Sunday, November 3, 2013

Castlevania - Pathway of the Vampire Killer

In the beginning of the series, it was always about the fight between good and evil. For many years, we ventured with heroes, and sometimes Alucard in a battle to save humanity. Sometimes those lines blurred when the roles were reversed, and we were able to find our paths. Many have made the journey, but what lies between the lines of the series?

Crossing various timelines, and many reboots, Castlevania has been a part of gaming history from day one. But many are unaware of its crossed ties, that in fact we have never noticed before. Being a longtime fan, I thought I would share some various anecdotes with you.

For the longest time anyone's played CV, they will right away think of Simon Belmont. Heralded as the first we gamers knew of the family clan. There were many re-iterations of his first perilous journey. At first it was a quest of getting from A to B, while avoiding death and other cataclysm's. I find it strange that poor guy had to fight how many times? And give his enemy back his organs? (*or die?)

To explain that, I believe the dev team back then considered a hero could fall to the hands of their enemy. But they didn't exactly explain how up front. It is very possible they administered the possibility of Simon being related to the Count (by blood, course). The same is explored with Juste's quest years later, having to repeat his grandfather's mission (except his best friend's energy resurrects the Castle).

Which brings us to Richter's two part quest (Dracula X, and Symphony of the Night). Driven by chaos, a hero takes arms, and dishes justice. Question is (A: who started it? the summoner Shaft? Death? Or were people driven mad that it brought "him" back?) It is actually one of the rare moments in the series that Dracula does not rest for more than a brief time.

And in regards, the people you save do have a foreshadowing to what's ahead. Except the fact that Maria, we learn later has a special gift (the ability to summon spirit animals). In Symphony, we find her a mature woman, who seeks Richter's aid when trouble rises again (nowhere to be found). On her quest, running into Alucard, who also seeks to stop his father from causing any more chaos.

We eventually reunite with the reluctant hero, only to find him under Shaft (the summoner) puppet strings. A vagrant follower of the lord of the castle, and cause of the previous quest. (It was he and his fellow castes that sacrificed some poor lady to resurrect our fellow Dracula, and thus the Castle.)

Another note to consider, is just how many monsters are trapped within the castle keep. Including the "Inverted" one we fortunately have to explore, to make things right. I often wonder how Dracula has so many on his side from the nether realm. Although most of these are kept within the crypt, some are able to exist beyond the walls.

**It makes me think of Beetlejuice, where he comes into contact with other non-living entities. (only those gifted are able to see) Speaking of that, maybe that's why the townsfolk, and those of humanity at the time were able to give Dracula's resurrection such a shove.

**Speaking of those gifted, in Order of Ecclesia, Shanoa meets various members of the extended Belmont bloodline. Administering that they are the key to keep their homeland balanced. I believe its one of the rare times we ever get to interact with descendants of the clan. Given the outcome of the tale, it would be awhile until the Belmont's would ever reveal themselves again.

Now here is where things get a tad bit crazy, Bloodlines and Portrait of Ruin happen during the same time. I find it highly possible that there were many heroes on the battlefront. Sadly the wielder of the holy spear does not survive his battle, giving aid to the two heroes (and finding out the truth about his daughters).

Lament of Innocence was meant to tale the beginning of the Belmont's legacy. As Leon, returning home from the crusades, only to find his lost love missing. Sadly losing her, until she enables her spirit to give the whip he obtains, the "Vampire Killer" its powers. Although his return is misfortune, with an old friend being the enemy. It becomes a fight to the finish! (no wait it does not)

Curse of Darkness is another bizarre installment, taking place sometime after Trevor's quest in CVIII. As Hector a devil summoner, wanting to take up arms against his rival Issac (also a badguy). Oddly enough, these two are said to be Dracula's head warriors (human, or not?) Venturing further, we find out that our hero lost his love to the hands of another, vowing revenge for her death, he battles the odds to put his arch rival down once and for all.

The interesting connection between these two chapters is a bizarre fellow named "St.Germain" a time traveller with unknown origins. With the ability of time at his will, he tests both Leon and Hector's strength to see if they are worthy of being called heroes. **I have wondered why would a time traveller be mixed in all of this. But thinking about it later, perhaps he wanted to rewrite history, knowing that others were already playing their part. **Zedd is another mysterious being, later revealed as Death (**actually it is rare to see the face of the messenger)

Circle of the Moon (summoner= Succubus) No Belmont's? Hmm, I doubt that. Plus Dracula's form takes on an dimensional being (did she fuse with her master?) And to add, although the DSS card system uses elements and Greek gods, the whip you brandish takes on elements close enough to being "VK".

Aria of Sorrow (the two part melody)
First, Soma is a reincarnated Dracula. Second, somehow the Castle was teleported into an eclipse.
Third, J the current VK wielder loss of memory, gains it back. Yoko, a descendant of the Belanades family gives aid to Soma and his cause. Arikado (really Al in disguise, looks great btw).
Your villain: Grant, a believer in this "resurrection" also has powers, uses them for evil deeds. Things get ugly.
(**I really dislike dredging this up, the "War of 99" we only hear of a big battle of humanity versus Dracula. But we never get to experience it.) (um or do we?) *LOS2

Dawn of Sorrow: the second piece
Soma and his allies are brought into a new mission from a mysterious cult wanting to dredge up old memories. More or less, bring about Soma's actual powers for wrongdoing. Many others were born the same day as he, however they too wield unique powers. A priestess from Mina's clan, gone rogue to bring about a new leader, and more chaos. And J has the lovely mission of dueling Soma (if you choose wisely) in a battle like that of his forefathers!

**J=Julius's quest takes on CVIII's design, being able to play Yoko or Alucard. Reaching the finish versus an uncontroller Soma / Dracula?

Lords of Shadows:
The recent retelling of the origin behind the series. With a Belmont at the helm (hero?) it is his quest, to find a new path, a destiny. But once more obstacles get in the way, things are not what they seem. Although it was criticized for retconning everything about the series, it is a much needed restart. Exploring what makes us human, a drive to find our identity, sadly this story is not a heartwarming fairytale, for it is the origin of a villain we have fought many times once over.

Being a long time allowed me to re-examine how I truly feel about the classic tale, and the new ongoing adventure. For one, it has always been the battle of good vs evil. Just only till now, have we truly experienced a different side of the mission for once. Perhaps it may interconnect with the other timeline shaping the way we process CV from now on. Whatever generation of gaming, or storytelling you are a part of, let it be known this is one of the few times that you play a part in shaping its future.

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