Castlevania is the first entry of the long-running Castlevania series, known as Akumajō Dracula (Demon Castle Dracula) in Japan.The player controls Simon Belmont, the latest in a long line of vampire hunters. The Belmonts have kept the peace of Transylvania for centuries by destroying the evil Count Dracula. Dracula, being a sore loser, has risen again to terrorize the countryside of Transylvania with the help of his minions to draw Simon out for revenge. Vowing to end his reign once and for all, Simon takes up the "Vampire Killer" whip, his family's Ancestral Weapon, and sets forth for Castlevania.One month after the game was first released in Japan on the Famicom Disk System, a version of the game was released for the MSX2. This version was released in Europe under the title Vampire Killer prior to the NES version. This version featured similar graphics and the same general sequence of levels and bosses, but had numerous major (and minor) gameplay differences, including required exploration of stages to find the key necessary to open the door at the end of every non-boss stage.The game received subsequent remakes on various platforms as Haunted Castle, Super Castlevania IV and Castlevania Chronicles. Castlevania on the Nintendo 64 was not one of these.This game has also seen several rereleases, including on the Game Boy Advance as part of the Classic NES Series, a PC bundle alongside Contra, and a Virtual Console release.
Castlevania and Vampire Killer provide examples of:
Bat out of Hell: The first boss is a giant bat with a wingspan as long as your whip. You meet a trio of them during the final level, although you can just walk by them relatively easily.
Beating A Dead Player: Expected from an older game like this, however, probably one of the most very clear and very creepy example of the early NES day.
Boss Only Level: On the NES, stage 12 is a short corridor leading to a Boss Battle, and stage 18 is the famous stairs leading up to an antechamber to the Final Boss room. The MSX 2 version turns these into considerably longer levels.
Continuing Is Painful: Should Simon die at any time, he'll lose his subweapon and double/triple shot, go back to the leather whip and his heart counter is reduced to 5.
Clock Tower: Stage 17. The gears aren't moving, though.
Cutscene Power to the Max: At the beginning of the fourth area, Simon falls down a hole several times deeper than is possible to survive in-game.
Credits Gag: The credits to the NES version play on the names of famous Universal and Hammer actors.
Degraded Boss: The first boss, a giant bat, pops up as a trio of three enemies very late in the game.
Elite Mook: The Axe Knights; they take eight hits to kill with the full-power whip, and they can kill you in four hits with their boomerang axes. Of course, you can kill them in one hit with the holy water.
Evil Overlooker: Dracula himself, looking more Halloween-ish than in later installments.
Fish People: Always pop up in the two water segments of the game.
In the original US NES Version at least; the japanese version and the Game Boy Advance port has a save option, and the Virtual Console port has a Suspend Save option
—the game must be beaten in one sitting—fortunately, the game is gracious enough to give you infinite continues. Finally, the bosses, when fought without (or, depending on the players skill, even with) subweapons, can be downright grueling to beat—standout examples including Frankenstein and Igor, Death, and Dracula himself.
Off with His Head!: When you beat the first phase of Dracula, the final hit sends his head flying clean off!
One-Winged Angel: Dracula becomes a beefy devil-like creature (or, in Vampire Killer, an enormous living portrait of one) after you "kill" his humanoid form. May be the Ur Example of this trope for video games.