Arguably one of the biggest franchises spawning from the NES era, the Castlevania series is one of the most beloved amongst the retro gaming community. Spanning across many media forms (games, comics, films etc), the intricate lore even includes Bram Stoker’s classic novel ‘Dracula’ in its extensive timeline.
More recently, the series will be taking the leap out of our video games consoles and onto our screens as Netflix’s ‘Castlevania’ series will be available from today. But don’t worry if you haven’t played any of the games yet – we’ll be running you through the history of the huge franchise right here…
The Castlevania series is loosely adapted from the famous Bram Stoker novel – Dracula. So much so that the events that happen in the novel are included on the series timeline and that Quincey Morris (a character from the book) is a descendant of the Belmont family (main family from the game series).
Most of the series instalments follow the Belmont family, Vampire Hunters, who have been tasked with killing Dracula. The majority of the games have a platform style of game play, switching between linear and non-linear depending on the title.
Initially released in 1986, Castlevania (then known as ‘Akumajō Dracula’ or ‘Dracula Satanic Castle’) started its life on the Family Computer Disk System. Though the game is praised by those who played it, it did not show to be an extremely popular title on the system. In fact, the game only received the ‘hit’ status after release on the NES/Famicom a year later!
The NES was chosen as a suitable platform for game as it was rising in popularity across the world. Coming hand-in-hand with the NES release included a re-brand that changed the English-spoken title to ‘Castlevania’ – due to the religious connotations associated with ‘Dracula Satanic Castle’.
In the original Castlevania, the tone of the series was dark yet comedic as it included homages to older horror films. These included the boss characters of Frankenstein’s Monster, Igor, Medusa etc whilst the credits being made up of entirely fictional names that hinted at famous actors or characters from these classic works of fiction (such as Vram Stoker).
As the games went on, they tended to lose their tongue and cheek nature – instead becoming darker in tone. Although the later games kept their platform game play style, the 2nd instalment added elements of RPG game play such as being able to purchase items, non-linear game play and multiple possible endings.
As mentioned above, the Castlevania series will be back on our screens today all thanks to Netflix. Not many details have been announced before the release of the animated series, only that it’s an adaption of the 3rd game (Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse) and the cast list. The in-demand show is expected to be shown over 2 seasons (season 2 premiering in 2018) with 4, 30 minute episodes per season.
Following the plot of Dracula’s Curse, the show will see Trevor Belmont in his quest to defeat Dracula. Set a few centuries before the first game, Dracula’s Curse will be a medieval vampire story. Interestingly, the source material game offers the player multiple alternate endings depending on a various factors throughout game play. Leading fans of Castlevania to wonder which route the show will take – if any!
Despite this, it looks as if the show will stay faithful to the series, with similar artwork to the Dracula’s Curse game being used for the animated show. Creators of the show have hinted that the show has taken a leaf out of Game of Thrones’s book and is extremely R-rated – so it doesn’t look like they’re holding back!
We can’t wait to see how the show turns out! If you’ve already started watching it – let us know what you think…