Video Game / Castlevania 64

"Courage, don't leave me."
Reinhardt Schneider

"Whatever awaits, I have no regrets."
Carrie Fernandez

Castlevania 64 (Japanese: Akumajō Dorakyura Mokushiroku, "Demon Castle Dracula Apocalypse") was the first 3D entry in the Castlevania franchise, one that was later given an Updated Re-release known as Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness.

Actually, this game's proper name is merely Castlevania; the "64" is only added to differentiate it from the oft-remade adventure of Simon Belmont. For clarity's sake, however, we'll stick with tacking on the "64" moniker.

Both the original and Legacy of Darkness chronicle the adventures of Reinhardt Schneider, a member of a Belmont branch family who inherited the Vampire Killer, and Carrie Fernandez, related to the Belnades clan, as they enter Dracula's castle to take the vampire out.

Most players think they hit the Polygon Ceiling really hard, especially in light of the recent release of the critical darling, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. Koji Igarashi, himself, effectively struck them from the official canon at the same time he disowned Castlevania Legends, but he seems to have warmed up to them significantly in later years — they were both included in the more recent publications of the CV timelines (though minus the descriptions), and Legacy of Darkness star Cornell has roles in both Judgment and Lords of Shadow.

Castlevania 64 provides examples of:

  • Action Bomb: Blue Skeletons are ignited to explode, and they chase the player characters relentlessly to hurt them.
  • Anachronism Stew:
    • Skeletons on motorcycles... in the 19th century(the earliest prototypes were created in 1885, but even that is later than this game takes place). And some of them have a buddy in a sidecar wielding a machinegun! And this is lampshaded by The Angry Video Game Nerd.
    • The Castle Center has models of many things not invented until way after 1852. Could Dracula know the future of mankind?
    • The Tower of Science, with its giant formaldehyde canisters, futuristic motif, electric shock currents and guard robots with infrared beams and machine guns.
    • And let's not get started on the robotic chainsaw-wielding Frankenstein's monster in the hedge maze.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Finding certain items give an extra outfit to Reinhardt and Carrie. They are Shout Outs to previous games, letting them dress as Simon Belmont and Maria Renard, respectively.
  • Another Side, Another Story: The middle game is different for each character, with their own levels and recurring characters.
  • An Arm and a Leg: King Skeleton loses three of his limbs (first his free arm and then his legs) as he comes closer to defeat.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Certain bosses are characters with a just cause turned into vampires, including Fernandez Warrior and and Charlie Vincent in the path to the bad ending.
  • Broad Strokes: It is debated whether these games are part of IGA's official timeline. IGA, in a 2008 interview with Nintendo Power magazine (covering Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia), considers these games side stories and not part of his timeline, as they're unmentioned on the Japanese timeline (updated as of 2007's The Dracula X Chronicles), though they were shown in the timeline that came with pre-ordered copies of Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin, minus the descriptions.
  • Camera Screw: Almost a given for early 3D platforming.
  • Chained by Fashion: Cornell, the initial protagonist of Legacy of Darkness, was supposed to be in the game in a ball-and-chain prisoner outfit.
  • Childhood Marriage Promise: Under a pretension of Puppy Love, Malus pesters Carrie to marry him in her bad ending. After she accepts, he ominously says, "Now we have a binding contract..."
  • Creepy Child: Malus, who, after being seemingly escorted out of the castle, is suddenly back with worrisome dialogue. He's actually Dracula himself, reincarnated in a younger body.
  • Deal with the Devil: Buy too much stuff from Renon and you'll have to fight him later when he comes to collect his "payment".
  • Dem Bones: Very first enemy to be fought, they are later shown to be led by King Skeleton who can call them to his side at a whim.
  • Determinator: The enemy AI in this game are all this. They will never stop perusing you no matter what. They'll even jump past obstacles to get at you.
  • Difficulty Spike: The nitro/mandragora escort business; before it, you are happily whipping or magic missiling enemies on your path, but now you have carefully move a dangerous item along a hazardous path.
