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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The history of Castlevania: The Main Castlevanias

The Main Castlevanias


Akumajo Dracula in Japan
Released: 1987
Systems: Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), Commodore 64, Amiga, IBM.

The Basics

Back in 1987, young adventurous gamers ripped the shrink-wrap off the first major release of the Castlevania series and the first major chance to whip Drac-butt. We controlled a little, rugged, brown tunic clad, chiseled (or is that pixelated) hero, who ventured into "Castlevania" with his "magic whip" to "Destroy forever the Curse of the Evil Count."

Why does this person travel into Castlevania to kill Drac? Let's just assume he didn't want the ugly mug around his village. Konami released Castlevania before it started to develop the Belmont lineage. Neither instruction manual nor game intro ever made mention of who this person was or why he did what he did. In the end, however, we did find out the name of our hero. Simon Belmondo. Um... who? Perhaps Belmondo is an assumed name.

Lots of people owned Nintendos in 1987, so this is how most people remember their first Castlevania experience. I bought it. If memory serves, it was the cool artwork on the front of the box that made me purchase it.

You plod through the first three levels inside Castlevania, chasing Drac through the castle - the banquet room, the roof, and so on - whip crackin' all sorts of ne'er-do-wells like skeletons, eagles, ghosts, black knights, and medusa heads. After level three, you fall into the loving arms of Frankenstein at the entrance to the Dungeon, who proceeds to tear your limbs off while Igor, his little friend, jumps around and spits fireballs at you. (Killing Frankenstein always seemed more difficult than killing Drac.) You enter the Dungeon and then, after a fierce encounter with the Grim Reaper, you find The Count! You whip; he dies; you win; your thumb throbs. Not a very complex game, by any means.

For the ending, you watch from afar as Castlevania crumbles. Credits go by with humorous names like Christopher Bee as Dracula, Love Chaney as Hunchback. And then that Simon Belmondo. It must be an assumed name.

In the end, you're awarded with the text, "You played the greatest role in this story. Thank you for playing."
The history of Castlevania: The Main Castlevanias
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