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What a horrible night to have a curse.

Die, Absence of a Castlevania Description! You don't belong in this world!

An old saying posits the following: "True evil never dies, and all that is necessary for its triumph is for good men to do nothing." As it so happens, the Belmonts are absolute workaholics — and very, very good men.

For over thirty years, Konami has been chronicling the adventures of the extended Belmont family and their neverending quest to rid the world of Count Dracula and his eponymous castle. Castlevania (originally Akumajō Dracula — "Demon Castle Dracula") is one of the longest-running franchises in the platformer genre, the co-inventor of Metroidvania-style gameplay, and one of the earliest adopters of RPG elements in a non-RPG title. The series is notable for pursuing a Gothic approach to both the audio and visuals (the latter becoming more and more baroque as graphics engines advanced), and it's also respected for helping to define Nintendo Hard back in the day (an ideal occasionally upheld in newer entries of the series).

Centuries ago, the dark lord Count Dracula rose to power, and his mastery over dark magic helped create a demonic castle filled with all manner of folkloric beasts and mythical monsters. Dracula spread his dark influence across the countryside and would have consumed the world in darkness had it not been for a vampire hunter named Trevor Belmont. Trevor made a valiant escapade into the castle armed with the enchanted whip "Vampire Killer" and a plethora of appropriate sub-weapons such as daggers, throwing axes, holy water, and boomerang crucifixes. Belmont sent Dracula to Hell, but every few years, Dracula would return, either through his own dark presence or the machination of his cult followers. At which time, one of the Belmont clan, or a Suspiciously Similar Substitute, would walk right up to the gates of Castlevania, and begin vanquishing the horrible night.

As the Castlevania series continued, its gameplay evolved, although the iconic elements such as the Vampire Killer whip, the sub-weapons, and the focus on combat and exploration, remained. The majority of the games in series can be divided into three categories:

Castlevania has been infrequently adapted into other media, including comic books, manga, and Captain N: The Game Master. A live-action Castlevania movie, which had Paul W.S. Anderson and James Wan attached at different points, appears to have fallen into Development Hell. A Warren Ellis-penned animated adaptation of Dracula's Curse was in similar straits for about a decade until it was rescued by Netflix, with Part 1 airing in July 2017. Additionally, both Simon and Richter Belmont became part of the Super Smash Bros. roster, being included in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate as third-party Guest Fighters (The titular Castlevania shows up as a stage, and Dracula himself is a boss fight) and the second and third Konami characters after Solid Snake.

For a very in-depth analysis of everything Castlevania, visit Mr. P's Castlevania Realm and The Castlevania Dungeon.


    open/close all folders 

    These games are as empty as your soul! 

    What are books and comics? A miserable little pile of secrets! 
  • Akumajō Dracula: The Battle of the Old Castle (1987; Futabasha)
  • Akumajō Densetsu: Genuine Vampire Hunter (1990; Futabasha)
  • Worlds of Power 4 – Castlevania II: Simon's Quest (1990; Scholastic)
  • Akumajō Dracula: Akuma no Chi Chi no Akumu (1992 – 1995; LOGOUT)
  • Castlevania: The Belmont Legacy (2005; IDW Publishing)
  • Akumajō Dracula: Curse of Darkness – Prelude to Revenge (2005; Konami)
  • Castlevania: Curse of Darkness (2008; Tokyopop)
  • Akumajō Dracula: Lament of Innocence (2007 – 2008; Weekly Konami)

    Other forms of visual media? You steal men's souls, and make them your slaves! 


What a terrible night to list specific series tropes:

