A classic gothic video game series by Konami that's now had more than a dozen appearances on everything from the MSX home computer to the Nintendo 64. Most games in the series follow a similar side-scrolling formula where you control a man (usually a member of the Belmont family) with a whip and other weapons. The object is to defeat hordes of the undead and face off against Count Dracula. The series is said to have been inspired by the anime Vampire Hunter D.

Main Character List:

  • Simon Belmont

  • Games: Haunted Castle, Vampire Killer,CastleVania, Super CastleVania 4, CastleVania 2: Simon's Quest
    Game Years of Appearance: 1691, 1692
    Notes: Most recognized Belmont. It is to be noted that Haunted Castle, Vampire Killer, CastleVania, and Super CastleVania 4 could be considered the same game.

  • Trevor Belmont

  • Games: CastleVania 3: Dracula's Curse
    Game Years of Appearance: 1476
    Notes: Grant DaNasty, Sypha Belnades, and Alucard could help you out in this game.

  • Grant DaNasty

  • Games: CastleVania 3: Dracula's Curse
    Game Years of Appearance: 1476
    Notes: Originally a bad guy due to a curse, eventually can help Trevor.

  • Sypha Belnades

  • Games: CastleVania 3: Dracula's Curse
    Game Years of Appearance: 1476
    Notes: Originally imprisoned as a statue by the Cyclops, can eventually help Trevor.

  • Christopher Belmont

  • Games: CastleVania Adventure, Castlevania: Belmont's Revenge
    Game Years of Appearance: 1576, 1591
    Notes: Appeared only in the above mentioned Gameboy Games

  • Sonia Belmont

  • Games: CastleVania Legends, Castlevania: Ressurection (Cancelled before release)
    Game Years of Appearance: 1450, 1666*
    Notes: Appeared only in the Gameboy game CastleVania Legends. Was slated to appear with Victor Belmont in CastleVania: Ressurection for the Dreamcast, but it was cancelled. She was the first Belmont and Alucard may have fathered her son, Trevor.

  • Richter Belmont

  • Games: Dracula X: Rondo of Blood, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (Nocturne in the Moonlight)
    Game Years of Appearance: 1788, 1792
    Notes: Is thought to be the bad guy in Symphony of the Night

  • Maria Renard

  • Games: Dracula X: Rondo of Blood, CastleVania: Symphony of the Night (Nocturne in the Moonlight)
    Game Years of Appearance: 1788, 1792
    Notes: Only playable in certain versions.

  • Adrian Fahrenheights Tepes 'Alucard'

  • Games: CastleVania 3: Dracula's Curse, CastleVania: Symphony of the Night (Nocturne in the Moonlight), CastleVania Legends
    Game Years of Appearance: 1450, 1476, 1792
    Notes: Son of Dracula and a woman named Lisa.

  • John Morris

  • Games: CastleVania: Bloodlines
    Game Years of Appearance: 1917
    Notes: Son of Quincy Morris from Bram Stoker's novel "Dracula"

  • Eric Lecarde

  • Games: CastleVania: Bloodlines
    Game Years of Appearance: 1917
    Notes: Friend of John Morris

  • Reinhart Schneider

  • Games: CastleVania 64
    Game Years of Appearance: 1852
    Notes: N/A

  • Carrie Fernandez

  • Games: CastleVania 64
    Game Years of Appearance: 1852
    Notes: N/A

  • Cornell

  • Games: CastleVania: Legacy of Darkness
    Game Years of Appearance: 1844
    Notes: A man-wolf. Technically responsible for CastleVania 64.

  • Henry Oldrey

  • Games: CastleVania: Legacy of Darkness
    Game Years of Appearance: 1852
    Notes: Shotgun wielding knight.

  • Nathan Graves

  • Games: CastleVania: Circle of the Moon
    Game Years of Appearance: 1830
    Notes: A pupil of Morris Baldwin. Was chosen to continue the Belmont line instead of Morris' own son, Hugh. Can gain abilities like Alucard in Symphony of the Night.

    Other Characters:

  • Annette Renard-Richter's wife

  • Drolta Tzuentes-Sorceress who accidently ressurected Elizabeth Bartley

  • The Ferryman-Appears in various CastleVania games to take you across any water ways you may need to cross

  • The Master Librarian-Sells items to Alucard in Syphony of the Night

  • Malus-A strange child in CastleVania 64 with a dark secret

  • Iris-The daughter of the town doctor who was kidnapped in Dracula X: Rondo of Blood

  • Lisa-The mother of Alucard, who was killed by humans who accused her of witchcraft

  • Renon-A demon salesman. If you buy more than $30,000 worth of stuff from him, you have to fight him at the end in CastleVania 64

  • Rosa-Cursed vampire woman in CastleVania 64

  • Actrise-Witch in Castlevania 64 who pursues Carrie

  • Ada-Cornell adopted her as his sister when her family was killed.

