To be clear, it's mostly Aria of Sorrow that's doing the heavy lifting with this collection, as it really is one of the best in the entire Castlevania series. Circle and Harmony are alright but on the lower tier of the other Metroidvanias, while Dracula X is middling even on its own standards. These are still very much worth playing, though, and this collection makes for an essential purchase for both longtime Castlevania fans and newbies.
Ultimately, Fighting EX Layer: Another Dash is a fighting game fan's fighting game - its primary audiences are 'refugees from Street Fighter V' and 'people who have nostalgia for Street Fighter EX'. Players in these two groups will find themselves very much at home with this game, especially since the fighting engine is so solid, and some of the characters are just offbeat enough to make it interesting. But considering it's so dependent on online play, with barely existent single player content, it's difficult to recommend to more casual players. It is, however, free to download, so you've got nothing to lose by giving it a try.
Overall, there are parts of Asha in Monster World that are a little rusty, and the end product could've used more than just the tweaking we ended up getting. While fans of the Mega Drive game may enjoy revisiting it, they may also be disappointed that there's not a whole lot that's new. Still, the elements that made it such a classic in the first place - the endearing protagonist, the delightful game world - are still present, and all of that still holds up brilliantly even after nearly thirty years.
For the most part, Haunted Castle is a pretty miserable experience, and in a strong contest with Castlevania: The Adventure (the first Game Boy game) for being one of the worst in the Castlevania series. The options in this collection help allay some of the issues – or at least allow you to cheat through them – and it's still (begrudgingly) worth struggling through for its unusual place in the Castlevania series. However, in the cold light of day, there's no denying that this is a pretty poor video game and one that most people will want to ignore.
While Crimzon Clover does owe a tremendous debt to many arcade shooters through the 1990s and 2000s, it's clear that Yotsubane has a great love and understanding of them. It's not only a homage (look at the default high score table for some familiar initials) but also brings some mechanical brilliance that makes it stand out against most of its doujin shoot-em-up peers, and enough to hang with the genre greats. It's flashy, it's exciting, it's addictive, and it's an essential purchase for genre fans.
It might be more old-school than other similar games, but Wallachia: Reign of Dracula still offers rewarding action, skilful level design, and some excellent music. With Konami seemingly content to sleep on its popular Castlevania series for the time being – outside of smartphone games, of course – this (alongside the likes of Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon and its sequel) might be as close as we're likely to get to a brand-new "old-school" Castlevania outing on Switch. It's a good job, then, that Migami Games knows Konami's franchise so well that it has created a truly convincing imitation – but one which has enough ideas of its own to stand out from its inspiration.