In 1986, Konami unleashed their Castlevania series onto the world. Since then, numerous Castlevania games have been released across many different systems. The story usually follows a similar formula. Dracula’s Castle has appeared somewhere in the world. It is filled to the brim with the creatures of the night, who are awaiting the order to go out into the world and cause havoc. They are being directed by some great evil, who is usually Dracula (though not always, as sometimes his castle gets hot-wired by another monster). It is up to the Belmont family of vampire hunters and their allies to destroy the evil within the castle.
Castlevania has a long and interesting history, with a story that is told over some of the most acclaimed video games ever made. We are here today to look into the secrets of one of the greatest video game franchises ever made. From the inappropriate artwork hidden in one of the games to the animated future of the franchise.
Here are 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Castlevania!
15. The Secret Naked Artwork
It used to be a lot easier to go poking through the files of PC games than it was with the ones you play on a console. Back in the early ’90s, the technology didn’t exist to allow you to go through the files of a cartridge based game (like the ones produced by Nintendo & Sega). When the 32-bit era brought CD based games, it became a lot easier for fans to go snooping where they didn’t belong.
If you were a kid in the late ’90s and you owned both a PC and either a PlayStation or Sega Saturn, then you might have been tempted to put one of the console games into the personal computer. This usually wouldn’t have produced anything but a few files that couldn’t be interacted with.
When it comes to the Sega Saturn port of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, then it would have been well worth the players’ time to put the disc into a PC. There exists a folder on the game disc that contains several pieces of artwork for the game. One of these pieces depicts a topless woman (the Succubus boss) in all of her nude demonic glory. This picture was hidden inside a “Teen” rated game.
14. The Game Of Thrones Connection
When it came to adapting the early A Song of Ice and Fire novels for the small screen, the creators of Game of Thrones were faced with the issue of multiple languages. They did not have the benefit of adapting a book written by J.R.R. Tolkien, as he was crazy enough to create whole languages for his races (alphabets and all). George R. R. Martin is not so proactive. He usually just said that a person was speaking in Dothraki or some other language and left it at that.
As such, the creators Game of Thrones hired linguists to create new languages for them. The man who created the High Valyrian language for the third season of the show is David J. Peterson. He was given free reign to create the language in whatever way he wanted. As a fan of the Castlevania games, he managed to include a reference to the series within High Valyrian. According to Peterson, the word for “Chain” in High Valyrian is “Belmon“. This was intended to be a reference to the Vampire Killer whip (which can be upgraded into a chain) that is wielded by the Belmont family in Castlevania.
13. The Erotic Castlevania Pachinko Machine
Things haven’t been going smoothly at Konami over the past couple of years. Hideo Kojima left the company after numerous behind-the-scenes issues, which has essentially killed the Metal Gear Solid franchise. There have also been news reports from anonymous sources within the company that talk about the horrible working conditions at Konami. The worst thing of all may be the fact that they seem to have stopped making video games altogether. Konami cancelled one of the most highly anticipated games of the year, P.T. They also seem to have stopped making games in the Silent Hill, Metal Gear Solid, and Castlevania franchises.
There is one big exception to this, for Konami make a lot of money from Pachinko machines. Pachinko is like a vertical pinball machine that has video game and gambling elements. Konami has created lots of popular Pachinko machines that contain arcade portions from their famous franchises.
As of the time of writing, the latest game in the Castlevania series is CR Pachinko Akumajō Dracula. The initial trailer for this Pachinko game caused controversy because it promised “Erotic Violence” and featured close-ups of the chests and rears of scantily clad women.
12. The Parody Castlevania Credits
The inclusion of credits at the beginning & end of a project is important. It is the equivalent of a paper receipt for your services. The credits prove whether someone was paid to work on a project or not. Due to their importance, it is rare to see the credits sequence messed with. The only show that gets away with it is The Simpsons, for when they create parody Halloween credits for the “Treehouse of Horror” episodes. David Chase wanted to have no credits during the ending of the final episode of The Sopranos but was not allowed to.
It seems that developers were a lot more lax about credits sequences in the old days of video gaming. A lot of times they were never even included. This is in stark contrast to today, where modern games have a lengthy credits sequence (god help you if you have ever sat through the ending of a Grand Theft Auto game).
In the Western release of the original Castlevania, the credits in the game were actually slightly altered names of famous horror icons. These included names like Christopher Bee (Christopher Lee), Green Stranger (Glenn Strange) and Barber Sherry (Barbara Shelley).
11. The Terrible Floppy Disc Castlevania
The first three Castlevania games on the NES are considered to be some of the best titles on the system. They set a new standard of quality for the horror/action genre. Despite all of the acclaim, the games are all brutally hard by the standards of today. They all suffer from significant knockback when you get hit (which generally sends you into a pit that kills you). You also cannot manoeuvre after you jump. This means it is very difficult to dodge oncoming enemy projectiles. Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest suffered from an awful translation, which meant that a lot of the clues that were intended to be in the text never actually made it into the game. You needed a strategy guide to know where you were going (as you weren’t likely to guess the “hold the gem while kneeling next to a wall” thing on your own).