  • Ortega-A former member of Cornell's tribe, and a man-beast as well.

  • Charles Vincent-Vampire hunter who wanders around in CastleVania 64.

  • Gilles de Rais-Former occupant of the manor that becomes CastleVania in CastleVania 64.

  • Solieyu Belmont-The son of Christopher Belmont who is kidnapped and turned evil in Christopher's second game.

  • Tera-A nun who was kidnapped in Dracula X: Rondo of Blood.

  • Elizabeth Bartley-A witch who bathed in blood. Was ressurected in 1917 and proceeded to ressurect Dracula.

  • Carmilla-Supposed lesbian vampire that has appeared in several games and is resposible for Dracula's ressurection in the most recent game, Circle of the Moon

  • Shaft-Resposible for raising Dracula on multiple occasions in the late 1700s and refusing to die when beaten.

  • Hugh Baldwin-Jealous of Nathan for being chosen, is quite bitter and arrogant. Eventually comes under Dracula's control for a short time.

  • Morris Baldwin-Old vampire hunter. Has defeated Dracula before. In 1830, he is captured and seperated from his pupils, Nathan and Hugh. Dracula plans to use Morris' energy to revitalize himself.

  • Death-aka the Grim Reaper. Appears in every game to help out Dracula.

  • Dracula-The bad guy in every game. He can almost always transform into a more fearsome form to battle you. Supposedly ressurected every one hundred years unless called sooner by someone.
  • Castlevania is more than a single game; it's Konami's epic spanning nearly five hundred years, from the first confrontation between a Belmont and Dracula to even the end of World War I, chronicling the rivalry of the Belmont clan and the immortal lord. Moreover, the Castlevania is the castle given form by Dracula's will, and recreates itself as Dracula is awakened, drawing on him to form his sanctuary. Often, it is shaped by the mind of a strong-willed person enslaved to Dracula, and indeed some have been enslaved for this purpose. Only those invited or destined to slay Dracula can enter, and the castle is always populated by scores of monsters, great and small.

    An international note - In Japan, Castlevania was known as "Akumajou Dracula" (悪魔城 ドラキュラ), or "Demon Castle Dracula," up until Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance, which was known as Castlevania: White Night Symphony in Japan. (The exception to this is the Game Boy series, with a series of different names.)

    The Castlevania series is highly prized by fans for its soundtracks. Vampire Killer (also the name of the first Castlevania game) and Bloody Tears (both composed by James Banana) are enduring classics, and many of the original pieces for Castlevania: Symphony of the Night rank among the greatest pieces of music ever made for a video game.




    Castlevania Timeline

    Current as of October 27, 2002

    SPOILERS AHEAD!!! While many of the games' plot consist only of "Dracula rises again, hero slays vampire," later games in the series have interesting plots with twists and turns that will be spoiled if you read this.

    Sometime before 1450

    Alucard (born Adrian Fahrenheit Tepes) is born to Dracula and Lisa, a human woman. The mother flees with the child, but Alucard inherits many of his father's powers, as well as his unnatural longevity and unholy hunger.

    Implied is an original confrontation between Dracula and a Belmont. This may be explored in some future game, but remains merely implied at this point.

    1450

    Castlevania Legends - Sonia Belmont confronts Dracula as he attempts to shroud the world in shadow. While she succeeds in thwarting him and sealing him away, her power scares the other people of Romania, and she is exiled.

    1451

    Trevor Belmont is born to Sonia Belmont. Alucard may have been Trevor's father.

    1476

    Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse - Dracula is awakened by a cult, and once again casts a veil of darkness over Romania, seeking not only conquest but revenge against the Belmont bloodline. Trever Belmont, however, with the help of Grant DaNasty, Sypha Belnades, and Alucard, would defeat Dracula once again, sealing the vampire away for a century.

    Alucard voluntarily goes into a deep slumber, one which would last over 300 years.

    After 1476

    Trevor Belmont and Sypha Belnades have a child, granting a varying amount of magical talent to future descendants of the Belmont line. They may be separated later, however, because the Belnades bloodline diverges soon enough to still carry that name.