  • Acronym Confusion: There are two games that acronym to HoD: Harmony of Dissonance and Harmony of Despair. Fans usually use "HD" to refer to the latter (as a bonus, it can refer to Despair being on an HD-capable system while Dissonance is not, which was possibly the intention behind that name in the first place) as a workaround.
  • All There in the Manual: Averted, as Castlevania has a history of providing in-game text moving the plot forward, even in its earlier 2D entries.
  • Alternate History: the games are set in a world where large swaths of central Europe are periodically invaded by massive armies of undead and demonic forces commanded by Dracula himself, who was born hundreds of years earlier than his real-world counterpart and lived hundreds of years longer.
  • Alucard: Alucard is Dracula's son. His original name was Adrian, but he took the name Alucard to be his father's opposite.
  • Anachronic Order: The games take place over centuries of the Belmont clan's fight against Dracula:
  • Anachronism Stew:
    • Try modern-style prison islands and evil Robot Buddies in the mid-1800s Order of Ecclesia.
    • Said Robot Buddies predate Ecclesia (in-universe), to boot!
    • Motorcycle-riding skeletons in ye olde Wallachia in Castlevania 64.
    • The very first instance in the whole series: Frankenstein's Monster showing up in the original Castlevania, circa 1691, 127 years before Mary Shelley wrote the novel.
    • A lot of the food items in the Metroidvania games are examples too, with modern hot dogs and hamburgers showing up centuries before they were invented. Symphony of the Night and Curse of Darkness are especially big offenders in this regard.
    • Castlevania 64 has the Room of Inventions which has a radio, a zeppelin (model), and other assorted bits of Schizo Tech.
    • Laser traps in the eleventh century in Castlevania: Lament of Innocence.
    • Fashion Dissonance is in full effect throughout the entire series. It's probably easier to list which of the outfits were accurate for the time period.
    • Symphony of the Night also includes neutron bombs as a one-use weapon that can be found throughout the castle...in 1797!
  • And I Must Scream: The series is no stranger to this trope. Some examples:
    • In Symphony of the Night, upon defeating the Succubus, Alucard condemns her to wander the dream world for all eternity.
    • In Rondo of Blood, if Richter or Maria are touched by the painting mini-boss, they are trapped inside it forever.
  • Ancestral Weapon: The Vampire Killer whip is among the most famous examples in gaming, being a magic whip acquired by Leon Belmont and passed through the Belmont family for generations. In fact, only a Belmont is capable of wielding it properly, with very few exceptions.
  • Animated Armor:
    • Axe Armors are the most famous, but later entries in the series introduce a number of other types, wielding weapons such as bombs, rocks, and even a giant Killer Yo-Yo.
    • The various elemental armors in Castlevania: Circle of the Moon.
  • Antagonist Title: In Japanese, where the series is known as Akumajō Draculanote . It should be noted that some games do not follow this rule — most notably Harmony of Dissonance, Aria of Sorrow, and Lament of Innocence, which were released in Japan under the Castlevania banner.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: At least in the later games. If you stand near the left or right edge of the screen, enemies such as bats and medusa heads will not spawn from offscreen right next to you.
  • Arrange Mode: Ever since Castlevania: Rondo of Blood, the games tend to have have an extra mode or character to play as when you finish the main game, usually by entering a special name in the file select.
    • In Rondo of Blood and its PSP remake, you can play as Maria immediately after you save her in the main game. Playing as her is significantly easier than playing as Richter, what with her Guardian Knuckle, smaller stature, and double-jump; although she takes more damage to compensate.
    • Castlevania: Symphony of the Night has a hidden Luck mode that gives Alucard maxed out luck at the expense of his other stats. It also has a Richter mode that allows you to play as Richter, Hydro Storm and all! Both the Saturn port and The Dracula X Chronicles have a Maria mode, though both play differently from each other. The Saturn version of Maria plays much like Richter, but with a triple-jump and several spells invoking the Four Sacred Beasts, including one that makes her invincible for 40 seconds. The Dracula X Chronicles version plays more like her Rondo of Blood incarnation, with the four holy beasts and Guardian Knuckle acting as her subweapons.
    • The PlayStation Castlevania Chronicles has an Arrange Mode that updates the music and Simon and Dracula's designs, and also allows you to adjust the difficulty. You also don't receive knockback in this version.
    • Castlevania: Circle of the Moon has 4 modes that change the stats of the player:
      • Magician Mode, unlocked by beating the main game, has you start off with all 20 DSS cards, high magical ability, and reductions to health, strength, and defense.
      • Fighter Mode, unlocked by beating Magician Mode, removes all DSS cards from the game, but increases the player's physical strength.
      • Shooter Mode emphasizes the Sub-weapons, giving the player a high maximum of hearts as well as decreasing their heart consumption, but decreases health, strength, and defense. This mode also introduces an exclusive Sub-weapon in the Homing Dagger.
      • Thief mode plays like the Luck mode from Symphony of the Night, with an increase to luck in exchange for penalties for every other stat.
    • Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance has the Maxim Mode, where you play as the speedy Maxim, who can triple jump, dodge faster, and even somersault. He's more frail compared to Juste to compensate.
    • Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow has the Julius mode, where you get to play as Julius, who mostly plays similarly to Richter, with the exception of being able to dive kick, as well as being able to dash, which passes through enemies.
    • Castlevania: Lament of Innocence has Two:
      • Joachim Mode is unlocked after beating the game and lets you play as one of the bosses; he has different attacks and special attacks that toward a faster fighting style than Leon.
      • Pumpkin Mode; Pumpkin mostly plays similarly to Leon, but has his own unique subweapon.
    • Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow has another Julius mode, but this time, he's joined by Yoko Belnades and Alucard, in a Call-Back to Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse. The Final Boss is also altered as well.
    • Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin contains a few modes:
      • Sisters Mode is a prequel to the main game after beating it that features the sisters Stella and Loretta, who attack using the touch screen.
      • Richter Mode, unlocked by beating the "Whip's Memory", has you control Richter and Maria, who use their sub-weapons from Rondo of Blood.
      • Old Axe Armor mode, unlocked by killing at least 1000 Old Axe Armors in normal mode and beating the game, is a mode where you play... an Old Axe Armor. Just one, who's very weak, and can't use items, and has only two subweapons.
    • Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia has the Albus mode, which gives you control of Albus, who uses a magic gun, and can teleport using the touch screen.
    • Castlevania: Curse of Darkness: You can enter in "Trevor" as your filename to play as Trevor Belmont once you've beaten the game. He doesn't gain levels like Hector, but can still acquire new elemental whips and the Health / Attack Up items to compensate.
  • The Artifact: In Symphony of the Night, there are one-screen corridors between named areas of the castle that are meant to facilitate loading the next area. These were brought back for Aria of Sorrow and beyond, despite these games using solid-state cartridges that load data much faster to the point where the corridors aren't needed; Harmony of Dissonance in particular lacks the corridors yet has no problems loading the next area upon entering it.
  • Artistic License – History: Quite a bit, obviously — one worth mentioning is that Dracula's goals were always in opposition to God, even when he was known as Vlad the Impaler. The real Vlad, despite murdering thousands, believed he was doing what God wanted him to do.
  • As Long as There Is Evil: Dracula often uses this as an excuse for his numerous comebacks. Mind you, evil occultists are usually the ones who resurrect him, so it's not like this is a total Ass Pull.
  • Author Avatar: In Order of Ecclesia, IGA designed Shanoa after his wife, and Albus after himself. This carries over to other Castlevania games where Shanoa appears in.
  • Back from the Dead: Guess.
  • Badass Family: You needn't look further than the Belmont clan. Though you'll also find the Belnades, the Morrises, and the Lecardes if you do. Of course, everyone in Dracula's family is also a badass, but there's a lot of infighting.
  • Badass Longcoat: Many of the heroes from Symphony of the Night onward, and not just the Belmonts — though Richter seems to have started the trend.
    • Soma Cruz stands out for his Badass Pimp Coat. You have to love a guy who can kick ass in calf-length white fur.
    • And if it's not a longcoat, it's a Badass Cape. See Alucard in Symphony.
  • The Bad Guy Wins:
    • Happens in Legacy of Darkness, after you overcome the final boss, you find out that he was a decoy, the whole thing was a set-up, and you've played into Dracula's hands and only aided him.
    • Ditto for Lament of Innocence, wherein Mathias Cronqvist becomes Dracula in the endgame.
  • Bad with the Bone: One of the most common enemies in the series are bone-throwing skeletons. A few even throw their own skulls!
  • Balance Between Good and Evil: A recurring theme, given that most of the protagonists are largely noble defenders fighting a man who turned his back on God and humanity alike.
    • There must always be a Dark Lord in existence to serve as the balance to God, or so Celia from Dawn Of Sorrow believes.
    • Lords Of Shadow subtly gets in on this with the presence of Light and Shadow, which defines not just the magic system and rival groups, but Gabriel's own struggles to overcome the darkness within him after losing his wife.
  • Ballistic Bone: The signature ability of standard non-prefix skeletons.
  • Barrage of Bats: One of the preferred darkness-type attacks used by Dracula himself or his lackeys (being vampires and all):
    • Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth: The mini-boss in stage 4 unleashes streams of bats that zigzag in the screen to hit Christopher Belmont.
    • CastlevaniaChronicles: The first stage boss is a giant bat that can break apart into a swarm of little bats that advances on Simon Belmont.
    • Castlevania: Circle of the Moon for the GameBoy Advance: In his first phase (Dracula in normal form), he casts three flaming bat projectiles from his cape at the player. When he assumes his One-Winged Angel form, he alternates between a large purple monstrosity and a large eye surrounded by a swarm of bats that act as a protective barrier.
    • Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow: Protagonist Soma Cruz is able to absorb the souls of enemies in the castle and use their abilities since he is the reincarnation of Dracula, lord of the castle. With the soul of the Bat enemy, Soma can release up to three bats (if the player maxes out this ability) that circle behind him and attack enemies.
    • Castlevania: Judgment: Alucard, Dracula's estranged son, extends his hand and summons a swarm of bats to attack his opponent.
    • Castlevania 64: While not necessarily a barrage, the vampiress from the "Vampire Duo" boss attacks by releasing bats at the player, either in normal form or during her mist state.
    • Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2: Gabriel Belmont , who has become Dracula, can use an attack named Bat Swarm at their enemies to distract them, although he summons them with a crack of his whip.
    • Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia: During Dracula's second phase, he will open his arms and release a swarm of bats from his cape.
    • In Vampire Killer (a re-release of the first Castlevania for the MSX), Dracula's second form (a large portrait of a vampire) opens its mouth and spits out streams of bats against the player.
  • Batman Gambit: Dracula and his minions manipulate their enemies about as much as they manipulate the dark powers. You'd think by now the average Belmont would recognize he's being had. Especially considering their entire rivalry with Dracula was born from being tricked into granting him his power.
  • BFS: Some of the high-end swords in many games.
    • Shanoa can also make a Big Fucking Sword, a Big Fucking Axe, a Big Fucking Hammer, a Big Fucking Scythe...
    • There are classes of BFS and BFA weapons in Curse of Darkness.
  • Big Bad: Almost always Dracula. Even when he's not around, his very existence drives the plot somehow.
  • Bizarrchitecture: The eponymous castle itself; judging from the various layouts that it has had over the years as described by the in-game maps, this place makes absolutely no architectural sense whatsoever and would more than likely collapse under its own weight if it weren't being magically summoned and bound with chaos magic by Dracula. Goes along with being an Eldritch Location.
  • Black Magician Girl: Female protagonists have a certain tendency to be witches and romantic interests, although Yoko Belnades from the Sorrow games subverts this by being a romantic interest for Hammer and not Soma. Averted by Shanoa, who's more of a Magic Knight, and Maria Renard who is Richter's adopted younger sister.
  • Blocking Stops All Damage: Many enemies can take a defensive stance or put up a forcefield to stop all your attacks. Especially difficult if it already takes a lot to take down. Thankfully, Soma can turn those abilities back at them.
  • Bonus Dungeon:
    • An optional series of rooms filled with tough enemies, with no save points, exists in quite a few games starting with Circle of the Moon, usually giving a very useful item as a reward.
    • The Reverse Castle from Symphony of the Night is the most well-known example, even though you need it to see the true ending.
