21 May 2021 6:06 PM +00:00

The World Needs More Castlevania

The Netflix Castlevania series is over.

This is a fact that many fans are trying to recover from.

As the best television adaptation of a video game created, it was a bittersweet goodbye.

After four seasons, Castlevania wrapped up an amazing run with an utterly amazing, satisfying, and heart-wrenching ending.

The series has proven, more than anything, that the world needs more Castlevania.

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An Extremely Brief History

Castlevania US NES box
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CASTLEVANIA: I remember my first time encountering this box cover

The first-ever Castlevania game was released by Konami on September 26, 1986, for the Nintendo Famicom Disk System, or Family Computer Disk System, in Japan.

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It later hit the US on the NES in May of 1987.

An instant hit, the series would see a total of over 30 games between the main series, spin-offs, and remakes between its release and today.

These games mostly featured players taking control of members of the Belmont clan, a bloodline of monster hunters. However, some games feature alternate main characters, like the ever-popular Alucard, son of Dracula, or even the reincarnation of Dracula himself.

There have also been several comic books, as well as the above-mentioned Netflix series.

The Five Best Castlevania Games

Castlevania Alucard
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ALUCARD: One of the best Castlevania heroes ever

There are many great Castlevania games, as well as a fair share of terrible ones.

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While many disagree on what the best of the series, there are certainly ones that fans recognize as the best of the best.

Here there are, presented in no particular order:

Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse

Castlevania III took the ambition of Castlevania II, streamlined it a bit, and improved on the rest.

Offering players multiple paths to the end of the game and four different playable characters, Castlevania III was the first title to really show off what Castlevania could be.

While it is an older, 8-bit game, Castlevania III is a title many fans still return to and enjoy today.

Order of Ecclesia

Order of Ecclesia is the last true Metroidvania title of the Castlevania series, revolving around a non-Belmont heroine who sets out to save a town whose citizens are abducted by vampires.

The game's difficulty level is brutal, forcing players to fully utilize every game mechanic to make their way through to its ending.

The game's heroine, Shanoa, breathed new life into the franchise while still staying true to the series' roots.

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Dracula X: Rondo of Blood

Widely considered the pinnacle of classic Castlevania gameplay, Rondo of Blood is a linear platformer featuring Richter Belmont that required skill to play and rewarded players for exploring and expert platforming action.

Originally, Rondo of Blood was a Japanese title only, though it eventually made its way to the rest of the world.

Symphony of the Night

Often seen as the greatest of all the Castlevania games, Symphony of the Night is a genre-defining game, helping to birth the Metroidvania style of games to come after it.

A combination of beautiful 2D pixel art is with layered background with 3D elements; Symphony of the Night featured Alucard, the son of Dracula, storming his father's castle searching for answers, picking up varying weapons and skills along the way.

The soundtrack accented the gameplay perfectly to create an immersive experience that kept players enraptured from start to finish and then to an even different finish for those who discovered the game's delightful twist.

Aria of Sorrow

Castlevania Aria of Sorrow cover
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ARIA: Wonderfully amazing in a small package

Aria of Sorrow is technically a better game structurally than Symphony of the Night, though limited a bit because it came out on the Gameboy Advance.

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Taking place in the future after Dracula's final defeat in 1999, the game centers around Soma and a mysterious group of allies he meets along the way.

The storytelling and level design are masterful in Aria, leading up to another excellent twist before coming to an end.

Those Who Wish to Be

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night
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BLOODSTAINED: Almost as good as Symphony of the Night

The last Castlevania game came out in 2014 and was actually part of a rebooted storyline where Gabriel Belmont became Dracula.

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Since then, many games have tried to capture the feel of the Castlevania series, including a series of new games by Castlevania veteran Koji Igarashi.

The series, Bloodstained, contains a 2.5 game similar to Symphony of the Night and two 8-bit sidescrollers made in the fashion of Castlevania III.

While all good games in their own right, they each failed to elicit the same reaction in fans as the games they were based on.

Just recently, a new game set in the Record of Lodoss War titled Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth came out, capturing the look and feel of Symphony of the Night while bringing its own mechanical changes to the table.

It is a fantastic game, though it lacks some of the overall depth of many Metroidvania titles.

Still, other games blaze their own paths in the genre, carving out their own space with their excellence.

Axiom Verge and Hollow Knight have captured fans' imaginations, each doing well enough to warrant a future sequel.

Many others bear the fruit of the way Symphony of the Night has carved, leaving players with a legacy of excellent titles.

The World Needs More Castlevania

Castlevania Trevor, Sypha, and Alucard
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KILLER: A trio of badassery

Still, there is something about the magic of Castlevania that even excellent games in the Metroidvania genre cannot capture.

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Watching the excellence of the Netflix series is a reminder of what makes Castlevania so great.

The world needs more Castlevania.

More 2D linear sidescrollers.

More Metroidvania titles.

Hell, even more 3D titles.

The world especially needs more animated Castlevania.

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