Jayden Analyzes The Castlevania Franchise


Jayden Selin, Reporter

There is no time quite like October, the seasons are changing, the days become shorter, trees change colors and that’s not all. People all over the place start to prepare for Halloween. This holiday revolves around everything spooky, truly making it a special holiday, so many people go through ridiculous lengths to make their houses stand out with their decorations while others not so much. But one reason why so many people are fond of Halloween is because is because it is the best time to watch their favorite horror movies and video game developers must feel the same way.

Games like Capcom’s Darkstalkers, or Namco’s Splatterhouse take clear inspiration from classic horror movies such as Frankenstein, The Thing, and The Wolf Man, these games don’t just take inspiration from horror films but other creepy mythologies as well. But one of these games have stood the test of time, while not quite as relevant today as it was five or so years ago, Castlevania was able to stand out against the rest.

Castlevania originally released for the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1986 and was published by Konomi, they still hold the rights to the franchise to this day. The original plot of Castelvania featured the iconic Simon Belmont as the protagonist, as he goes on a perilous journey to defeat Dracula, the series’ antagonist. During his travels he battles against many mythological beings such as Medusa, and even Death himself. Of course, if the game has Dracula in it you can certainly expect to see other horror movie staples like mummies, wolfmen, and even Frankenstein. After the first game there would be many more sequels to come.

Castlevania 3 introduced a new protagonist Trevor Belmot as well as 3 other playable main characters. Recently Netflix for whatever reason decided to make an animated series based on 3.

Despite the number of sequels this series has had each game managed to do something different from the last, but it still maintained all the elements of a Castlevania game. Super Castlvania 4 (which was a remake of the first Castlevania) introduced many new mechanics thanks to the Super Nintendo’s control pad having more than just four buttons, not including the d-pad.

In 1993 Konomi Shocked Japan with the release of Akumajou Dracula X: Chi no Rondo released on the PC Engine CD, also known as Castlevania Rondo of Blood in the United States. Rondo of Blood introduced many new features, such as secret paths that can lead to secret levels, while keeping the classic style of gameplay the series is known for. The new protagonist, Richter Belmont, was cool and stylish and he was bursting with personality thanks to the inclusion of animated cutscenes. Maria also made her debut as an unlockable playable character in this game, giving it a second campaign to play-through increasing its replay-ability. Konami also released a remake of the game called the Dracula X Chronicles on the PlayStation Portable in 2007.

Castlevania Symphony of the night, the direct sequel to Rondo of Blood, Released for the PlayStation in 1997. The game surprisingly begins with the final boss of the previous game. Upon defeating Dracula Richter has spread peace across the land of Europe once again, but this peace is short lived. Dracula’s castle has risen from the ashes once again and this time Alucard, the son of Dracula, is up to take the mantle of protagonist. Symphony of the knight does away with the game-play style of yester year’s Castevania and the game goes for a much more RPG like approach with leveling up and different pieces of equipment with different effects on player’s status. Ayami Kojima’s art style gave the game an elegant and graceful look, and Michiru Yamane also gave the game a memorable soundtrack remembered by many to this day.

While Castevania hasn’t been as prominent these days as it used to be in the past, Konami has re-released many of these games on modern consoles recently and there is the previously mentioned Castlevania animated series on Netflix as well as Simon and Richter Belmot being featured as playable characters in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.