Today on GamaChronicles, we dive into the very beginnings of the Castlevania franchise.
GamaChronicles are week-long features of a topic, game series, or cultural icon, with drip-content released on a daily basis. Check back every day for updates.
Making a hit video game series is easier said than done. In the case of Castlevania, the original director never found the success he deserved, despite the legacy he left to the video game world.
Castlevania was directed by Hitoshi Akamatsu. An admirer of cinema, Akamatsu approached projects with a “film director’s eye”, and said the visuals and music for Castlevania were “made by people who consciously wanted to do something cinematic”.
With Castlevania, he wanted players to feel like they were in a classic horror film. It was originally released for the Family Computer Disk System in 1986.
Walkthrough of the original Castlevania:
Due to its success in Japan, it was released in cartridge format for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) under the title of Castlevania in 1987 and 1988 in North America and Europe respectively, and rereleased in cartridge format for the Japanese Famicom under its original title in 1993.
(More information about Hitoshi Akamatsu available on castlevania.fandom.com)
The international name of Castlevania was the result of Konami of America senior vice president Emil Heidkamp’s discomfort with the religious connotations of the title Akumajō Dracula, which he believed translated as “Dracula Satanic Castle.”
Castlevania was one of the first major platform games on the NES and a part of an unofficial second wave of video games for the NES. Its release coincided with the 90th anniversary of Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
The player-character Simon was originally named Peter Dante, a vampire killer who was a grandson of Christopher Dante. At the time, whip attacks were planned to be in multiple directions, an idea later seen in Super Castlevania IV. Other sub-weapons were planned, such as garlic, wooden stakes and an item that transforms the player-character into a werewolf, but they were not included in the game.
A game also titled Akumajō Dracula was developed for the MSX2 simultaneously. It was released a month after the Disk System game. It was released in Europe under the title Vampire Killer where it was the first game in the series to be released. The MSX2 version featured different areas and a different structure. (Wikipedia)
Walkthrough of the original Vampire Killer: