Dracula 3D in Japan
Released: January 1999
Systems: Nintendo 64
Konami pitched Castlevania into 3D for the first time when it released Castlevania 64 on January 1999 for the N64. How is it? Great, by some accounts. Not so good, by others. Fans of any long-running series are typically skeptical of any major conceptual or integral changes. And Castlevania 64 is no different. But in any case, the transition has been generally accepted.
Castlevania 64 lets you take the role of either Reinhardt Schneider, the latest whip-toting member of the Belmont clan (don't ask us why he's got a different last name), or Carrie Fernandez, a young girl with magical powers and a grudge. The characters have separate (though similar) storylines, and each of these storylines has an entirely different ending and a couple of stages that are specific to the character's quest. Interestingly enough (to hard-core Castlevania fans, anyway), Carrie is a descendant of Sypha Belnades, the 15th-century mage from Castlevania III. Unfortunately, Konami didn't bother to keep Carrie's and Sypha's last names consistent in the translation, thus ruining an otherwise interesting plot point of the game.
Unlike Symphony of the Night, with its RPG-like elements and free-roaming gameplay, N64 Castlevania plays more like the older games in the series (aside from the obvious fact that the gameworld is now in 3D). The game progression is more linear, and each character has only two weapons (a main weapon, which can be powered up twice, and a subweapon). The trademark special weapons are back (knife, ax, holy water, and cross), but as far as items go, there are only a few you can collect during play, most of which are of the healing type.
While not quite the overall epic masterpiece that was Symphony of the Night on the PlayStation, N64 Castlevania provides an oddly compelling 3D vampire-hunting experience that fans of the series should definitely not miss.
The history of Castlevania: Castlevania 64
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