What Is The Best Castlevania Game of All Time?

Even though we just started playing the original Castlevania for the Together Retro game club less than a week ago, some of our members have already completed it.  And since there are so many other great games in the series on an array of different platforms, I wanted to ask the racketboy community about which Castlevania games stood out to them the most.

Again, in this poll, you can select up to five games in your vote.  Also, feel free to share your thoughts about your game choices in detail in the comments section below.  Also, if you’re up for the discussion, I’d like to hear your thoughts on what Castlevanias are the best for beginners and which ones are the most challenging.

What Are Your Top 5 Castlevanias?

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65 Comments

snkfan says:

My favorites are:

1. Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse (NES)
2. Castlevania (NES)
3. Rondo of Blood (PC-Engine and PSP via Dracula X Chronicles)
4. Super Castlevania IV (SNES)
5. Castlevania SOTN (PS1)

The original has a big place in my heart because it was the first one I played but Dracula’s Curse is definitely my favorite. Graphically, it surpassed the original Castlevania in every way and the music is still timeless. Konami’s(and it’s alter-ego Ultra Games) games had the best music of the 8-bit era.

Now that I finally have gotten to play the original Rondo of Blood (thanks to Dracula X on PSP) without having to import it on PC-Engine, I can honestly say that hands down, it is the last great Old-School Castlevania game. The graphics are excellent and the music…. need I say more?

Super Castlevania IV brought Castlevania in to the 16-bit era and it did it with a bang. The graphics, sound and music, and level design is timeless. All of the kiddies in here who are calling it slow have been spoiled by polygons.

As much as I love SOTN (especially, the music in that game as well), I can’t place it higher on my list because I prefer the old-school, more linear formula of the original games that preceded it. When I want to play Metroid, I break out my Metroid cartridge and play Metroid.

I am sick of the Metroidvania craze and all of the SOTN clones. It gets more and more annoying with each release. Yes SOTN was a new and fresh take on the series but personally I’m sick of leveling up, buying items, and exploring. I miss the old fashioned formula of fighting your way through the a linear stage to a boss and continuing on. Konami and Igarashi are really pissing me off.

Sorry kids, but no one wants to hear about how much you enjoyed Castlevania 64 when you were 11. For those of us who are old enough to remember 1987 when the original game was released in the US, I’m sure I am not alone when I say, where did our beloved Castlevania go?

Leonardo says:

Symphony of the Night. Unbeatable

Stressthesky says:

It’s no surprise that the most recent offerings on the DS ranks high as they take their template from one of the greatest Castlevanias, SotN. Plus, its probably the titles people have experienced most recently.
But did anyone else notice the insane increase in difficulty on Order of Ecclesia? Aria of sorrow, Dawn of sorrow and Portrait of Ruin were games I enjoyed and didn’t have a too hard time beating. But Order of Ecclesia kicks my ass the second I start up my game. After two hours of level grinding, Goliath still manage to kill me with three hits.

MG says:

Castlvania SOTN is the greatest Castlevania game known to man period! Too many things make this rare gem better then every other Castlevania game. Graphics, Music, Storyline, Enemies, Boss Battles, RPG element, Level design, etc. SCIV comes next then the rondo of blood one is third. The GBA ones are pretty good but pale in comparison to the SOTN.

ARDM says:

This argument will not end, mark my words. But as to the best Castlevania game, it would have to be the Symphony of the Night. Cause it’s the pivot and the reason for the the sequels.

Outrun says:

The MetroidVania games are pretty boring, once I finished Symphony of the night, I never touched it again. Too much back tracking, too much RPG elements, that’s not what Castlevania is about. They have ruined series with all this rubbish Super Metroid type of games.

The older games have a great replay value, I’ve played Castlevania IV and Bloodlines a million times and I still play them.

The best Castlevania game is between Castlevania IV and Castlevania Bloodines.

Kyle says:

How the hell is Rondo of Blood in 8th place?! And bloodlines in 10th?!

My top 5 are Bloodlines, SOTN, Rondo of Blood, super castlevania 4 and castlevania 3. Rondo of blood is like the freakin excalibur of CV games

JWK says:

Just saw this post. Interesting topic and very relevant to me as I have made it my mission to play every game in the series. Castlevania is by FAR my favorite franchise and–being 30 years old– I was actually around to remember when the first game dropped on NES in 1987. There were three games that came out in 2010 (Lords of Shadow on PS3/360, Harmony of Despair on XBLA, and Encore of the Night on iPhone) that obviously didn’t make this list. The list has 25 titles on it and I have played 19 of them, plus some others that aren’t here (spin-offs like Kid Dracula for gameboy, etc), so I believe my opinion is valid. Anyway here goes:

1. Rondo of Blood/Castlevania X: Chi no Rondo
2. Dawn of Sorrow/Aria of Sorrow (TIE!!!)
3. Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse
4. Super Castlevania IV
5. Symphony of the Night
6. Castlevania (NES)
7. Portrait of Ruin
8. Lament of Innocence
9. Castlevania (Sharp x68000)
10. Bloodlines

