Five Minute Fanboy - Castlevania
Want to impress your fellow neckbeards with your outstanding knowledge of gaming history? Our 'Five Minute Fanboy' series will teach you the best ways to blag your way through any conversations you encounter about a classic series. This guide will give you plenty of ammo to stick in comments threads across the entire internet and come out sounding like Yoda. We have also provided some handy ‘blanket statements’ you can make when you want to come across as an arrogant know-it-all, which if you’re having a pissing competition about videogame knowledge, you absolutely DO.
PLAY SYMPHONY OF THE NIGHT.
There’s no way of getting around this, as it is now available on almost every format for a pretty reasonable price. Regarded as the series’ highest watermark, Symphony of the Night is the game that put the ‘Vania’ into ‘Metroidvania’, combining Nintendo’s legendary explore ‘em up with the Castlevania setting reinvented the series and happened to create one of the greatest games of all time in the process. It is so easy to get a copy these days that not playing will show up a massive hole in your knowledge immediately and expose you as a poser and/or a fraud.
- “The XBLA version has had animations removed due to Microsoft’s ridiculous limiting of filesize for Arcade games when it was released, therefore it is RUBBISH.”
- “The Sega Saturn version was obviously the best version. It had extra areas and you can play as Maria!”
- “Die, monster! You don’t belong in this World!”
TELL EVERYONE YOU’VE PLAYED RONDO OF BLOOD.
You've almost certainly never played Rondo of Blood, the game set directly before Symphony of the Night and is arguably the finest of the ‘traditional’ style Castlevania titles. It's a bloody brilliant action platformer, full of memorable boss fights, a clever branching level system and, thanks to the PC Engine CD format, some of the raddest music in a series known for having rad music. You can get it on the Wii Virtual Console, as well as an excellent 3D redux on the PSP (which also includes the original PC Engine version, and a full bonus copy of Symphony of the Night!).
- “UGH! The SNES version?! There was so much cut from that version it is barely the same game! Vampire’s Kiss? Vampire’s PISS, more like!”
- “Sorry mate, what was that? My apologies, but I couldn’t hear you over the RADICAL CD QUALITY SOUNDTRACK of the PC Engine original.”
- “Real talk, brother. That PSP version might be one of the best value collections this side of The Orange Box.”
CASTLEVANIA, 3D AND YOU.
Castlevania has had a fairly rough relationship with the third dimension. It is possible to feign an experts opinion on the series by simply dismissing ALL 3D Castlevania games outright, but a truly advanced Castlevania fan could see this as the opinion of an amateur. The N64 games are ropey at best, but with a strange b-movie charm, great music and full of daft shit like skeletons on motorcycles. The PS2 releases, however, are actually pretty good. Some repetitive level design aside, they actually follow the 'Metroidvania' formula really closely, with some exceptional boss fights thrown in for good measure.
- “The Playstation 2 Castlevania games are some of the most underrated games on the console and are literally just a ‘Metroidvania’ game in 3D.”
- “How can you not like the N64 games? Every time you buy something from the shop vendor you’re literally selling your soul to the Devil! Genius!”
- “The cancelled Dreamcast one would definitely have been the finest 3D Castlevania game.”
THE NES TITLES.
The original Castlevania game is still a fun, if really fucking difficult, little platform game. Six levels, six bosses and a bunch of floating medusa heads to knock you to your death on every jump. Castlevania 3 stands the test of time a bit better, featuring the multiple route gameplay that became a series norm, a few possible endings and the ability to change between characters with different abilities, including Alucard and a particularly brilliantly named pirate. The second Castlevania game is pretty rubbish, sadly. Impressive as an early attempt as a Metroid clone, but a combination of the most irritating day/night cycle I’ve ever seen and translation so bad the games’ few cryptic puzzles might as well be written in fucking Sumerian. It is almost impossible without some kind of walkthrough.
- “I’ve completed the original Castlevania without losing a single life, so you can stick your Dark Souls up your arse.”
- “I’ve finished Castlevania 2 without losing a life OR using a guide, so you can stick Dark Souls AND an understanding of the English language up your arse.”
- “Without question, my favourite character in the Castlevania series is the pirate - Grant DaNasty.”
CASTLEVANIA ON THE GO.
There’s been quite a few Castlevania games on handheld consoles, but they hit an absolutely killer streak with the release of the GBA. Circle of the Moon, Harmony of Dissonance and Aria of Sorrow are all bloody brilliant games, adding their own unique little combat systems to the Symphony of the Night formula. A couple of games were released on the DS, too. Both are rad, apart from the fact that for some reason they gave long serving series artist the boot, instead settling for some dull, generic anime nonsense throughout the game and box art. A shame.
- “I think that [GBA Castlevania game] is better than Symphony of the Night. Come at me, bro.”
- "Ayami Kojima’s art is so beautiful, I’ve got the box art to ‘Curse of Darkness’ tattooed onto my arse. What were they thinking?”
- “I’ve got a copy of Circle of the Moon superglued into a Gameboy Micro and it has revolutionised the way I take a shit.”
“LORDS OF SHADOW”.
The ‘Lords of Shadow’ games are made by MercurySteam, the Spanish developer who was previously best known for the pretty forgettable Clive Barker’s Jericho. So far, two entries have been made into this iteration, and both have been pretty fantastic. They dropped the tried and tested (and admittedly, becoming quite tired) ‘Metroidvania’ format and instead took a much more action-based approach, like God of War, Bayonetta and similar titles. The story is a total reboot of the franchise, and they’ve actually created a really interesting take on the lore. Now, depending on what kind of Castlevania fan you’re trying to pass yourself off as, you can either really enjoy these games (if you’re a sensible sort) or consider them the creative death of the series (if you’re the kind of person who comments on YouTube videos). Your call.
- “Action be damned! My favourite part in Lords of Shadow is when Patrick Stewart says ‘’THE DEAD BOG’ and somehow doesn’t crease up laughing.”
- “The recent 3DS title is better than any of the 2D Castlevania games IGA has put his name to recently.”
- “Neither of these games is worthy of the Castlevania name! Konami! Get IGA to make Symphony of the Night 2!”
Memorise all of the above and you’re basically a qualified expert in all things Castlevania. However, just in case you run up against someone who a) has actually played every single game in the series twice or b) has also read this article, and is running his game on you, remember these little soundbites you can shout to show off your incredible, encyclopedic knowledge of Castlevania.
“What about Castlevania: Bloodlines, eh?”
“What are you talking about? There was no Nintendo Wii 3D fighting game based on the series! That would be awful! They’d never do something so stupid!”