Is Castlevania: Bloodlines Possible on SNES?

Continuing with my idea for a series of articles looking at both old and new Sega Genesis games and analysing whether they could run on SNES or not–I’m here to prove they can by providing examples of similar feats being achieved in actual SNES games, both old and new titles, plus any modern demos and the like where necessary–the next game I want to look at is Castlevania: Bloodlines.

So, here we go, starting with footage of the game running on Genesis:

Well, first off, I just want to post this, which you should probably watch all the way through and compare the quality scene for scene and effect for effect and the like:

And, you can also check out the to-SNES-spec Castlevania: Symphony of the Night mockup that I made in GameMaker 8.1 in a matter of a few hours the other day (it was that quick and easy because almost nothing had to be changed to get this stuff ready for a SNES version):

Now, 8:04 of the Bloodlines video is probably the first interesting bit, just because it’s a cool multi-jointed boss.

I think I’ve already covered multi-jointed enemies/bosses enough in my own previous post on Multi-jointed Enemies in SNES Games, so feel free to check that out to see what the SNES is capable of in this area.

The next interesting moment is probably this cool water reflection at 9:11

I can’t immediately find the exact same effect in a SNES game, but I think these water and/or reflection effects on SNES look far better and less “obvious code-ish trick” anyway:

And Bloodlines water effect 2 at 950

Be it a simple palette swapping trick like above or some other more advanced method, semi-transparent water was pretty standard on SNES too, and appears in more games than I can count, so I’ll just post a couple of examples:

And here’s SNES doing it with a slightly different method using its 512 higher-resolution mode:

I guess the floating logs/platforms on the water at the same time at 12:49 are kinda interesting.

And here’s something similar on SNES:

Here’s a nice little moment at 14:43 in Bloodlines where the head gets knocked of the statue and fall down, tilting slightly as it does.

I can’t think of a similar moment in a SNES game to post off the top of my head (pun was pure fluke), but I know how the effect is done, and it’s nothing the SNES can’t do in Modes 2, 4 or 6, and with finer granularity in the column scrolling to boot.

Edit: Actually, this falling tree in Prehistoric Man is done is basically the exact same way (with more stuff going on visually at the same time to boot):

The tiling tower effect in Bloodlines at 22:50 is very impressive visually.

But it’s just using the same trick as the falling tree on SNES I showed above. It’s a combination of line scrolling and column scrolling, which SNES can do via Modes 2, 4 or 6:

It’s this:

Plus this:

Which can give you something like this:

Or it can just do the same thing with its built-in Mode 7:

And that same effect is used again to tilt the tower as 22:51 in Bloodlines.

You don’t see it using the column scrolling plus line scrolling method as much on SNES because developers tended to just use Mode 7 instead:

There’s a lot of floating platforms at 23:21 in Bloodlines.

I honestly can’t really think of an example of something like this on SNES just now, but, with up to four fully-overlapping background layers plus a max of 128 sprites on-screen vs the Genesis 2 background layers and a max of 80 sprites on-screen, I think the SNES should be just fine doing something along the same lines.

Another cool showy effect at 24:22 in Bloodlines with the effect of the screen rotating around the tower and the clouds scrolling past in the opposite direction.

Again, although the effect is actually really simple technically, I don’t have a particularly similar scene I can think of on SNES, but I guess this has a few layers of clouds and one with proper semi-transparency:

And clouds plus real semi-transparency again:

The tower rotating effect is just done similar to this, with some sprite in different positions and various frames they switch between as they rotate around the tower:

At 28:47 we have the obligatory animated clock tower cog level in Bloodlines.

And the same thing in Dracula X on SNES:

Here’s a very nice light beam effect at 36:52 in Bloodlines. It’s done using the shadow/highlight mode on Genesis, but SNES just uses the extra third layer and some colour math for similar results (and it can do so with coloured transparency too):

Then there’s this bizarre room at 45:57 in Bloodlines, which I’ve always thought just look like a graphical error.

I haven’t seen anything like this on SNES, and, to be honest, I think that’s a good thing. It just looks silly rather cool or graphically impressive imo. But, let’s be honest, you could probably do it by simply jumbling up your background draw order code or something along those lines. I mean, I get this is sort of a similarly thing in principle for a few frames, and it similarly just looks weird:

And, crazily, this is actually a built-in feature of Mode 4, and I think mode 2 and possibly Mode 6 also.

Here’s a bunch of cards spinning around and then flying across the screen and flickering in Bloodlines at 49:04

Honestly, do I really need to find an example of a bunch of flickering sprites flying around the screen on SNES?

Well, here’s just and example of 128 sprites bouncing around the screen at 60fps:

And, look, some random balls and things spinning around and flying out of the screen in Contra III:

Well, there’s a way background on the boss at 58:57 in Bloodlines.

And on SNES (after a similar boss run too no less):

Now, some of the multi-joined bosses were cool in Bloodlines, and there were a few interesting effects in the backgrounds, but there was nothing too extreme beyond that. So, not only could this game run on SNES, but it could do so with far more colours throughout, more impressive transparency, more parallax layers in the background, more advanced audio, and additional controls [if necessary] to boot.

I think the thing that stands out the most in Bloodlines, just like The Cursed Knight that I looked a previously, is simply the fact the developer has consciously tried to use some kind of neat graphical/visual trick in almost every level and on almost every boss.

So, just imagine what could be achieved on SNES if some modern-day indie/homebrew developer tried to create a new graphical showcase game for it in current times and approached it similarly. . . .


One thought on “Is Castlevania: Bloodlines Possible on SNES?”

  1. – Castlevania: Symphony of the Night can run on SNES
    – Bloodlines can run on SNES
    – SNES can do more with its built-in Modes 2, 4, and 6 than Genesis can
    – Castlevania: Symphony of the Night could easily run on modern-day modded systems, like GameMaker or Remix
    – Bloodlines is a cool showcase game for Castlevania: Symphony of the Night on SNES

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