Nintendo consoles

Best Castlevania Games on Nintendo Consoles

The Castlevania The series has a storied history on Nintendo consoles since the original game first arrived on the Japanese Famicom Disk System in 1986 and then the NES a year later. There may be one or two major releases from Konami’s vampire slayer catalog that are still missing on Nintendo platforms (we’re looking at you, Symphony of the Night), but the vast majority of the series can be found on Nintendo consoles. .

But where to start if you’re new to the Castlevania series? Which Castlevania game is the best? These are tough questions, but we’ve done our best to put together a ranked list of the best Castlevania games (on Nintendo consoles) below. The series has many high points, plus some very low points, and comes in two distinct flavors: the simpler right-to-left style of the original games or the more expansive brand of games produced by Koji Igarashi – sometimes referred to as “IGavanias”. – which wittily combined with Nintendo’s Metroid series to spawn an entire genre of “Metroidvania” video games.

For Switch owners, the Castlevania Anniversary Collection should obviously be your first stop, with the most recent Castlevania Advance Collection also containing one of the best games in the series. And there’s always Koji Igarashi’s unaffiliated Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night once you’ve exhausted all of the Belmonts below. The Switch version isn’t perfect, but it’s improved a lot since launch and is arguably the closest thing fans will get to Symphony of the Night on Switch until Konami decides to put Symphony of the Night on Switch.

We’ve included a few spinoffs and quirks, but that’s enough talk. Wipe away those bloody tears, and let’s kill us vampires.

Judgment of Castlevania (Wii)

Editor: Konami / Developer: Konami

Release date: November 18, 2008 (UNITED STATES) / March 20, 2009 (UK/EU)

We start with a spin-off. Set in the Castlevania universe, this 2008 Wii game brought together all your favorite characters and monsters for momentarily dull 3D one-on-one combat with ghastly controls and dodgy character designs. Judgment of Castlevania was panned by critics and fans upon its release and time has done nothing to heal the wounds this one has inflicted. A miserable bunch, indeed.

Castlevania: The Adventure (UK)

Castlevania: The Adventure (UK)

Editor: Konami / Developer: Konami

Release date: December 10, 1989 (UNITED STATES) / December 10, 1989 (UK/EU)

The first Game Boy entry in the series, and the one best forgotten, Castlevania: The Adventure is a turgid, terminal approximation to the series’ classic gameplay with bland, repetitive level design. Considering the limitations of the host console, you might be tempted to give it the benefit of the doubt, but the sequel would show what the platform was truly capable of and expose that for how awful it is. Do yourself a favor, skip this and start your portable Castlevania adventure with Belmont’s revenge.

Haunted Castle (Arcade)

Haunted Castle (Arcade)

Editor: Konami / Developer: Konami

Release date: February 1988 (UNITED STATES) / November 1988 (UK/EU)

Available on Switch as part of Konami Arcade Classics Anniversary Collection, Haunted Castle is a funny duck. Designed exclusively for arcades, it strikes a strange middle ground somewhere between homage, parody and port and sees Simon Belmont (with a sprite that measures a quarter of the screen) rescue his new bride from villainous clutches. County. The music is by far the best thing about it, but despite looking superficially “better” than the original, it’s an unfairly punishing arcade experience designed to empty your pockets of shiny coins. As such there’s not much fun to be had and ultimately it’s not a patch on the original.

If you are interested, you can check the differences between the original NES game, its VS Castlevania arcade port and haunted castle in this video.

Castlevania Legends (UK)

Castlevania Legends (UK)

Editor: Konami / Developer: Konami Computer Entertainment Nagoya

Release date: March 11, 1998 (UNITED STATES) / March 11, 1998 (UK/EU)

Without knowing this was the third Castlevania for Game Boy, you could be forgiven for thinking it was the second game before Konami perfected things with Belmont’s Revenge. But no, Legends of Castlevania was a late release for the aging console (1997 in Japan, 1998 in the West) – the third and final entry and a less than auspicious farewell to Nintendo’s 8-bit handheld. After the massive Symphony of the Night was released on PlayStation, that would have been an unenviable task, of course, but even taking into account the platform’s inherent limitations, it’s a intense disappointment. With poor animation, lackluster sprite work, and equally unimpressive level design, it’s hard to believe this came seven years after its fantastic predecessor.

