The Castlevania logo.
|Genre(s)||Platform-adventure, Dark fantasy|
|Platform(s)||Famicom Disk System/NES, Commodore 64, PC, Amiga, MSX, Arcade, SNES, Game Boy, SNES, Sega Genesis, TurboGrafx-16, Sharp X68000, PlayStation, Sega Saturn, Nintendo 64, Game Boy Color, PlayStation 2, Game Boy Advance, Xbox, Mobile, Nintendo DS, Wii, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3|
|Platform of origin||Famicom Disk System|
|Year of inception||1986|
|First installment||Castlevania (1986)|
|Latest installment||Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 (2014)|
The Castlevania universe, known as the Akumajō Dracula universe (悪魔城ドラキュラ) in Japan, refers to the Super Smash Flash series' collection of characters, stages, and properties that hail from the Konami's Castlevania series of horror-themed video games focusing on the Belmont clan and their constant crusade against Count Dracula, or similar monstrous threats. Although it was eventually introduced in the Super Smash Bros. series years after its appearance in Super Smash Flash 2, it carries a different symbol, that being a cross —one of the multiple weapon choices in the series — rather than Dracula's Castle.
The very first console title, Castlevania, released for the NES in 1986 by Konami, was a typical platform game in which the player takes the role of Simon Belmont, a descendant of the Belmont clan, a family of vampire hunters. He travels to Dracula's demonic castle, Castlevania and fights his way through the castle destroying Dracula himself and the castle. Belmont's main weapon is a whip called "Vampire Killer", while the secondary weapons are powered by Hearts, collected by attacking candles and killing monsters. Secondary weapons available are Daggers, Holy Water, Flying Axe and the Boomerang-esque Flying Cross. Hidden items such as power-ups and food (health replenishment) items are also found by attacking walls within the levels, a feature inspired by Nintendo's Super Mario Bros. with countless hidden items across the game's levels.
Vampire Killer, released in 1986 for the MSX computer, took a departure from the traditional platform gameplay of Castlevania, instead introducing an open-ended form of gameplay. The game's non-linear design had a similar structure to Metroid released that same year. Castlevania II: Simon's Quest, released in 1987, featured non-linear gameplay more open-ended than that of Vampire Killer and Metroid, with several exclusive elements such as a world map the player was free to explore and revisit. The player could also purchase supplies, equipment and weapon upgrades in several different towns, making it more like an action role-playing game. It also introduced a persistent world with its own day-night cycle that affects when certain NPCs appear in certain locations and offered three possible multiple endings depending on the time it took to complete the game. Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse, released for the NES in 1989, while having more in common with the original NES Castlevania, added new features, including non-linear elements such as alternate branching paths with different stages and alternate endings depending on the player's choices, as well as multiple player characters.
A major turning point in the gameplay mechanics of the series was Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, released in 1997 for the Sony PlayStation and later for the Sega Saturn in 1998. Expanding on the open-ended style of gameplay previously used in Castlevania II: Simon's Quest, Symphony of the Night's style of gameplay has been termed "Metroidvania" due to its similarities with the side-scrolling games of the Metroid series. It also used role-playing video game elements, such as collectible weapons, armor and hidden orbs. Many subsequent Castlevania games have since followed this template.
Ayami Kojima's art was introduced in Symphony of the Night, and has been featured in a few other titles. Years later, the first two Castlevania games for the Nintendo DS returned to the anime style used in the original Castlevania: Rondo of Blood, among other titles, in hopes of broadening the player demographic by not discouraging slightly younger Nintendo DS owners to be put off by Kojima's art. Dawn of Sorrow was the first game to do this, and the second DS release Portrait of Ruin followed with the same style.
The first games in the series to employ 3D graphics were Castlevania and Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness for the Nintendo 64. In 2003, the next 3D Castlevania title featured combat-oriented hack and slash gameplay that drew comparisons to the 2001 title Devil May Cry, though Lament of Innocence introduced several unique features to set itself apart from Capcom's title. The game has also drawn comparisons to the 2002 release Rygar: The Legendary Adventure and 2005 release God of War, both of which used similar chained-blade weapons, while the latter also used similarly flashy and smooth attacks that could change direction in the middle of a combo. In 2007, Koji Igarashi stated that if The Dracula X Chronicles does well, the series may return to the more traditional style of the original games.
The success of the Castlevania series has resulted in Guinness World Records awarding the series 7 world records in the Guinness World Records: Gamer's Edition 2008. These records include "Most Games in an Action Adventure Series", "Largest Number of Platforms for One Series", and "Longest Castlevania Title" for the 1999 release Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness.
In the Super Smash Flash series
In Super Smash Flash 2
Even with no overall representation in the original Super Smash Flash, the Castlevania franchise got a representation in the game's reboot, Super Smash Flash 2, in the form of a stage and a veteran character.
- Simon Belmont: Simon comes from the Belmont clan, a bloodline of hunters with immense power that have engaged in combat against Dracula for centuries. His appearance is based on his design in the game Castlevania Chronicles, in which Simon has long red hair and black armor. Simon's moveset mainly consists of attacks with his whip, the Vampire Killer, along with several items he uses in the Castlevania series.
- Dracula's Castle: This stage is directly taken from the popular Super Smash Bros. Brawl mod, Project M, a unique trait for these series. Taking place on a gloomy and stormy castle, the stage is mainly a hard platform with 3 one-way platforms that randomly shift their positions as the match is developing. There are no hazards.