25 Things to Know About Konami’s Castlevania Series

Updated on October 26, 2018
CYong74 profile image

Geek, gamer, writer, graphic artist. Yong’s favourite movies and games are those that allow him to enjoy the world from his bedroom.

25 things to know about Konami's Castlevania series, one of the greatest action-adventure game franchises ever created.
25 things to know about Konami's Castlevania series, one of the greatest action-adventure game franchises ever created.

25 Facts About Castlevania

  1. Castlevania Began in 1986
  2. Earlier Titles Were Heavily Influenced by Universal and Hammer Horror Films
  3. Dracula’s Eternal Enemy, the Belmonts
  4. Vampire Killer is the Iconic Weapon of the Series
  5. Simon’s Quest Was One of the Earliest Open-World Adventures
  6. Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse Introduced Interchangeable Characters and Multiple Routes
  7. Dracula’s Signature Attack Is a Barrage of Fireballs
  8. Dracula Has a Sidekick Named Death
  9. The Eponymous Castle is a Physical Manifestation of Dracula’s Might and Presence
  10. The Castlevania Series Achieved A Major Milestone with Rondo of Blood
  11. Bloodlines Was the First Episode Not to Feature a Belmont as the Protagonist
  12. The Series Achieved Its Greatest Milestone With Symphony of the Night
  13. The Series’ Cover Artstyle Adopted a Strong Gothic Flavour With Symphony of the Night
  14. Symphony of the Night Greatly Expanded Gameplay Complexity
  15. Earlier 3D Episodes of the Castlevania Series were Generally Not Well-Received
  16. The 3D Episodes are Not Considered as Metroidvania Episodes
  17. Konami Has Released A Castlevania Title for Most Consoles
  18. In 2010, Konami Rebooted the Franchise with the Lords of Shadow Series
  19. Medusa Heads are the Most Hated Trash Mobs
  20. During NES Days, Castlevania Crossovered Into Other Games
  21. The Clock Tower is the Definitive Stage of the Castlevania Series
  22. Simon Belmont Was One of the Heroes In the Animated Series, Captain N: The Game Master
  23. Castlevania Soundtracks are Well-Known in the World of Video Game Music
  24. In 2005, Work Began on a Castlevania Movie, but the Project was Cancelled in 2007
  25. Netflix’s Series is the First Full Animated Adaptation of the Castlevania Series

1. Castlevania Began in 1986

Konami released the first Castlevania game in Japan in 1986. Known as Akumajou Dracula in Japanese, and consisting of six disparate stages within an immense Gothic castle, the game tells the story of vampire hunter Simon Belmont, in his quest to reach the castle keep where Dracula resides.

The following year, the game was ported to cartridge format and released in North America for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). A financial success, the game is nowadays regarded as an NES classic. The original six stages also laid the design foundation for all subsequent titles.

Castlevania '86. The legendary title that began it all.
Castlevania '86. The legendary title that began it all.

2. Earlier Titles Were Heavily Influenced by Universal and Hammer Horror Films

Earlier Castlevania games, especially the NES ones, were heavily inspired by classic horror films. Bosses were based on famous Universal and Hammer monsters such as Frankenstein’s Monster and the Mummy. Title screens were also presented in a film reel style, with the ending for the first NES episode delivered in a movie credits fashion.

Such references were removed in subsequent titles. However, Universal and Hammer monsters continue to regularly appear in the games as bosses or trash mobs.

3. Dracula’s Eternal Enemy, the Belmonts

Nearly every Castlevania game features a Belmont as the protagonist. In the original storyline, the Belmonts were the descendants of Leon, an aristocrat who was manipulated by his close friend, Mathias Cronqvist, in the latter’s plot to become an immortal vampire. In the rebooted/retconned Lords of Shadow series, Gabriel Belmont was a holy knight dispatched by the Brotherhood of Light to investigate the invasion of the world by a malevolent force. His actions and decisions then led to the birth of Dracula and future Belmont warriors.

4. Vampire Killer is the Iconic Weapon of the Series

All Belmonts in the series wield the Vampire Killer whip. In Castlevania: Lament of Innocence, the origin of the whip was stated to be as an alchemic creation fused with the soul of Leon Belmont’s betrothed. This story would remain canon until the series’ reboot in 2010.