With all of that being said, the Japanese versions of the first two Castlevania games were actually worse than the Western releases. This is because they came on floppy disks. In order for the game to load certain areas, the player would have to physically remove the disk, flip it over and reinsert it. This meant that you had to sit near the console in areas where you had to flip the disk a lot. At least the versions of the game we got were on cartridges, that never needed adjusting.
10. The Removed Nose Devil
In Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Alucard has a massive amount of powers at his disposal. Along with his incredible martial prowess, he is able to survive the attacks of the creatures of the night. As the game progresses, he gains the ability to use magic, as well as powers based on his vampiric heritage. By the end of the game, Alucard can turn into a wolf, a bat, and a cloud of poisonous mist that drains the life from his foes.
One of the many abilities in Alucard’s arsenal is his Familiars. These are magical creatures that can fight alongside him, as well as perform other tasks that they are suited for. These Familiars include the Devil, who can activate switches that are outside of Alucard’s reach. There is also the Faerie Familiar, who can cast healing spells in battle.
In the Japanese version of Symphony of the Night, there is another Familiar who was locked out of the English language releases of the game. It is called the Nose Devil and it looks like the regular Devil, except it has the face of an anime character. The face belongs to Boyacky, one of the villains from an anime series called Yatterman. This was most likely cut due to the cultural allusion being lost to most fans outside of Japan.
9. Simon & Dracula Like To Party
While Hideo Kojima is best known for the Metal Gear Solid series, he does have a few other titles to his name. Before the release of the original Metal Gear Solid for the PlayStation, he created two highly acclaimed point & click adventure games. The first of these was Snatcher, which was Kojima copying Blade Runner. The other was Policenauts, which was Lethal Weapon set in space.
Snatcher actually saw an English release on the Sega CD (though it was censored in parts). At one point during the game, you have to travel to a strip club. In both the Sega CD and PlayStation versions of the game, both Simon Belmont and Dracula can be seen having a drink in the strip club audience.
At the time of Snatcher’s release, Hideo Kojima had no relation to the Castlevania series. He was just a fan of the games and wanted to give them a shout out. In the 2010’s, Kojima would become involved with the production of the Castlevania: Lords of Shadow series.
8. The Lost Dreamcast Castlevania
Despite the fact that Castlevania used to be closely associated with Nintendo, Konami did release a game in the series on the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive. It was called Castlevania: Bloodlines and it featured non-Belmont vampire hunters as its main characters. The Sega Saturn would later receive a port of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, that featured an extra area and the ability to play as Maria.
Konami’s relationship with Sega was intended to continue with a Castlevania game on the Dreamcast. It was to be called Castlevania: Resurrection and it would star Sonia Belmont, the only canonical female member of the Belmont clan. Sonia had previously starred in a Game Boy game, called Castlevania Legends. In Resurrection, she would be one of two playable characters, alongside a new vampire hunter, named Victor Belmont.
From what little footage of the game exists, it seems that Castlevania: Resurrection resembled a more primitive version of Dark Souls. The game was cancelled due to the death of the Dreamcast and it was never ported to the PlayStation 2.
7. The Kid Dracula Series
The later games in the Castlevania series have managed to star Dracula in some form of another. In the Aria of Sorrow/Dawn of Sorrow games, you play as a high school student named Soma Cruz. It is eventually revealed that Soma is the reincarnation of Dracula after he suffered a final death in 1999. At the end of Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, the protagonist of the game (Gabriel Belmont) becomes Dracula. In the sequel, you got to play as the vampire version of Gabriel.
Konami had been making Dracula the protagonist of a Castlevania game as far back as 1990. They released Akumajō Special: Boku Dracula-kun on the Famicom, which was a parody of Castlevania where you played as a kid version of Dracula. It received a sequel on the Game Boy, which was actually localised and released in the West as Kid Dracula. The plot of the game follows a young Dracula as he battles Galamoth, a monster who steals all of Dracula’s servants. Dracula must travel the land in order to relearn all of his magic spells, so he can use them to defeat Galamoth.
6. The Castlevania Game We All Want
According to the chronology of the Castlevania series, Dracula and his castle kept reappearing from 1094 to 1999. In the Game Boy Advance game Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow, the series jumps to the year 2035. The main character of this game (and its sequel, Dawn of Sorrow) is a high school student named Soma Cruz. It is soon discovered that Soma has the ability to steal the souls of monsters and can use their powers. Soma eventually learns the truth behind his ability – he is, in fact, the reincarnation of Count Dracula, who had been slain for the last time in the year 1999.
It is revealed throughout the lore of the two Sorrow games that a great conflict was fought in 1999. It is referred to as the “Demon Castle War”. This war is described as a huge conflict between armies of soldiers and monsters. In the end, Julius Belmont (with the aid of Alucard) was able to kill Dracula for the last time. After Julius defeated Dracula, a ritual was performed that trapped the evil Count and his castle within a Solar Eclipse, preventing him from returning.
