Gaming Icons: Castlevania
Posted by wastelander75 , 21 July 2011 · 892 views
Castlevania Simon Belmont Lord of Shadow NES franchise Xbox 360 PS3 Gabriel Belmont Dracula Icons
Deep within its cursed halls
A resting evil Might,
Bound by blood
A champion rises,
Bathed in pale moonlight
Released in North America on October 30, 1986 for the Nintendo Entertainment System, the Castlevania series soon became one of the most recognizable flagship titles for Konami, garnering rave reviews over much of the series itinerary releases, and has the distinction of being in the Guinness Book of World Records: Gaming Edition with 7 awards including "Most Games in an Action Adventure Series" and "Largest Number of Platforms for One Series."
The Vampire Killer Whip (also known as the "Mystic Whip" or the "Whip of Alchemy" in later installments) has becomes the series' most recognizable weapon, where it's spiritual origins were later revealed in 2003's Castlevania: Lament of Innocence for the Playstation 2. It is the weapon of choice for all descendants of the Belmont family bloodline, and has the distinction of being one of the only weapons to kill the undead denizens of the various games where most weapons could or would not.
The series borrows heavily from iconic moments and monsters from various movies and books, including werewolves, Frankenstein's Monster, The Grim Reaper, and even Dracula himself. Said to loosely be based on events in Bram Stoker's Dracula, the series eventually hinted that Quincy Morris, a character from the novel, was in fact a descendant of the Belmont bloodline.
While most games in the series have been side scrolling 2D linear platforming, a few games in the series introduced open world or non-linear exploratory environments, such as the Castlevania sequel, Simon's Quest, which also introduced light RPG element such as a leveling system which increases Simon's Health level and damage proficiency. The game's open world exploration mechanic would later be used in one of the series most important and most critically acclaimed titles to date, Castelvania: Symphony of the Night, released for the U.S. Playstation consoles on October 2, 1997.
In Symphony, the player is not only allowed to explore the open-ended environments of the castle, but is encouraged to do so to receive various permanent power up abilities. Players are also introduced to a non-Belmont related protagonist in the form of Alucard, the sword-wielding, magic-slinging rebellious son of Dracula himself. The game is also noted for it's refined control scheme, and for it's attempt to establish a Castlevanian "cannon" so as to set an in-game timeline and tie up several loose ends during the series' history.
The series eventually made it's transition to 3D with the release of Castlevania 64, released for the Nintendo 64's North America console on January 26, 1999. In it two selectable protagonist are available, Reinhardt Schneider who is the current heir to the Belmont clan, or Carrie Fernandez, a young magic-wielding orphan who is forced to confront her vampirized kin in the game. Many critics hailed the transition to 3D, citing the open world environments and overall atmospheric feel of the series' dark and foreboding spirit.
The series is not without it's controversy however. Upon it's release, Castlevania: Simon's Quest provoked many parents to call Nintendo Power over their cover on their magazine's issue 2 feature, which had a costumed model of Simon holding the dismembered head of Dracula in his hand. Many parents cited that the cover gave many of their children nightmares. Nintendo Power would later comment in their 50th issue as being the worst cover in their magazine's history. Castlevania Chronicles, released for the Playstation Console on October 6, 2001, included a complete redesign of the first Castlevania with new stages and an increased difficulty level, as well as a new "Time Attack" and "Arrange" Mode. The game was universally panned by critics, with many stating that it did little to measure up earlier titles, lacked replay value, and was graphically outdated by today's hardware.
To date, there have been 35 titles bearing the Castlevania logo, with two recent projects continuing the franchise. Castlevania: Harmony of Despair released August 4, 2010 for the Xbox Live Arcade, and Castlevania: Lords of Shadow released October 2010.
With history defining moment in the series very long career, fans and critics are eager as they have ever been to see what future awaits the series as it enters a new era of gaming lore.