Despite Castlevania’s presence being most visible on the Nintendo and Playstation consoles, it was the XBox Live Arcade that got the first HD, Side-scrolling Castlevania game, Harmony of Despair. Now, it’s coming to the Playstation Network sometime this summer.
Harmony of Despair is a Castlevania game featuring the protagonists of the modern games, including Alucard from Symphony of the Night, and Shanoa from Order of Ecclesia. The game features a co-op mode in which players fight through an area and end the stage in a boss fight, and a versus mode that pits the protagonists against each other. The gameplay for each character is different, but otherwise runs on the 2D Metroidvania engine used in Symphony of the Night and beyond.
Including DLC, there are 11 stages on the XBox Live version, and other DLC for the XBox version includes Yoko Belnades and Julius Belmont from Dawn of Sorrow, and Maria Renard and Richter Belmont from Rondo of Blood. The original 8-bit Simon and Getsu Fuma from the Japan-Only NES game Getsu Fuma Den are also available at DLC.
The PSN version will include 4-player co-op and have extra maps. The exact release date (other than sometime this summer) and features are unknown, as is if there will be additional content beyond the XBLA version, but this will be a day-one purchase for anyone who is a Castlevania fan.
The average review rating of Harmony of Despair is around 7/10, with common complains being its very stripped down and lacking the depth that Castlevania games tend to have. However, it remains popular and addictive towards the target audience of Castlevania fans.