The first trailer for Netflix’s upcoming animated series based on Konami’s Castlevania franchise was released yesterday. The official synopsis of the series will focus on “the last surviving member of the disgraced Belmont clan, trying to save Eastern Europe from extinction at the hand of Vlad Dracula Tepe himself.” It will begin streaming on July 7th.
While waiting for this blood soaked nostalgia to grace the small screen AND to brush up on your skills…I’ve compiled a list of sorts about the Castlevania game series.
First of all, while there IS a linear story, it is not told as such, the games jump around from period to period so you can pretty much find a game which sounds interesting and go from there.
At the moment, there are three main gameplay styles in the Castlevania series:
CLASSIC: This is old school, tough-as-nails action platforming for consoles like the NES and SNES. If you’re looking into the roots of Castlevania, the original NES game still holds up. From there, you could move onto III, IV, and 'Dracula X'. Also, 'Bloodlines' or 'Rondo of Blood' are good bets. (Rondo being one of my favorites.)
METROIDVANIA: Starting with 'Symphony of the Night', Castlevania titles took heavy inspiration from the Metroid series in level design, infusing the classic formula with a leveling system and special abilities. 'Symphony of the Night' is a great place to start, as is 'Harmony of Dissonance' for the Game Boy Advance.
HACK ‘N’ SLASH: This is the newest style of Castlevania game, in its own sub-series with its own continuity, 'Lords of Shadow'. Right now there are only two titles in the series, and if you’re into combo-based combat gameplay, you ought to pick up 'Lords of Shadow' for 360 or PS3.
The Netflix series looks to be based upon 'Castlevania III', but I’d recommend going for the twofer of 'Rondo of Blood/Symphony of the Night' as that will give you a taste of both styles and see which you prefer. Rondo will be slightly more complicated to track down. There was a PSP remake of Rondo called 'Dracula X Chronicles' that included the original Rondo as well as Symphony as unlockables. Personally, the METROIDVANIA titles ROCK and (AGAIN) you can’t go wrong with 'Symphony of the Night.' It’s quite excellent, one of my favorite games. Though at the same time you might spoil yourself jumping into such a game if you skip the older/harder ones. It depends on the kind of gamer you are, and what you most enjoy.
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