Castlevania: Bloodlines (known in Europe as Castlevania: The New Generation and in Japan as Vampire Killer) is a 2D action horror platformer developed and published by Konami for the Sega Genesis on March 17, 1994.
Taking place in 1917, the story follows two indirect blood descendants of the Belmont clan of vampire hunters (John Morris, an American who wields the Vampire Killer whip, and Eric Lecarde, a Spaniard whose love interest was lost to vampirism), as they set out throughout Europe to prevent the resurrection of Count Dracula by his niece, the revived vampire Elizabeth Bartley.
Although the game features the Vampire Killer whip, Castlevania: Bloodlines is the first Castlevania game to not include a primary descendent of the Belmont clan as the main protagonist. This is also the first Castlevania game to refer to the Vampire Killer whip by its name. The game is also known for its attempt to connect the Castlevania franchise to Bram Stoker's novel, Dracula (even by referring to the father of the game's protagonist as Quincy Morris, the name of a key character in the novel).
Castlevania: Bloodlines is also known for being the precursor to Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin, in which the player plays as John's son, Jonathan Morris. Eric Lecarde also plays a prominent role in the game.
Castlevania: Bloodlines plays like a traditional Castlevania platformer. Players guide either John or Eric through six stages spread throughout Europe, increasing their score by defeating enemies and collecting bags of money (dropped by enemies or destroying scenery). Players will also find jewels (which serve as ammunition for sub-weapons and super "Item Crash" attacks), the "Mirrors of Truth" (which clears the screen of all enemies), black orbs (which grant the player temporary invulnerability), Coat of Arms (which upgrades the player's primary weapon), mutton chops (which restores some of the player's health), and 1-Up items (which grant the player an extra life). Each stage is linear (with the exception of certain parts that must be completed with a specific character). Along with one boss to close the level, each stage also features one or more mini-bosses.
Castlevania: Bloodlines allows the player to pick one of two playable characters, each with their own unique primary weapon and special attributes.
John Morris utilizes the legendary Vampire Killer whip, which can be charged by holding down the attack button. Like Simon Belmont from Super Castlevania IV, John can use his whip to swing from special blocks, allowing him to easily pass certain chasms. Although he can only attack horizontally on the ground, he can whip diagonally and under him while in the air.
Eric Lecarde wields the Alcarde Spear, a long spear that allows him to stab at enemies in multiple directions. When jumping out of a crouch, Eric uses his spear to propel himself into the air, allowing him to reach new heights while attacking airborne enemies.
Along the way, John and Eric can pick up sub-weapons that consume jewels for a special attack (which, unlike most early Castlevania games, is given its own attack button).
- Battle Axe
- Sacred Water
Like many games from the era, Bloodlines went through a handful of changes when localized for international audiences.
The North American version of Bloodlines increases the difficulty of Normal mode, adding more enemies and reducing the damage both player characters deal. The game also completely reworks the password system. In the original Japanese version a password is displayed after a game over, which allows the player to return to the stage they lost on with all lives and continues replenished. The North American version changes this so that passwords are instead displayed between stages and in addition to the stage record both the number of lives and the number of continues remaining, drastically increasing the difficulty.
In addition to the difficulty changes the North American version makes a few other changes, altering Eric's face in his close up sprites to appear more masculine and changing Johnny Morris to John Morris on the character select screen.
The European version of the game is based on the North American release, but with censorship in several places. All blood is recolored blue or green, and several corpses that served as part of the backgrounds in other versions are removed from the game. Eric's death animation is also changed so that his spear no longer impales him.