Simply put, it wasn’t good enough back then, and while it’s a sought-after collector’s item these days, it only gets worse with age. Avoid.

Castlevania (N64)

Castlevania (N64)

Editor: Konami / Developer: Konami

Release date: December 31, 1998 (UNITED STATES) / March 11, 1999 (UK/EU)

A flawed stab at a polygonal 3D Castlevania, it’s not “bad” as much as “crushing average”. Kicking off several years into the N64 cycle in 1999, gamers expected better from a 3D game at the dawn of the new millennium. Camera issues were an ongoing problem for games of the time, but the best Castlevania titles have always been characterized by tight controls and Castlevania (yes, he avoided the ’64’ colloquially appended to his title) just wasn’t up to the task. We respect it – by far – but this one is probably best left in the crypt.

Castlevania: The Dark Legacy (N64)

Castlevania: The Dark Legacy (N64)

Editor: Konami / Developer: Konami

Release date: November 30, 1999 (UNITED STATES) / March 3, 2000 (UK/EU)

This second N64 entry was released less than a year after the first, and actually includes the entire first game as an unlockable bonus once you complete the prequel adventure. Castlevania: The Dark Legacy is essentially the game its predecessor should have been and would no doubt be a DLC release with countless fixes these days. It features plenty of gameplay tweaks and also uses the Expansion Pak for enhanced visuals, but paying top dollar for it after dropping cash for its predecessor earlier this year was a pain even for game enthusiasts. series. Those N64 carts were expensive at the time, and even in its polished form, Legacy of Darkness falls far short of ‘classic’ status, despite our residual affection for it.

Castlevania II: Simon's Quest (NES)

Castlevania II: Simon's Quest (NES)

Editor: Konami / Developer: Konami

Release date: December 1, 1988 (UNITED STATES) / April 27, 1990 (UK/EU)

Another game of which we keep good memories, in spite of him. Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest is obtuse, infuriating and downright cheap at times… but it has a killer soundtrack and changes things up beautifully by building on the original game with new ideas, including a day/night cycle and a non- an intriguing (if ultimately frustrating) linear approach. At the time this would have been an absolute nightmare, and we completely understand people losing patience with this, but if you’re not averse to sitting down with a walkthrough and using save states, we recommend giving Simon’s Quest another chance. The soundtrack alone is worth playing.

Vampire Slayer (MSX)

Vampire Slayer (MSX)

Editor: Konami / Developer: Konami

Release date: 1987 (UK/EU)

This MSX2 version of Castlevania was developed in tandem with the NES game and has many similarities as well as some fascinating differences from the game you’re probably familiar with. For example, it was not possible to implement scrolling in the MSX2 version, so each level is divided into unique screens that you move between. If you’re interested in a side-by-side comparison, check out this Splash Wave overview video.

So what does this do on a list of Castlevania games for nintendo consoles, you ask. Good, vampire slayer released on the Wii U Virtual Console in Japan, so while we may not have had the pleasure in the West, it technically appeared on a Nintendo platform. Ergo, it’s inclusion here.

Castlevania: Dracula X (SNES)

Castlevania: Dracula X (SNES)

Editor: Konami / Developer: Konami

Release date: September 1, 1995 (UNITED STATES) / September 1, 1995 (UK/EU)

Known as vampire kiss in the EU, Castlevania: Dracula X is a Super NES remake of the PC Engine original Rondo of Blood, and it doesn’t stand up to comparison with the game it’s based on, though it’s certainly not bad on its own. It offers solid, old-school Castlevania fare and is worth looking into if you’ve worked your way through better games in the series (notably the original Rondo of Blood). If you’re new to the series, we wouldn’t start here, though.

The art of the killer box, the mind.