  • Bonus Feature Failure: Almost every Metroid-ish Castlevania has an unlockable mode where you play as another character who can't do most of what the main character can, such as opening the menu, collecting items, or sometimes even levelling up. They do, however, often have balancing factors like increased damage, and always have moves which allow them to explore all of the castle right away.
  • Boss Banter: Just about every voiced Castlevania game will have one or two bosses who engage in trash talk. One example from Order Of Ecclesia:
    Barlowe: How dare you! Even forgetting! Who raised you! YOU!! STUPID DISCIPLE!!
  • Boss Rush: Available in most of the later games. Some implement it as a separate mode, some are integrated to the main game.
  • Bottomless Pits: The early games weren't just sadists in this regard, they enforced it regardless of logic. A screen that scrolled up suddenly meant any holes were fatal, even if there was ground a screen below — a pixel below, even! And even if you're going down anyway, you still usually died if you didn't take the stairs.
  • Bowdlerization: Nintendo Power magazine (as well as the "NES Game Atlas" player's guide) initially referred to holy water as "firebombs", likely due to their policies at the time regarding religious referencesnote . That, and when they're thrown, they explode into fire. On the other hand, Castlevania II does indeed say "holy water" in the North American release.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Waaaayyyyy too frequent in Castlevanias. From Soleiyu Belmont in Belmont's Revenge to Richter in Symphony to Stella and Loretta in Portrait to Gabriel Belmont in Lords.
  • Broad Strokes: The Bram Stoker Dracula novel is supposedly canon with this series (at least as far as Konami says — the Stoker estate does not seem to reciprocate the idea), as evidenced by the Morris family being present. The Angry Video Game Nerd compared the Mind Screw of putting the two canons together, as feeling like two physical cannons being set off at the same time towards each-other. Also, Dracula's backstory, particularly his motivation of rebelling against God over losing his wife, has more in common with Francis Ford Coppola's adaptation than the novel.
  • Brutal Bonus Level: Overlaps with the optional rooms mentioned above.
  • Burn the Witch!: Ties heavily into the backstory of every female character in Dracula's Curse and Curse Of Darkness. It even happened to Alucard's poor mom, thus sending Dracula into his Europe-cursing fit of rampaging misanthropy!
  • Canon Immigrant: Quincey Morris from Bram Stoker's Dracula, thanks to Bloodlines.
  • Changing of the Guard: How the Belmont family works. Since Dracula is effectively immortal, the Belmonts have to continually train their sons and daughters into vampire hunters, occasionally relying on other branches of the family or the odd one out, like Hector or Alucard.
  • Chaos Architecture: The castle itself, and the Trope Namer.
  • Church Militant: Bunches.
    • By the time of the Sorrow games and Portrait of Ruin, the Church is actually hiring and training witches, notably Yoko Belnades and Charlotte Aulin.
    • Order of Ecclesia posits a whole sub-organization of the Church whose entire purpose is to find a non-Belmont-linked way to defeat Dracula.
    • Leon Belmont got his start in the Crusades.
    • The Brotherhood of Light from the Lords of Shadow series.
  • Classical Movie Vampire: How Dracula was depicted in early outings. And by depicted, we mean he looked exactly like the Christoper Lee Dracula.
  • Cliffhanger Wall: The franchise's tendency for Multiple Endings means it qualifies. Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow is the chronologically last game in the original timeline, with its two possible endings being Soma leading a normal life or taking up Dracula's mantle. The franchise produced only prequels after that, before being completely rebooted with Castlevania: Lords of Shadow.
  • Clockworks Area: The Clock Tower levels.
  • Clock of Power: The Stopwatch (and its successors, the Hourglass, Timer, Pocket Watch, and Clock), uses vampire blood as a resource to slow down or stop time. In-game, it's a sub-weapon that consumes five hearts to slow down or freeze nearby enemies. However, some enemies (and especially bosses) are immune to its effects.
  • Clown-Car Grave: Zombies usually rise in infinite numbers, and some coffins repeatedly spawn mummies.
  • Collapsing Lair: Mostly Once per Episode with few exceptions. The protagonists are usually safely away when it happens, watching it fall from a distance.
  • Collision Damage: The enemies inflict damage when touched, with the early platformers also causing signifcant knockback.
  • Colossus Climb:
    • The battle against Eligor in Order of Ecclesia, who is bigger than the game screen and requires you to shatter the gems on his body before he drops and you get a chance to stab him the face.
    • A Colossus Elevator Ride takes place against The Forgotten One in Lament of Innocence.
    • The Titans in Lords of Shadow, complete with hanging on for dear life while they try to shake you off, and stabbing their weak points in various parts of their body.
    • Menace in Harmony Of Despair is easily the biggest boss in the game, to the point that you and your buddies have to utilize a few well-placed platforms, unless you knock him on his ass with a well-er-placed bone hammer. (He's just as big in Dawn of Sorrow, except there's no hammer, more platforms, and you can fly in several ways by the time you face him.)
  • Combination Attack:
    • Jonathan and Charlotte in Portrait of Ruin. They're not the only ones, though: Several bosses such as Slogra and Gaibon, Werewolf and Minotaur, and recently Dracula and Death use them, too.
    • Harmony Of Despair lets you and a friend pull off "Dual Crushes" if you activate the right buttons at the same time (and have magic to spare).
  • The Constant: Dracula's castle is an ever-changing structure ("a creature of chaos" as Symphony of the Night puts it), but there are several parts of it that remain the same throughout the series:
    • The corridor in its entrance stays the same throughout the games.
    • The castle keep, the most important room in the castle (often because this is where Dracula resides, but even in other cases it's still an important place) that is connected to the rest of the castle via a single flight of stairs.
    • The clock tower, which is also often located right next to the keep.
  • Continuing is Painful: More prevalent in the early Classicvanias. If you die, you lose your sub-weapon along with any power-ups you had for it, your whip is downgraded to its weakest level, and you lose most of your hearts.
  • Continuity Nod: After 20 years, what do you expect? Bosses that appear several times throughout the series, the first and last levels of the original Castlevania being reused in many games, and several minor background elements that are callbacks to previous games.
    • Harmony of Dissonance and Symphony of the Night repeat Simon's Quest in having to gather the five Relics of Dracula (rib, eye, tooth, heart, and ring) to finally confront and beat the Prince (though Harmony adds a sixth relic, Dracula's claw). In Symphony, the five bosses guarding those relics are all of the stage bosses of the original Castlevania — a giant bat, Medusa, Frankenstein's Monster, the Mummy, and Death.
    • Also in Symphony of the Night, Alucard faces evil versions of his three companions from Castlevania III: Trevor, Grant, and Sypha, who actually fight pretty much like they played in that game. Trevor fights like a typical Belmont, Grant chucks knives around and walks on the ceiling, and Sypha uses Fire, Ice, and Lightning magic. The three show up again in near-identical forms in the Nest of Evil section of Portrait of Ruin.
    • Julius Mode in Dawn of Sorrow basically is Castlevania III again, with Julius standing in for Trevor, Yoko taking the place of Sypha, and Arikado resuming his role as Alucard. In addition, the final boss is Soma, who has fully become Dracula, with his own rendition of Dance of Illusions playing in the background and the classic transformation phase. Pity they didn't get Hammer to stand in for Grant, though.
    • In Order of Ecclesia, Shanoa's dialogue just before she enters Dracula's castle references Simon's Quest: "I am the morning sun, come to vanquish this horrible night!"
    • Gabriel in Lords Of Shadow's second DLC says "Enough talk, have at you!" to Forgotten One before the first fight: fitting, considering Dracula said the same thing to Richter in the Symphony intro, and Gabriel is very close to turning into him.
  • Cool Old Guy: Julius Belmont, Morris Baldwin, and Hammer. Technically, Alucard counts by the time of Sorrow.
  • Copy-and-Paste Environments:
    • Lament of Innocence and Curse of Darkness were really bad about this.
    • The 2D games, however, avoid this trope almost completely, with Portrait of Ruin being an exception.
    • Copy And Paste Enemies, on the other hand...
  • Crapsack World: The regular arrival of one is usually a good tell for when Dracula's coming back (it's certainly no coincidence that he managed to come back for both World Wars).
  • Creepy Cathedral: Chapels are relatively common fixture in the castle. We're never told exactly why Dracula, who has renounced God, still has a chapel in his castle.
  • Creepy Doll:
    • Marionette and Killer Doll are two of the most common enemies present in a lot of games.
    • Puppet Master from Dawn of Sorrow also uses them.
    • Chronicle has small clown dolls and hover dolls, though the latter has a voice that is just too cute to be creepy.
  • Crisis Crossover:
    • The plot of Judgment involves Aeon, a time traveler, pulling various characters from the timeline, plus even a character from an alternate continuity, into a dimensional rift in order to prevent Galamoth from rewriting history.
    • Harmony of Despair and Grimoire of Souls both involve heroes and villains from different eras of the official timeline being brought together, via a series of magic books known as Grimoires which contain the stories of the various heroes' battles against Dracula.
  • Cthulhumanoid: Malachi is a recurring enemy appearing as a green-skinned humanoid monster with bat-like wings and a nautilus-like head, and is variously stated to be a type of demon and an ancient pagan god whose very presence strikes terror into those who witness it.
  • Cute Clumsy Girl: Student Witch attacks you by flying on her broom... then falling down on your head. Though this could be an intentional attack. It certainly wouldn't be the first time.
  • Cute Monster Girl: The DS Castlevania titles are absolutely packed with these, so much so that one promotional wallpaper for Portrait of Ruin was the entire female bestiary in adorable chibi form.
  • Cute Witch: Two varieties. The Student Witch enemy is particularly adorable. Charlotte in Portrait of Ruin also qualifies.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: If you play the Metroidvania games for a long while and then go back to the earlier games, it's very easy to forget that you don't automatically walk down stairs, in turn causing the heroes to plummet to their deaths.
  • Damsel in Distress: Serena in Haunted Castle, Lydie in Harmony of Dissonance, and four women in Rondo of Blood, including Maria and Annette. Mina Hakuba becomes one in Dawn of Sorrow. It's actually a doppleganger, as part of a Batman Gambit by Celia.
  • Dark Fantasy: Lots of gothic horror-themed enemies (skeletons, Zombies, vampires, Animated Armor, etc.) and some magic. Aria of Sorrow and Dawn of Sorrow have Soma Cruz and the Lords of Shadow games Gabriel Belmont, respectively, eating their enemies' souls to gain their abilities.
  • Dark Is Not Evil:
    • Alucard, despite being part vampire, is a good and noble person.
    • Soma and Yoko have a discussion about this in Aria of Sorrow. Soma himself is an example.
  • The Death of Death: The Grim Reaper is frequently fought and killed in numerous games.
  • Defector from Decadence:
    • In Curse of Darkness, Hector worked for Dracula as a Devil Forgemaster (which seems to be like a blacksmith except making monsters in addition to weapons), but left his service, suppressed his magical powers, and would have married a human woman. Unfortunately, things took a turn for the 'Oh, Crap!'...
    • Alucard fits in this category rather well, trying to stop Dear Old Dad and show him the error of his ways.
    • Leon in Lament of Innocence, to the point of refusing to take a sword with him when he goes to storm a vampire's castle, because he feels the sword is no longer his to take.
  • Degraded Boss: Both kinds are incredibly common across the Castlevania series. Werewolf, Dogether, Wyvern, Minotaur, Slogra, Gaibon, Frankenstein's Creature... It is also cyclical, with enemies going back and forth between boss status and mook status across games.
  • Dem Bones: There are lots of animated skeletons. The main varieties are human skeletons and snake skeletons.
  • Demonic Vampires:
    • Dracula is treated as being an anti-god thanks to him being a Dark Lord who commands an army of demons to first oppose God's will and then mankind. While he normally looks like an elegant vampire, his One-Winged Angel forms are generally demonic looking.
    • Castlevania: Lords of Shadow: Ironically, vampires in this setting came into existence as a byproduct of an Angelic Transformation. When the founding trio of the Brotherhood of Light ascended to Heaven and became angelic beings, they left behind both their inner darkness and their physical bodies. While their good halves were transformed into Angels, their dark halves became monsters, with Carmilla in particular becoming the first vampire. However, Dracula is an entirely different monster all together. After Gabriel Belmont drank the blood of the Elder Vampire Laura and took the power of The Forgotten One for himself, he became a vampire unlike any other. All vampires before him started out a monstrous Bat-like creatures after turning, and then become more human like as the creatures go by. Gabriel completely skipped this process, and even fundamentally changed the state of vampirism in its entirety.
    • Carmilla's top enforcers, Lieutenant Brauner and Commander Olrox, are actual demons turned vampires.
  • Denial of Diagonal Attack: In earlier Castlevania games, the whip could only strike left or right.
  • Determinator: If your last name is Belmont, and you own a whip, you are this.
    • This includes anyone closely related to the Belmont family by blood (John and Jonathan Morris, Reinhardt Schneider), by friendship (Alucard, Grant DeNasty), or by marriage (Sypha Belnades).
