Rusty Rondo
A Report on the Origin?

By Doug R. - 7/29/08

Castlevania: Rondo of Blood is one the more popular games in the Castlevania series and is even more known now due to the recent re-release of it in the Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles. If not for this game, the hugely popular sequel, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night game might not have ever existed. But there is another game out there that could've been the root to the Dracula X games. A game that very few people have heard of, on a platform that is also not that widely known. The game is called Rusty and was released in 1993 on the Japanese PC98.

Anyone who has played Rusty, a game made by C-Lab, should already be familiar with the striking similarity it has with the Castlevania games. In fact, most will refer to it as complete and total rip off of Castlevania. The use of a whip for the main weapon, collecting money bags, orbs falling from the sky after a boss is killed, and fighting Dracula at the end are just some examples that show why people would consider Rusty to be rip off.

There is no reason to show the obvious similarities it has to Castlevania games in general. Instead, I'd like to show you the uncanny likeness Rusty has to one game in particular. That game being Akumajo Dracula X: Rondo of Blood, also known as Castlevania: Rondo of Blood. As you will see by some of the examples I've shown below, these two games are so much alike, that it has to be more than just a coincidence. The most interesting thing is, is that Rusty was actually released before Rondo of Blood, making it impossible for the creators to have copied the Castlevania game. According to my research, Rusty was released on 7/16/1993, while Rondo came out on 10/29/1993. Since there is only a three month time period between the two games, it's tough to say that the creators of Rondo could have stolen ideas from Rusty either, simply because there probably wasn't enough time to. I believe that these to titles are correlated somehow. If only I could read Japanese, I might know more.

Konami, the company responsible for making the Castlevania games, did make a handful of games for the PC98 system around this time period. One possible reason that these games are so much alike is that Konami began work on Rusty as a Castlevania game, but for some reason decided to scrap it. The project was then sold to another company. Rusty is a decent game, but doesn't hold a candle to the Castlevania franchise. Perhaps Konami didn't want to tarnish the Castlevania name with this game so they gave/sold the rights to someone else with the understanding that it would not be an official Castlevania game. Or, perhaps C-Lab was a development team owned by Konami at the time. Or maybe Rusty was a practice game developed to prepare for making Rondo. One can only speculate.

One thing you will notice right off is that both games are done with the use of anime. This is significant because Castlevania had never used it before. It has been done since, but anything done after 1993 is irrelevant here. Without further adieu, scroll down and look at some of the comparisons. Is Rusty the true origin of Dracula X? Is Rusty a long lost Castlevania game, and not just a rip off? Or both?

The screenshots below will show one of Rusty first followed by one of Rondo.

A castle atop a hill with lightning striking in the opening cinematic:


A graveyard at dusk in the cinematic just before Stage 1:


Stage 1 is set in a town:


The Stage 1 boss is a Wyvern:


Stage 2 starts off outside in the rain before going inside:


The item crash:


Find keys to open doors:


Rescue multiple maidens to complete your quest:


Parts of Stage 3 are a bit familiar:


The Bone Golem's first form:


The Bone Golem's third form:


The bell:


The wave goodbye:


The mine train/raft rides:


I probably could've given about a dozen other examples, but I think this does a pretty good job of proving my point. The point being that it's not just a coincidence that these two games are similar and that Rusty is not just a rip off. There are also a few resemblances to the Rondo of Blood sequel, Symphony of the Night.

The owl and bat familiars have the same function and attack patterns:




Stage 5 of Rusty also shows some other signs of Konami involvement. There are strong references to some of the Gradius games as well.