bull.

During the course of his quest, Richter gains access to multiple weapons, each with their own unique effect. The alchemy bottles let off small flames that damage nearby enemies, while the boomerang strikes enemies further ahead. The heart power-up system also allows Richter to utilize them even further, unleashing a temporary devastating attack for several seconds. For example, the throwing knife multiplies into hundreds of throwing knives, launched in one huge barrage.

Maria, a character featured in the original game, returns as well. Introduced in the first game, this attractive and deadly lady offers a curious set of attacks. Instead of using traditional weapons, she calls upon animals to fight against enemies.

This game also features several dramatic boss battles. One fight with a gladiator-like Minotaur tests a player's skills, with several charging attacks and a razor-sharp axe in hand. A fire-breathing serpent and werewolf also prove to be a big pain with their own attack patterns. Last but not least, Dracula emerges near the end in a last attempt to control the world.

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