Video Game / Castlevania 64

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"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.
  • Boss Bonanza: Some areas of this game play this, such as the Forest of Silence and the Castle Keep, but the noteworthy one is the Duel Tower. Four areas in this tower force you to duel a mini-boss, and two of them are bosses confronted in the forest, the Werewolf and Weretiger.
  • Boss-Only Level:
    • The Room of Clocks segment only consists of a clock room with items, a Save Crystal, Renon's contract, and an elevator; that elevator will take the player character to the Climax Boss fight against their personal nemesis (Death for Reinhardt, Actrise for Carrie, and Ortega for Cornell). After completing the fight and returning, a door will open that goes to the last platforming area, the Clock Tower.
    • This is also the case with the Castle Keep to close the game, as you can find a hidden Health Kit item, but otherwise, you have a Boss Bonanza with up to 4 fights (one of these fights, if triggered, will cause you to miss out on two other fights, which are both with the True Final Boss), and this includes a Sequential Boss to end the game.
  • 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. His alternate costume does have a manacle on one wrist with the chain broken off.
  • Checkpoint Starvation: The Duel Tower in the original game has zero Save Crystals, but it does have four werebosses note  and a bunch of jumps and hangings over a giant acid pool, including two long jumps between the last mini-boss, the Weretiger rematch, and the stage exit; the next area has a Save Crystal right at the entrance. Fail at any point in this tower, and you're sent back to the Castle Center elevator and have to start the tower all over.
  • 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 (there's one more boss just after it that also counts, and who is it depends on who you're playing as, but on the Easy mode, after defeating both bosses and taking an elevator out of the Center, the game cuts off; you have to be playing on Normal to continue past them). 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.
  • Dual Boss:
    • At the top of the first tower in the outer wall, you'll run into a pair of serpent dragon heads covering the portculis controls. They initially breathe small puffs of flame, but after doing enough damage to one, it sheds it skin, Turns Red, and starts breathing giant plumes of fire. You must kill both of them to reach the controls, raise the first portculis, and leave the room.
    • At the end of the Villa, you'll meet not one, but two souped up vampires, who must be killed in succession to escape and move on.
  • 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. If you're playing as Reinhardt or Carrie, you're actually going to want to be frugal with the cards and only use them when you're more or less forced to; using about four will force them to fight a vampire-turned Charlie Vincent just before Dracula's Servant, and because of Vincent's role in the endgame, if this happens, then it's No Final Boss for You since the game will end prematurely after Dracula's Servant is killed with the real Dracula surviving. This mechanic does not apply as Cornell, since his story takes place prior to Reinhardt or Carrie's, meaning there's no one to turn into a vampire, plus one of his stages requires liberal usage of the Sun and Moon cards to get through it; he'll face the Final Boss of his campaign no matter what.
  • 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.
  • Four Is Death: One of the ways to turn Charlie Vincent into a vampire and erase any chance of confronting the True Final Boss in a playthrough is to speed up the clock by using four Sun or Moon cards; taking too long in the game will trigger the transformation, and that's considerably easier to do if you use the cards for any time where you're not really required to expend one. If you don't turn Charlie Vincent evil, you can have up to 4 bosses in the final area if you still spend too much on Renon and break your contract with him. There are also four mini-bosses in the Duel Tower, which has a semi-Asian feel to it.
  • 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 Frankenstein's gardener (who has a chainsaw) and his two stone dogs, who can stun you by just biting you. 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 show up (at least on the last trip through the maze; having to follow Malus through it earlier will force you to deal with the deranged inhabitants on your way through, and they cannot be killed permanently; you can knock them down for a second, but you run the risk of getting carved up by the other enemies. You'll want to save before entering the maze.
  • 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.
  • Mini-Boss: You'll run into several of these in the game, including the Weretiger who jumps in to throttle you just after you open the first gate in the Forest of Silence. You can face him and three other were-creatures in the Duel Tower as well.
  • 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: Carrying the nitro causes the player to explode from enemy attacks, attempts at jumping, or falling, 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 Final Boss for You: For Reinhardt or Carrie, if you spend too much time fiddling around in the game, Charlie Vincent, who you meet in the Villa, will get turned into a vampire (this can be hard to do normally, but abusing the Sun and Moon cards WILL result in this happening). Charlie will then stop you one room before you reach Dracula's Crypt and force you to fight him, and he dies at the end of the fight (it's possible to fight both him and Renon if you were also a heavy spender at Renon's shop). Should this fight take place, you'll only fight the first form of the Final Boss, Dracula's Servant, and the game will end with the real Dracula, Malus, surviving and, for Reinhardt, Rosa does not come back to life and is essentially sentenced to Hell. For Cornell, you'll get a second and last fight with Dracula's Servant after defeating his first form no matter what the situation.
  • 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.
  • Sequential Boss:
    • At the top of the first tower in the castle walls (the second area), you'll find two dragons guarding the gate controls. After doing enough damage, they'll explosively shed skin and start really breathing fire on you.
    • For Reinhardt and Carrie, if you're able to meet the requirements to face the True Final Boss, then you'll get a succession of three boss fights against Dracula, with a running down a crumbling staircase segment before the second phase. In order, they are: the fake Dracula, who you will fight regardless, the younger Dracula, aka, an adult Malus, then Demon Dragon Centipede Dracula. In Cornell's story, you'll face the first of these, then immediately proceed to a second fight against a golem Dracula.
  • Shamu Fu: Death can cast a spell that throws a giant demonic fish at you. So can Renon, if you have to fight him.
  • 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.
  • True Final Boss: Malus is the real Dracula, and if you make it to the final area of the game, Castle Keep, and do not fight Charlie Vincent (that fight is triggered by spending too long in the game and/or using too many Sun/Moon cards), you'll encounter him on your way out of Dracula's Crypt. Following a falling staircase montage and an elevator ride to the roof of the Clock Tower, Malus will turn into a young Dracula and you'll fight him in a modified version of the false Dracula fight. If you survive, Vincent will appear and use Holy Water on Malus, and then you're taken to face a dragon/centipede version of Dracula, which is the official Final Boss of the game, with the good ending playing if you win).
  • Turns Red: The serpent dragons encountered halfway through the second area of the game start off breathing puffs of blue fire, but once you've done enough damage, they shed skin and start really laying it on with the flame.
  • 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 by not paying too much for his items and invoking the hidden clause in his contract concerning your soul) 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. note 
  • 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.


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