    • Special mention goes to Simon Belmont, who didn't just kick Dracula's ass with jack shit, but after being cursed by the vampire's dying breath, decided the best solution was to resurrect Dracula himself so he could kick his ass again!
    • Extra special mention goes to Julius Belmont, who defeats Dracula once and for all (with some help from Alucard, admittedly), then returns in his fifties and beats the ever-loving crap out of Dracula's reincarnation. Then he returns one year later and (though non-canonical) does it again.
    • Nathan Graves is not part of a legendary clan — in fact, he's a vampire hunter still in training who gets bested by his rival time and time again during lessons — and yet still whups Dracula's ass. That's like a karate student who doesn't even have his black belt yet, going out and beating up Chuck Norris.
  • Devil, but No God:
    • Inverted in the main continuity. God's presence is made clear throughout the franchise, but there is no sign, nor any mentions of Satan himself. It is often thought that he is manipulating events in the background, but in the end the Devil's role and even existence is left up in the air.
    • Downplayed in the Lords of Shadow reboot continuity, wherein both God and Satan are mentioned and play prominent roles, but only the latter makes a physical appearance.
  • Devour the Dragon: Dracula does this with Death in Portrait of Ruin. However, Death told him to do it.
  • Dhampyr: Adrian Fahrenheit Tepes, better known as Alucard, is a half-vampire in both of his incarnations in the series.
    • From the original continuity, Alucard was born as a half-vampire, being the son of Dracula and Lisa.
    • From the Lords of Shadow continuity, this version of Alucard is turned into a half-vampire by his father Dracula. Before he was identified as Alucard, he was Trevor Belmont, son of Gabriel Belmont. The latter was also vampirized as the continuity's version of Dracula.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Dracula has a window in his throne room. He's a vampire. Sunlight is bad for him. Sunlight coming in through this window is the cause for his death after his defeat in more than one game.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: To be precise, "Did You Just Kill Death and the Prince of Darkness With a Whip?"
  • Directionally Solid Platforms: Well, it is a platform game.
  • Distant Sequel: Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow and Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow take place in 2035 and 2036 respectively, which were far in the future at the time, nearly a century after the last chronological order, and 5 centuries after the first game published.
  • Distracted by the Sexy:
    • Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin: Charlotte isn't, but Jonathan is susceptible to a certain female boss's attack using this trope.
    • Even better, there's also a demon that's distracted by Charlotte's sexy.
    • Castlevania: Harmony of Despair reverses this by having female characters be distracted by Dracula's sexy during his final form.
    • Played straight again, courtesy of the female Chapter 7 DLC boss Astarte. Incidentally, this is the same boss that had this effect on Jonathan in Portrait of Ruin.
  • Dracula: Just some minor character you've probably heard of once. All joking aside, Dracula may actually be more closely associated with Castlevania these days than any other form of media, particularly after the success of the animated series.
  • The Dragon: Death usually fills this role, Though many others have also served this purpose, notably named characters like Carmilla and Shaft.
  • Dream Match Game: Judgment and Harmony of Despair.
  • Dual Boss:
    • Most famously: The Werewolf and the Minotaur in Symphony of the Night.
    • Slogra and Gaibon in Symphony of the Night, Dragon Zombies in Circle of the Moon, gets upped to three in Symphony of the Night and Portrait of Ruin with the Zombie Clones.
    • In the first Castlevania:
    • The Final Boss battle of Portrait of Ruin when Dracula and Death team up to battle the two heroes. The same game has another example in Stella and Loretta.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness:
    • The first game was an homage to the style of Universal Horror and Hammer Horror moviesnote , with almost all the bosses being stock monsters from said movies (in turn, many of said monsters were based on famous novels) and had no plot aside from "Kill Dracula". It wasn't until the second and third games that the designers started writing their own mythology and in turn developing complex and dramatic storylines. Also, Simon's Quest may count, as it was a massive departure from the core gameplay.
    • The lore in the early games is also a little off compared to the rest of the series. Supporting material for Dracula's Curse suggests that Alucard was already an adult when his father became a vampire, and he was forced to take part in the transformation as well, only to later regain his human morality and turn against Dracula. Barely anyone remembers this, because it's long been retconned that Alucard wasn't born till after Dracula was a vampire, and is only a half-vampire himself. It was also said around the same time that Dracula gained his unholy power from multiple evil deities, but in subsequent games his power comes solely from Chaos.
  • Easy Amnesia:
    • Averted with Shanoa, as she loses her memories at the beginning of the game, doesn't get them back, and it changes her personality considerably.
    • Played straight with "J" or Julius Belmont, who loses his after the trauma of finally slaying Dracula, yet regains them after going on a sabbatical at his castle.
  • Eldritch Abomination:
    • Doubles as Eldritch Location. Dracula's Castle/Castlevania itself. Alucard calls it a Creature of Chaos in Symphony. And as revealed in Aria, the castle spawns from the Chaotic Realm in response to the Dark Lord.
    • Naturally, a lot of the monsters in the series are also this, with one of them even being Cthulhu—who is protrayed as a fairly standard Big Red Devil due to just being the Devil in the Japanese version. Malachi is an actual expy of Cthulhu stated in Dawn of Sorrow and Portrait of Ruin to be an ancient pagan god whose very appearance strikes terror into those who witness it.
  • Enemies with Death: Duh. Death is the [recurring] Dragon to Dracula, of course he doesn't like anyone who would oppose him!
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: Dracula's army contains pretty much every sort of monster you can think of, and many you can't. See Mr. P's Castlevania Realm for a list of Mooks and bosses.
  • Eternal Villain: Dracula is essentially this as the overarching force of evil that must always be defeated. After his wife was burned at the stake for practicing medicine, Dracula snapped and decided to wage war against the world and God Himself, constantly forced into battle with the Belmont Clan (with assistance from the Morris and Belnades families on occasion) who have thwarted his undead armies every generation. His reign as the lord of Castlevania finally came to an end in the year 1999, when an alliance of various world armies, aided by the Catholic Church and the Hakuba Shinto shrine, succeeded in sealing Dracula away from his castle (the source of his power), with Julius Belmont finishing him off, but he is reincarnated as Soma Cruz, and he always finds a way to come back to continue where he left off, no matter what.
  • Every Proper Lady Should Curtsy: Persephone curtsies before doing a vertical flying kick at the player.
  • Evil Only Has to Win Once: A recurring theme, due to Dracula's penchant for resurrection. The Belmont clan stands as the force that can seal him away again, but if he ever triumphs, there will be no hope for humanity. The events leading up to Aria of Sorrow finally set up Dracula for his final defeat, but there are still those who wish to see him reborn anyway (keeping the trope intact).
  • Evolving Attack: Item Crashes. The early Classicvanias enabled you to power up your sub-weapons. The items that do this can be found in certain areas, but it's usually done by using your sub-weapon enough times. Powering them up increases the number of them you can have onscreen at once.
  • Eyepatch of Power:
    • Trevor sports this in Judgment.
    • In Lords of Shadow, you can also give Gabriel a Solid Eye from the Extras menu once you beat the game.
  • Fairy Sexy:
    • The Fairy familiar, specifically the one from Symphony of the Night.
    • Curse of Darkness also introduces Fairy-type Innocent Devils, most of which still retain fanservice designs.
  • Faith–Heel Turn: Mathias becomes Dracula of the original continuity as a result.
  • Fake Difficulty:
    • Tricky jumping physics in the older games.
    • And recoil. And birds. And Stairs were an absolute deathtrap, because if you get hit once, you plummet all the way to the bottom (which frequently means "to your death").
  • Fanservice:
    • Carmilla in Castlevania Judgment has Jiggle Physics, a Stripperiffic outfit, and her special attack includes a closeup of her crotch in the foreground. Also in Lords of Shadow, where she sports a Navel-Deep Neckline so extreme the only thing keeping her dress on must be sheer force of will. Until she transforms into her vampire mode...
    • Judgment Sypha as well. When she turns around, her boobs bob up and down, and her ample chest is well, so ample, it's a wonder she ever managed to dress up as a man and convince people! (Though she did say they only get in the way.) As of Pachislot, not only does she stop 'dressing like a man', she also sports Cleavage Window, wears a pink skirt, and some of the bonus sections had her using 'transformations' a la a Magical Girl.
    • Shanoa and her Sexy Backless Outfit, with some type A Zettai Ryouiki for good measure. At least the Sexy Backless Outfit has an in-universe excuse (she needs the tattoo on her back exposed to properly absorb Glyphs).
    • Simon Belmont's Castlevania Chronicles design. And Isaac. Kojima and IGA love them some redhead.
    • Arguably the classic designs are pretty hot as well. Trevor's original armor is backless, and... mmmm... loincloths.
    • Who likes short shorts? Well, Super Castlevania IV Simon, for one.
    • Angela in the Pachislot series is basically a scantily clad casino girl designed so she vaguely fits in the Castlevania universe.
    • Certain female enemies are stark, bare-arse nude, usually the "demonic seductress" archetype (Lilliths and Succubi). Others have skimpy outfits and bounce (Certain incarnations of the Witch).
  • Fantastic Nature Reserve: The castle serves as one.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: The majority of demonic forces originate from Western lore, including Greek mythology, but quite a few Eastern monsters like Tsuchinoko or Jiang Shi also appear.
    • A reason for this is implied in Curse Of Darkness; in short, Devil Forgemasters are responsible for designing the monsters, which they base on folklore and legends they heard. Thus why Dracula has such a varied menagerie.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Alucard grants this to a succubus by killing her in a dream world.
    Alucard: Demon, death is too good for you!
  • Faux Action Girl: Medusa. Despite being a legendary monster, she's the easiest boss in almost every game she appears in.
  • Fetch Quest:
    • Castlevania II: Simon's Quest started the series' use of this trope, but Portrait of Ruin and Order of Ecclesia were egregious offenders.
    • While Harmony of Dissonance and Curse of Darkness contain weird little furniture-based subquests that are optional, for a gamer obsessed with 100% Completion, they are just as hugely aggravating.
  • Fighting Your Friend: Juste versus Maxim, Hector versus Isaac, Hector versus Trevor, Nathan versus Hugh, the entirety of Judgment...
  • Fireballs: Scattered all over the place. Dracula practically has the copyright on the three fireball salute, which he calls "Hellfire".
  • Flechette Storm: The Knife Item Crash (also called Thousand Blades), starting with Rondo of Blood, has the user throw a multitude of knives in rapid succession at the enemy. This attack varies with the game it appears in.
    • It can be used in Harmony of Dissonance by combining the Knife with the Wind spellbook.
    • It re-appears in Portrait of Ruin as a Dual Crush. It comes in handy against most enemies.
    • It returns as a Dual Crush in Harmony of Despair, but can only be used if Johnathan and Charlotte perform the technique together.
    • Also a power used by the bird-type and Battle-type Innocent Devils in Curse of Darkness, in the form of Bone Shot and Heavenly Sword. Bone Storm doesn't quite count, given how awesome it is. Also, Trevor's special knife attack counts, especially in his playable mode.
    • Grant can perform this kind of attack in at least three ways in Judgment.
  • Flying Face: The medusa heads.
  • Foreboding Architecture: Certain kinds of door. Especially so are the ones that (a) are shaped like some kind of beastie's jaws and (b) open for Belmonts. Shudder!
  • Forgiveness: Alucard's mother mentions how Dracula could never forgive the peasants for killing her, and begs him to do so. She was a saint.
  • The Four Gods: Maria's super attacks in Rondo, Symphony, and Judgment.
  • Four Is Death: In many games, Death will have exactly 4444 hit points.
  • Frankenstein's Monster: A recurring boss-level foe, regardless of the game's time period. Early games went ahead and called it "Frankenstein", but more recent entries instead call it "The Creature".
  • Genius Loci: The castle itself. It might be a full-fledged example or it might be merely an extension of Dracula's will. Either way, creepy place.
  • Gigantic Moon: Most Castlevania games feature an inexplicably gigantic moon. In the intro for Castlevania: Judgment, the moon is portrayed in such a size it would actually be bigger than the Earth itself, unless the satellite has broken orbit and is on a collision course for Eastern Europe.
  • Glass Cannon:
    • Richter and Maria in Symphony of the Night take damage horribly in comparison to Alucard. Not helped by the fact that they don't level up, and their only way of healing is through save points and HP Max Ups. And again during Richter Mode in Portrait of Ruin. They can at least level up this time, but there's still almost no health.
    • Judgment made Death into this, which is either totally bizarre or completely in-character.
    • In Order of Ecclesia, the Death Ring makes Shanoa into an extreme example of one of these — it makes her die in one hit while boosting all of her stats, excluding Luck (but, oddly enough, including Defense and Mind).