  • Disc One Final Boss: Used on two different occasions during the game. The first example is the Behemoth encountered in the Castle Center, which uses the same battle theme as the final boss. The second is Dracula's Servant atop the final stage, which has a unique battle theme to himself.
  • Dramatic Thunder: A lightning bolt strikes in the background just as Actrise reveals that she killed her own child to further her goals.
  • Early Bird Boss: Skeleton King, thanks to appearing before the player gets the hang of the controls.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: If played on Easy, the game ends after the Behemoth boss battle in the Castle Center.
  • Fast-Forward Mechanic: The Sun and Moon cards can be used to advance the current time so you can (among other things) have certain timed encounters and battle vampires during the day when they're weaker.
  • Flunky Boss: King Skeleton summons common skeleton enemies to its aid by bashing the ground with its bone-club.
  • For Doom the Bell Tolls: When you open the second gate to the castle, the clock tower bells begin to ring. Then the camera pans up...and Dracula is seen hovering in the sky. He then threatens you with a painful death, indulges in an Evil Laugh, and vanishes.
  • Frankenstein's Monster: The gardener of the Villa's maze garden. Taking a page from Ash Williams, his right hand is replaced by a chainsaw.
  • Garden of Evil:
    • While the surrounding garden of the Villa doesn't have any evil plantlife, it does have its guardians to make up for that slight.
    • There's also the garden of white roses, which are periodically watered with blood.
  • Good Wings, Evil Wings:
    • In the evil side of things, Death has a pair of black wings to fly around.
    • In the path to good ending, Malus approaches the player on a winged horse. It would be suspicious enough by itself , but the horse has bat wings.
  • Guide Dang It:
    • The game doesn't really tell you that the ending is in fact impacted by how much time you took to get there.
    • Most of the secrets require the player to locate insanely-placed invisible platforms that are usually exactly halfway between the nearest savepoints and / or right before the end of the level. There is never any indication of the platform's position, and one even has a gap deliberately placed right before the nearest visible platform to kill you on the way back.
  • Happily Adopted: Carrie mentions that she was raised by a loving and caring step-mother who ultimately sacrificed herself to save her, to contrast the villainous Actrise who just casually claimed she slew her own biological child as the first of 100 child sacrifices to resurrect Dracula.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: The vampire hunter Charles Vincent warns you against trying to defeat Dracula in his place. Take too long, and he himself will be vampirized. Win quickly enough, and he'll come through for you when you need it.
  • Hedge Maze: The villa stage has a nasty hedge maze you have to run through while being chased by its gardener and his two stone dogs. Of course you only have to explore about an eighth of the maze and, if you know where to go, will likely get through before the chain-saw monster and his pals even shows up.
  • In-Universe Game Clock: The game has a day/night cycle, which affects some enemies.
  • Intimidating Revenue Service: Renon starts out as a demon shopkeeper; you can use his contract to summon him if you should happen to find it lying around for a Dungeon Shop, and purchase any supplies you need. Just before the final boss, he shows up to let you know you won't see him ever again, but how the story plays out depends on your spending habits; if you were thrifty, he tells you a war is brewing elsewhere, which will give better profit margins than selling chicken drumsticks to a single adventurer. If you spent more than 30000 gold, he reveals that there was some fine print in the contract that Carrie (could not read because it was written in a demonic language); specifically, there's a tax on his services that he has to collect now, and that tax is your soul! Cue fighting for your very life.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • Actrise forces Carrie to fight her vampirized cousin.
    • Reinhardt being forced to attack Rosa counts as this.
  • Kid Hero: Carrie is 12 years old.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Malus is actually reborn Dracula, the one you fight in the Castle Keep is just an impostor.
  • Lizard Folk:
    • Lizardmen armed with tridents, dual weapons and swords and shields are an encounters in the Undergorund Waterway and inside the Dracula's castle.
    • Player character also comes across one Heinrich Meyer, a merchant who was turned into a lizardman when he came to the castle looking for a good deal. He helps the player by giving information regarding the upcoming nitro and mandragora business, and handing out a key.
