10,000 years of Castlevania

Even in defeat, Dracula’s curse still ravages the land. Violence, plague, and pestilence blight Europe. As humanity fights to recover, the Devil Forgemaster Hector pursues fellow Forgemaster and facilitator of his wife’s execution, Isaac, to Dracula’s castle. Hector hunts Isaac to the highest point of the newly-restored Castlevania where he unwittingly opens the door for Dracula to be reborn in Isaac’s body. The two battled across two worlds until Dracula was defeated. With no place for him among mortals, Hector retreats to the mountains with the witch Julia where his impact on this timeline abruptly ends.

Castlevania: Curse of Darkness (Xbox and PS2, 2005)

A follow-up to Lament of Innoncence, this is a semi-irrelevant side-story which adds little to the Castlevania mythos or even to the big world of action games. Based on the LOI engine, Curse offers a more open world to explore and a more developed combat system. Regardless, it was entirely average, but is notable for being the only new Castlevania on Xbox.

Destined to be reborn every one hundred years, though usually able to get up and about far sooner, Dracula rises once again in 1576 where he is met by Vampire Killer Christopher Belmont. Moments from death at Belmont’s hands, Dracula dissipates into mist and Christopher departs, satisfied that the vampire has been slain. From the nearby mountainside he watches the collapse of Dracula’s fortress as a bat rises from the ruins.

The Castlevania Adventure (Gameboy, 1989)

A quick cash-in on the success of the NES games which barely fit into continuity until Koji Igarashi’s 2005 retcon. Notoriously awful in every way, those four stages – with their leaps of faith and crushing slowdown – last a long time.

Dracula waited fifteen years for his revenge against Christopher Belmont, possessing his son – the young Solieyu Belmont – and leading him towards evil. Dracula raised four castles to deceive Soleiyu’s father should he pursue his corrupted son. Naturally, Christopher went on a whip-swinging rampage, hacking his way through the guardians of the four towers, but as the towers fell a fifth rose from the Earth. Here, Belmont Sr fought his son, eventually forcing Dracula from Soleiyu’s body with little harm to the boy. Dracula crumbled moments later.

Castlevania II: Belmont’s Revenge (Gameboy, 1991)

Belmont’s Revenge arrived two years after its predecessor and addresses every complaint levelled against the original. It’s longer and less linear, and offers a choice of levels and a selection of special weapons. It’s the best of the Gameboy Castlevanias, and even betters Circle of the Moon, which was released a full half decade later.

In a side story set outside accepted Castlevania continuity, Desmond Belmont hunts down the members of The Order, the cult responsible for Dracula’s resurrections.

Castlevania: Order of Shadows (Mobile, 2007)

Released after the official Castlevania retcon and new timeline, it was confirmed that the mobile phone game wasn’t a part of Igarashi’s plans for the series.

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  • phoenix_wings - December 3, 2009 8:39 p.m.

    I LOVE CASTLEVANIA! I remember hours on end playing Super Castlevania 4 on the SNES, and then replaying it again on the PSP. I remember how frustrated I was at Castlevania 64 though...ugh. Six months of renting that cartridge only to have the seal NOT BLOW UP! I cannot (emphasize cannot) wait until Lords of Shadow is released.
  • garnsr - December 3, 2009 9:49 p.m.

    Castlevania was the reason I bought a GBA, DS, and PSP. I've loved pretty much every portable game since Circle of the Moon. I think Simon's Quest may still be my favorite, and I've played through Symphony so many, many times. And I can't think of any other game that has a style of music as disticnctive, that makes me say, "That's Castlevania music."
  • Mirako - December 3, 2009 10:52 p.m.

    I've only played Dawn of Sorrow, Portrait or Ruin and Order of Ecclesia, So I've never really seen this 'Gothic' art style used in Symphony of the night. But was it really that good? ^^
  • Cyberninja - December 3, 2009 11:19 p.m.

    i have played most of the portable games and i plan on buying the psp one in a few weeks because my copy of symphony of the night is not working well and i never finshed it because every time i went to a new area it would mess up the color and stuff badly and i hope the new one isnt crap like judgement
  • DeathandBlackMetal4 - December 4, 2009 1:24 a.m.

    Castlevania 1-3-4 and Bloodlines are the only good ones I've played. I so want to play SOTN, Castlevania 64 was garbage!
  • CH3BURASHKA - December 4, 2009 1:39 a.m.