    • In Circle of the Moon, combining the Black Dog and Pluto cards will turn Nathan into a skeleton that throws bones. He occasionally throws a large bone that deals an automatic 9999 damage, but he dies in one hit while in this form.
  • God Is Good/God Is Evil: A bit of a theme throughout the series.
    • Dracula's origin story came from a hatred of God after losing his wife, while Leon Belmont, who also lost his wife (due to Mathias' scheming), remained steadfast in his faith. Alucard and Celia Fortner seem to believe that in order for God to be wholly good, evil must exist in the form of a Dark Lord to oppose Him. Nevertheless, in general, the series implies the former more than the latter, considering most of the heroes get their power from divine might.
    • In the Lords Of Shadow trilogy, it is unquestionably the former, since even when Gabriel becomes Dracula, he never loses God's favor, and realizing that God still loves him is one of the things that helps him pull a Heel–Face Turn.
  • God-Emperor: Dracula is more of a Physical God rather than an ordinary vampire, as he commands the legions of darkness, and he is worshipped by certain humans and lesser vampires, even continuing to be deified after his semi-permanent destruction in 1999.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Alucard. Steadfast champion of goodness, is very cold, blunt, and aloof.
  • Gorgeous Gorgon: Medusa, although this varies from each game.
  • Goroawase Number: In many of the Metroidvania games, the meat item restores 29 HP. Why? Because in Japanese, "2 9" can be read as niku. Niku is also the Japanese word for "meat".
  • Grand Theft Me: A part of Dracula's plans.
    • This is how he was to come Back from the Dead in the Sorrow games… though whether it's really him, resurrected in mind and spirit if not quite in body, or just his reincarnation Soma being Drunk on the Dark Side and filling an identical role is a bit of an open question
    • He does it in Curse of Darkness too, via Devil Forgemaster Bodyjacking. Initially, Hector was the target, but when he resisted the curse, Isaac's body was used as the vessel.
  • Greater-Scope Villain:
    • Chaos in Aria of Sorrow is the source of Dracula's evil and powers.
    • Dracula himself becomes this in games where he isn't the Big Bad.
  • The Greatest Story Never Told:
    • In-canon, Order of Ecclesia.
    • In-franchise, Circle Of The Moon, Castlevania Legends, and any other release that wasn't blessed with future Continuity Nods.
    • A meta-example of this is probably the reason gamers will never receive an installment chronicling Julius Belmont's exploits in 1999; expectations would just be too damn high for the story of how Dracula finally died for good.
  • The Grim Reaper: He is also often The Dragon and on a First-Name Basis with Alucard; if you consider Kid Dracula to be canonical at all, he may have even helped raise him. According to the enemy list and manual of Symphony of the Night, he is Dracula's close personal friend.
  • The Gunslinger: Henry Oldrey and Albus. Also possible for Soma if you manage to locate the right weapon.
  • Hair-Trigger Explosive: The two games on the Nintendo 64 have the item "Magical Nitro" which is used in conjunction with "Mandragora" to make an explosive that destroys cracked walls. However, the game cautions that the Nitro is extremely volatile; the player must avoid jumping or being hit by enemy attacks, or else the Nitro explodes and instantly kills the character.note 
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Alucard... he's not your ordinary vampire...
  • Haunted Castle: It was even the title of one of the games; the most unfair, hair-pullingly difficult game in the entire series.
  • Headless Horseman: The Dullahan. In some games, he isn't even depicted with a horse despite being labeled so.
  • Heal It with Nature:
  • Heart Container: HP Max Up items appear in all of the Metroidvania titles except Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow and Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow.
  • Hearts Are Health: A notable aversion across the series, as Hearts act as ammo for your subweapons or quick refills for your Mana Meter, depending on the game. As such, newcomers to the franchise tend to get confused. In its stead, food items heal your HP.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • The Golem in Judgement is a rather odd example. He defeats the Time Reaper so Aeon can finish mending the rift in time. In the process, the Golem loses all sentient thought the rift gave him, and is destroyed some time later by a Vampire Killer.
    • In Order of Ecclesia, Shanoa attempts one of these, but Albus takes the punch in her stead. D'aww.
  • Holy Hand Grenade: One of the most useful sub weapons is Holy Water, which can cause tons of damage in the right circumstances. The cross and bible subweapons also count. Also, some of the games have holy elemental weapons, like the Claimh Solais in the Sorrow games. Item Crash cranks this up to eleven. HYDRO STORM! GRAAND CRUZ!
  • Holy Water: Holy water is a recurring weapon that bursts into flames when thrown, dealing damage to any enemies it comes into contact with.
  • Hotter and Sexier: The IGA era titles introduced nudity (albeit often with Barbie Doll Anatomy) and fanservice for both sexes all over the place.
  • Hot Witch:
    • A common baddie in the IGA titles, who Show Some Leg with their witch costume. In the DS titles, they got an upgrade.
    • Some of the protagonists as well; Sypha (indicated in Judgment, goes full-blown in Pachislot 3), Yoko, possibly Charlotte, etc...
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: According to Dracula, anyway.
    Dracula: "What IS a man?! A miserable little pile of secrets! But enough talk — HAVE AT YOU!"
  • Hunting the Most Dangerous Game:
    • The Belmont clan has this as a hereditary job description: Vampire Hunter.
    • Walter Bernhard in Lament of Innocence incites people to hunt him for his amusement, usually by kidnapping and turning their loved ones.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: Food instantly heals you, although if you eat something rotten, it also instantly harms you.
    • The Sorrow games feature an ability you can equip to turn poisonous food edible.
    • The flavor text in Order of Ecclesia is very amusing about these. Rotten pot roast is described as "Your ticket to a brand new echelon of stomach problems."
  • I Am Legion: A Recurring Boss, introduced more recently than many examples. Referred to as Granfaloon in SotN's English translation. Cat's Cradle used the word to refer to a false grouping of people, so it makes an odd bit of metaphorical sense.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Many, many Castlevania titles have had the subtitle "X of Y" or "X of the Y". Castlevania: Rondo of Blood was the first to do it, though it seriously started to pick up after Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. One title even has two "X of Y"s with Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate.
  • I Hate You, Vampire Dad: Subverted; Alucard tends to mourn him afterward.
  • I Let You Win:
    • If you defeat Death in Portrait Of Ruin, he will tell you he was holding back.
    • The same goes for Julius Belmont in Aria Of Sorrow.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Maria Renard (animals), and Charlotte Aulin (books).
  • Inexplicably Preserved Dungeon Meat: Used throughout the series. The pre-Symphony of the Night games typically allowed the player to break open walls to reveal different kinds of meat. Games after Symphony had food items just sitting on the floor out in the open or dropped by monsters, including cartons of milk that should've gone bad even faster than the meat. However, it also zigzagged this trope by including spoiled food items as well.
  • In Name Only: Simon Belmont from Captain N: The Game Master has jack-all to do with Simon from the games.
  • In-Universe Game Clock: Castlevania II: Simon's Quest, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, and Castlevania 64 all have day/night cycles.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: Several examples amid the Metroidvanias:
    • Symphony has some:
      • The Crissaegrim, which can do tons of damage in rapid fire, without breaking stride. If you manage to equip two Crissaegrims at once... holy hell, it's almost like cheating.
      • The combination of Shield Rod and Royal Shield counts as well (the real one, not the fake which has no effect). This combination lends Alucard a Super Mario Bros.-ish Star Power affect while doing massive damage to enemies by running into them with the shield. Takes down bosses with little effort, including Drac himself.
    • Aria of Sorrow has the Claimh Solais, the best weapon due to its speed, power, and reach. It also had the Crissaegrim, but the (low) damage it dealt nerfed it into uselessness.
    • Dawn of Sorrow finally balanced both by slowing down the Claimh Solais, and the rapid attack sword (now the Valmanway) has decent attack power. Forging the Claimh Solais also requires sacrificing a decent Boss Soul, preventing 100% completion for that playthrough.
    • Several games (Aria, Dawn, and Portrait) also have an item that grants essentially limitless MP, although later games limited its effectiveness and you need to wait a few seconds for it to replenish if you run out completely. It comes late in the game, but makes replays a cakewalk.
    • Death's Scythe in Curse of Darkness arguably counts, but it is such a pain to make. On higher levels, it is also outclassed by the Force Glove in terms of damage per second. It's also available in both Sorrow games and just as powerful there, but it's Darkness-elemental, which many enemies resist, and the shaft has no hitbox, meaning it misses enemies that are standing too close to Soma.
  • Informed Ability: The Belmonts are supposed to be the best vampire hunters around, but you'll have a much easier time beating the game with a little girl or a high school student. The Vampire Killer is supposed to be the best weapon to use against Dracula and his minions, but you'll find high-end swords can be much better. Naturally, this only applies when you are the Belmont. Julius is easily able to prove his worth time and time again, as long as you aren't controlling him, in the Sorrow series. Ditto Trevor in Curse of Darkness to an extent.
  • An Interior Designer Is You:
    • Sorta. There's one room in Harmony of Dissonance that you can "decorate," but you can't actually move the furniture. Just acquire it.
    • Hector has this weird chair-collecting subquest in Curse of Darkness.
  • Invisible Streaker: The "Invisible Man" enemy, which starts out wearing a hat, trenchcoat, and pants, but quickly throws them off to charge at you naked.
  • Item Amplifier: Some games have an Ankh item that increase the effect of healing items when equipped.
  • James Bondage:
    • Richter Belmont, Soleiyu/Soleil Belmont, Hugh Baldwin, Maxim Kischine, arguably Simon Belmont (a curse eroding your soul is sure gonna limit your mobility) in the spiritual sense, and Morris Baldwin in Circle of the Moon literally.
    • It's not limited to the heroes! Leon finds Joachim locked in the basement in Lament of Innocence, and considering his clothing and what it hints at with regard to the lurking background plot from Curse of Darkness, Isaac should go here too.
  • Joke Item: Several crafted items in Curse of Darkness; the paper airplane in Portrait of Ruin; the Vic Viper, Twinbee, and Konami Man in Order of Ecclesia. The Alucart equipment looks to be this, but it does have a purpose.
  • Justified Save Point: As of late, they've been in front of statues of angels, the Virgin Mary, or like religious figures (Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow had Valkyries). Makes sense since it's probably sanctified ground, and thus repels monsters.
  • Kamehamehadouken: The specialty of the Nova/Beam Skeletons that have shown up in several of the Metroivania titles now.
  • Knockback: One of the main forms of difficulty in the earlier Castlevania titles.
  • Lampshade Hanging:
    • Maria introduces her special attack in Judgment with "This is my special!"
    • Dracula does it first in Portrait of Ruin, commenting about how he and Death should get to double team too.
  • Ledge Bats: The bats, birds, and Medusa heads all make platforming a pain, as they usually gather where there are pits and spikes.
  • Legendary Weapon: The Vampire Killer Whip is considered the ultimate undead-killing holy weapon.
  • Lethal Joke Character: Maria in Rondo of Blood. Beat the game with her and you'll get flamed for not being man enough to use Richter.
  • Lethal Joke Item:
    • Put on all three Alucart items in SotN and you gain a +30 luck bonus.
    • There's also the Cream Pie subweapon in Portrait of Ruin, which is dark-aligned and thus does nice damage to holy-aligned enemies when mastered. The easiest way to kill the rather difficult spirit memory of Richter Belmont is to simply throw 200 cream pies in his face.
    • In Rondo of Blood, a Key must be held in place of secondary weapons. It apparently can't be used to attack and trying to make Richter item-crash with it will just make him wonder what the hell you're trying to do. However, since Richter is invulnerable while performing an item-crash and the key's item-crash consumes no hearts, you can spam it to get out of tight situations — just don't do it on moving platforms. Furthermore, the key actually can be used to attack, and does insane damage — it just has pitifully short range. Of course, you lose it when you've used it for its intended purpose, so you either have to ignore one of the kidnapped women you're tasked with saving or just enjoy the power while it lasts.
      • Here is someone defeating Dracula's second form in Vampire's Kiss with the Key. One hopes that someone can figure out how to bring the Key to the Dracula fight in Rondo without using Maria.
  • Level of Tedious Enemies: Once per game, the Clocktower Level is often full of Medusa Heads, which are there more to get in the way of the Belmont trying to climb than they are there to kill him (though they can often manage to pull that off indirectly by knocking him into pits or spikes). Sometimes they can turn him to stone, which further wastes time.
  • Lighter and Softer:
  • Living Labyrinth: Dracula's castle points and laughs at mapmakers. Metaphorically, of course.
  • Love Makes You Evil:
    • Twice in Dracula's case; it also justifies the bad ending of Dawn of Sorrow.