    1576

    The Castlevania Adventure - Dracula awakes once again, but runs afoul of Trevor's descendant, Christopher Belmont. Dracula is defeated but neither slain nor sealed.

    Between 1576 and 1591

    Christopher has a son, named Soleiyu.

    1591

    Castlevania II: Belmont's Revenge - Dracula kidnaps Soleiyu, challenging Christopher once again. Christopher slays Dracula in a holy rage, sealing the vampire for another 100 years.

    1691

    Castlevania - Also Vampire Killer, Super Castlevania IV, and Castlevania Chronicles, as all are remakes of the original, not sequels - Dracula, thrice sealed by a Belmont, decides that such a power cannot be destroyed, but only embraced. He shapes the Castlevania around himself not for protection this time, but as a trap, to bring the latest descendant of the Belmont line, Simon, to him. Simon, trained in the traditions of his family, is grievously wounded, but once again slays his immortal foe.

    1691-1698

    Simon Belmont slowly falls ill, developing the first signs of vampirism, a legacy of his battle with Dracula.

    1698

    Castlevania II: Simon's Quest - Simon discovers that the curse can only be dispelled by resurrecting Dracula and slaying the vampire once again. Fighting against the remnants of Dracula's followers, Simon collects Dracula's body parts and returns to the Castlevania, reviving and once again slaying Dracula, freeing himself of the curse.

    There is a youth-oriented novelization of this game, written under the obvious pen name F.X. Nine. It's considered apocryphal, largely because it ignored the plot of the game, and was just awful besides.

    1748

    Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance - Maxim Kischine, friend of Juste Belmont (who is a competant mage on top of his family's considerable power), goes on a quest to prove his worth, feeling inferior to his long-time friend. Unfortunately, his quest to prove himself is that of Juste's ancestor, Simon. Not only does Maxim fail to fully revive Dracula, he earns himself Simon's curse, descending into madness. His madness creates a new Castlevania, composed of two halves to match his madness. Juste, lead there by Maxim in a period of lucidity, completes Maxim's revival of Dracula, saving his friend and again laying the vampire to rest.

    1792

    Dracula X: Rondo of Blood - Also known as Castlevania Dracula X - Dracula is awakened once again, and seeks to slay the latest member of the Belmont line. Watching Richter Belmont from afar, he strikes, kidnapping his girlfriend and her sister, Annette and Maria Renard, as well as several villagers. Richter, in the tradition of his family, rescues the hostages and slays Dracula once again.

    1796

    Castlevania: Symphony of the Night - The Dark Priest Shaft (I can dig it), preparing to revive Dracula once again, entices Richter into the coalescing Castlevania, reawakening the link to Dracula in the Belmont bloodline. Richter's mind is slowly corrupted, and his will shapes the Castlevania. Maria Renard journeys to the castle, as does Alucard, awakened by the shift in Dracula's power. Eventually, Alucard, with Maria's help, frees Richter, defeats Shaft and Dracula, and disappears with Maria.

    Implied, but not stated, is that Maria is the continuation of the Belnades family line. Also implied but not stated is that Alucard and Maria run off together after this game, and (ahem) continue the Belnades line.

    1830

    Castlevania: Circle of the Moon - While the Belmont family and the Belnades familes were the only families to have tangled with Dracula so far, they were hardly the only family in Europe with the skills to face down powerful dark forces. Morris Baldwin, no stranger to the forces of darkness, had trained two proteges, Nathan Graves and his son, Hugh Baldwin. Nathan, wielding the Vampire Killer whip, fought his way through the castle, and confronted Hugh, who had been corrupted by Dracula's power and had become the latest mind to shape the Castlevania. Nathan's efforts were in vain, however, as Morris would be slain to revive Dracula. Overcoming his grief, he slew Dracula, and once again sealed Dracula and the Castlevania.

    1844

    Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness - Dracula is revived by his followers, out once again to shroud the world in darkness. The cursed man-beast Cornell, trying to redeem himself in the eyes of human society, cripples Dracula, sealing him in the Castlevania for a time.

    1852

    Castlevania 64 - Dracula is resurrected by Death himself, and searches out the last of the Belmont clan to once again exact his revenge. Reinhardt Schneider, last descendant of the Belmont clan, and Carrie Fernandez, last descendant of the Belnades clan, band together to slay Dracula once again.

    1897

    The events of Bram Stoker's Dracula - While this story is elsewhere, what isn't mentioned in Bram Stoker's work (and is true in the Castlevania timeline) is that Quincey Morris is a descendant of the Belmont line, and that his son, John, was with him in the background as Dracula was once again slain.

