Koji "IGA" Igarashi
|Console/platform of origin||Nintendo Entertainment System (Famicom Disk System)|
|First installment||Castlevania (1986)|
|Latest installment||Castlevania Advance Collection (2021)|
|Article on Wikipedia||Castlevania (universe)|
The Castlevania universe (悪魔城ドラキュラ, Demon Castle Dracula) refers to the Super Smash Bros. series' collection of characters, stages, and properties that hail from the famous dark-fantasy series created by Konami, inspired by Bram Stoker's novel Dracula. The series is the second of Konami's to see representation through characters and stages, following Metal Gear. Its logo is a silhouette of Dracula's Castle (often referred to as the titular Castlevania), which most protagonists of the series venture through on a quest to slay Dracula.
The franchise's origins took inspiration from many public domain figures such as Bram Stoker's Dracula, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, and the Greek myth of Medusa, as well as the Universal Pictures monster movies of the early-to-mid twentieth century. Now often considered to be a classic series of action platformers based on traditional Gothic horror elements, the Castlevania series made its debut on the Famicom Disk System as Akumajō Dracula ("Demon Castle Dracula"), before being released internationally on the Nintendo Entertainment System as Castlevania. However, the franchise would debut through the game's sister release for the MSX2 in Europe instead, Vampire Killer. The game follows vampire hunter Simon Belmont of the Belmont clan, a bloodline devoted to defeating Dracula whenever he is resurrected; armed with his bloodline's legendary whip, Vampire Killer, he embarks on a journey through Dracula's Castle to defeat the Count himself. This first installment would notably introduce the concepts of the Belmont clan's continued bloodline, the series' mascot being Simon, and a single warrior (though in later installments, occasionally several) venturing to Dracula's Castle in order to slay him. Simon would later appear in the game's direct sequel, Simon's Quest. Originally released in 1987, it followed Simon's journey to undo a curse placed on him following Dracula's death. Since these two titles, Simon has most prominently appeared in retellings of the original title, notably Super Castlevania IV, Haunted Castle, Castlevania: The Arcade, and Castlevania Chronicles.
Following this, the series would see other installments that followed predecessors of Simon, notably Trevor Belmont in Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse, and Christopher Belmont in Castlevania: The Adventure, its sequel Castlevania II: Belmont's Revenge, and its remake Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth. These installments follow the basic premise of the original game, following a Belmont on his journey to slay Dracula. Dracula's Curse is notable in being one of the first titles in the series chronology, introducing such concepts as alternate routes to Dracula and additional playable characters. After these titles, the franchise would begin to see fewer releases on Nintendo hardware for some time, with other hardware boasting features not present in that produced by the company. Games released earlier in this period are Castlevania: Bloodlines and Castlevania: Rondo of Blood, which both instead followed descendants of Simon, such as Richter Belmont. Of these, Bloodlines would see a normal release internationally on the Sega Genesis, while the entry more significant to the series' development, Rondo of Blood, would see a Japan-exclusive release on the Super CD-ROM² System, an add-on to the internationally-released Turbografx-16 (known in Japan as the PC Engine CD). This installment boasted many features that would be incorporated into later titles, such as wholly separate playable characters (as opposed to the switching system of Dracula's Curse) and additional techniques for the playable characters beyond basic jumping and attacking skills. This game would later see an international release when adapted for the SNES as Castlevania: Dracula X, a 2.5D remake through The Dracula X Chronicles in 2007 and a release on the Wii's Virtual Console service in 2010 (albeit the original Japanese language version).
Following Rondo of Blood, the franchise would begin to deviate from its side-scrolling platformer roots and expand into a subseries now referred to as the "Metroidvania" genre, notable for sharing aspects with Nintendo's Metroid series such as a more expansive, interconnected map, secret areas and upgrades, and greater control over the player character and their abilities. The first of these installments was the sleeper hit Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, which followed Alucard, the half-human, half-vampire son of Dracula who previously debuted in Dracula's Curse, on an adventure through two versions of Dracula's Castle to defeat his father and avenge his mother's death, all the while attempting to save Richter from his possession by the dark priest Shaft. This entry is especially notable for the incorporation of RPG elements akin to Simon's Quest into the formula, in which Alucard would gain experience and level up by defeating enemies. Originally conceived as a side story, director Koji Igarashi thought to change up the formula and break conventions for Symphony of the Night after seeing a surprising amount of previous titles in bargain bins, which he attributes to the games’ short length and unnerving difficulty. He aimed to create a game that was approachable for the average player and had more staying power, and forgoing the Belmont family name and Vampire Killer whip gave Igarashi and his team greater freedom in designing the Castlevania game they envisioned. Finally, this title is notable for the change in character designs courtesy of Ayami Kojima, who later redesigned Simon for Castlevania Chronicles and now exemplifies the current style for the series. Symphony of the Night has been ported to several systems since its initial release, starting with the Sega Saturn in 1998 (albeit exclusively in Japan) and followed up by a retranslation in The Dracula X Chronicles.
