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Castlevania: Games VS Series - What Changed?

VO: Riccardo Tucci WRITTEN BY: Nicholas Miller
The Castlevania Netflix series is both a strong translation of the original video games while taking some pretty big liberties with the story. So what is different in the Castlevania TV series from the games?

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Castlevania: Games vs. Series

Before its release on Netflix, the “Castlevania” anime series had been in the works for over 10 years. With season 2 having just arrived, it’s time we take a look at some of the major similarities and differences between the “Castlevania” TV series and game franchise.

The Netflix anime is a loose adaptation of one of the most beloved games in the series, “Castlevania III: Dracula’s Revenge.” Both star protagonist Trevor Belmont, one in a long line of powerful vampire hunters, on his quest to hunt down and defeat Dracula. Trevor made his first appearance in “Castlevania III” and has since become a major character in the franchise.

The show’s first season is essentially a feature-length introduction to the world, introducing the location and many of the characters that are present in “Castlevania III,” with the second season clocking in at about twice the length of the first. Both the game and show take place in Wallachia, which today is a real-life region of Romania that isn’t too far from the legendary home of Dracula, Transylvania. In the fiction of the game and series, Wallachia and Transylvania are essentially the same location.

The game, released in 1990, is pretty bare when it comes to plot, so the show does take some liberties with the material. So far though, two of Trevor’ three playable allies from that game have made their debut in the show, with Alucard and Sypha joining Trevor over the course of the shortened first season. Still yet to make an appearance, however, is Grant.

Unlike many other characters, Dracula’s history, motivations and backstory have changed from the game to the screen, turning him into a far more tragic character. Dracula and the scientist Lisa Tepes were a happily married couple before she was burned by the villagers of a town called Târgoviște under suspicion of witchcraft, of which she was not guilty. This drives Dracula towards his mission of revenge, intent on wiping out all of Wallachia in one year. As season 2 progresses, Dracula begins his war on humanity as many of his subordinates question his leadership. Overall, the character is far more three-dimensional in the show compared to his appearances in the games.

Speaking of Dracula’s subordinates, Isaac and Carmilla (the main antagonists of “Castlevania: Curse of Darkness” & “Castlevania: Circle of the Moon” respectively) show up in season 2 as members of Dracula’s vampire war council, though shifting loyalties add some intrigue to the season that’s not present in the games.

While most characters appearances contain easter eggs to their video game counterparts, Trevor’s costume is almost exactly the same as his in-game clothing, apart from his coat-of-arms, which has been changed. Trevor also has been shown to use a cross shaped sword, throwing knives and holy water as weapons; all of which were available to use as special weapons throughout the first three games.

So far, the series has fit in a ton of references and call-backs to the video game franchise, including settings that resemble levels of the game and small acts done by Trevor referencing goals and objectives from the games. One of the biggest references we noticed was to the clockwork-oriented section, that first appeared in Stage 17 of the first game in the series. We know that the gears in the castle are what gave it the ability to move around, and it looks as though the same magic applies in the show.

One of the major characters in the video game lore has been referenced several times starting in season 2, with none other than Leon Belmont’s appearing as the subject of conversation and in portrait form. Leon Belmont is Trevor’s ancestor who first brought the Belmonts to the region, beginning their long tradition of destroying vampires in the PS2 game Castlevania: Lament of Innocence.

However the biggest departures the show took from the series was the introduction of the Speakers and the prominence of the church. In fact, in the series, the organized church seem to be more evil than Dracula himself! It’s an interesting choice that we’re eager to see play out, should the show continue as expected. With the evil forces of the first two seasons out of the way, it looks like Trevor and his allies might be taking on the Speakers next.

With season one well-liked by fans, and season two even more widely acclaimed, we’re hopeful the show will continue despite it seeming as though the game has been fully adapted after the defeat of Dracula. As “Dracula’s Curse” features 4 endings depending on who, if anyone, accompanied you at the end, there was no way the show could exactly adapt the game, but all endings and the show conclude with Dracula’s defeat at the hands of the heroes.

Is Dracula truly gone? If he is, who will rise in his place? Will Grant finally be introduced? Or will the series jump to the next descendant of the Belmont clan to coincide with Dracula’s next resurrection? If the latter turns out to be the case; the next in line is Christopher Belmont from the … less popular “Castlevania: The Adventure”. More likely the case though, The series would probably skip him and go to his son: Castlevania’s most popular hero: Simon Belmont. Nevertheless It looks like we’ll just have to wait until next year to find out, with a 10 episode 3rd season being green lit by Netflix.

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