    • Subverted with Gabriel Belmont. Even after he lost his true love, he is still sane enough to save humanity from the darkness, thanks to the consistent encouragement from his love; even after he becomes Dracula (a different one), he simply hides himself in darkness without harming any other humans. However, double subverted in that after beating the Forgotten One, he became disgusted with humans, became a closer-to-classic Dracula, and waged war against humanity... until the Stinger in the end of the first game anyway.
    • Mathias intended for Leon Belmont to obey the trope, but Leon finds the very idea ridiculous.
    • Played straight with Brauner in Portrait; in his case, it's the death of his daughters that pushed him over the edge.
  • Magic Is Feminine: The games have four major clans whose purpose is to fight Dracula: the magic-using Belnades clan, the whip-wielding Belmonts, the Lecardes who prefer spears, and the Morrises who use a variety of weapons. The Belnades clan has only been represented by women in the games. In fact, the only playable female characters (barring Sonia Belmont who has been excised from canon) have been magic-using Belnades women, Maria Renard, a Cute Witch Charlotte Aulin and Shanoa, who is a Magic Knight.
  • Magic Knight:
    • Shanoa who mixes medieval weaponry with magical glyphs.
    • Also Juste Belmont, who is not only strong physically, but also the one augmenting most magic in his arsenal.
    • The Devil Forgemasters Hector and Isaac are the other side's equivalent.
    • Alucard belongs here, too with his varied weapons and vampiric transformations. The guy gets around, tropishly.
    • Nathan Graves also qualifies, wielding both a Hunter Whip and magic cards. His game even has a Magician Mode where you have all the cards available from the start.
  • Magic Pants:
  • Magic Skirt:
    • In Bloodlines, Eric Lecarde's short tunic stays in place even when completely upside-down and pole-vaulting.
    • Rondo of Blood subverts this very cleverly. Maria holds her skirt so as not to flash the world or trip when she somersaults.
  • Mana Potion:
    • The Mana Prism restores all magic in games that use it.
    • In some games, hearts restore magic instead of sub weapon uses.
  • The Man Behind the Monsters: Dracula, or whoever's attempting to resurrect him, is this to all the bosses and mooks.
  • Maou the Demon King:
    • Dracula is explicitly referred to as the "Dark Lord" in several stories, specifically translated from "Maou" in the original Japanese. Though an Expy of Dracula from the novel of the same name, his role and power are both greatly expanded. He is considered the Big Bad of the Castlevania franchise and the opposite of God. No matter how many times he's killed, he returns roughly every 100 years[[note]]though Anniversary Collection states that the hundred-year cycle is in itself a folktale and therefore not set in stone, as made evident by the occasional early resurrection, and the armies of Hell (or whatever alternative name for it is used) follow his command.
    • In Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow and Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow, Dracula is finally Killed Off for Real when his castle (the personification of his power) is sealed inside of a solar eclipse. However, the forces of Chaos (the aggregate of all human evil) reincarnate him as Soma Cruz. Soma refuses to become the new Dark Lord, but this simply means that Chaos will wait until another candidate is born that will accept the role. In the non-canon bad endings of the games, Soma does become the new Dark Lord and is an exact copy of Dracula gameplay-wise.
    • In the Lords of Shadow series, Dracula's role is very similar except for the fact that Satan also exists. God, Dracula and Satan are all considered three corners of the same power balance. Yes, Dracula is just as evil as ever in this series, but so is Satan (and, God, depending on how one looks at it).
  • Market-Based Title:
    • It's called Castlevania in the west because "The Demon Castle of Dracula" isn't very trademarkable, and probably is harder to make look good on ad copy.
    • Zig-Zagged somewhat, as a few games from the early 2000's went by the name of Castlevania in Japan as well, including most recently Lords of Shadow.
  • Massive Multiplayer Crossover: Dracula races in Konami Krazy Racers and Simon fights in DreamMix TV World Fighters and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (for the last one, he brought along Richter too).
  • Master of the Levitating Blades: The Ruler Sword enemies are huge swords which attack by levitating collections of weapons at the protagonists.
  • Mayfly–December Romance: Dracula and Lisa, with tragic results.
  • Mega Manning: Key gameplay element in Dawn of Sorrow and Aria of Sorrow. Shades of it appear in Portrait of Ruin and Order of Ecclesia.
  • Metroidvania: One of the trope namers, along with Metroid. Some of the games follow this formula, as early as Simon's Quest, but it was Symphony of the Night that made the series known for this.
  • Mirror Match: In Lament of Innocence, you can play as Joachim Armster, and while playing as him, you end up fighting a doppelganger of yourself. Ditto for Trevor Belmont in Curse of Darkness and Albus in Order of Ecclesia. And that's without counting the numerous doppelganger bosses.
  • Money Spider: What bats are doing with a bag of money is left unanswered.
  • Monster Mash: The series has a ginormous amalgamation of mythological creatures, most of which are accurately depicted.
  • Multiple Endings: First featured in Simon's Quest, most of the Metroidvanias except for Circle of the Moon have multiple endings; there is at minimum a bad ending for rushing through the game and a good ending for thoroughly completing the game.
    • A weird habit for several games is that the 'worst' (or, at least, the easiest to get) ending is actually not that bad, while the 'moderate' ending is the Downer Ending. Simon's Quest was especially weird, as the worst ending ended happily, the moderate ending had Simon dying, and the best ending had Dracula coming back from the grave.
  • Named Weapons: Pretty much every weapon used by a character, although the Vampire Killer is the most obvious example.
  • Ninja Maid: The Zombie Maid and Persephone.
  • Nintendo Hard: Many of the early games in the series, before the Metroidvania phase kicked in with Symphony of the Night.
    • Circle of the Moon is pretty hard, even if you know the right cards to get. And the most useful cards force you to go through the Bonus Dungeon to get them.
    • And Order of Eccelsia, which is full of Goddamned Bats and Demonic Spiders, and most bosses can kill you in 2-3 hits, and some of them have instant-death combos.
    • Out of all the already Nintendo Hard Classicvanias, special mention must go to the arcade game Haunted Castle. Not so much for the platforming and hard-to-kill creatures (of which there is plenty of both), but for the fact you only get ONE life and three continues to beat the game with. Yes, an arcade machine with a continue limit. Use up all three continues, and your fourth token will throw you back to the very beginning.
  • Noblewoman's Laugh:
    • Celia Fortner does this in Dawn of Sorrow.
    • Stella's implied to do this in some of the extra bonus artwork in Portrait of Ruin.
  • Nonstandard Game Over:
    • Dawn of Sorrow has this if you enter a room without equipping Mina's pendant.note 
    • In Portrait of Ruin, if you opt to kill Stella and Loretta instead of curing them, you still get an ending sequence with Dracula's Castle destroyed, but you get a Game Over screen instead of a credits sequence because Brauner got away.
    • In Order of Ecclesia, failing to set all the villagers free before confronting Albus will result in this.
  • No Ontological Inertia: Dracula's castle always crumbles to dust upon the death of its owner. Explained by Dracula and his castle being symbiotically linked.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Lisa was burned at the stake for practicing medicine. Considering who her husband was and his reaction, this trope is deconstructed.
  • Noodle Incident: The 'Battle of 1999' is often referenced in the Sorrow games, but the player is never told exactly what happened during the final epic battle between the Belmonts and Dracula. The two people who were alive for it (Julius Belmont and Alucard) are notoriously tight-lipped about the whole thing. note  And now that Iga has left Konami and Castlevania to do his own games and the entire series has gotten a continuity reboot (most likely due to writing itself into a corner), it's pretty likely that this battle is never going to be elaborated on either.
  • Nostalgia Level: Pretty much every single area in the original appears in the sequels. Areas of the castle shown in subsequent games also have a habit of returning. They even tend to have the same items hidden in the same locations. The two most noteworthy locations are Dracula's Keep and the Main Entrance.
    • Castlevania Chronicles pulls a nostalgia screw on players in the first level. Whip the place in the wall where there was delicious masonry pot-roast in the original game, and you will be rewarded not with lunch but rather an infinite flow of flea men.
  • Of Corsets Sexy:
    • Stella, of Portrait of Ruin, wears a loose-fitting corset as part of her costume. And although they're (sadly) not seen wearing them, corsets can be found and equipped as armor by the female protagonists in the DS games.
    • Carmilla's top in Circle of the Moon looks to be one as well.
    • The Succubus in Symphony of the Night seems to wear nothing but a corset.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome:
    • Julius Belmont has the distinction of being described, within canon, as the strongest Belmont in history, and his sealing of Castlevania within the solar eclipse with the help of an army is the stuff of legends (also resulting in Dracula reincarnating as a good guy). He's also the only Belmont thus introduced whose main story has never been playable, only later missions as bonus material.
    • In general, the Belmonts and their various allies are always described as "vampire hunters," and it's implied they regularly hunt other vampires in between Dracula's resurrections. It's also suggested that there are other, rival groups of vampire hunters who often interfere with Dracula's plans. We absolutely never see any of this happen, naturally.
  • Omake: The 4-koma comics; only the Dracula X and Order of Ecclesia ones have been translated so far.
  • Once an Episode: Certain things are sure to reappear from time to time in the series. For example, there's often a "Clock Tower" level with spike pits, conveyor belts of some sort, and usually a lot of flying Medusa Heads clogging up the area.
  • One-Steve Limit:
    • The real life Dracula (Vlad III) is never named onscreen, presumably to avoid confusion with the resident Big Bad. Even in Castlevania (2017), he's only referred to as the king, although it's not hard when he's just a corpse.
    • Hermina in Grimoire of Souls is a reference to Wilhelmina 'Mina' Harker nee Murray of the literary Dracula, like her former colleagues Lucy Westenra and Director Seward. Hermina's name was presumably tweaked to avoid confusion with Mina Hakuba of the Sorrow duology (also named after the literary Mina), especially since they live in the same time period.
  • One to Million to One: Dracula occasionally teleports this way, becoming a mass of bats.
  • One-Winged Angel: Dracula, every game. He actually only has one form at the end of Symphony of the Night, but that's because he did the usual two forms in the Rondo of Blood Call-Back at the beginning.
    • Castlevania II: Belmont's Revenge also has only one form for Dracula — perhaps because he comes right after the fight with Soleil.
    • In Order of Ecclesia, this is subverted as he doesn't transform at all; he just starts walking around. And it's still one of his strongest forms across all the games.
    • Death also has a second, more monstrous form in some games. One notable form is turning into a giant skeleton turtle with scythes for hands. Both badass yet rather silly at the same time.
  • Only Known By His Nickname:
    • Castlevania is actually the name of Dracula's castle, but it's more commonly just called "Dracula's castle".
    • Alucard's actual name is Adrian but not even his own mother calls him that in flashbacks. He's always Alucard, or later, Arikado.
  • Orbiting Particle Shield: This is an incredibly common ability in the series.
    • Circle of the Moon has an entire subset of shield powers with many variations on this.
    • The Sorrow games have the Buer soul, which are fire particles, and more appear the more copies of the soul you have.
  • Our Fairies Are Different: The Innocent Devil fairies in Curse of Darkness (especially the Proboscis Fairy, what the heck), and the Pixie/Half-Fairy/Han'yousei familiar in Symphony of the Night; the Fairy is pretty usual for her species.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: When you think about it, Dracula is less of a vampire and more of a Japanese-style Demon King. He rarely even turns other people into vampires.
    • Even in general, most of the shown vampires have varied and unusual powers, it's stranger for a vampire in the franchise to "just" have standard vampiric traits and nothing else.
  • Our Werebeasts Are Different: Across the franchise, you have the standard werewolves (bosses in some games and common enemies in others), and some of them are capable of performing acrobatic kung-fu moves, throwing fireballs, and explosively punching the ground. Then there are werejaguars, weretigers, and werebears as enemies (and the jaguar and tiger variants are stated in the Sorrow duology to be fighting rivals to each other).
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Some of the 3D games have pretty elaborate outfits, as does Order of Ecclesia. Even the sprite-based games can have fancy dresses.
  • Plot Coupon:
    • Three games require the player to collect Dracula's body parts before heading to the final confrontation.
    • Several other games require you to collect different items to progress, or get the good ending.
    • Classic games have orbs dropping from the boss which the player has to collect.
  • Power of Love: Noted as a contrast to Love Makes You Evil above.
    • The most obvious example might be Leon Belmont, who, after the tragic death of his lover at the hands of the villains, swears that he and his descendants will hunt the night to prevent the same tragedy from happening to other humans again; he himself also stated this is the only way to prove his love for the deceased Sara.
