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Castlevania
The logo for Castlevania.
Developer(s)Konami
Publisher(s)Konami
Year introduced1986
Genre(s)Action, Metroidvania

Castlevania is one of Konami's longest running series, with games from the NES to the PS2. The series (normally) revolves around the Belmont family and their eternal mission of defeating Dracula whenever he reappears, with occasional help from the Belnades clan and Alucard, the son of Dracula.

There are two types of Castlevania games: the traditional level-by-level action games and the newer, so-called, "Metroidvanias", which involves more exploration, item/key collecting, and going through areas multiple times. There is an official chronology that was created several years ago, and involved retconning several plotlines from games, as well as removing four games from the official timeline. Games are not released in chronological order, and several games are direct sequels to previous ones. Most games take place decades or even centuries after the previous entry, but some (Simon's Quest, Curse of Darkness, Dawn of Sorrow, Symphony of the Night, and Castlevania 64) take place a few years later and involve the same characters.

Castlevania games[edit]

Kanji Romaji English
悪魔 Akuma Devil
Castle


キュ
Do
ra/la
kyu
ra/la
D
ra
cu
la

The original title of the series is Akumajou Dracula, where Akumajou is Japanese for Devil Castle.

Castlevania games can be roughly divided into two main groups: linear and mazes. Linear games consist of a series of stages that must be cleared in order; maze games usually consist of a single, huge labyrinth with areas that can be accessed only after the character found specific items.

Terminology:

  • Metroidvania is a term referring to 2D video games where the exploration is non-linear; its earliest famous example is the Metroid series, hence the name Metroidvania.
  • Alternate universe: four titles were removed from the official continuity because later titles openly contradicted their plot:
    • Castlevania Legends (1997) was replaced by Lament of Innocence (2003);
    • Castlevania 64 (1999), Legacy of Darkness (1999) and Circle of the Moon (2001) were replaced by Order of Ecclesia (2008).
Linear action games Non-linear maze games

Platformers:

Platformers (handheld):

Three-dimensional:

Other action sub-genres:

Action-adventure:

Metroidvania:

Multiplayer:

After 2010, the Castlevania series was rebooted. The games are then titled Castlevania: Lords of Shadow (plus number or subtitle) in both the original and localized versions.

Linear action games[edit]

Action games are based on quick reflexes, adventure games require some deep thought.

Action platformers[edit]

The core of the Castlevania series.

In these games, the player has to navigate through a fixed number of stages. Some titles allow forks in the path, but the total number of areas is usually constant, or it varies by one at most.

The player controls one member of the Belmont family (the Morris are related), armed with the whip called "Vampire Killer". The characters are very similar to each other from game to game: they can jump, swing the whip, and use some other skills. The number and characteristics of said skills depend mostly on the capabilities of the platform (e.g. the Belmont in the first Castlevania for GameBoy has just one sub-weapon, whereas the Belmont in the last SNES title can use ten different special attacks).

The handheld line incrorporates some gameplay elements that are reminiscent of the Mega Man series. In particular, Castlevania II: Belmont's Revenge has a stage selection screen; the hero in Castlevania Legends obtains new skills whevever a boss is defeated; the stages in Castlevania: Order of Shadows can be revisited to access new areas using new skills.

Original title Localized title Year Systems Setting & hero
悪魔城ドラキュラ
Devil Castle Dracula
Castlevania 1986 Globe.svg NES, C64, Amiga 1691 - Simon Belmont
悪魔城ドラキュラ
Devil Castle Dracula
Haunted Castle 1988 Globe.svg Arcade 1691 - Simon Belmont
悪魔城伝説
Devil Castle Legend
Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse 1989 Globe.svg NES 1476 - Trevor Belmont
ドラキュラ伝説
Dracula Legend 1
Castlevania: The Adventure 1989 Flag of Japan.svg GB, SGB
Flag of the United States.svg GB
Flag of the European Union.svg GB, GBC
1576 - Christopher Belmont
ドラキュラ伝説II
Dracula Legend 2
Castlevania II: Belmont's Revenge 1991 Flag of Japan.svg GB, SGB
Flag of the United States.svg GB
Flag of the European Union.svg GB, GBC
1591 - Christopher Belmont
悪魔城ドラキュラ
Devil Castle Dracula
Super Castlevania IV 1991 Globe.svg SNES 1691 - Simon Belmont
悪魔城ドラキュラ
Devil Castle Dracula
Castlevania Chronicles 1993 Flag of Japan.svg X68000
Globe.svg PS1
1691 - Simon Belmont
悪魔城ドラキュラX 血の輪廻
Devil Castle Dracula X: Reincarnation of Blood
Castlevania: Rondo of Blood 1993 Flag of Japan.svg TG-16 1792 - Richter Belmont
Vampire Killer Castlevania: Bloodlines (NA)
Castlevania: The New Generation (EU)
1994 Globe.svg SMD 1917 - J. Morris
悪魔城ドラキュラ XX
Devil Castle Dracula XX
Castlevania: Dracula X (NA)
Castlevania: Vampire's Kiss (EU)
1995 Globe.svg SNES 1792 - Richter Belmont
悪魔城ドラキュラ 漆黒たる前奏曲
Devil Castle Dracula: Dark Prelude
Castlevania Legends 1997 Globe.svg GB, SGB 1450 - Sonia Belmont
- Castlevania: Order of Shadows 2007 Flag of the United States.svg Phones 1600's - Desmond Belmont
悪魔城ドラキュラ Xクロニクル
Devil Castle Dracula X Chronicle
Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles 2007 Globe.svg PSP 1792 - Richter Belmont
ドラキュラ伝説 ReBirth
Dracula Legend: ReBirth
Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth 2009 Globe.svg Wii 1576 - Christopher Belmont

Three-dimensional action[edit]

With the advent of 64-bit consolles, the Castlevania series upgraded its gameplay. These titles feature three-dimensional environment and a third person point of view (i.e. the player sees the game world as if he or she was just behind the character).