  • Love Redeems: The vampire Rosa appears in everyone's plot, but it is Reinhardt who comes to know her, stops her Suicide by Sunlight attempt, and refuses to kill her in battle later. She eventually sacrifices herself to save him from Death, and she is reborn as a human at the end.
  • Multiple Endings: There's a bad and good ending, and getting them depends on how fast you make your way through the castle.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Malus, whose name means "evil" in Latin. Then there's his real name, Dracula (Romanian for "dragon).
  • Nitro Express: Carryin the nitro causes the player to explode from enemy attacks and attempts at jumping, forcing the player into various Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence situations.
  • No Hero Discount: Justified. Renon is a demon, and he has no reason to care less about saving the world from vampires. As long there is profit to be made, he is content.
  • No Shirt, Long Jacket: Malus's outfit when turns into an adult. An adult Dracula, that is.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: The Room of Clocks. Its soundtrack is made of ticking noises and it has Suspicious Video Game Generosity for... nothing at all.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting:
    • The game's version of "Dance of Illusions" has a (synthesized) choir as part of the music.
    • There is also a track called "Stairway to the Clouds", that plays before entering the Castle Keep. It is made of nothing but an ominous male choir and bells.
  • One-Winged Angel: Dracula's final form, which has an upped body of a demon/dragon and the lower body of a centipede.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: The N64 games are, thus far, the only games in the franchise to have vampires as common Mooks, and vampirism is even a status effect. If you contract it and it's not healed in time, you get a Non-Standard Game Over after watching your character sprout an angry face and fangs.
  • Our Werebeasts Are Different: Alongside with the standard werewolf, Duel Tower also features a werejaguar, a weretiger and a werebull.
  • Puppy Love: In Carrie's imperfect ending, Malus convinces her to promise to marry him...
  • Schrödinger's Player Character: Reinhardt and Carrie go to Dracula's castle in the year 1852 for their respective missions, but they never encounter one another.
  • See You in Hell: Upon defeat, Death angrily tells Reinhardt that he'll be waiting him in hell, and "keep a warm place" for him.
  • Shamu Fu: Death can cast a spell that throws a giant demonic fish at you.
  • Shows Damage: King Skeleton and Behemoth lose pieces of themselves as they lose health.
  • Spider People: Arachnes, women whose lower body is that of a Giant Spider. The spider still has its own head, giving the creature two mouths.
  • Stock Sound Effects: Every metal gate in the game seems to suffer from The Creaky Metal Door syndrome.
  • Stock Subtitle: Used for the original Japanese title, Demon Castle Dracula: Apocalypse.
  • Storybook Opening: The game starts with the book already open on the a page holding the file select menu. Starting a new game results in your signature appearing on the document, and the pages flipping backwards to reveal it's a copy of the Necronomicon.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Handwaved by the protagonists by having them remark that the water has been 'poisoned' by the evil of the castle. The steam that rises whenever you fall in seems to suggest a more malicious chemical at work, though.
  • Theme Tune Cameo: In the intro to the game, Malus plays a haunting song on his violin. The song is actually a Dark Reprise of "Opposing Bloodlines" from Rondo of Blood, with a slower tempo.
  • Villain Ball: In the good endings, the player doesn't catch on the ruse that Dracula that they just defeated was just an impostor until Malus reveals himself to be the real Dracula, for no other reason than to give the player a True Final Boss.
  • War for Fun and Profit: In the final, non-confrontational (if you played your cards right) encounter with Renon, he states he is needed elsewhere, since an impending global war is about to break out, and it is going to open wonderful business opportunities.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: In the path to good ending, Vincent appears to dose Dracula, who has again assumed the shape of young Malus to trick the player character, with holy water. After the ensuing True Final Boss fight, he disappears from the game.
  • Wicked Witch: Actrise, who is willing to slaughter children in order to gain her goals.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Carrie, Malus and Actrise.