Castlevania Anniversary Collection review for Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One, PC

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also On: Xbox One, PS4, PC
Publisher: Konami
Developer: Konami
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: N/A

So if you?re anything like me then you?ve been dying for your favorite games to just hurry up and be on the Nintendo Switch already. I mean what?s the hold up!?

But even if you are waiting patiently on your dream ports then you can still celebrate the arrival of Castlevania in Konami?s continued 50th anniversary celebration with the Castlevania Anniversary Collection! And according to Konami maybe even volume 1 of more Castlevania to come! But one strange thing is that the newer Castlevania logo is used on the box instead of the original design featured on every game using it here.

But you don?t want to throw your hard-earned coin at a collection of bad ports just to get more of the same so we?ve got the rundown. If you?re impatient then in a nutshell we?re in good shape here! This is a relief since these games are much more beloved than your unknown retro release and fans would be very unhappy to see them disrespected.

Included in this collection are another 8 games which you will want to play almost every one! Except for Castlevania The Adventure which is the red headed stepchild of the group but I?m happy it was included because I actually spent a lot of time with this when it came out back in the day.

But not all is perfect here because like the Arcade Classics Collection the presentation here is still very lacking. This doesn?t stand up to M2 efforts on other games or even Arcade Archives with lacking the option to do simple things like remap the game buttons so your jump and attack can be the same across all games. Even the lazy Arcade Classics Collection let you change your buttons! I do appreciate the accuracy of the original mapping but please give gamers the ability to choose!

Another thing I don?t like are any of the screen options because there is nothing that feels just right. The original modes I think are 4:3 but for the console games they only fill the screen if you enable the scan lines which darken the image and just look bad. And if you dock your Switch then the image is even smaller! So there may be a very good reason that this is the way they made it but I don’t see why the games aren’t filling the screen in docked or handheld modes.

Switch portable
Switch docked

And again this was not a problem on the Arcade Classics Collection where the games would fill the screen from top to bottom! What’s going on?! Pixel perfect modes are here and that?s good but if you?re not playing the Game Boy games then the only way to fill the screen from top to bottom is in stretched widescreen or with ugly scan lines.

These things could be simple fixes and would do a lot to improve the experience of these awesome games but whether Konami will make the effort to patch in a fix is not known. This version is 1.0.1 and these problems still exist and Konami probably won?t care to make this right so buy at your own risk if this bothers you. Something else which is small but would help a lot is the option to change the music at the game selection screen which just continues when you’re reading the Bonus Book and becomes very distracting.

And this does bother me! But it is also true that my enjoyment of the selection on offer doesn?t end because of stupid oversights. I?m very happy to see Bloodlines finally available for less than the price of a kidney and the arrival of NES Kid Dracula which was only a Japan release adds a lot of value to this package. My only complaint here is that I would have gladly played the Game Boy version of KD instead or at least have the option to change versions since it is a superior version.

In the future gamers will also have the option to change regions on the games which actually had many changes back in the day. I hope Japan also got better screen size and button options so we will see improvements to this package across the board.

The Castlevania Anniversary Collection is a great selection of games and will make its reputation on M2?s emulation and another neat Bonus Book but the lack of ability to remap buttons and issues with screen options are more annoying than you would expect. If these things were changed then it would be an easy recommendation but for now it?s still a pretty good and only way to play these games on modern consoles. I?m hoping Konami stops dropping the ball on the presentation and options in any future collections because more are on the way and these are bringing down what are quality collections!

Editor’s note: Since publication the Japanese versions have been patched into the game. And button remapping is now supported in titles that did not originally have the option to do this.

Note: Konami provided us with a Castlevania Anniversary Collection Nintendo Switch code for review purposes

Grade: B+