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Sep 29, 2011
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On September 26, 1986, the very first game in the Castlevania series was released for the Nintendo Entertainment System. Fast forward to 25 years later—now, if we must spell it out— Castlevania has become one of the most legendary names in the business, spanning generations of consoles, with more than 20 titles under its belt.

That’s quite a big achievement for a series that started out as nothing more than a simple platformer which involved a vampire-hating clan called the Belmonts, a majestic whip called the “Vampire Killer,” and a certain vampire called Dracula, who we bet you’ve heard of. Throughout the years, even as the gameplay has evolved, the primary directive of the heroes in the series has remained the same: rid the world of the most famous vampire in history.  

Indeed, there is, and there shall be no rest for the wicked. Most especially if you’re ol’ Drac. He’s been resurrected over and over again in the Castlevania series, and he’s been felled just as much. So, we ask: what is Dracula doing wrong? If he’s so powerful and all, why hasn’t he succeeded? Let’s look at some of the games in the series, and take a stab at the techniques he uses.  

Castlevania I (NES)

Drac’s tactics: Teleport. Release three easily avoidable fireballs. Repeat. Morph into alien alligator form. Stand in corner, accept defeat by bathing in all that holy water the adversary is splashing around.

The lesson here: When bashing your head doesn’t solve the problem, it’s best to try something else.   

Super Castlevania IV (SNES)

Drac’s tactics: Still does a lot of that teleporting business, but fortunately tries a more diverse array of magic including floating flame skulls, purple lightning pillars, and pink little orbs that fire little deadly peas. Unlike the Dracula in the previous entry though, this one doesn’t have a second form.

The lesson here: Always bring a second form.

Castlevania: Bloodlines (Sega Genesis)

Drac’s tactics: Again with the teleporting and fireball business. Luckily, he brought not just one extra transformation, he prepared two. The first one: a flying, swift-moving wraith that rains deadly beams. The last: a gargoyle demon with ferocious teeth and an extra mouth in the groin area for that extra intimidation factor.

The lesson here: A nightmarish appearance could only take you so far.

NEXT: How about a little bit of Symphony of the Night?