TLDR: some comparison videos:
Castlevania HD vs Castlevania SD:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7FpPOVJpC-s
Castlevania SD vs Castlevania 30th anniversary:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=plRie4VpRyc
Castlevania VK vs original Castlevania:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FCgq5aRYCzo
It is common that a successfull game gets ported for a multitude of platforms. In such a case people sometimes start dreaming of an ultimate port, combining the best aspects of various releases of the game.
This is exactly my case with Castlevania. My acquaintance with the series began at our school's computer classrom when I was in a second grade of primary school. Alas, I don't remember the exact date. I can only say it was snowing outside, but this could've been anywhere from October 1987 to April 1988.
Well, memories aside, the point is that the game I saw was not Castlevania. It was Vampire Killer for the MSX computer. Ever since I saw the NES Castlevania later, I considered it graphically inferior to Vampire Killer, and dreamed of a port merging Vampire Killer graphics with Castlevania gameplay and smooth scrolling.
In 2008 I've grabbed the demo of Castlevania for mobile phones from Konami website, and saw my favorite game redone with even better graphics. Some years later I've learned that there were 3 generations of mobile Castlevania. Generation I had NES graphics, while generation II and III contained mostly original imagery never used in any other Castlevania game. This made me alter my initial plan, and brought to life a host of various "skins" for Castlevania, presented below.
In order to use these skins you have to
1. Download the latest Mesen emulator (0.9.6 and up) from http://www.mesen.ca
2. Load your Castlevania NES ROM into it.
3. Install this HD Pack using Mesen's Utilities->Install HD Pack menu option.
Both PRG0 and PRG1 versions of a US Castlevania ROM are supported, along with a ROM version of Akumajou Dracula, released for a Famicom (Japanese NES) in 1993. That specific version of Castlevania is notable for its "Easy" mode. To activate it press SELECT, then START while in title screen. I heavily recommend using this mode, if you are not a Castlevania professional.
Now, choose your Simon...1. Castlevania SDDownload link for v1.2:https://yadi.sk/d/lWt5yxl-maWdOQ
This is an update for a "Castlevania 30th anniversary" emulator mod released in 2017.https://www.romhacking.net/forum/index.php?topic=24125.0
Now in a form of an "SD" pack for Mesen. No more custom hacked Nestopia. No more downsized or recolored tiles. Almost every image is taken from the generation II mobile Castlevania. The only exceptions are:
- Opening and ending sequence and the map were never made for gen.2, as far as I know. Thus, they are taken from the mobile phone Castlevania generation III.
- Clock tower background is from my "Castlevania 30th anniversary" mod, as it was also omitted from mobile port.
- The gallery in stage 15 contains pictures, not just empty frames (That's my issue, being used to Vampire Killer, I was quite disappointed to see empty frames, when I first reached stage 15 in Castlevania).
The music is replaced as well. Ogg track sources are indicated in their respective tags. Mostly they are fan remixes:
- Stage 1-17 themes are by Jorge Fuentes
- Stage 18, boss fight, stage clear, and final themes are by Skeletroy
- Intro theme is by themusicprophet003
- Game over and player miss themes are by KONAMI2. Castlevania HDDownload link for v1.3:https://yadi.sk/d/k42uFmelcwhp7Q
This is a minor update for a "Castlevania HD pack" released in 2018.https://www.romhacking.net/forum/index.php?topic=26114
In this pack most of the images are taken from the generation III mobile Castlevania.
Here's what's new in this update:
- Support for a music replacement in both revisions of the US Castlevania and in a japanese Akumajou Dracula Famicom ROM.
- New intro (if Akumajou Dracula Famicom ROM is loaded) and title screen by Aclectico. Less "true-to-the-original" mobile release, but much more impressive.
- New clock tower scene background in stage 18.
- Updated Bat sprite for stage 16. Now uses a "symmetric" sprite from an earlier generation III release of Castlevania mobile. The bats no longer attack Simon with their backs.
- Updated Game Over screen (taken from the earlier generation III release as well).
- New (but barely visible) background for stages 1 and 3.
- Some minor changes to the music tracks
- Rewritten sound engine. Occasional original NES notes come through no more.
This breaks savestates from previous versions.
Minutes of silence removed from non-looping music tracks, as they are no longer needed.
- Added a jumping frame to Simon's animation from a chinese generation III mobile game.
- Replaced bricks in a pit scene to original ones (taken from the earlier generation III release).
- Removed annoying background flashing in room-to-room vertical transitions.3. Castlevania VKDownload link for v1.1:https://yadi.sk/d/72dQN9jXbs8i4g
This is a Castlevania MSX nostalgia edition
My childhood dream mocked up.
The graphics are from Vampire Killer by KONAMI, released for the MSX2 computer in 1986. Technically it's 16 colors out of 512 (MegaDrive/TG16 palette) on screen at once. Extra graphics are taken from a Vampire Killer to Castlevania IPS patch by IMANOK and M.PAZOS. Unlike this pitiful effort their work can be enjoyed on the real hardware. Check it out at:https://vk2cv.msxcartridgeshop.com/
The soundtrack is arranged for SCC (Konami sound custom chip for the MSX, similar to their VRC6 for the Famicom) by Jan Van Valburg. Unlike this measly mockup you can play Vampire Killer with his music on the original MSX2. Be sure to grab his patch at:https://bitbucket.org/jan11011977/vkiller_scc/src/default/