Castlevania

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Castlevania (キャッスルヴァニア) is a video game series, created and developed by Konami. The series debuted in Japan with the release of Demon Castle Dracula (悪魔城ドラキュラ Akumajō Dracula) for the Famicom Disk System (FDS) and MSX 2 platforms in 1986. Even though the MSX 2 port (which was localized in Europe under the title of Vampire Killer) was released first outside of Japan (a fact which had led to many people attribute the MSX version as the original game, when in reality the FDS version came out first), many people in the west weren't exposed to Demon Castle Dracula until the FDS release was ported to cartridge format for the Nintendo Entertainment System and localized for North American and European release under the title of Castlevania in 1987.
Japanese Castlevania Famicom Logo
In Japan, the series is mostly known as Demon Castle Dracula. However, not every entry in the franchise has borne that title. For example, several installments for the Nintendo Game Boy were released under the title The Legend of Dracula (ドラキュラ伝説 Dracula Densetsu), and the game known in North America as Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse was originally released in Japan as The Legend of the Demon Castle (悪魔城伝説 Akumajō Densetsu). Since Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance for the Game Boy Advance, the Japanese games officially adopted the western title Castlevania for a brief period, although it should be noted that the Japanese release of Castlevania Chronicles (titled Akumajō Nendaiki: Akumajō Dracula) first utilized the Castlevania name as part of the game's alternate English title (Castlevania Chronicle). According to series producer Koji Igarashi (or IGA, as he is sometimes known), the developers chose to adopt the Castlevania moniker as a way to involve scenarios that do not solely revolve around Dracula himself. The series will be changing back to its original Akumajō Dracula moniker in Japan with the release of Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow (titled Akumajō Dracula: Sōgetsu no Jūjika in Japan) and Castlevania: Curse of Darkness (tentatively titled Akumajō Dracula: Yami no Juin) due to overwhelming fan demand according to the producer.

The series is also famous for the differences seen between the Japanese and American versions. When the games are converted for western audiences, they usually lose a heavy share of violent and religious imagery and references, a fact that upsets Castlevania fans. This strong censorship (which is a common practice in many other games) makes the American versions much milder, and such differences can be seen right in the opening sequence of Super Nintendo's Super Castlevania IV, for example.

Several games in the series have been produced in very limited quantities, in North America and Europe at least, and have thus greatly fallen short of demand. Most recently, Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance and Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow had sold on eBay for two to three times their original selling price before pirated copies became common. Demon Castle Dracula X: Rondo of Blood, considered by many Castlevania fans to be the "holy grail" of the series, still easily sells for over a hundred dollars due to being released solely on the Japanese PC Engine.

Contents

Overview

The Castlevania series is about a war between the enchanted family bloodline of the Belmonts and Dracula. At least every hundred years, Dracula is resurrected and it is up to the Belmonts to defeat him before he causes too much pain and suffering.

Original NES Castlevania Logo
The most notable Belmont is perhaps Simon Belmont, star of the first several Castlevania games. However, the games feature many other characters, including Belmonts, relatives and other people that the player can take control of. Included among the usable characters is Alucard, the son of Dracula himself. Also, several female characters star in some of the later games. See Castlevania characters for more information about the characters of Castlevania.

The series is loosely based on the mythology of Bram Stoker's novel Dracula. In fact, the novel is considered to be within the official canon of the series; the events taking place prior to Castlevania: Bloodlines. However, the series also incorporates a variety of other monsters from classic horror fiction, films, fantasy, and mythology.

Evolution of the games

The games' mechanics can be seen as very similar (and most times simplistic) on most of the earlier titles. These games take the form of the typical platform game in which the player usually takes the role of a whip-wielding warrior from the Belmont family as he ventures himself inside Castlevania (Count Dracula's castle) and fights several different monsters and ghosts. On most Castlevania games, the main weapon is a whip (the Vampire Killer), which can be upgraded to a long flail. Other weapons such as daggers, axes and vials of holy water can also be seen in several versions.