    • It also justifies the good ending of Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow; Mina's Talisman given to Soma (if you remember to wear it) also keeps his weary, gullible heart from going wrong in the bad ending.
  • Power-Up Letdown:
    • In Symphony, trying to use the Alucart Shield (if you weren't watching the last consonant or were just curious) in combo with the Shield Rod. Cue Alucard pulling his cloak around dramatically... and then going "?"
    • Trying to summon using the Killer Fish soul in Aria results in the fish dying unless you're underwater. The soul description does warn you about this side effect.
    • Attempting an Item Crash with the Key in Rondo of Blood leads to Richter powering up... and falling back to earth with a Confused Question Mark above his head, wondering what the heck you're trying to do. Then again, the key does have its uses.
  • Prequel: Four times. It's almost as if every director wanted to be the one to tell the earliest story in the timeline...
  • Pretty in Mink:
    • Soma's huge fur collar in Aria Of Sorrow.
    • His prior incarnation has this, too, in Lament of Innocence. Work it, Mathias.
    • Chronicles Simon has a sexy fuzzy collar. Or half of one.
  • Public Domain Canon Welding: The original continuity of games happens in the same world as Dracula, with its events treated as canon. The book itself receives two sequels within the series: Castlevania: Bloodlines, starring Quincey Morris's son John, and Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin, starring John's son Jonathan. The games also go out of their way to explain that the Dracula seen in the series is not Vlad the Impaler, but a Crusader and Alchemist named Mathias Cronqvist using the name due to his reputation. This was in order to cover any Plot Holes created by the prequel game Castlevania: Lament of Innocence.
  • Pulling Themselves Together: Red skeletons, one of the more common enemies in the series, reform themselves after they've been destroyed.
  • Pun-Based Title:
    • Castlevania is an obvious pun on Transylvania.
    • Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow was the franchise's debut on the Nintendo DS.
  • Rain of Blood: The death animation for most of the mains, starting with Rondo of Blood, as well as a specific attack by Dracula's third form in the PSP remake which literally causes the blood to rain down from above.
  • Rare Random Drop: The best items (weapons, armor, souls, etc.) will take a lot of killing certain enemies.
  • Random Drop: Ever since the Metroidvania era began; recent games have even started displaying the drop rates for certain things.
  • Random Drop Booster: There are several items that increase chances of drops. The "Rare Ring" appears most often.
  • Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs:
    • Both Kaiser Knuckle and Fist of Tulkas from Symphony have a blurry-punch-spam special attack.
    • The Sacred Fist sub-weapon from Harmony of Dissonance.
  • Real Men Eat Meat: In several of the side-scrolling Castlevania games, you must find power-ups that resemble various cuts of meat to regenerate your health.
  • Recurring Riff:
    • The big three tunes are "Vampire Killer", "Bloody Tears", and "Beginning" from the first three games on the NES, in that order.
    • Individual character themes such as Simon's, Richter's "Divine Bloodlines" and Dracula's "Dance of Illusions" also count.
  • Recycled Title: Both the NES and N64 versions are just called Castlevania, as is the European version of the PS2's Lament of Innocence and the European version of the Game Boy Advance's Circle of the Moon. Also, about half the games in the series before the 32-bit era were called Akumajou Dracula in Japan.
  • Refusal of the Call: The cancelled Dreamcast entry was to star a Belmont named Victor who wanted nothing to do with his family's heritage, but the call found him anyway. Makes you wonder What Could Have Been if it had come out.
  • Regenerating Mana: Games that use a Mana Meter almost always have it slowly fill back up.
  • Reincarnation Romance: There's a pretty widespread fanon assumption that just as Soma Cruz in the Sorrow titles is the reincarnation of Dracula, Mina Hakuba is similarly the reincarnation of Dracula's two previous wives, Elisabetha Cronqvist and Lisa. People who aren't fans of the Soma/Mina pairing understandably have an issue with this. There's no Word of God one way or the other, too, so the slapfights go on...
  • Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain: Dracula is usually only vulnerable to headshots, from the first game onward.
  • Reverse Shrapnel: A few of the Item Crashes, the Cross and Axe particularly.
  • Rewarding Vandalism: Candles are made to be broken. So are some walls. And floors. And clocks. And chandeliers.
  • Ridiculously Long-lived Family Name: The Belmont clan have fought Dracula throughout his various revivals. One of the few exceptions is Reinhardt Schneider, from Castlevania 64. He doesn't bear the name but is still a close enough relation to wield the Vampire Killer whip.
  • Roundhouse Kick: Several moves, including Persephone's attack.
  • The Ruins I Caused: A Castlevania staple. Unusual in that it's technically the same castle that crumbles every time.
  • Samus Is a Girl: Sypha Belnades. At first. Afterwards, impersonator, Judgment or Pachislot does away with it.
  • Say My Name: Quite frequent in the series.
    • Maxim from Harmony of Dissonance yells "JUSTEEE!" when beaten.
    • Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow:
      • Switching characters has the current character shout the next character's name. "Yoko!" "Julius!" "Alucard!"
      • And when you reach the final boss in Julius Mode, you get one depending on which character is leading the strike: "ARIKADO!" "VERUNANDES!" "YURIUSU... BELMONDOOO!"
      • The lead's heavy-hearted 'Soma...'.
    • Portrait of Ruin: Like Dawn of Sorrow above, your characters call each others' names when switching, or when summoning them onscreen for support. This results in...
      • Jonathan! Charlotte! Jonathan! Charlotte! Jonathan! Charlotte! Jonathan! Charlotte! Jonathan! Charlotte!
      • Loretta! Sister! Loretta! Sister! Loretta! Sister! Loretta! Sister! Loretta! Sister! Loretta! Sister!
    • Upon his defeat in Order of Ecclesia, the Fake Boss Albus bellows a truly epic "SHAAANOOOAAA!"
    • Thanks to Castlevania: Judgment, we also have "LORD DRACULAAA!", "LORD DRACULAAA!", and "LORD GALAMOOOTH!"
    • One character pressing the "Dual Crush" button near another results in them calling the other character's name in Harmony of Despair.
  • Scarf of Asskicking: Appears on several characters throughout the series.
  • Sdrawkcab Name: Other than Alucard, there are Puwexil (a gigantic skull that attacks with an oversized tongue, his name backwards is essentially "Licks You Up") and Koranot (a golem, his name backwards is "Ton 'a rock"), two bosses in Super Castlevania IV.
  • Secret Character: In almost every game since Rondo.
    • Rondo of Blood: Maria.
    • Symphony of the Night: Richter and Maria (only in the Saturn and PSP versions).
    • Harmony of Dissonance: Maxim, and for the boss rush, Maxim and Simon Belmont.
    • Aria of Sorrow: Julius.
    • Dawn of Sorrow: Julius, Yoko, and Alucard.
    • Lament of Innocence: Joachim, notable for being the only outright villain to play this role. Stella and Loretta, being brainwashed, don't count in that category.
    • Curse of Darkness: Trevor Belmont.
    • Portrait of Ruin: Sisters mode, Richter mode, Old Axe Armor mode.
    • Order of Ecclesia: Albus mode.
  • Sequence Breaking:
    • There is no need to get the cleansing item to beat Circle of the Moon, and consequentially no need to get the heavy ring either, letting you skip two of the eight main levels (if you can survive being that underleveled in the waterway).
    • If you know which three souls you need to equip to reach the true ending in Aria of Sorrow, you can skip the rooms where you learn this information. This includes the area behind the Chronomage, which you could only pass with Galamoth's soul, which is the main reward for defeating Legion. Thus, you can also skip the Underground Cemetery. (Though getting the Golden Ending requires that you collect every soul in the game, meaning you can't skip anything.)
    • In Dawn of Sorrow, large sections of the game can be skipped either after the first playthrough, or with some other method of accessing the cross-hilt dagger Cinqueda — Because it has a special move that teleports you, it can trigger every single door-switch from the wrong side. Other tricks exist to bypass barriers meant to block you until you got a specific item.
  • Sequential Boss:
  • Shape Shifter Mashup: Scylla.
  • Shout-Out: The series was built on nods to various monster horror movies, with the title screens of the first three NES games and Vampire Killer sporting film borders. Manga references became more blatant beginning with Rondo of Blood making nods to JoJo's Bizarre Adventure and Bastard!! (1988). Once IGA was in charge, the floodgates were open.
    • There are plenty of Shout-Outs to classic vampire stories and movies; for instance, Carmilla is named for the eponymous villain of the first Lesbian Vampire story, and the boss "Olrox" in Symphony of the Night is a fudged translation of Orlok, from the classic film Nosferatu.
    • And of course, the requisite shout outs to the original Dracula novel by Bram Stoker, such as his name (mangled) being in the credits of CV1, John Morris' father being Quincey Morris, and Mina Hakuba of the Sorrow duology's name being similar to Mina Harker.
    • The series' frequent JoJo references began with Maria Renard's Guardian Knuckle being fashioned after and hitting like Star Platinum. Death's lack of body from the chest down mirrors the physiology of Stardust Crusader's own resident reaper, Death 13. Sacrificial stone masks started dropping since Symphony of the Night. Soma Cruz and his enemies would by far land the most references. Soma used several of his powers to resemble and quote Jotaro and Dio, including the "Ora ora ora" and "Muda" shouts. Among the monsters, the White Rabbit put him through the same process as Jotaro learning how to stop time, while Dawn of Sorrow had Zephyr as a Captain Ersatz of Dio. Both Soma and Jonathan could throw knives in frozen time to speed off later.
    • The Crimson Stone prominently featured in Lament of Innocence that is said to turn the wielder into a vampire is practically the Crimson Behelit from Berserk. The character of Matthias Cronqvist also takes heavy inspiration from Griffith.
    • The Vampire Killer, at least in IGA's canon, shares a lot with the Beast Spear in Ushio and Tora. Created by sacrificing a girl after showing nothing less could harm the villain, it became a weapon passed down in a centuries-long feud. Its unlocked powers can feed off the user, and for a time it served as a sealing artifact.
    • The Crimson Mask has appeared in a few games. Its design is a red copy of Char Aznable's iconic mask.
    • Among dozens of other cross-Konami references: The Bat familiar acting like The Vic Viper's (and other main ships) Options from Gradius, even going so far as to add extra bats as the main one levels up. It's awesome and adorable.
    • Symphony of the Night and Harmony of Dissonance have spells that allow you to summon shield orbs a la Gradius.
    • The Yeti monster in Dawn of Sorrow has a Metal Gear-style "!" above its head in its info box, and again when it returns in Order of Ecclesia. Also, his bestiary picture in DoS looks pretty much like the infamous Bigfoot photography.
    • Castlevania: The Arcade has a hidden ending that is a parody of the love confession scene from Tokimeki Memorial.
    • A subtle, sometimes overlooked example comes from the Belmont clan themselves. In Japanese (and occasionally in English, at least early on in the series' run), their surname is Belmondo a la the late French actor Jean-Paul Belmondo.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Richter's iconic line against Dracula's question, especially this version of it from Symphony.
    "Your words are as empty as your soul!"
  • Shut Up, Kirk!: Dracula’s equally as iconic retort from the same game.
    "What is a man? A miserable little pile of secrets! But enough talk, have at you!"
  • Sinister Scythe:
    • Death, duh. Ups the ante by attacking with mini-sickles and a double-bladed version in Aria of Sorrow, further upped in The Adventure ReBirth which introduces laser scythes.
    • Some games even let you equip Death's Scythe.
    • The Zelbo / Night Stalker enemies from Castlevania: The Adventure and Adventure ReBirth have two smaller sickles and are prone to edge guarding platforms.
  • Sinister Nudity: The Succubus is a common enemy that first appeared in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night as a minor villain and boss out to feed on Alucard's life-force in his nightmares. She's commonly depicted as an Evil Redhead with demon wings and an Impossible Hourglass Figure, dressed in long silk gloves, a topless corset, silk stocking and nothing else, leaving her crotch on full-display shown to their victims. note  Though this is sometimes played for titillation, in the original, it was more played for horror thanks to the nightmare in which the battle was set and the Succubi's gleefully predatory behavior around Alucard.
  • Slouch of Villainy: Dracula has used his immortality to not only perfect it, but teach it to his children, underlings, and even reincarnation.
    • Shaft, his dark priest lackey, also has somewhat bad posture, though his is perpetual and doesn't just appear in conjunction with a throne and a wineglass.
    • Richter displays the slouch in a piece of official art for Symphony of the Night.
    • Walter has one as well in Lament of Innocence
  • Smart Bomb: Some games have these. For an example, a cross sometimes qualifies as one.
  • Smashing Hallway Traps of Doom: Many games have them.
  • Sound of No Damage: A snapping or metallic sound effect is used for this throughout the series.
  • Spikes of Doom: In the games without lives, these become the biggest non-enemy hazard.
  • Spinoff Babies: Kid Dracula, starring (what is generally considered by many to be) Alucard as a child. Certainly the goofiest game in the series. The final boss got a cameo in Symphony of the Night and factored into the story of Judgment. (Yes, it's Alucard, not Dracula. The Japanese players' guide confirms it by stating that Kid Drac's cape is "papa's old one." Though one WMG theorizes that the protagonist is another son of Dracula's.)
  • Sprite/Polygon Mix:
    • Symphony of the Night and Dawn of Sorrow.