    It's very nice of you to flesh out Veronica Belmont's family history. I'm sure she appreciates it.
  • TrIp13G - December 4, 2009 3:52 a.m.

    Why did Kojima declare Legends non-canon? Because he's a dick, that's why. But I love him, because he still supervises the most kickass 2D platforming RPGs.
  • Cwf2008 - December 4, 2009 7:37 a.m.

    Even reading this i lost count of how many times Dracula died. Damn poor guy cant get a break. Or apparently kill a single mortal using a massive army of the undead and supernatural powers
  • Tomsta666 - December 4, 2009 9 a.m.

    Not really the biggest Castlevania fan, and never really cared that much for the canon. That said though, Symphony of the Night is one of the best if not THE best 2D side scrolling games EVER!! Love it to bits!!
  • Lurkero - December 4, 2009 11:50 p.m.

    I wouldn't even dare try to make a continuity of Castlevania after playing the latest games. They skip all over the place, basically, wherever the devs think to shove it in next. Still a good sidescroller though
  • stormrider777 - December 5, 2009 1:02 p.m.

    without a doubt one of the best franchises ever!
  • Skykid - December 5, 2009 3:08 p.m.

    I hate and am terrified of vampires; but geez, Belmont clan, cut Dracula some slack. I mean 100,000 years of persuing a vampire just because he went traitor on your ancestors and declared war on humanity for killing his wife. Talk about your grudges.
  • crumbdunky - December 7, 2009 1:05 a.m.

    Alongside Twisted Metal(which I could never even find in my area of the UK at all!)Castlevania represents the biggest area of ignorance I have in gaming. It's odd when I'm such a massive Metroid and Shinobi fan that I wouldn't have bothered with it much-I've played and played other sidescrollers both good and bad for an age but these games just never seemed to pique my interest at all. Interestingly bonkers resume of the plotlines by GR here though and I'll have to brush up, play a few of the better ones and join in the waiot for LoS this coming year. Though, as a monsterous MGS fan I have looked into Koj and his involvement and it doesn't look much more than Kojima Productions getting a bit of box space. All he looks to be doing is popping in the door every now and again and saying "I like that!" or "I don't like that" about their work and, at best, making a rare suggestion or two-which the team may or may not take on board! It's Konami being a little free with Koj's name, imo, and a little cheeky when the series should stand on it's OWN terms. Though, do we really know this was always a castlevania anyway? The only one I really recall playing ios the mega drive one and that just made no sense whatsoever, imo, bu I'll start with the PSP remake they seem to like quite well! Could be the start of some deep investigation for me and I haven't done that since going back playing all the FFs that I missed first time around. Good work, though, GR, in trying to piece this together. Played about twenty mins of the fighting game on the Wii last year and it seemed to be mainly about this Loli Gothic chick with bad breast envy issues from what I saw, and very little about any kind f Castlevania story. Then again I could only put up with 20 mins so who knows?
  • Pyroco101 - December 8, 2009 4:40 a.m.

    Great article guys, but Judgement wasn't set in 10000 AD or really was cannon. it was really an alternate dimension set up by Aeon (by far one of the coolest newbies ive seen in the CV universe) and made his own tournament to see whos stong enough to kill the Time Reaper FROM 10000 years in the future, so the time the game happened was unspecified and the whole thing being cannon is unnecessary from the events being in an alt. timeline.
  • Pyroco101 - December 8, 2009 4:42 a.m.

    ALSO if judgement had been 2d, played like soul caliber, and had a better roster, im sure the game woulda been better.
  • Persona - December 8, 2009 12:10 p.m.

    Wonder why there was never a super castlevania 4 remake.. that was the time when Castlevania was pretty much a game upon itself. Besides WHO DOESN'T MISS THE UTTERLY USELESS WHIP TRICKS?
  • norid - December 10, 2009 12:24 a.m.

    Gabriel is a Belmont in Lords of Shadow Also Patrick Stewart FTW
  • celticwhisper - December 10, 2009 3:24 p.m.

    I get that 3DCV has had a shaky past and "tournament fighting games" isn't a phrase that naturally comes to mind when thinking of Castlevania, but is anyone else here put off by the editors considering the fact that Judgment is a Wii game "a strike?" Was this piece paid for by Microsoft or Sony? Or is this editor just unable to put aside his personal bias and judge a game for what it is rather than what system runs it?