The series would also see ventures into the third dimension with two installments released for the Nintendo 64 around this time, these installments being Castlevania 64 and Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness. However, both of these titles were panned by critics and fans due to their poor controls and a troublesome camera and are considered two of the worst games in the entire franchise. Due to the greater critical success of Symphony of the Night, the Metroidvania format would be used for the majority of subsequent installments on the Game Boy Advance and the Nintendo DS, starting with Circle of the Moon in 2001 and concluding with Order of Ecclesia in 2008. Igarashi would be directing these portable titles up until the commercial failure of Order of Ecclesia, wherein he would leave Konami in 2014 citing creative differences in his and the company's directions. He would later found his own studio, ArtPlay, and crowdfund a spiritual successor to the Metroidvania entries, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, which released in June 2019 to positive reviews. The success from both this game and its 8-bit companion title Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon has let to the creation of the Bloodstained series, with continuous updates for the former, and a sequel for the latter in 2020. Following the lukewarm reception to Lords of Shadow 2 in 2014, and Konami transitioned away from AAA studios towards mobile and pachislot games between 2014 and 2015, the Castlevania series had remained completely dormant and has only seen a handful of compilation re-releases: Castlevania Requiem in October 2018, Castlevania Anniversary Collection in May 2019, and Castlevania Advance Collection in September 2021. The series has also received further pachislot releases, and Grimoire of Souls for smartphones in 2019.
Beyond its success as a 2D adventure series, the series would release later 3D installments to somewhat mixed success. Following the releases of two hack-and-slash-esque games released to the PlayStation 2, a spin-off subseries, Lords of Shadow, was introduced in 2010 by MercurySteam and Kojima Productions, following a separate chronology from the previous titles. Many other spinoff titles and related properties have also been released, including Kid Dracula, Castlevania Judgment, and Harmony of Despair. The franchise also received an animated series covering the events of Castlevania III and Castlevania: Curse of Darkness with Trevor Belmont as the protagonist, released on Netflix in 2017 and with its second season premiering in October 2018, a third in March 2020, and a final season in May 2021. Castlevania: Nocturne, another anime series focusing this time on Richter and Maria during the French Revolution, was announced later in 2022.
This game marked the much-anticipated debut of the highly-requested Castlevania universe, with the addition of two fighters, an Assist Trophy, a new stage with a handful of cameos, 34 total music tracks, and a boss character. This was the first new third-party universe to be featured in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and the only one not introduced through DLC.
- 66. Simon (Unlockable): The main character of several Castlevania titles, including the first, and often considered the original mascot of the series, Simon appears as an unlockable newcomer, being revealed during the August 2018 Smash Direct. In battle, he fights using his iconic whip, the Vampire Killer, which grants his normal attacks massive reach at the cost of speed. His attributes and sound effects have been faithfully transplanted from his original games into Smash, including his strut, stilted jumps and aerial mobility. His special moves incorporate classic sub-weapons, including the Axe, Cross, and Holy Water, functioning exactly as they did in the original titles. His Final Smash is an Item Crash called Grand Cross, which seals any captured opponents in a coffin before unleashing a flurry of light upon them.
- 66ε. Richter (Unlockable): The protagonist of Rondo of Blood and one of the many descendants of Simon debuts as an unlockable Echo Fighter of Simon, revealed alongside him in the August 2018 Smash Direct. Like the other Echo Fighters, Richter’s voice clips, taunts, and victory animations are all his own. He performs identically to his base character, but with one notable difference, being the properties of their down special, Holy Water. Many of Simon’s attacks, such as down tilt, up special, and Grand Cross, are actually derived from Richter’s moveset from Symphony of the Night.
