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Castlevania - NES - USA.jpg

NES - USA - 1st edition.

Developer Konami Industry
Publisher Konami
Published 1986-09-26
Platforms Amiga, Commodore 64, Apple II, DOS, Famicom Disk System, J2ME, NES, PlayChoice-10, VS. System
Genres Beat 'em up, Platformer
Themes Action, Horror, Vampires
Series Castlevania

Castlevania is a horror-themed platformer developed and published by Konami released on the Famicom Disk System on 1986-09-26 and later ported to many other platforms. It is the first game in the Castlevania series.

In the game, you play the vampire hunter Simon Belmont who infiltrates the castle of Count Dracula in an attempt to slay him. Simon is unique among video game heroes as he wields a whip as his primary weapon.


Own?Yes. NES - USA - loose cartridge.

I don't remember when I first played this game, but I'm pretty sure I played Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse first, and then this game after, and found it a bit lacking in comparison. As a classic Castlevania game, I want to be good at it, but I've never gotten very far, and the game's serious flaws make it unlikely I'll ever try to beat it.


Video Game Review Icon - Enjoyment.png Video Game Review Icon - Control.png Video Game Review Icon - Appearance.png Video Game Review Icon - Sound.png Video Game Review Icon - Replayability.png
4 3 4 7 3

Best Version: NES

— This section contains spoilers! —


  • The designers made good use of all the common horror tropes.
  • The game has a good soundtrack composed by Kinuyo Yamashita and Satoe Terashima.
  • I like that Simon's weapon is a whip; kind of a unique choice.
  • For such an early game, it has a pretty good amount of variation between enemies, stages, and bosses.
  • The artists did a great job with the background scene approaching the final boss.
  • It was a good idea to hide items which can only be revealed when crouching ("searching") as well as items hidden in blocks that are revealed when whipped.
  • The Japanese manual is really informative.
  • The game has great box art.


  • Simon is extremely vulnerable on stairs because he moves so slowly on them and can't jump off. Unfortunately, you spend a lot of the game on them.
  • Despite having a large health meter, there are plenty of ways to instantly die including pits, water, and spikes.
  • The background graphics are really messy and lack color definition. They look as though they were drawn for a different resolution and palette and then ported without being fixed. Compare them to the backgrounds in Vampire Killer which use the same structure, but are much cleaner and properly colored.
  • Several enemies are really annoying to deal with because the player's slow attack and movement. The medusa heads, hunchbacks, and ravens are particularly obnoxious.
  • The game has unnecessary arcade mechanics like points and time, even though they have no real bearing on the game. And, most of the hidden items are money bags and treasures which do nothing to help you.


  • The game is way too hard to appreciate. The game should have been easier and the hard mode you see the replay should have been replaced with the game they actually shipped.
  • The game has terrible player control. Attacking is sluggish, you can't change direction mid-air, and getting hit knocks you back, often killing you. This makes the game annoyingly difficult to the point where I don't feel like ever trying to get good at it.


Box Art





Review - NES Works.
Review - What's So Great About Gaming?
Speedrun progression.
Longplay - All secrets.


Strong female character?FailThe only women are the medusa heads and boss.
Bechdel test?FailThere isn't any dialogue.
Strong person of color character?FailSimon Belmont is the only human character, and he's white.
Queer character?FailThere are no queer characters.


Language Native Transliteration Translation
English Castlevania
Japanese 悪魔城ドラキュラ Akumajo Dorakyura Devil's Castle Dracula


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