Twenty years ago, a beta ROM of the 1994 Genesis game Castlevania Bloodlines was sold at an eBay auction and vanished from the public eye. Now, this ROM has resurfaced and shared so that old-school game fans can play and examine what could have been.
Castlevania Bloodlines takes place during the first World War, which was orchestrated by the vampire Elizabeth Bartley, who hopes to use the souls of the war's casualties to revive Dracula. Players can play as John Morris, the son of Quincey Morris from the original Dracula, or the Alucard Spear-weilding Eric Lecarde as they travel all across Europe to stop Dracula from returning. This game would wind up being a prequel to the 2006 Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin for the DS, which would star John Morris's son. On the Spanish forum Sega Saturno, a user named pulse_project announced that (translated via Google translate) they would be sharing the beta that had last been seen at an eBay auction two decades ago.
The Castlevania Bloodlines 0.5 beta ROM has been released to the public! https://t.co/GXwQMHUFyt pic.twitter.com/VBSxdZ35OR— Hardcore Gaming 101 (@HG_101) August 12, 2021
Hardcore Gaming 101's Twitter account, which first reported the news, remarks that the biggest differences seem to be in the foundry in stage four. The most notable changes include the piston/engine room and the addition of a zeppelin bearing the Iron Cross that appears in the background. If there are any big changes beyond that, it's hard to tell, as the prototype ends at the fifth stage and has bugs that can make it impossible to progress. However, pulse_project also provided a "fixed" version of the ROM with the help of their friend Lord Gambit that makes the beta more playable. For those who want to quickly look through the stages so they can see what's new, you can enter the Konami code at the main menu to access a level select and/or give themselves thirty lives.
You can get a copy of the Castlevania Bloodlines 0.5 ROM here.