A new post on the PlayStation Blog has confirmed that Konami is releasing the original Japanese versions of the Castlevania games for the Castlevania Anniversary Collection as a post-launch update. The collection was announced in March as part of the celebrations of Konami's 50th anniversary. Three collections were announced, and the first one, the Arcade Classics (Our Review) was released on April 18. The Castlevania Anniversary Collection is next, with a slated release for May 16. The collection originally included the genre-defining platformers Castlevania (NES), Castlevania II: Belmont’s Revenge (Game Boy), Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse (NES), and Super Castlevania IV (SNES).
Konami announced they will add Japanese title variants as a free update "shortly after launch." The Japanese versions include several regional differences that have been cataloged by fans over the years. The best resource for seeing these differences and how they affect the experience can be found in The Cutting Room Floor wiki. The regional differences for the original Castlevania, for instance, includes an easy mode, and different title screens, and also ending and loading screens. Castlevania II had a save feature, an entirely different soundtrack, and also a different title screen. Finally, Castlevania III had extensive regional differences, including graphics, music, and some censored imagery along with heavy reworking Grand DeNasty's abilities. All of them also feature enhanced music in the Japanese version due to being on the Famicom Disk System for Castlevania I and II, while Castlevania III made use of Konami's VRC6 chip in Japan and additional audio with that.
Fans who never had a chance to experience the original Japanese releases will definitely want to revisit the game, not just for its replay value, with all the timing and enemy patterns to unfold, but also for a historical perspective on the game that gave rise to a whole new genre and its subgenres.
The Castlevania Anniversary Collection releases May 16 for PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and the Nintendo Switch.
Are you interested in trying out the Japanese Castlevania originals? Does the differences in content add a lot of value to a new playthrough? Let us know in the comments below!