    1917

    Castlevania Bloodlines - Elizabeth Bartley, a niece of Dracula, is accidentally awakened, and she begins the rituals to awaken her uncle. John Morris, the last known member of the Belmont clan, and his friend Eric Lecarde, bearer of the Alcarde spear, defeat Elizabeth and Dracula, sealing them away once again.

    2017

    Logically, this is when Dracula would awaken again.

    Sources: videogames.com's History of Castlevania (http://www.videogames.com/features/universal/castlevania_history/), the ugly yet functional Castlevania Dungeon (www.classicgaming.com/castlevania), http://www.geocities.com/shineai, GameFAQs, longtime interest in the series. Special thanks to Oolong for the Unicode for "Akumajou Dracula."

    Good Eeeevening! Step into the shadows of the deadliest dwelling on earth. You've arrived at Castlevania, and you're here on business: To destroy forever the Curse of the Evil Count. Unfortunately, everybody's home this evening. Bat, ghosts, every kind of creature you can imagine. You'll find 'em all over the place, if they don't find you first. Because you've got to get through six monstrous floors before you even meet up with the Master of the House. Your Magic Whip will help, and you'll probably find a weapon or two along the way. But once you make it to the tower, you can count on a Duel to the Death. The Count has waited 100 years for a rematch. He's ready. Are you? - from the manual

    All great series have to begin somewhere, and for many people it began with the "first" game (excluding Vampire Killer) in the series titled, appropriately, Castlevania. Released in 1987 by Konami for the arcade, Nintendo Entertainment System, PC, Amiga, and Commodore 64, this is the game that introduced us to Simon Belmont and his family's mission to destroy the vampire Dracula.

    The game is divided into seven stages, each with several subsections which are contained between doors. Passing through a door moves Simon to the next subsection. If defeated he will return to the last door he passed through. At the end of each stage is a boss based on a classic monster (such as Medusa, Frankenstein and Igor, the Mummy, etc.) and defeating the boss allows Simon to move to the next stage. This game is a classic side-scroller with some vertical elements.

    Simon's weapon of choice is the whip, and that can be powered up twice by collecting better whips. Each successive whip has a longer reach and can do more damage on each strike. He also can use secondary weapons, such as the boomerang or axe, at the cost of one heart unit each. Luckily hearts can be collected almost everywhere, and picking up a double or triple multiplier allows for two or three secondary weapons to be on the screen at one time. The complete list of secondary weapons:

    Other items to be discovered include...

    While it might be considered quite primitive in today's gaming landscape, the old Castlevania has stood up well over the test of time (and was even remade for the Super NES as Super Castlevania/Castlevania IV). There are a few irksome annoyances, however. Simon cannot change direction in midair, meaning that if he's smacked by a flying baddie at a crucial moment he'll fall into a pit. Plus as the game goes on it becomes increasingly difficult. It took me nearly ten years to get past the Frankenstein and Igor boss combination, as getting hit four times depletes the life meter. Thank goodness for unlimited continues.

    The game was released in Japan as Akumajou Dracula for the Famicom Disk System where it sported a name entry screen and game save abilities. In 1993 this version was rereleased in Japan as a cartridge and included an Easy Mode that allowed Simon to take more hits, included fewer baddies, nine lives per continue, and removed the recoil when taking a hit. The Normal Mode of the game is the classic Castlevania.

    Castlevania has been out of production for years and has become increasingly hard to find. Your best bet for finding the NES version includes the usual places: eBay, used game stores, etc. The game was re-released for the Game Boy Advance as part of the Famicom Mini/Classic NES collection in 2004. Also keep an eye out for the arcade version, Vs. Castlevania.

    Produced by Konami
    Directed by Trans Fishers
    Screenplay by Vram Stoker
    Music by James Banana

    The Cast
    Dracula: Christopher Bee
    Death: Belo Lugosi
    Frankenstein: Boris Karloffice
    Mummy Man: Love Chaney Jr.
    Medusa: Barber Sherry
    Vampire Bat: Mix Schrecks
    Hunch Back: Love Chaney
    Fish Man: Green Stranger
    Armor: Cafebar Read
    Skeleton: Andre Moral
    Zombie: Jone Candies
    And the Hero Simon Belmondo
    You played the greatest role in this story.
    Thank you for playing.


    References:
    http://www.classicgaming.com/castlevania/cv1.htm
    The game itself, given to me as a present by my parents on Halloween 1988. Thanks Mom and Dad!

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