Castlevania has been a massive hit for Netflix. The animated adaptation aimed exclusively at adults has just released its third season, and fans have been desperate for more gory action from Trevor, Sypha, and Alucard.
Conveniently, Konami has also just re-released a classic Castlevania game on mobile, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. You can now download Symphony of the Night on both Android and iOS for the low-low price of only £2.99. That is a genuine bargain for what is considered to be one of the greatest games of all time and an unequivocal classic.
This begs the question, if you're a fan of the Netflix series, but haven't played many Castlevania games, is this a good place to start, or, is it a good way to supplement the story of the series? Well, that's a tough question, and it depends on what you're looking for…
So we're going to give you a few Castlevania recommendations which you can't go wrong with if you're a fan of the Netflix series, and we'll also help you figure out where the Netflix series sits on the canon Castlevania timeline - oh, and in case it isn't obvious, that means we will be revealing a few spoilers if you're not caught up with the series yet, though season 3 spoilers are kept to a minimum. And a million thanks to Wikipedia for helping me with all of the information.
Is the Netflix story canon, and where is it on the timeline?
This is an awkward question to answer. The basic outline of events that happen in the Netflix series do match up with one of the Castlevania games, but you probably shouldn't play it in hopes of getting a deeper understanding on the lore and plot.
The Netflix series follows the story of Trevor Belmont, the last of the Belmont line, and his quest to kill the lord of monsters, Dracula. Along the way Trevor meets with Sypha, a magical Speaker, capable of powerful spells to fight monsters with. The first season of the series follows Trevor and Sypha as Trevor slowly gets dragged into another monster-battling adventure, as is destined for his bloodline.
- Castlevania Grimoire of Souls is a side-scrolling adventure that lets you play as characters from across the series
Eventually, they meet with the soldier sleeping underneath the city, Adrian, the son of Dracula. Despite the blood ties Adrian is intent on stopping Dracula's nasty deeds and joins Trevor on the path under the name Alucard (read it backward), which concludes season one.
In season two, well, long story short, they get the job done. Dracula is killed by Alucard, and makes his magical castle his grave. Over the course of the two seasons many more antagonists are introduced to fill out Dracula's army, and a dozen smaller side-plots get underway, but the bottom line? Dracula dead, Trevor, Sypha, and Alucard killed him.
So, where does this death of Dracula fit onto the Castlevania timeline? Well, it's all quite neat, actually. The events of the Netflix series match very well onto the plot of Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse. In that game, Trevor, Sypha, and Alucard team up to take down Dracula. It should feel familiar enough.
The Netflix series greatly expands the events and the relationships between the characters though, which is a lovely addition. You get to see the relationship blossom between Trevor and Sypha, of course in addition to the event that started the series, the union of Dracula and his wife, the mother of Alucard.
Fun fact: Trevor and Sypha's relationship leads to the merging of their bloodlines, which leads to Juste Belmont, the protagonist of Harmony of Dissonance, having the power of both the Vampire Killer whip and spellcasting. A generation or two later you have Richter Belmont, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate guest character and fan-favourite protagonist, which leads us onto Symphony of the Night…
Symphony of the Night picks up as Richter Belmont destroys Dracula, who has been resurrected once again, as is his curse. Some years go by and Dracula's castle reappears, prompting Alucard, this game's protagonist, to investigate. He finds Richter Belmont claiming to be the new lord of the castle, and destroys the forces holding him captive to put the castle down once again.
So, as you can see, the events that the Netflix series depict nicely fill out the characters of Sypha, Trevor, and Alucard, which all ties in quite well to the rest of the Castlevania series. So, if you're a nerd for lore, the Netflix series is great for that, and you can play the games to dig even deeper.
Which Castlevania game should you play?
So, this puts us in an awkward position. Should we recommend you play Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse, to see how the events of the Netflix series were depicted, or should you play Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, thanks to the convenient new mobile port?
Well, the fact is, Castlevania III is an NES game. This makes it old. Now, it being old isn't bad, but it is awkward - it doesn't have the greatest storytelling, nor does it have the smoothest gameplay. Though, if you buy the Castlevania Anniversary Collection for Nintendo Switch, you get that game and a few more.
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, meanwhile, might be a far bit more removed from the tale that the Netflix series focuses on, but it does centre around Alucard, who is going to be a favourite character for many. He also doesn't feature too heavily in the latest season, so the recent mobile port is a great way to see more of the character in his most celebrated adventure. Plus, the mobile port is a great version, well-priced, and has controller support. What's not to love?
And since Symphony of the Night is a PlayStation game, it has great visuals for an older 2D game, unlike games seen on the NES (no shade, NES fans), and even voice acting to help bring the characters to life.
So we have to recommend playing Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. It's a great game with a great mobile port at a great price. Alucard is a great character, and you'll have great fun running through Dracula's castle for yourself. It's great. Did I mention it's great?