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Castlevania (Part 4) - Angry Video Game Nerd - Episode 82

The Nerd: Life fuckin' sucks. And so does this game. After Castlevania on Nintendo 64, I'd given up hope for the next great game in the series. Several years later, I realized, I've been looking in the wrong place.

Castlevania: Bloodlines[]

The Nerd: Like I said before, I stuck with the Nintendo consoles, and I missed out on the other Castlevania games. Like Castlevania: Bloodlines on the Sega Genesis.

(montage of "Castlevania: Bloodlines" with music)

The Nerd: That's what ya call Castlevania. Traditional side-scrolling action. Familiar, yet fresh. It takes place all over Europe, rather than just strictly in Transylvania. You get a choice of two characters: John Morris and Eric LeCarde. I wonder what happened to the Belmonts? Who are these people? Well supposedly, John Morris is the son of Quincy Morris from Dracula, the Bram Stoker novel. (cut to him IRL) That just blew my mind! It's like now we're bringin' the novel into it? So, the whole canon of the games, is now... with the canon of the book, and... it's like takin' two cannons and puttin' 'em together.

(cannons fire)

The Nerd: Anyway, this is a great game for the Sega Genesis library. But it's still not on par with Castlevania IV. Whipping in eight directions, the moonwalking, all that's gone. The graphics, the sound, the gameplay, it's all really good, but it's not AS good.

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night[]

The Nerd: Then I turned to the PlayStation, the console which I underestimated so much. There I found Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. (the game shows Alucard jumping across the drawbridge as it rises) Holy hot damn, this is fuckin' good.

(montage of "Castlevania: Symphony of the Night" with music)

The Nerd: The graphics and sound are superb, but there is some pretty cheesy voice acting.

Richter Belmont: Die monster. You don't belong in this world!

Dracula: What is a man? A miserable little pile of secrets. But enough talk... Have at you!

The Nerd: The game's a sequel to Dracula X. In the opening scene, you play as Richter Belmont battling Dracula. The rest of the game you play as Alucard, who's powerful as fuck. Anything that stands in your way, no matter how big, one hit and it just fuckin' explodes. That is until you meet Death, who takes all your weapons away. Now, Alucard sucks. All you get is this dinky sword, and every enemy takes like nine million hits to kill.

The Nerd: As you go through the game, you gain powerups and upgrade your weapons, which is like many games, but to start you off with the good weapons and then take them away, is just fuckin' teasing you. Alucard has this backward dash, but I've never found a reason to use it, other than to go slightly faster. And what are these - skeletons shooting lasers out their cocks?

The Nerd: The one thing I truly hate about this game, is that whenever you die, you go back to the main menu. In the other games, ya get a continue screen. That's all you need, right? But here, you gotta wait for the screen to melt... (screen melts) then you gotta stare at the Game Over screen...

Death: Game... Over!

The Nerd: (groans) Ugh, come on.

(Dracula laughs evilly and the Nerd impatiently drinks a bottle of Rolling Rock)

The Nerd: (annoyed) This takes forever.

The Nerd: And then it's back to the title screen. Hit Start... then select the file... wait for the screen to load... and then pick your saved game. "ANALBAG", that's me. Then ya gotta wait for the game to load. (impatiently) Come on! (game resumes) And finally you continue from your last save point. That... is fucking atrocious.

The Nerd: The boss battles are epic. In the end ya have to fight a dark priest named Shaft. But what's up with the name? Seriously, Shaft?

Female Chorus: Shaft!

John Shaft: Damn right!

The Nerd: And after that, you fight Dracula, and... just... uh... wow. Holy shit.

The Nerd: The last and most important thing I have to address with this game, is its gameplay style. It's the major breakthrough what sets it apart from the previous games in the series. Instead of the simple linear style, it goes for a Metroid style, with endless forks in the road, save points, and a map system. It's exactly like Metroid, and that's why many fans refer to it as Metroidvania.

The Nerd: It also has some RPG elements. By fighting monsters, ya earn experience points, and when you get enough experience points, you level up your power. There's all kinds of potions, and items, and armor, weapons, and sub-weapons... and, this is a HUGE game. It takes hours to get through the castle. Does Dracula really need such a big place to live? And if that's not enough, you have to go through the whole castle all over again, upside down.

The Nerd: Anyway, this ​Metroid style of Castlevania would become the dominant style of Castlevania for the rest of time. Sure - there was a 3D game every now and then, and it pretty much took on every style imaginable, but never again was there another classic linear Castlevania. The console versions continued to experiment, while the portable versions followed Symphony of the Night as the example. Pretty much the whole games take place inside the castle. I missed all that spooky scenery. The old games had cemeteries and forests. I mean, since when did the whole game have to take place inside the castle? Since Symphony of the Night, that's when. This is where Castlevania seemed to become more distant from the classic games, and gravitate away from what I originally loved about it. They have so much text, and the storylines were getting ridiculous. In Dawn of Sorrow, Dracula's castle emerges from a solar eclipse in Japan. I thought Japan had enough trouble with Godzilla stomping around; now they have Dracula too? By the way, that's a nice cover isn't it? It's like a game within a game.

The Nerd: Anyway, Symphony of the Night is often considered to be the best of the whole series. While I think it's an amazing game, my favorite is still Castlevania IV. The control was so satisfying in that game. Alucard's sword is not as much fun as Simon Belmont's whip. Sure - there is a way to unlock Richter Belmont, but this is only after you've already beaten the game. You can't whip in all directions, but you can do that little twirly thing, and Richter has some neat special moves.

(Richter Belmont is shown doing special moves.)

The Nerd: But I still prefer the feel of Castlevania IV, and being in total control of my whip. But for the most part, I think the challenge is better. In Symphony of the Night, whenever you come to a hard part, there always seems to be an easier way around it. You can turn into a bat and fly over, or sometimes you need to get more experience points, or there might be some weapon ya need to equip, or an item that improves your stamina, or resists fire, or makes you immune to some certain magic spells; there's so many variables here!

The Nerd: In Castlevania IV, all ya had was your own wit. You don't rely on tricks; it's just you and the game. And the only way to beat it, is to beat it with your mind and your reflexes. And that to me, is what Castlevania is all about.

The Nerd: And once you've beaten the game in the wee hours of the morning, and watch the castle crumble, ya reflect on all that time you just spent. The credit sequence shows little replays from each level. It's like watching old memories. And that's what the Castlevania games are for me. Memories... that will last forever.

(montage of the "Castlevania" series with the "Super Castlevania IV" ending theme. In the end, the castle crumbles as an ending text says "You played the greatest role in this story. Thank you for watching." The episode ends.)

See also[]


  • The Nerd made a mistake saying you can't whip in eight directions in Castlevania: Bloodlines for the Sega Genesis. He was half-right and half-wrong. In that game, you can actually whip in five directions.
  • The solar eclipse was in Aria of Sorrow, not Dawn of Sorrow.
  • According to the official Castlevania timeline by Kōji Igarashi, former Castlevania director and producer, Dracula X takes place in an alternate timeline, thus Symphony of the Night should be the sequel to Rondo of Blood / The Dracula X Chronicles, not Dracula X.
  • The Nerd mentions displeasure at all later Castlevania titles after Symphony of the Night being set inside the castle. This is incorrect, as in both Portrait of Ruin and Order of Ecclesia you explore locations and levels beyond Dracula's castle.


  • In the Sega Saturn version of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, the Game Over sequence uses a fade-through-white transition instead of a screen-melt transition.