- Dracula: Dracula, the recurring chief antagonist of the series, appears as a boss in Classic Mode and World of Light. His boss fight has two main phases, both with drastically different designs and attack patterns. His boss fight is the only one to feature two phases.
- Dracula's Castle (Starter): The series's titular castle appears, taking inspiration from its appearance as a final boss arena in various Castlevania games. Enemies and bosses from the series appear here as background characters, including:
- Carmilla: A high ranking vampire in Dracula's court.
- The Creature & Flea Man: Frankenstein's monster and a mutant beast (sometimes referred to as Igor).
- Death: Dracula's confidant and right-hand man.
- Medusa: A recurring monster often found within the gardens of Dracula's Castle.
- Mummy: A recurring monster that is often either a powerful boss or common enemy type.
- Werewolf: A recurring monster that is often either a powerful boss or common enemy type.
World of Light Sub-World
- Dracula's Castle: Based on the titular castle from the series, Dracula's Castle appears as a sub-world in The Dark Realm. The map is based on its appearance in the original Castlevania, with the world's mechanic involving firing cannonballs at ghosts blocking the path. Cannonballs can bounce off of gold walls depending and their angle and the player can reset the room using an hourglass if they aren't satisfied with the result. Dracula appears as the boss of the sub-world. Daisy, Wario, Ridley, Ken, Dark Pit, Robin, and Richter can be unlocked here, with Richter only appearing once the player defeats all ghosts.
- Death's Scythe: Recurring endgame boss Death's weapon, it can be used to instantly KO heavily damaged fighters when inputted like a smash attack.
- Alucard: The main protagonist of Symphony of the Night, a minor ally within other installments, and Dracula's own son. When summoned, he wields the Crissaegrim, can transform into a bat, and can evade attacks by assuming mist form or backdashing. He can be KO’d.
Castlevania received a total of 34 tracks and remixes, the third most (behind Tekken and Fatal Fury) of any debuting major franchise in Ultimate.
Sakurai noted that Castlevania's music was especially popular among the music composers. As such, Castlevania received 13 remixes in Ultimate, more new remixes than any other universe except Mega Man and Fatal Fury.
- Vampire Killer: A remix of the theme of the first level in Castlevania, and a recurring theme in the franchise. Heard in Simon's character trailer.
- Starker / Wicked Child: A remix of the second and third level themes in Castlevania.
- Out of Time: The theme of the Clock Tower stage, the final level of Castlevania.
- Bloody Tears / Monster Dance: A medley of the themes that play during the day and night in Castlevania II: Simon's Quest. This song was accidentally leaked by Nintendo ahead of its official announcement.
- Cross Your Heart: A remix of the theme of the first stage of Haunted Castle, an arcade remake of the original Castlevania.
- Beginning: A remix of the theme for the first stage of Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse.
- Aquarius: A remix of the theme that plays in the Sunken City of Poltergeists stage in Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse.
- Divine Bloodlines: A remix of the theme of the first stage from Castlevania: Rondo of Blood. This remix borrows elements from other versions of the theme, such as Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin, Castlevania: Dracula X, "Bloodlines Bequeathed" from Castlevania (N64), and "Blood Relations" from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. Heard in Richter's character trailer.
- Iron-Blue Intention: A remix of the theme of the fourth stage of Castlevania: Bloodlines.
- Dance of Gold: A remix of the theme of the Alchemy Laboratory from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.
- Lost Painting: A remix of the theme of the Reverse Caverns, Anti-Chapel, and Forbidden Library from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.
- Awake: A remix of the theme of the Catacomb stage from Castlevania: Circle of the Moon.
- Lament of Innocence: A remix of Leon Belmont's theme from Castlevania: Lament of Innocence, which plays on the second floor of the Pagoda of the Misty Moon; it also includes "Dracula's Theme" from Super Castlevania IV.
Tracks sourced directly from the Castlevania games.
- Vampire Killer: Simon's theme, sourced from Castlevania Judgment, which itself is a remix of the first stage theme from Castlevania.
- Nothing to Lose: A remix of Dracula's first phase boss theme from Castlevania, sourced from Castlevania: Harmony of Despair.
- Black Night: A remix of Dracula's second phase boss theme from Castlevania, sourced from Castlevania: The Arcade.
- Dwelling of Doom: The theme played inside mansions, sourced from the Famicom Disk System version of Castlevania II: Simon's Quest.
