Netflix’s Castlevania Is Fantastic

This last week has been Castlevania heavy for me which is a real treat. I started playing the series when my brother wanted me to try Symphony of the Night on Playstation. Hard to go up when starting off on the greatest game in the series and one of the greatest games of all time, but I persist. Despite having no love for vampires or vampire-related mythology, Castlevania continues to have a strange hold on me and that includes the animated series on Netflix.

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If you haven’t watched it, do so now. Diane didn’t take to it, but she isn’t keen on gore to begin with and has no experience with the games. Without question, Netflix’s Castlevania is the greatest adaptation of a video game series to another medium yet. It goes its own path, but always with an eye on bringing any lore from the games or adding in Easter eggs to keep fans happy. It is hard to describe exactly, but unlike so many other adaptations of other games, this one doesn’t feel stupid.

It isn’t a perfect series. As much as I love the art, sometimes it falls apart. The first season is far too short. The second season, easily the best thus far, bogs down a bit in the middle as its introducing new characters and their backstories. The fight scene in the penultimate episode is worth it though.

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The second season rapidly expands the scope of the first. If you are only casually familiar with the video games, then you probably know Belmonts are good, Dracula is evil, and Alucard is a bad ass. In the second season, however, we are introduced to the hierarchies and power struggles in the vampire world beneath Dracula. I loved every second of the scheming and plotting of the new characters. Even when it felt painfully slow (largely because Castlevania, on the whole, is extra snappy with its half hour episodes), I enjoyed all of the new characters and what they did to broaden the scale and make way for the series to continue beyond the end of the season.

I do have one major complaint about the series though: it should’ve been live action. In the near-wake of Game of Thrones, every network and streaming service has announced their attempt to bring the next big epic fantasy series to our television. With season one, Castlevania was perfect for animation, but with season two and its intrigues, I wish this had been Netflix’s answer to Game of Thrones. I think it would work well, at least if given a budget.

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In addition to binging on the second season of Castlevania, I broke down and brought Castlevania: Requiem on Playstation 4. The includes Castlevania: Rondo of Blood and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. It’s a no frills port, but Konami can get away with it because I am sure most all of us would pay for similar ports of the excellent Game Boy Advance Castlevania games.

This is my first experience playing Rondo of Blood. Outside of having one of the best subtitles in the series, I only knew of it. Thus far, I am welcoming the challenge. I am really, really out of step with these kinds of games. Sure, I did play and beat Hollow Knight not too long ago, but both games (especially Rondo) are far less forgiving and much more limited.

Symphony of the Night is still perfect, of course. This is either the third or fourth time I have purchased the game. I rarely enjoy replaying games I have been, but this one is a classic that I never mind retreading.

With plenty of Castlevania left to play and season three of the series renewed, I have more than enough to look forward to! If Konami could just do a collection like Capcom has done with Mega Man, I’d be most pleased.


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