We have only read snippets about the events of this epic sounding conflict. So why has the Demon Castle War never been shown in a Castlevania game? The most important event in the series has been relegated to bits of text that you have to go looking for. The technology now exists to show large-scale conflicts in a video game. So why has Konami never made a Castlevania game set in the year 1999?
5. The Secret CD Track
One of the many reasons for the success of the various PlayStation consoles over the years is due to Sony putting emphasis on making them home entertainment machines, as well as gaming consoles. The original PlayStation played audio CDs alongside games. This was actually a major factor that made people interested in buying the console, as CD players were still fairly expensive at the time of release. The PlayStation 2 had a similar effect with its built-in DVD player. Finally, the PlayStation 3 could play Blu-ray discs (though Sony might have jumped the gun a little on that one, as it drove the price of the console through the roof).
Due to the original PlayStation games coming on a CD, some of them could be played as audio discs within a regular CD player. If you played Castlevania: Symphony of the Night as an audio disc, you would hear a secret track that was performed by Alucard’s voice actor (either the English or Japanese one depending on the version of the game). He would tell you not to play one of the tracks as it contained data from the game. You could play another secret song, however, that contained music that was not heard anywhere in the game.
4. The Yu-Gi-Oh Belmont
The most popular trading card game in the world is Yu-Gi-Oh. The series holds a Guinness World Record for the most amount of cards sold worldwide. The Yu-Gi-Oh card game and video game franchise are both owned and produced by Konami. As Konami are the owners of many different video game franchises, they have allowed for a lot of cameos of their most famous characters in Yu-Gi-Oh. There exists a card called “Tactical Espionage Expert” who is based off Solid Snake from the Metal Gear Solid franchise. Yu-Gi-Oh also has an entire deck based around the space ships from the Gradius series. This archetype is referred to as the “Konami Arcade Games” deck.
When it comes to the Castlevania franchise, there is a Yu-Gi-Oh card called “Vampire Hunter”. He is depicted wearing an outfit similar to Alucard’s from Symphony of the Night and is wielding a whip, like the members of the Belmont family use in the game.
3. Dracula Loves Kart Racing
There is nothing that can vindicate a villain more than a crossover video game. Bowser has been kidnapping Princess Peach since the ’80s, but Mario is cool with including him in the go-karting, tennis, golf and party games that are played in the Mushroom Kingdom. Sonic and his enemies even get in on the act during the Mario & Sonic at the (recent sporting event) series.
Konami has created a few crossover games over the years, that have starred characters from the various franchises that they own. Back in 2001, there was a Game Boy Advance title called Konami Krazy Racers. One of the playable racers in the game was Dracula, who took some time off from drinking the blood of the living to sharpen his 150cc skills. The game also included Grey Fox from Metal Gear Solid, as the rough and tumble antics of the professional go-karting world allow him to satisfy his masochism.
In 2011, Konami released a game called Krazy Kart Racing for mobile devices. It included Dracula from the Castlevania series, as well as characters like Pyramid Head from Silent Hill, the frog from Frogger and Sparkster from Rocket Knight Adventures.
2. The Lost Symphony Of The Night Endings
In Castlevania: Rondo of Blood, one of the playable characters was a young girl named Maria Renard. While she lacked the whip skills of Richter Belmont, she possessed powerful magical abilities based on the Shishin beasts of Chinese mythology. These are the Dragon, Tiger, Phoenix and Turtle, who show up a lot in anime & video games (most notably Beyblade). The child version of Maria can actually appear in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. If you die during the opening battle against Dracula, then Maria will appear and make you invulnerable for the rest of the fight.
An adult version of Maria shows up in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (and is actually playable in the Sega Saturn version of the game). Players have found some interesting unused audio files within the game that concern Maria. It seems that she was intended to have a much larger role in the game…
According to the unused audio, there was going to be a scenario where Maria interfered during the battle between Alucard and possessed Richter. Maria would then become possessed herself, forcing Alucard to fight her. During this battle, Maria would use four demons against Alucard. There is also unused audio for Alucard lamenting the deaths of both Richter and Maria, which would have made for a very dark ending indeed.
1. Castlevania Might Be Returning (As An Animated Series)
Castlevania is a property that seems tailor-made for a movie adaptation. We practically got a Castlevania movie back in 2004, when Van Hellsing was released. A film where a vampire hunter has to break into a castle and battle all of the famous movie monsters seems like an ideal premise. This, coupled with the famous name means that Castlevania should have been made long ago.
A Castlevania movie has been trapped in development hell since 2005, with no signs of a finished film appearing any time soon. The only real screen adaptation of Castlevania we have had is Simon Belmont’s appearance in Captain N. This version of the character was essentially Gilderoy Lockhart from Harry Potter and was not an ideal representation of the character.
It seems that we may be getting a Castlevania animated series soon. Fred Seibert, the producer of Adventure Time has hinted that he is working on a project that involves a video game property. It is known that his studio has owned the rights for a Castlevania adaptation for almost ten years now. Will the makers behind Adventure Time give us the Castlevania show that we have been clamouring for? Only time will tell.