5. Simon’s Quest Was One of the Earliest Open-World Adventures

Departing starkly from the stage-by-stage format of the earliest titles, Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest (1987) offered a sprawling map, with areas and shops players could repeatedly revisit in the quest to assemble the body parts of Dracula. While mechanics pale in comparison to the games of today, Simon’s Quest was one of the earliest consoles titles to offer open-world exploration. The game was also noted for its day and night transitions, and for having multiple endings.

6. Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse Introduced Interchangeable Characters and Multiple Routes

The third NES episode of the series reverted to the format of the first game, with an increase in number of stages, and the addition of multiple routes and multiple routes. Dracula’s Curse was also the debut for Alucard, immortal son of Dracula, who would go on to become one of the series’ most beloved characters. Fans of the vampire genre would immediately recognize “Alucard” to be the reversed spelling of Dracula.

Japanese promotion artwork for Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse.
Japanese promotion artwork for Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse.

7. Dracula’s Signature Attack Is a Barrage of Fireballs

Typically the end boss, Dracula has displayed a variety of magical attacks throughout the series. Among all these, the most renowned is his Triple Hellfire attack, which consists of three fireballs launched forward. Dracula often pairs this attack with teleportation to heighten difficulty of evasion.

8. Dracula Has a Sidekick Named Death

Death has been consistently featured as Dracula’s right-hand man in the series. Portrayed as the classic western version of a robed skeleton with a huge scythe, Death is typically one of the most difficult bosses, and in both the original story and reboot, was said to have a major hand in Dracula’s creation. For most fans, Death is the secondary antagonist of the Castlevania series.

9. The Eponymous Castle is a Physical Manifestation of Dracula’s Might and Presence

Dracula’s castles, with their ever-changing structures and outrageous interiors, are linked to his power. Therefore, they also symbolize his resurrection and threat. Usually, the castles collapse and disappear upon Dracula’s defeat.

10. The Castlevania Series Achieved A Major Milestone with Rondo of Blood

Castlevania: Rondo of Blood was a Japan-only exclusive release for PC Engine's Super CD-ROM² System in 1993. The game introduced many mechanics that would go on to become staples in future episodes. These include Anime-style illustrations, higher mobility for Belmont characters, a distinctive magic system, and high-power attacks (item crushes) for secondary weapons. Of note, Rondo of Blood also started the trend of naming episodes as something-of-something, with the first word usually a musical form. This naming practice continues till today.

Rondo of Blood was ported over to the SNES as Dracula XX. Unfortunately, the reduced mechanics and gameplay did not go down well with gamers.
Rondo of Blood was ported over to the SNES as Dracula XX. Unfortunately, the reduced mechanics and gameplay did not go down well with gamers.

11. Bloodlines Was the First Episode Not to Feature a Belmont as the Protagonist

1994’s Castlevania: Bloodlines for the Sega Genesis introduced two new heroes, John Morris and Eric Lecarde, the former being a distant descendant of the Belmont family. Unlike earlier episodes, the game also took place in different castles and palaces, instead of just one.

12. The Series Achieved Its Greatest Milestone With Symphony of the Night

1997’s Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (SotN) for the PlayStation remains the most critically acclaimed episode of the Castlevania series. The masterpiece is renowned for using Alucard instead of a Belmont as the protagonist. It is also famous for revamping Castlevania gameplay into the “Metroidvania” format. A portmanteau of Metroid and Castlevania, this format emphasizes non-linear exploration and RPG-style powering-up. Metroidvania subsequently became the format for most new episodes in the next 13 years of the series.

13. The Series’ Cover Artstyle Adopted a Strong Gothic Flavour With Symphony of the Night

Unlike Rondo of Blood, cover and promotional artwork for Symphony of the Night was created with a strong gothic feel. This art direction would be reused in several other Metroidvania episodes, and in the two PlayStation 2 titles.

14. Symphony of the Night Greatly Expanded Gameplay Complexity

Powering-up in earlier Castlevania games was simplistic, no more than the discovery of secondary weapons, the lengthening of the protagonist’s whip, or an increase in secondary weapon firing rate. In Symphony of the Night, powering-up was vastly expanded with the introduction of RPG elements. Not only was there a plethora of weapons and skills to acquire, Alucard could also repeatedly strengthen his basic attributes. Subsequent Metroidvania episodes further introduced complex magic systems with each new protagonist.

Symphony of the Night popularised the Metroidvania formula, changing Castlevania gameplay forever.
Symphony of the Night popularised the Metroidvania formula, changing Castlevania gameplay forever.

