Prototype
Tara200 prototype
Unreleased prototype
Magazine Scans


Prototype

A very early prototype of the game was leaked in 2018. It contains two complete stages, and has a lot of differences. Read about it here.




Tara200 prototype

In 2002, someone called Tara200 put a prototype of the game up for auction. It was sold on to a collector, and the auction page had a lot of screenshots showing the prototype in action:

The cartridge is referred to as version 0.5, and has a build date of the 7th of October, 1993. It's a later prototype than the one that was leaked in 2018. The screenshots shown have a lot in common with the magazine preview pictures, such as the different sprites for the mermen and hellhound. And the screens also show stages cut from the final game! Originally, the fourth stage had some very different parts in it, featuring a room with platforms above molten steel, and there was another stage with a zeppelin in the background. Whilst these stages were removed, hackers have found some unused sprites for them.

Confusingly, the Dracula fight is shown as being on stage 4-10. In the final version, you won't fight him until stage 6-11. The background for this final boss battle clearly isn't ready yet in the prototype, with it being all black and the floor sprites not properly implemented yet either. There are also a couple of screenshots showing the boss of stage 5, the sprites for the Princess of Moss in her human and moth forms are different. Another different is that the boss battle is listed as being stage 5-7, in the final version, it's stage 5-8.




Unreleased prototype

Since the Tara200 prototype was sold to a collector, things went quiet on the Bloodlines prototype front for several years. That was until 2014, when a prototype of the game was put on eBay. However from what I've read, the prototype was a reproduction cartridge which contained the prototype ROM on it. Old forum posts, such as this one, indicate that this prototype ROM was the 0.5 version, which was the same as the Tara200 prototype. The auction included the following screenshots, which had been taken via an emulator:

UPDATE: This prototype was released in August 2021. Expect an update on this at some point.

Unreleased prototype
Final


Unreleased prototype
Final (American version only)
In addition to the text differences, Eric's face hasn't been edited yet. The American version changed his face to look less feminine.


Unreleased prototype
Final
The title screen's background is all black, and has a copyright date of 1993. This matches the title screen in the leaked proto. The final version features blood and bones, the Bloodlines text drips blood, and the copyright date is 1994.


Unreleased prototype
Final
The map screen isn't as detailed in the prototype, and the level icon is different.


Unreleased prototype
Final
John turns into a skeleton when he dies in this prototype (which also happens in the leaked proto). In the final version, he flashes into nothing.


Unreleased prototype
Final
Stage 4-5 was originally very different, featuring platforms over molten lava. The final version scrapped this entire area and changed it into the more Castlevania-friendly spinning cogs.


Unreleased prototype
Final
Stage 4-7 was also different, featuring a zeppelin in the background. In the final version, stage 4-7 is a sub-boss fight in a single, small room.


Unreleased prototype
Final
This screen shows that a stage is missing in the prototype (note it's stage 5-7 rather than 5-8). The Princess of Moss has a different sprite in her human form. She has a smaller sprite in the final version, probably so she's a similar size to John and Eric.


Unreleased prototype
Final
On the other hand, her moth sprite is not only different in the prototype, but it's also smaller than what the final version changed it to.

It gets a bit confusing over what happened next. I believe that this auction was won by someone who paid around $2,500 for it. They were willing to share the ROM, but were hoping to make some money back via donations, which unfortunately doesn't seem to have ever happened. The auction winner made a few posts here, showing off some screenshots from the 0.5 version. They confirm that the prototype is incomplete, and parts of it are unbeatable due to collision detection not working for certain platforms. The screens also show many differences, such as the different mermen enemies and the zeppelin stage, just like in the Tara200 prototype.

At the time of writing this page -December 2017 -the only playable prototype of this game that's available to everyone is one of the European The New Generation version, which can be read about here. Regarding the above prototype, the only thing I could find was this post on Lost Levels which claims that someone is looking to sell two prototype ROMS -0.3 and 0.5 versions -for high prices, and nothing seems to have happened with them. Hopefully these early prototypes will be made available to everyone one day.

2018 update -One of the prototypes, presumably what's referred to as the 0.3 version, was leaked in July 2018. See the top of this page for more info.

Magazine Scans

Preview
Final
This early screen is from issue 52 of Electronic Gaming Monthly. The title screen features a different logo, and has a black background in this preview screen.


UK advertisement
Final
These screens are from the game's UK ad. This screen shows John under attack from three harpy enemies in stage 1-1, in the final version there are no enemies to fight here at all, and the harpies don't appear until stage 3-1.

The candles are also differently placed.


UK advertisement
Final
This screen shows stage 1-2. The crystal counter is also glitched, displaying "0E". The background also appears to be having problems, as the top windows display green colors. John is also defeating a skeleton in this screenshot, in the final version you don't fight skeletons here, you fight zombies.

The wall doesn't have a picture on it, this was added for the final version.


UK advertisement
Final
A little further into stage 1-2, the preview screen now has completely black windows, along with skeleton enemies and the candle are the curtain not being there in the final version.


UK advertisement
Final
This screen says it's stage 1-3, but in the final this stage is listed as 1-4. The gates in the background are placed differently and appear to be blue, their colors were changed for the final version. The candle placement is also different.

The screenshot also shows minotaurs here, these enemies were replaced with fishmen for the final version. The minotaurs don't appear until stage 2-1.

Another thing of note is that it's fairly unlikely you'd be able to get 99 crystals or a score of nothing at this point in the game, like the screenshot shows.


Japanese advertisement
Final
This screenshot is from a advertisement featured in a Japanese guidebook for Chi no Rondo. Here's another shot of stage 1-4. It features minotaurs here, in the final version, there are fishmen.

Thanks to Mr. P's Castlevania Realm for having these scans.


Japanese advertisement
Final
The skeleton doesn't appear to have fallen apart yet in this preview, and the sprite ahead of its lower jaw is different. The sky doesn't appear to have gotten as dark as it does in the final version either.


Japanese advertisement
Final
Here the first level boss being fought in a totally different background to what the final version has.