The general appearance of the characters in the games also changed since the first installments. In the earlier games, the main characters were usually warriors sporting leather armours or other kinds of battle suits. As new Castlevania games began to be released, the outfit of those heroes changed to more elegant, fancy vests, reflecting an evolution in the games, also in matters of character design. This modern look adopted for the characters in the newer games could be said to have been introduced by Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, the first game to feature the Japanese artist Ayami Kojima as the character designer. Another detail to be noted is the distinctive anime-style design of those characters, which can be seen as present in almost the entire series, but making itself stronger in games such as Dracula X: Rondo of Blood, as well as in the later titles.

As time passed, new elements and interesting features were added to the games, which started following a more RPG-like tone, first seen on Castlevania II: Simon's Quest. A milestone was reached by the release of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night for the PlayStation. The game took the Super Metroid style and gameplay and added RPG elements. It is regarded by many as the finest game in the Castlevania series. The three games subsequently released for the Game Boy Advance follow this schema as well.

The first games in the series to use 3D graphics technology were released for the Nintendo 64 (the second N64 game is a superset of the first, with many changes, improvements and added features) but many fans consider that they are not worthy successors of the Castlevania tradition, despite being decent. Yet another 3D Castlevania entitled Castlevania: Lament of Innocence for the PlayStation 2 is much better regarded, featuring a gameplay similar to the one found on Capcom's Devil May Cry. For a good comparison between the similarities, see here.

Castlevania game list

North American/European title Japanese title System Year
Castlevania Demon Castle Dracula
(悪魔城ドラキュラ Akumajō Dracula)
Famicom Disk System, NES 1986
Vampire Killer (Europe only) Demon Castle Dracula MSX 1986
Castlevania II: Simon's Quest Dracula II: The Accursed Seal
(ドラキュラII呪いの封印 Dracula II: Noroi no Fūin)
Famicom Disk System, NES 1987
Haunted Castle Demon Castle Dracula Video arcades 1988
Castlevania Adventure The Legend of Dracula
(ドラキュラ伝説 Dracula Densetsu)
Game Boy 1989
Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse Legend of the Demon Castle
(悪魔城伝説 Akumajō Densetsu)
NES 1990
Super Castlevania IV Demon Castle Dracula SNES 1991
Castlevania II: Belmont's Revenge The Legend of Dracula II
(ドラキュラ伝説II Dracula Densetsu II)
Game Boy 1991
Dracula X: Rondo of Blood
(Not released in North America/Europe)
Demon Castle Dracula X: Rondo of Blood
(悪魔城ドラキュラX血の輪ロンド廻 Akumajō Dracula X: Chi no Rondo)
PC Engine 1993
Castlevania X68000
(Not released in North America/Europe)
Demon Castle Dracula Sharp X68000 1993
Castlevania: Bloodlines
Castlevania: The New Generation (Europe)
Vampire Killer (バンパイアキラー) Sega Mega Drive/Sega Genesis 1994
Castlevania: Dracula X
Castlevania: Vampire's Kiss (Europe)
Demon Castle Dracula XX
(悪魔城ドラキュラXX Akumajō Dracula XX)
SNES 1995
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night Demon Castle Dracula X: Nocturne in the Moonlight
(悪魔城ドラキュラX月下の夜想曲 Akumajō Dracula X: Gekka no Yasōkyoku)
Sony PlayStation, Sega Saturn 1997
Castlevania Legends Demon Castle Dracula: Dark Night Prelude
(悪魔城ドラキュラ漆黒たる前奏曲 Akumajō Dracula: Shikkoku Taru Zensōkyoku)
Game Boy 1998
Castlevania
(a.k.a. Castlevania 64)
Demon Castle Dracula Apocalypse
(悪魔城ドラキュラ黙示録 Akumajō Dracula Mokushiroku)
Nintendo 64 1999
Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness Demon Castle Dracula Apocalypse Side-Story: Legend of Cornell
(悪魔城ドラキュラ黙示録外伝 Akumajō Dracula Mokushiroku Gaiden)
Nintendo 64 1999
Castlevania Chronicles Castlevania Chronicle: Demon Castle Dracula
(悪魔城年代記 悪魔城ドラキュラ Akumajō Nendaiki: Akumajō Dracula)
Sony PlayStation 2001
Castlevania: Circle of the Moon Demon Castle Dracula: Circle of the Moon Game Boy Advance 2001
Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance Castlevania: Concerto of Midnight Sun
(キャッスルヴァニア白夜の協奏曲 Castlevania: Hakuya no Kyōsōkyoku)
Game Boy Advance 2002
Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow Castlevania: Minuet of Dawn
(キャッスルヴァニア暁月の円舞曲 Castlevania: Akatsukitsuki no Enbukyoku)
Game Boy Advance 2003
Castlevania: Lament of Innocence Castlevania (キャッスルヴァニア) Sony PlayStation 2 2003
Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow Demon Castle Dracula: Cross of the Blue Moon
(悪魔城ドラキュラ 蒼月の十字架 Akumajō Dracula: Sōgetsu no Jūjika)
Nintendo DS 2005 TBA
Castlevania: Curse of Darkness Demon Castle Dracula: Curse of Darkness
(悪魔城ドラキュラ 闇の呪印 Akumajō Dracula: Yami no Juin)
Sony PlayStation 2, Xbox 2005 TBA