- Can't Wait Until Midnight: A remix of Julius Belmont's theme from Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow, which itself is a remix of the final stage theme from Haunted Castle; it also contains "Heart of Fire" from the original Castlevania. Sourced from Castlevania: Harmony of Despair.
- Mad Forest: Sylpha's theme, sourced from Castlevania Judgment, which itself is a remix of the forest area theme from Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse.
- Simon Belmont Theme: The theme played during the first stage and the final boss, sourced from Super Castlevania IV.
- Simon Belmont Theme (The Arcade): A remix of the theme played during the first stage and the final boss from Super Castlevania IV, sourced from Castlevania: The Arcade.
- Slash: A remix of the theme of stage 4' from Castlevania: Rondo of Blood, sourced from Castlevania: Harmony of Despair.
- Dance of Illusions: Dracula's theme, sourced from Castlevania Judgment, which itself is a remix of Dracula's boss theme from Castlevaia: Rondo of Blood.
- Dracula's Castle: Alucard's theme, sourced from Castlevania Judgment, which itself is a remix of the theme of the first area of Dracula's Castle in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.
- The Tragic Prince: A remix of the Clock Tower theme from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, sourced from Castlevania: Harmony of Despair.
- Ruined Castle Gallery: A remix of the Castle Corridor from Castlevania: Aria of Shadow, sourced from Castlevania: Harmony of Despair.
- Jet Black Intrusion: The theme of the first stage, sourced from Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow.
- Crash in the Dark Night: A remix of a boss theme from Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow, sourced from Castlevania: Harmony of Despair.
- Ripped Silence: A remix of a boss theme from Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin, sourced from Castlevania: Harmony of Despair.
- Hail from the Past: The theme of Sandy Grave, sourced from Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin.
- Jail of Jewel: The theme of the Great Stairway, sourced from Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin.
- Twilight Stigmata: A remix of the theme played in the opening movie and in the entrance of Dracula's Castle from Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia, sourced from Castlevania: Harmony of Despair.
- Jet Black Wings: A remix theme played in certain parts of Dracula's Castle in Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia, sourced from Castlevania: Harmony of Despair.
- Go! Getsu Fuma: A remix of a theme from Getsu Fūma Den, sourced from Castlevania: Harmony of Despair.
- Victory! Castlevania Series: A remix of the stage clear theme from the original Castlevania.
Games with elements appearing in the Super Smash Bros. series
The Castlevania universe has media represented throughout the Super Smash Bros. series with a total of 27 games. The latest game represented in this universe is Castlevania: Grimoire of Souls, released on September 20, 2019.
- Castlevania is one of three universes with multiple playable characters in which none of them have made a non-playable appearance in the Smash series prior to their playable debuts. The other two are The Legend of Zelda and EarthBound.
- It is also the only one with this distinction not to be introduced in the original Super Smash Bros.
- With the playable appearances of Simon and Richter, Castlevania is the first third-party franchise to have more than one playable fighter (the others are Street Fighter and Final Fantasy) and the only one to debut with more than one character.
- It is also the first third party franchise to have a clone character (the other is Street Fighter).
- It is also notable for having both a character and their clone debut within the same installment, something that has not occurred since Melee with Marth and Roy.
- Additionally, Castlevania, Mario, Pokémon, and Fire Emblem are the only universes to have multiple playable characters in their debut Smash game.
- Castlevania is the third of five third-party series represented in Smash which debuted on a Nintendo console, the others being Mega Man, Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and Banjo-Kazooie.
- Out of these franchises, they all debuted on the NES except for Banjo-Kazooie.
- Castlevania is the only fighter-based third-party franchise to have an item: in this case, it has Death's Scythe.
- This also makes it the only third-party franchise with both an Assist Trophy and an item.
- Castlevania and Bayonetta are the only two universes with significant religious design elements to introduce a playable fighter.
- Of the two, Castlevania is the only universe which has their fighters use religious-themed attacks.
- Castlevania is the only new third party franchise to have a fighter introduced in Ultimate's base roster.
- Castlevania is one of three universes with multiple characters to have all of them originate from different games, the other two being Animal Crossing and EarthBound.
- Currently, Castlevania is the latest third-party universe to gain a playable fighter in Super Smash Bros. to feature more than one playable fighter.
- Article on the Castlevania Wiki.
|Fighters||Simon (SSBU) · Richter (SSBU)|