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The Best Castlevania Games of All Time



Best Castlevania Games of All Time

Top 5 Castlevania Games

Vampires, bats, whips, spells, castles…what’s the first thing that comes to mind when hearing these words? Elder Scrolls maybe? Twilight perhaps? Of course not! It’s time to take a look at one of the most iconic gaming franchises of all time: Castlevania. A series that has been alive since 1986 is bound to have a wide array of titles, and Castlevania is no exception. While it isn’t quite as big as it was during the NES/SNES era, there are still plenty of quality titles that deserve to be played by any and all game aficionados.

Today, we are going to take a look at the top 5 greatest Castlevania games ever made. While many of you are most likely not going to agree with this list (and I’m sure there will be a LOT of you), it should be noted that this is exclusively my opinion and not the opinion of everyone on the site. That being said, I would still love to hear the changes you would make to this list! Let’s begin!


Image: Konami

5. Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth (WiiWare)

I realize this is most certainly an odd pick, however it easily deserves the number 5 spot on the list. While The Adventure: ReBirth does nothing to further the series in terms of innovation, it doesn’t necessarily need to. Released as a $10 WiiWare title, ReBirth plays like the older Castlevania games with a fresh coat of paint. The game looks beautiful, the gameplay is simple yet rewarding, and the bosses are fun and challenging. There really isn’t much more to ask for from a game like this, especially considering the asking price. Gamers new to the series will find ReBirth to be a great entry title, as it paints a prettier picture of what the older games were all about. It just goes to show that sometimes you don’t need to reinvent the wheel to produce something awesome.

castlevania III

Image: Konami

4. Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse (NES)

While the first Castlevania game set the precedent for the now-legendary series, it was Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse that represented the best of what the NES Castlevania titles had to offer. The gameplay and visuals remained largely unchanged from the first entry in the series, albeit with the addition of three new playable characters. Grant, Sypha, and Alucard could accompany Trevor on his quest to defeat Dracula, and each one has a completely unique ability set. Grant is very nimble and can scale certain surfaces and change direction mid-jump. Sypha is a mage that uses powerful sub-attacks to wipe out enemies. Alucard is one of the better options in the game, as he can transform into a bat and shoot fireballs from a distance. These characters breathed much needed life into the lore of the series that would continue to grow as future installments were released, especially regarding Alucard and Dracula. Dracula’s Curse is an incredibly solid entry in the series and deserves it’s spot among the best of them on the NES.

Super Castlevania lV

Image: Konami

3. Super Castlevania lV (SNES)

Super Castlevania lV represents the first major upgrade that the series got, and boy was it a whopper. Gameplay went from being stiff and archaic to fluid and intense, mainly due to the fact that Simon Belmont could now throw his whip in eight different directions instead of only directly in front of him. The enhanced power of the SNES allowed for some truly ground-breaking visuals and backdrops, most notably the spiraling tunnel section that impressed nearly every gamer that experienced it back in 1991. Fan-favorite enemies and bosses were completely overhauled and looked better than ever. One thing that remained the same, however, was the series’ infamous difficulty. The journey to Dracula is certainly no walk in the park this time around, however the added attack options made the difficulty feel less artificial than previous titles.


2. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (Playstation)

WHAT?!?!? Symphony of the Night isn’t number 1?!?!? Put your pitchforks down and let me explain. For those that have been living under a rock, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night pioneered the Metroid-vania subgenre. Instead of the traditional set of linear levels, Dracula’s Castle was opened up to the player, and Castlevania fans couldn’t be happier. Incredibly detailed sprites and an amazing soundtrack were icing on the cake to this masterpiece. One of the largest new additions, however, was the ability to level up and find new weapons to use and equip, which was a huge departure from the traditional whip-wielding gameplay of the older titles. Every other aspect of the game was fine-tuned to perfection, including screen-sized bosses and a rock-filled soundtrack. In fact, there really isn’t anything wrong with this title, as it combines brand-new gameplay elements with near-perfect presentation and atmosphere. Games like this simply only come around once in a blue moon. With that being said, I still think there’s one Castlevania title that stands above them all…

Castlevania Dawn of Sorrow

Image: Konami

1. Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow (Nintendo DS)

Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow is the best Castlevania game ever made and stands as one of the finest titles on the Nintendo DS, and that’s saying something. Every single major facet of the Castlevania series has been mastered here; the music is awesome, the Gothic atmosphere is intact, and the gameplay is tight and responsive. The unique hook of collecting the souls of fallen enemies that was introduced in Aria of Sorrow is also back and better than ever. Collected souls act as new abilities and powers that the main character Soma Cruz can equip and use against the creatures of the night. The Metroid-vania style that focuses on exploration returns here as well, giving players the chance to find every soul hidden within the castle while adding some much needed replayability to the series. While it isn’t the most unique title in the series, as it’s essentially a sequel to Aria of Sorrow, its insanely addictive gameplay and gorgeous environments make you forget that it isn’t taking any risks. It’s an absolute must play for any fan of the series and deserves to be in every DS owner’s library.