15. Earlier 3D Episodes of the Castlevania Series were Generally Not Well-Received

Between 1999 and 2005, Konami released four Castlevania episodes featuring 3D gameplay. Unfortunately, all four received lukewarm response from players, with the most common complaint being monotonous and repetitive environments. Possibly because of this, Konami did not attempt any further 3D entries till 2010’s Lords of Shadow.

16. The 3D Episodes are Not Considered as Metroidvania Episodes

While Lament of Innocence and Curse of Darkness for the PlayStation 2 also featured non-linear level exploration and RPG-style leveling up, they are not regarded as Metroidvania entries by fans. In short, Metroidvania entries are 2D in presentation, and overall, similar to Symphony of the Night in feel.

Lament of Innocence, released for the PS2, established the origins of the Belmonts and the Vampire Hunter whip. It received a Metacritic score of 79, compared to 93 for Symphony of the Night.
Lament of Innocence, released for the PS2, established the origins of the Belmonts and the Vampire Hunter whip. It received a Metacritic score of 79, compared to 93 for Symphony of the Night.

17. Konami Has Released A Castlevania Title for Most Consoles

The most noted exception is the Sega Dreamcast, for which Castlevania: Resurrection was canceled. As of this time of writing, it remains unknown whether Konami would release a new episode for the eighth generation consoles.

18. In 2010, Konami Rebooted the Franchise with the Lords of Shadow Series

By 2010, Konami had introduced a plethora of characters and storylines for the Castlevania universe. Rather than add more, the developer chose to reboot the franchise by retconing Dracula’s origin story. In this new version, the story began with Brotherhood of Light warrior Gabriel Belmont being dispatched to investigate the encroaching darkness that killed his wife. His actions and sacrifice would see the rise of the darkness all Castlevania fans are familiar with.

19. Medusa Heads are the Most Hated Trash Mobs

According to Castlevania lore, these flying heads are spawned from the snake-like hair of Medusa. While incapable of inflicting significant damage, their undulating flying patterns and tendency to appear in tough platforming areas make them universally detested by Castlevania players. Till today, they are regularly scorned in Castlevania and retro-gaming forums.

Medusa Heads! A pain in the behind since the 80s.
Medusa Heads! A pain in the behind since the 80s.

20. During NES Days, Castlevania Crossovered Into Other Games

The most famous crossover happened in the Wai Wai World series, in which a whip-wielding descendant of Simon Belmont was a playable character. A skeletal version of Simon also appeared as a trash mob in Getsu Fūma Den. In 2010, the Castlevania series honored Getsu Fūma Den by featuring its graphics and stage design in Harmony of Despair.

21. The Clock Tower is the Definitive Stage of the Castlevania Series

The interior of a clock tower, gigantic moving gears and all, formed one-third of the final stage in the first NES Castlevania game. Ever since, clock tower stages have appeared through the series. Medusa Heads (see above) are usually at their worst in these stages.

The clock tower stage, or clockwork tower, in Lords of Shadow.
The clock tower stage, or clockwork tower, in Lords of Shadow.

22. Simon Belmont Was One of the Heroes In the Animated Series, Captain N: The Game Master

Simon was a major character in Captain N: The Game Master, which ran for three seasons between 1989 and 1991. Unlike the original vampire hunter, this version of Simon was egotistical and goofy, often intended as comic relief.

23. Castlevania Soundtracks are Well-Known in the World of Video Game Music

Castlevania soundtracks are beloved and famous in the world of video game music, with a great number of feature albums released over the years. Among the most famous compositions are Vampire Killer, Bloody Tears, and Beginnings i.e. the beginning music for the three NES episodes. Castlevania music has also been performed in symphonic concerts, such as those by Play! A Video Game Symphony.

24. In 2005, Work Began on a Castlevania Movie, but the Project was Cancelled in 2007

Rights were acquired for a motion picture adaptation in 2005. However, after various studio, director, and story changes, the project was more or less shelved in 2009.

25. Netflix’s 2017 Series is the First Full Animated Adaptation of the Castlevania Series

While there’ve been numerous print adaptations of Castlevania stories, the 2017 Netflix series is the first time a full Castlevania story has been featured on broadcast media.

Questions & Answers

    © 2017 Kuan Leong Yong

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      No comments yet.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, levelskip.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://levelskip.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)