Chronology

According to the chronological order of the storyline of the Castlevania series and the year the game was chronologically set in, according to The Castlevania Dungeon (http://www.classicgaming.com/castlevania/dungeon.htm). Prior to the release of Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance, every game in the series was accepted as canon, with the original versions of certain games (such as the original Castlevania and Dracula X) usually accepted as the canonical interpretation of certain events. However, when Koji Igarashi took over as producer for the series, he revised the timeline and removed a few games from it. Namely, Castlevania Legends, Castlevania 64, Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness and Castlevania: Circle of the Moon. Igarashi tried to justify his decision by saying he was trying to make the series' canon more coherent, but some fans have criticized him, claiming that he's ruining the previously-established storyline. Many fans are quick to point out that the games Igarashi retconned were all games developed without his involvement after Castlevania: Symphony of the Night was first released, which was Igarashi's first Castlevania title.

Year Game Titles Notes
1094 Castlevania: Lament of Innocence
1450 Castlevania Legends Retconned from Koji "IGA" Igarashi's ideal version of the timeline due to the implied relationship between Alucard and Sonia Belmont.
1476 Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse
1479 Castlevania: Curse of Darkness
1576 The Castlevania Adventure
1591 Castlevania II: Belmont's Revenge
1691 Vampire Killer All known as Akumajō Dracula in Japan
Haunted Castle
Castlevania
Akumajō Dracula X68000
Castlevania Chronicles
Super Castlevania IV
1698 Castlevania II: Simon's Quest
1748 Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance
1792 Dracula X: Rondo of Blood
Castlevania: Dracula X
1797 Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
1830 Castlevania: Circle of the Moon Retconned from the timeline by IGA
1844 Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness Retconned from the timeline by IGA
1852 Castlevania 64 Retconned from the timeline by IGA
1914 Castlevania: Bloodlines
2035 Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow
2038 Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow

Related games

There are also six parody games created by Konami that have Castlevania-related elements or characters. These, according to Castlevania Dungeon (http://www.classicgaming.com/castlevania/), are:

Game Title Console/Platform Year Notes
Konami Wai Wai World fan translation (http://www.demiforce.com/) Nintendo Famicom 1988 Japan only
Wai Wai World 2: SOS From Parsley Castle!! fan translation (http://vice.parodius.com/) Nintendo Famicom 1991 Japan only
Akumajou Special: Boku Dracula-kun fan translation (http://vice.parodius.com/) Nintendo Famicom 1991 Japan only
Kid Dracula Game Boy 1993 Akumajō Special: Boku Dracula-kun in Japan
Sexy Parodius Arcade, PlayStation, Saturn 1996
Konami Krazy Racers Game Boy Advance 2001 Wai Wai Racing in Japan


External links

Template:Wikiquote

Official websites

Informative websites

es:Castlevania fi:Castlevania fr:Castlevania ja:悪魔城ドラキュラ

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