Disagree with this list? Let me know what you would change! I understand there are a lot of titles I am probably missing like Rondo of Blood, however keep in mind that this only a Top 5 list. With that being said, it’s time to get back to some vampire slaying…

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  1. JohnCReally

    September 26, 2016 at 11:53 am

    Dawn of Sorrow higher than SOTN? You must be joking. Don’t even have Rondo of Blood or Dracula X on here? This is far from a top 5 Castlevania games of all time. Don’t even have Lamet of Innocence either.

    • Zack Rezac

      September 26, 2016 at 2:33 pm

      I don’t think any of the 3D titles are worth putting in the top 5 to be honest… but that’s just me.

  2. Omar3li

    September 26, 2016 at 12:08 pm

    The Adventure ReBirth is good & I absolutely love 3 but they
    don’t belong here .

    and DoS is definitely not no.1 (still amazing tho)

    • Zack Rezac

      September 26, 2016 at 2:32 pm

      I think a lot of people are going to disagree with the Adventure ReBirth pick, and I can see why. I just thought it was an awesome title when it came down to the real meat-and-potatoes of the Castlevania experience. Just curious, what would your list have been?

  3. Orionsangel

    September 26, 2016 at 1:18 pm

    My list is different,

    1. Super Castlevania lV (SNES)
    2. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (Playstation)
    3. Castlevania: Bloodlines (Genesis)
    4. Akumajou Dracula X: Chi no Rondo (Super CD)
    5. Castlevania lll: Dracula’s Curse (NES)

    Super Castlevania lV is the best Castlevania game ever made and James Rolfe best explains why in his Epic 4 part special on Castlevania. Which I all recommend you watch if you haven’t seen it…

    • Zack Rezac

      September 26, 2016 at 2:30 pm

      I think this is a great list, and I saw his series on Castlevania! I am a huge James Rolfe fan and loved that series in particular. I honestly thought about putting Super Castlevania lV at the number one spot, but ultimately this is the list I went with. Rondo of blood honestly just barely didn’t make the cut for me, although it is a great game.

  4. John

    October 4, 2021 at 7:32 pm

    Nice list – doesn’t feel like a carbon copy of every other list we’ve all seen, and I didn’t expect some of those entries. My personal list would be

    5: Circle of the Moon – a really good yet overlooked transitional step between classic platformer and later metroidvania that can be quite a bit of fun to play (even if it can be horribly frustrating).

    4: Curse of Darkness – I actually liked the PS2 games, and Curse of Darkness was so good! Tons of equipment variety, Innocent Devils that could assist in different ways and help you access new areas, smooth and satisfying combat, and some pretty decent visuals as well. Sure there’s always room for improvement, like more abilities (such as a high jump) to let you traverse even more areas, or some platforming sections, but it’s an overall great game that’s criminally under-rated.

    3: Aria of Sorrow – the versatility of the soul system is a lot of fun, enemies are at times tough without feeling cheap (something CotM is terribly guilty of), and the controls are pretty tight and responsive.

    1: Dawn of Sorrow/Symphony of the Night – I really can’t decide between these two which is the best, as I’ve played through them countless times and both have just as much going for them as the other. The weapons, Alucard’s spells, relics and familiars, Soma’s souls (both his souls and weapons are an improvement over AoS), the level designs, enemies, boss battles, and visuals are all incredible, as is the silky smooth controlling and gameplay on both. While DoS could’ve done with an optional boss fight or two, the lack of isn’t really a detriment since there’s already plenty in the game, and while SotN has more than a few optional bosses (Scylla, Granfaloon, Karasuman, Fake Sypha/Trevor/Grant, Beelzebub, Doppelganger 40, and Galamoth), it never feels excessive, as they’re still quite enjoyable (some more or less than others) and spaced out enough that it’s not clustered. Overall, two fantastic games that I can’t decide which is better, so I’m skipping the number 2 spot and putting them both in 1.

  5. SIR-N

    October 31, 2021 at 5:25 pm

    You completely loss me when Symphony of the Night was not number 1. Anyone that knows the Castlevania universe knows SOTN is number one. What we should really be talking about is when will it be remade with PS5 graphics and brought back.

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