When people talk about the Castlevania legacy they almost always talk about either the original Nintendo Entertainment System trilogy, the Japan-only Rondo of Blood, or Symphony of the Night and it's "Metroidvania" kin. Nobody ever seems to remember the only Castlevania installment to grace the Sega Genesis: Bloodlines. Modern fans of the series may want to brush up on Bloodlines lore, as the next game in the series, Portrait of Ruin, is a direct sequel to this nearly forgotten adventure. Fortunately for those without Genesis access, GameSetWatch is offering up a quickie refresher course regarding the game's storyline and gameplay.
[A]lmost all of Bloodlines takes place outside of the castle and its estate, and the level variation sets Bloodlines apart. It was one of the last action-style Castlevanias (before they became Metroidvanias), and Konami expanded greatly on what had been considered a stale formula. The levels range from an homage to the original title to a trip up the slanted Leaning Tower of Pisa. Some levels also have slight variations depending on which character you have chosen.
I remember being slightly outraged when news of Bloodlines broke in the gaming press back in the day. After all, as far as we knew in the junior high school lunch room, Castlevania was a Nintendo console-exclusive series. How dare Konami take it to a Sega console! If the old lunch room mentality was anything like most others of the time, it may explain why Bloodlines goes largely overlooked. It deserves better than that, however. It's a solid game and one of the last in the series that is solely a solid action title. It builds on the additions to the series that came about in Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse and Super Castlevania IV without becoming overly complex or bogged down with gameplay gimmicks.