Castlevania is one of those rare franchises that can split down the middle, creating two hall-of-fame worthy game types: the linears and the metroidvanias. I love both styles dearly, but the linears win by an inch. It pains me to not put some of the other games on the list. Simon’s Quest is a game that everyone hates but I still love it to this day. It has probably the best and most memorable OST in video game history (toss up between CV2 and Mega Man 2). Curse of Darkness (like LOI) is maligned for being a 3d game, but both PS2 games were vastly superior to the N64 3D games and no amount of brainwashing will make me think otherwise. Castlevania II: Belmont’s Revenge is a great game with great music and probably one of the ten best games on the original GameBoy. Castlevania: Dracula X/Vampire Kiss on SNES is a great game. Yes, I said it. It’s a great game which needs to be evaluated by itself and not compared incessantly to its legendary source material. Rondo is a much better game, but the SNES installment has some of the best graphics of ANY 2D Castlevania game and while the level design was flawed, it’s still a fun playthrough. You’re the man if you can pass the game, rescuing both girls, too! Also, compare Rondo’s first “town-is-burning” level to Drac X’s and you’ll see the SNES’s superiority in this category. Put the color palette was limited and Rondo wins in graphics overall. Lastly, Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth is a fantastic (if niche) retro throw-back to those of us who fondly remember the 16-bit days. That’s all from me. Just a fan of Castlevania and a fan of the Racketboy site. Be good to each other.

ObsydiaN says:

For me, in a real Castlevania, you have to control an half naked Belmont family member, that only hold a whip, and that is going to kick Dracula’s ass in his own castle in one night, defeating his hord of monsters, demons and undeads.

Only one whip, one night, one Castle, and Dracula’s head. That all.
For me Symphony of the Night is even not a real Castlevania.
Let’s play older Castlevanias, you’ll see by your own, before voting for something you don’t really now.

frank m says:

Castlevania Symphony of the Night what B.S i played this POS and what game starts with all your powers then takes it away after the first fight drops you in a middle of now where and expects you to find everything leave metroid with metroid not castlevania… the vote is 66% with 1657 votes for this POS its ok i guess there’s people who like taking it up the A$$ that’s Ok so does your mom….

lucas says:

I voted only for Sotn and OoE.
no need to say more..

Zdendaa says:

For classical linear style I’d say the best are Rondo of blood and Bloodlines, SotN and Aria of Sorrow is for me the best map-system castlevania games….two different categories…

redsss429 says:

meh… id say castlevania aria of sorrow is the best game ive ever played… ah well

I’m a long time series fan, since the days of the NES, but after playing Dracula X Chronicles on the PSP back when that was released, and now recently after playing Rondo of Blood via emulation on DS (complete with sound), I have to say that bar none, Symohony of the Night and Rondo of Blood are neck and neck for the first position.

This is of course only my opinion, but when viewing the situation objectively and unbiased, it becomes aparent that those 2 games were groundbreakers in their time, and for all time.

Their will never, ever be another Symphony of the Night.
There will never, ever be another Rondo of Blood.

These are the 2 games that can be emulated, but never duplicated.
All the other games will forever be compared to these 2, and the rest of the 5 for this list are negligible for me.
But here’s my list anyway:

1 – Dracula X Chronicles (only cause it has SotN, Rondo AND enhanced Rondo)
(If it bothers you to have to unlock them you’re either too lazy or not a real Castle fan.)
2 – Symphony of the Night
3 – Castlevania II
4 – Castlevania III
5 – Super Castlevania IV

Symphony has so much depth, such great music, so many memorable moments and is oozing with so much quality that it’s a head scratcher for any Castle fan as to…”why don’t i have this game..?”

The same can be said with Rondo, although it’s not as deep with the equipment and abilities as Symphony, but it captures the essence of all previous, classic, 2d platformer castles very well and improved upon them (except for a couple of things like the 8 directional whip), had a very personal story and motivation to playing as Richter, awesome replayability, great challenge, and on, and on…(Plus it’s rare as unicorn shit, so that makes it even more special.)

Matter of fact, Rondo is my favorite castle, no question about it.
Doesn’t matter that it never made it stateside, i still get to play it on PSP, DSi, 3DS, or anywhere else that can house an emulator for it.

I just bought an original copy of it (for turbografx-16 (PCE) Super CD2) just so i could justify playing the shit out of it anywhere i want legally.

Take that Virtual console. haha!

JaWKe says:

@Simon Belmondo – You make a good point about Rondo’s rarity. There are tons of rare games in this world. Shoot, the racket boy website has lists and lists of rare games. But what’s even more rare is an uncommon or import game that’s actually as good as its legend and rarity suggest. Rondo is that game. I wanted to play Rondo so bad it hurt for YEARS. I was a medical/grad school student and knew that video games would distract with my studies. In 2010, I was scheduled to take a National Board examination and when I passed, I rewarded myself with a PSP. You can guess what my first game was… After lurking on Castlevania sites and lusting over screen shoots, I was finally able to play Rondo of Blood for the first time. Within a week, I beat the game (it’s really not very difficult for a Castlevania game). By week 3, I had mastered it, finding all four girls and completing the game 100%, finishing every branching path. I continued playing it nightly for at least an hour for about 4 months, to ensure I’d never forget how to complete it the best way. When I bought a Wii later that year, it (and Castlevania III) were the first games I purchased. When I bought a Vita and ditched my PSP, the first game I bought (again) was Dracula X Chronicles so that I could have Rondo and Symphony on the go with an AMAZING screen. I friggin’ love Castlevania: Rondo of Blood. I’d say it hits my top 3 favorite games of all time. Picking it up and playing it is like visiting a childhood friend. Some things may have changed, but with a little effort you can pick the conversation up where you left off. It’s simply a masterpiece of level design and responsive control. Richter is still the most fun Belmont to control and I doubt any game in the future is going to change that. Especially now that IGA isn’t working on the series and Mercury Steam’s “Lords of Shadows” subseries is such crap. Have you played Mirror of Fate HD? It’s atrociously bad. A complete hollow shell of former Castlevania glory. Oh well. We’ll always have the classics; and the top of the class is Rondo of Blood.

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