    • Even more so in the DS games Portrait of Ruin and Order of Ecclesia.
  • Standard Power-Up Pose: Pretty common while doing big name moves like Item Crushes.
  • Stock Money Bag: In some of the games, the enemies drop money bags with a dollar sign on them. Surprisingly, a lot of the games take place outside the US and even before the dollar was issued for the first time.
  • Stock Weapon Names: If the whip isn't the weapon, then these come into play.
  • Stopped Numbering Sequels:
    • The original Castlevania was followed by Castlevania II: Simon's Quest and Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse, all three on the NES, and Super Castlevania IV on the Super NES. The sequels stopped using numerals afterward when they started appeared on non-Nintendo consoles, particularly with Castlevania: Bloodlines on the Genesis.
    • Castevania II: Simon's Quest was titled Dracula II: Noroi no Fūin in Japan and was the only one of the above sequels with a numbered title. Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse is otherwise known as Akumajō Densetsu (although it had the working title of "Dracula III"), while Super Castlevania IV is simply titled Akumajō Dracula (same name as the first Famicom game). While Akumajō Dracula X: Chi no Rondo was technically the tenth installment, the "X" on the title is a letter and not a number (and the title would be reused years later for a direct sequel).
    • Castlevania: The Adventure had its own numbered sequel, Castlevania II: Belmont's Revenge, both being Game Boy games. As a result, Castlevania II could refer to either, Simon's Quest on the NES or Belmont's Revenge on the Game Boy. There's less ambiguity with the Japanese titles, as the two games were part of a side-series titled Dracula Densetsu and Dracula Densetsu II respectively.
  • Storming the Castle: It's either the entire game or the last level.
  • Stripperiffic:
    • Shanoa, the heroine in Order of Ecclesia, by means of a really amazing Sexy Backless Outfit.
    • Carmilla's spiked leotard in Judgment leaves little to the imagination.
    • Isaac walks around completely shirtless in Curse Of Darkness, and his leather pants ride dangerously low on his frame.
    • The Succubus from Symphony of the Night has not only forgotten her pants, she's not even wearing panties. That's right; the sprite is naked from corset to boots (nothing's shown, of course).
    • Some of the classic Belmont outfits can be quite revealing with their barbarian-like style, often featuring sleeveless outfits and leather tunics that show off their muscular legs.
  • Super Drowning Skills:
    • Along with the eating of questionable meat in castle walls, a long standing joke in the series is despite the Belmont's obvious martial skill and powers, very few are able to swim, and many die instantly on contact with water. Only Castlevania 64 tries to justify this by claiming the waters around and in the castle are poisonous to the touch.
    • Alucard doesn't die instantly, but being in water will sap his health, which does make sense as one of his vampiric weaknesses.
    • John Morris and Eric Lecarde, from Bloodlines didn't instantly die when they touched water, but if it went over their heads, they'd take a significant amount of damage. Falling into water without visible ground to land on, however, would still kill them instantly.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills:
    • Some of the heroes didn't have the Belmont's genetic weakness to water. Shanoa and Alucard could swim without issue, though they needed a special artifact to dive down and swim. Julius, likewise, could dive underneath the water without issue.
    • Alucard gradually loses HP upon exposure to water until you get the Holy Snorkel— er, Holy Symbol in Symphony of the Night.
    • Nathan Graves from Circle Of The Moon could stay underwater indefinitely without issue, as long as he got the artifact which let him purify the cursed water first.
    • Jonathan and Charlotte from Portrait of Ruin only had to swim in one boss room in the entire game, and unlike Jonathan's father John Morris, they could stay underwater as long as they needed.
  • Teaching Through Accident: The games usually have candles and the enemies in the beginning of the first level so that players accidentally hit the candles to discover they contain items. The reason being that hitting candles for items is normally non-intuitive.
  • Tears of Blood: A recurring decoration, an area obstacle in Chronicles, and an occasional Carmilla attack. "Bloody Tears" is even the name of one of the series' Recurring Riffs.
  • Temporary Platform: Scattered across the series.
  • This Is Unforgivable!: Leon to Walter in Lament of Innocence, Alucard to the succubus in Symphony of the Night, Nathan to Carmilla in Circle of the Moon, Reinhardt to Death and Carrie to Dracula in Castlevania 64, and Soma to Celia in Dawn of Sorrow.
  • Throw the Book at Them: Charlotte at the start of Portrait of Ruin and the Bible subweapon.
  • Timed Mission: Most of the non-Metroidvania platformer installments have a timer ticking down in each level. The only non-metroidvania installments that don't have a time limit are Bloodlines and Rondo of Blood (as well as its SNES conversion Dracula X and the 3D remake in The Dracula X Chronicles).
  • Time Stands Still:
    • Stopwatches are a recurring item, going back to the first game (Though not always present) that allow you to freeze all creatures for a few seconds. Naturally. it doesn't work on bosses, except maybe the first two.
    • Aeon's special attack in Castlevania Judgment freezes his opponent in place while he monologues.
    • All over the place in Curse of Darkness. The Time Lord Saint-Germain stops time when you fight him in a boss battle. Your Mage-type Innocent Devils can also stop time. Finally, Trevor also has his Stop Watch item that he can use on you as well.
    • You can gain a Time Stop power in Aria of Sorrow, but doing so requires you getting a soul that makes you immune to Time Stop, so you can kill the Chronomancer who holds the power and take his soul. Otherwise, the Chronomancer reverses time before you can even land a hit on him and you reset to standing outside his hallway.
    • Zephyr, a boss in Dawn of Sorrow possesses this power, and puts it to good use in the fight against him, with obvious shoutouts to JoJo's Bizarre Adventure during the battle. Getting the power also lets you reverse the time stop preventing you from getting into the next area in the castle.
  • A Tragedy of Impulsiveness: If the villagers didn't kill Lisa by burning her at the stake, then Dracula wouldn't have gone to war against humanity.
  • Trick Boss: Scylla from Symphony of the Night, Paranoia from Dawn of Sorrow, and Hydra from the Rondo remake.
  • True Blue Femininity: Several ladies wear blue, from the protagonists like Charlotte, to the enemy maid Persephone.
  • Turns Red: A lot of bosses. Gaibon from Super Castlevania IV probably started its origin without going One-Winged Angel, though.
  • Überwald: Most of the Castlevania games take place in an Überwald setting. Subverted in Bloodlines, as the final battle actually takes place in England, not Romania. Some of the other games take place in other locations — for example, Aria of Sorrow is set in Japan.
  • Unholy Nuke: "Demonic Megiddo" is the Dark Lord's most powerful attack, and tends to be a One-Hit Kill super powerful spell used mainly by Dracula or Death.
  • Unique Items: Frequent in the series.
    • The most powerful weapons are often in secret rooms or obtainable after boss fights.
    • In Aria of Sorrow, the souls of the bosses and a number of other creatures are only obtainable once.
  • Updated Re-release: Legacy of Darkness for Castlevania on Nintendo 64, which was originally going to be called Castlevania: Special Edition.
  • Vampire Hunter: Just about everyone.
  • Variable-Length Chain: The Whips vary in length to several degrees. But this trope mostly applies to the 3D games, especially in the Lords of Shadow installments.
  • Video Game 3D Leap: Attempted in the late 90s on the N64 to follow in the footsteps of other popular Nintendo titles, however Castlevania 64 and its prequel received at best a mixed reception. There would be two other attempts in the early 2000's but after the release of Curse of Darkness was largely over shadowed by their first entry on the Nintendo DS, the final two games in the main timeline were both 2D. There was a final attempt on the Wii for a non-canon 3D fighting game borrowing characters from the main timeline but was ultimately received poorly. It wouldn't be until the series was rebooted entirely that it remained exclusively as a 3D series.
  • Video-Game Lives: Only in the non-metroidvania platformer installments. The Metroidvania installments use Save Points instead.
  • Video Game Remake:
  • Video Game Sliding: A number of Castlevania games contain sliding abilities. Maria Renard in Rondo of Blood was the first character in the franchise with an innate sliding ability, and she (along with Richter Belmont) retained this ability in Symphony of the Night. Several subsequent entries in the franchise would also include a sliding ability, though many require the player to find an item in order to use it.
  • Unwitting Pawn:
    • Shanoa in Order of Ecclesia is tricked into reviving Dracula in the bad ending. She still contributes to his revival anyway if you bypass the bad ending, having brought Dominus to Barlowe, who then uses it on the stone artifact containing Dracula's spirit.
    • Hector almost becomes one of these in Curse of Darkness; his rival Isaac actually does.
    • Leon Belmont becomes one in Lament of Innocence, as his defeat of Walter allows Death to steal Walter's power and give it to Mathias, who then uses it to become the king of the night, Dracula.
    • Poor, poor Cornell. By sacrificing his wolf-half to save his sister, he ended up giving Dracula exactly what he needed to resurrect.
    • Of late, in Lords of Shadow, Gabriel turns into this when we learn that Zobek used him the entire time to get to the God Mask and gain more power, as well as a few other revelations, and like a good ol' one-two punch, Zobek, powerful though he is as one of the Lords of Shadow, winds up having been used by Satan the entire time as a way of getting to the God Mask.
  • Villain-Based Franchise: Dracula is the Big Bad of almost every game, and is somehow involved in the few where he's not.
  • Villain Teleportation:
    • Dracula doesn't prefer to walk for most of the time.
    • Subverted by Alucard, who inherited the powers from his old man, but obviously uses it for righteous means.
  • Weird Moon: Most games in the series content themselves with an inexplicably gigantic moon, but Symphony of the Night takes the cake.
    • SotN's moon appears crescent when viewed from the clock tower, full when viewed from the outer wall and Olrox's quarters, and full with a blood red tint when viewed from the castle keep. In all but Olrox's quarters, the moon is also terrifyingly HUGE. And yet, all of these locations are a short walk from each other, with the outer wall, clock tower, and castle keep all being right next door. It also appears regardless of time of day, since your game starts at Midnight and progresses in real time with your play time; after 6 hours, the game takes place during the day according to the Clock Room and the Sunstone and Moonstone's abilities. The moon is still there anyway.
    • In several of the games, under certain circumstances the moon displays a vague but definitely seeable skull pattern.
    • In the intro for Castlevania Judgment, the moon is portrayed in such a size it would actually be BIGGER than the Earth itself, unless the satellite has broken orbit and is on a collision course for Eastern Europe.
    • A more subdued variation occurs in Bloodlines, during the final segment of the final stage. The moon, in all its largeness, is prominent in the background as you climb the first of three boss-room towers, and is turned blood red by the powers of Death as he manifests to attack you. The subsequent towers are presided over by the still-red moon.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Since the games work as a prequel (and sequel) to Bram Stoker's novel, Quincy Morris is eventually revealed to be of the Belmont family. Therefore it's rather strange that Van Helsing (a much more famous vampire hunter) is never mentioned.
  • With This Herring: The knife is the weakest of the special weapons, on par with the un-upgraded whip, in most Classicvanias. Starting with Rondo of Blood, they've tried to make the knife a more viable choice through low ammo cost, rapid fire, or powerful item crashes.
    • In Lament of Innocence, the dagger is pretty weak by itself. Combine it with the Yellow Orb (gotten by beating Succubus), and it can easily clear rooms at a moderate 10 hearts.
    • It's damned useful in Symphony of the Night for powering up a particular sword, or healing Alucard after he uses a certain spell. Just stand near a bunch of Bloody Zombies and spam it like a madman.
    • The Metroidvania entries tend to start you with a really lame weapon. Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin starts Jonathan with the legendary Vampire Killer, but he can't use it, so it's pathetically weak. It can be upgraded later, though.
  • Word Salad Title: The Track "Moon-Fight" appears in a few games. What it means exactly isn't explained, although it presumably has something to do with werewolves.
  • Wolf Man: They are recurring enemies, but there's also Cornell.
  • World of Ham: The series is very over-dramatic, as befitting its source material. Especially any time there's voice acting involved. But the quality is usually high enough that it works. And, occasionally, Konami throws in little jabs to imply they're not taking it completely seriously either. But regardless of if you do, or laugh, or are somewhere in-between, it's still one of the only game series that can have a stage entitled "Atop the Corpses of Thy Brethren" and not sound out of place.
  • The X of Y: Using Idiosyncratic Episode Naming, where the X is usually some type of music (Symphony, Harmony, Aria), and the Y is usually something dark (Darkness, Sorrow, the Night), but this isn't always the case:
  • You Monster!: Yet another part of Richter's Shut Up, Hannibal! speech to Dracula, especially in Symphony.
    "Die, monster! You don't belong in this world!"

"But enough tropes, HAVE AT YOU!!!"

 
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Rowdain

The first boss of Super Castlevania IV. Rowdain, an undead knight riding a skeletal horse.

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