The kanji "輪廻" are generally pronounced "rinne", referring to the Buddhist concept of the endless cycle of death and rebirth. The idea of cycle could correspond to the musical form of the rondo, in which the first section of the music is repeated, usually in the tonic, or first note of the musical scale. For this particular game, because of the furigana ロンド in the title, "Rondo" is the official pronunciation, or forced reading, of the kanji. On the front cover of the Official Strategy Guide, the English title is written as "Dracula-X Reincarnation of Blood"
In 2007, Chi no Rondo saw a North American release and remake as part of Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles for PlayStation Portable. This game, for the first time, officially re-titles the original Chi no Rondo as Castlevania: Rondo of Blood for English localization.
Rondo of Blood plays as a side-scrolling platform game, and is much like the original Castlevania. The player controls Richter Belmont through a series of seven stages, wielding a slow but powerful whip as the primary weapon. Items such as torches and candelabras can be smashed to reveal power-ups hidden inside, as well as a number of side-arms, though only one can be carried at a time. Unlike its predecessors, there are no upgrades available to the whip - it is fully upgraded at the beginning of the game, and remains so permanently. The game also features the the Item Crush ability that has cropped up in subsequent Castlevania titles. This ability allows a sub-weapon to be used in a super attack, which attacks either all enemies on-screen or delivers concentrated damage to one area depending on the sub-weapon used, at the expense of a large amount of hearts.
Like Castlevania III, Rondo of Blood progresses in a semi-linear fashion. Each level contains a linear route. At the end of the level is a boss monster which must be defeated in order to progress to the next level. However, some of the levels also contain secret passages which may lead to alternate routes, which when completed bring the player to an alternate boss fight followed by an alternate level. Other secret passages lead to cells in which the maidens of Richter's village are held, one of whom is Maria, who becomes a playable character once rescued.
It is the year 1792, and Dracula is revived by the Dark Priest Shaft. After building up his dark forces, he sets out for the village inhabited by 19-year-old Richter Belmont, heir to the Vampire Killer whip, and razes the village. Moreover, Dracula's minions kidnap Richter's girlfriend Annette, a young vampire huntress Maria Renard, and several other local villagers. Thus, burdened by both duty and destiny, Richter, wielding the whip of his ancestors, sets out for Castlevania.
Once there, Richter manages to free the people of his village (including Annette and Maria). Maria, although quite young, is able to assist him with her animal helpers. Richter and Maria prove victorious in the battle against Shaft, Death, and the lord of Darkness.
Rondo of Blood sets the stage for Symphony of the Night, as SotN begins with a recreation of Richter's final battle against Dracula.
Several other pieces from the original NES game were also included: "Poison Mind" (the boss theme, played on the sixth stage and at the final stage), the death dirge, the "Dracula Defeated" jingle (also from CV1), the "Stage Clear" jingle, and the "Game Over" theme. These are all played through the PC Engine's sound hardware as opposed to being CD Audio.
Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles for the PSP, released in North America in October 2007, is a redone version of Chi no Rondo in 2.5D format with remixed music and new voice acting. The original PC Engine version is an unlockable bonus, featuring both English and Japanese voice acting to choose from.
The game was highly sought after by many fans. Before its North American release on the PSP, copies often sold for well over $100 on eBay even though copies of the game are easy to find in Japan. The price brought by the high demand often led people to believe that the game is rare.