Apart from the change in graphics, everything said for the #Action platformers still applies to these games.

Original title Localized title Year Systems Setting & hero
悪魔城ドラキュラ 黙示録
Devil Castle Dracula Apocalypse
Castlevania 64 1998 Globe.svg N64 Alternate universe
悪魔城ドラキュラ 黙示録外伝
   〜LEGEND OF CORNELL〜
Devil Castle Dracula Apocalypse Spin-off:
   Legend of Cornell
Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness 1999 Globe.svg N64 Alternate universe
キャッスルヴァニア
Castlevania
Castlevania: Lament of Innocence 2003 Globe.svg PS2 1094 - Leon Belmont
悪魔城ドラキュラ 闇の呪印
Devil Castle Dracula: Curse of Darkness
Castlevania: Curse of Darkness 2005 Globe.svg PS2, Xbox 1479 - Trevor Belmont


Other action games[edit]

Technically, fighting games and light gun games are two sub-sets of action games.

Original title Localized title Year Systems Setting & hero
悪魔城ドラキュラ ジャッジメント
Devil Castle Dracula: Judgement
Castlevania Judgment 2008 Globe.svg Wii Fighting
悪魔城ドラキュラ THE ARCADE
Devil Castle Dracula: The Arcade
Castlevania: The Arcade 2009 Flag of Japan.svg Arcade Light gun

Labyrinth games[edit]

Early non-linear games[edit]

Vampire Killer is a different version of the first Castlevania. Each stage is a labyrinth where the player has to find the necessary items to progress to the next one.

Castlevania II: Simon's Quest is the only true role-playing game in the series. In fact, it features all three main characteristics of the genre: text-rich, freedom of exploration, permanent character upgrades

Put together the maze-like stages of Vampire Killer with the freedom of exploration and the level-up system of Castlevania II: Simon's Quest, and you get a good approximation of a Metroidvania.

Original title Localized title Year Systems Setting & hero
悪魔城ドラキュラ
Devil Castle Dracula
Vampire Killer 1986 Globe.svg MSX2 1691 - Simon Belmont
ドラキュラII 呪いの封印
Dracula II: The Seal of the Curse
Castlevania 2: Simon's Quest 1987 Globe.svg NES 1698 - Simon Belmont


Metroidvanias[edit]

When it was released, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night was a revolution in the series.

A Metroidvania game consists of a huge two-dimensional, platform labyrinth, where certain areas can only be accessed after the character found specific items or abilities.

Still, it would be a stretch to include them in the definition of "role-playing game". They do include freedom of exploration and permanent character upgrades, but they are completely lacking when it comes to active dialogue and plot development.

Original title Localized title Year Systems Setting & hero
悪魔城ドラキュラX 月下の夜想曲
Devil Castle Dracula X: Nocturne in the Moonlight
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night 1997 Flag of Japan.svg Saturn
Globe.svg PS1, PSP
1797 - Alucard
悪魔城ドラキュラ Circle of the Moon
Devil Castle Dracula: Cirle of the Moon
Castlevania: Circle of the Moon 2001 Globe.svg GBA 1830 - Nathan Graves
キャッスルヴァニア 白夜の協奏曲
Castlevania: Concert of Midnight Sun
Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance 2002 Globe.svg GBA 1748 - Julius Belmont
キャッスルヴァニア ~暁月の円舞曲~
Castlevania: Minuet of Dawn
Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow 2003 Globe.svg GBA 2035 - Soma Cruz
悪魔城ドラキュラ 蒼月の十字架
Devil Castle Dracula: Cross of the Blue Moon
Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow 2005 Globe.svg NDS 2036 - Soma Cruz
悪魔城ドラキュラ ギャラリー・オブ・ラビリンス
Devil Castle Dracula: Gallery of Labyrinth
Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin 2006 Globe.svg NDS 1944 - J. Morris
悪魔城ドラキュラ 奪われた刻印
Devil Castle Dracula: The Stolen Seal
Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia 2008 Globe.svg NDS 1830's - Shanoa

Multiplayer[edit]

A multiplayer game requires each player to have a different approach than in a single-player game.

Original title Localized title Year Systems Setting & hero
悪魔城ドラキュラ ハーモニー オブ ディスペアー
Devil Castle Dracula: Harmony of Despair
Castlevania: Harmony of Despair 2010 Globe.svg PS3, X360 Multiplayer


Cancelled games[edit]

  • Castlevania: The Bloodletting for the 32X
  • Castlevania Resurrection for the Dreamcast
  • Castlevania: Symphony of the Night for the Game.com

Spin offs[edit]