Every year around Halloween I get in full-on Castlevania mode. It's like clockwork, and this year is no different. It's one of my favorite franchises of all time, so what better topic to discuss for this weeks top 5 than my favorite titles in the Castlevania series.
I can't say I agree with it being the best in the series, nor do I consider it to be the best of the "traditional" linear Castlevanias, but it's still a fantastic game. This game is technically a remake of the original, and while it does look and control much better, it didn't do for me what Castlevania did. I'd wager that that has to do with the fact that I played it at 29 years old and not 9 years old, but there's no denying that Super Castlevania IV is a top-notch title.
Sadly, the game wasn't available to us in the States when it was released, and instead we got a "port" in Castlevania Dracula X on SNES. I put that in quotation marks because it's less a port than it is a different game with the same plot and characters. The game was redone in many different areas, and the consensus is that it's far inferior to the true Japanese version.
The game is naturally in the 'metroidvania' format, but the title that it most resembles in Castlevania II: Simon's Quest. While that may scare some of you off, it shouldn't. It's main similarity is that you have a town as a hub and visit other areas instead of having one giant castle to explore. It's kind of like having several mini-metroidvanias in one game. If you've never played the game, be warned that in order to reach the true ending you must rescue all the villagers scattered about. Once you do, you're able to explore Dracula's castle, and this comprises the second half of the game, because the castle is humongous and will take several hours to navigate.
You can't go wrong with any of the Castlevania games on DS, but if I had to choose just one, I would go with Order of Ecclesia.
Difficulty doesn't make a game bad, so don't let that deter you from experiencing a legendary game if you've never given it a shot.
So where do I even begin? It's the game that caused the gaming community to coin the term 'metroidvania'. Outside of the campy voice acting, I literally have zero complaints about this game. Even though I play it every year, I always find something new on every playthrough, whether it's an area that I had missed before, a familiar that I had never played around with, or a weapon I had never used, there's always something new to discover.
I try to keep individual posts on my Top 5s fairly short, and I'll cut myself off there. I could seriously write a dissertation on why Symphony of the Night is so incredible. If you'd like to hear myself and a couple buddies talk more in depth on the Castlevania series, you can listen to the latest episode of my podcast here.
Thanks for reading.