The objective is to guide the primary player character Richter Belmont through nine stages, with four alternate routes, as he searches for his kidnapped beloved Annette and ultimately confronts Dracula in his castle. Richter makes use of a whip as his main weapon and one of six sub-weapons: an axe, a dagger, holy water, a grimoire, a pocket watch, and a cross. While exploring the castle, Richter can rescue four maidens, including his distant relative Maria Renard who then becomes a playable character. She attacks using her doves and one of six sub-weapons: a white tiger kitten, dragon whelp, baby phoenix, turtle, egg or musical notes. She is more agile, can do a double jump, and can do twice the amount of damage that Richter does in each normal attack because the doves she shoots out return to her and therefore can do a second hit of damage on the way back, but she takes much more damage each time she is hit than Richter does when he is hit.
Rondo of Blood incorporates elements from the earlier Castlevania games which typically featured linear gameplay and a member of the Belmont clan as the protagonist, and the later entries which emphasized untimed exploration of the environment. Rondo of Blood makes use of untimed stages with a clear beginning, but more than one ending to some levels; this then affects the subsequent environment, monsters, and boss monster that the player character encounters at the end of the level. Items such as money, hearts, and food can be found scattered throughout the areas. Rondo of Blood also features the Item Crash ability reused in subsequent Castlevania titles, which allows a sub-weapon to be used in a super attack. Its direct sequel, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, reuses many of the monsters.
Taking place in 1792, Rondo of Blood is set in the fictional universe of the Castlevania series. The premise of the series is the eternal conflict between the vampire hunters of the Belmont clan and the immortal vampire Dracula. The protagonist is 19-year-old Richter Belmont (Jin Horikawa), heir to the whip Vampire Killer and Simon Belmont's direct descendant. He comes to the castle after his beloved Annette (Atsuko Honda) is kidnapped by Dracula's servant Shaft. Two times throughout the game, Dracula's trusty lieutenant, Death, attempts to stop Richter before he reaches Dracula. Along the way, Richter frees his distant relative Maria Renard (Yōko Teppōzuka), an orphaned 12-year-old who was taken to the castle and insists on joining him; Terra (Hiromi Murata), a nun who mistakes him for a manifestation of God; Iris (Akie Yasuda), the daughter of the village doctor; and finally Annette. After defeating Shaft and Death, Richter confronts Dracula (Hiroya Ishimaru) and vanquishes him. The castle then collapses into the sea.
Rondo of Blood is the tenth installment of the Castlevania video game series. Produced by Konami, Rondo of Blood originally saw only a Japanese-exclusive release on the PC Engine on October 29, 1993. Later, a port was released on the Wii for the Japanese Virtual Console on April 22, 2008; as an import, it became available in North America on March 15, 2010 and in the PAL region (Europe and Australia) on March 19, 2010.
Rondo of Blood makes use of Red Book Audio along with the onboard soundchip, allowing for better musical quality. Akira Souji, Keizo Nakamura, Tomoko Sano, and Mikio Saito composed the soundtrack of Rondo of Blood. The songs from Rondo of Blood, "Overture", "Beginning" and "Opus 13", appeared on a pre-order bonus CD for the 2006 Nintendo DS game Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin.