All 34 Castlevania Games, Ranked from Worst to Best

Slot machines and “erotic pachinko” games not included.

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34. Castlevania (N64)

Even without the troubled development cycle, it’s hard to imagine that anything salvageable could’ve come from the framework seen here.

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33. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 (X360/PS3/PC)

A promising reboot of the franchise as a hack-n-slash action game is followed up by a misguided and poorly-made stealth game that accomplishes the rare video game feat of having worse visuals than its predecessor.

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32. Castlevania Judgement (Wii)

The sloppy motion-controlled fighting would’ve been bad enough, but the terrible character designs and awful story lines–Maria is literally on a quest for bigger boobs–sealed this unfortunate deal.

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31. Haunted Castle (Arcade)

This game is reminiscent of all those great NES ports of sub par arcade games, only in this case, it was a sub par arcade port of a great NES game.

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30. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate (3DS/X360/PS3/PC)

An (unsuccessful) attempt to combine the action of the 3D Castlevanias with the exploration of the 2D installments, all within some of the most awkward 2.5D in video game history.

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29. Castlevania: Order of Shadows (Mobile)

Not half bad for a pre-smartphone Castlevania mobile game (especially one that wasn’t made by Gameloft), but that’s a pretty low quality bar to meet.

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28. Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness (N64)

Not so much a true sequel to Castlevania 64 as an attempt to actually finish the game that C64 was supposed to be, Legacy is markedly better but ultimately still a poor attempt at a 3D Castlevania.

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27. Castlevania Legends (GB)

There isn’t anything especially bad about this rare female-led Castlevania game, but there also isn’t anything particularly remarkable about it, either.

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26. Castlevania: Curse of Darkness (XBX/PS2)

The first sequel to the first decent 3D Castlevania (Lament of Innocence) is also decent, but doesn’t do enough to fix the things that its predecessor didn’t get quite right.

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25. Castlevania: The Arcade (Arcade)

Castlevania fans weren’t asking for a House of the Dead-style light gun game, but they got this kind of fun but completely unnecessary title anyway.

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24. Castlevania: Harmony of Despair (XBLA/PSN)

A multiplayer Castlevania game is definitely an intriguing idea, but it’s too bad that so much depth had to be stripped out just for the sake of multiplayer functionality.

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23. Castlevania: The Adventure (GB)

Like many early third-party NES-to-Game Boy transitions, The Adventure is passable but struggles to work around the handheld’s limitations.

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22. Castlevania: Lament of Innocence (PS2)

Despite its linearity and focus on action over exploration, Lament is a solid title that is one of the only 3D Castlevania games to still “feel” like an actual Castlevania game.

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21. Castlevania Puzzle: Encore of the Night (iOS/WP)

Following in the tradition of Capcom’s Puzzle Fighter, Encore takes an unlikely franchise and turns it into a surprisingly fun puzzle game.

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20. Vampire Killer (MSX2)

Being forced to work within the technical limitations of the MSX2 led to Castlevania‘s first dipping of its toe into “Metroidvania” territory.

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19. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow (X360/PS3)

It may have more in common with Devil May Cry and God of War than classic Castlevania, but Lords of Shadow was still an interesting modern AAA take on the franchise that was unfortunately sunk by a disappointing sequel (see #33).

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18. Castlevania II: Belmont’s Revenge (GB)

The best of the three Game Boy Castlevania games, with a bit more visual polish Belmont’s Revenge is almost good enough to have been an NES entry.

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17. Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth (WiiWare)

There may have been classic Castlevania games far more worthy of a full-on remake than Game Boy’s Adventure, but ReBirth ended up being one of the biggest gems on Wii’s largely underwhelming WiiWare store.

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16. Castlevania Chronicles (PS1)

Speaking of strange decisions, this one is a PS1 remake of an obscure Sharp X68000 remake of the original Castlevania–and a great “classic Castlevania” oasis in the middle of its Metroidvania renaissance.

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15. Castlevania: Circle of the Moon (GBA)

By far the toughest of all of the post-Symphony Metroidvania entries, Circle has its flaws but was still a great introduction to the franchise’s acclaimed GBA/NDS era.

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14. Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest (NES)

Yes, the objectives are obtuse and the villagers are liars, but Simon’s Quest was a great sequel that took a glorified tribute to Universal movie monsters and turned it into a franchise with its own distinct world and mythos.

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13. Castlevania: Dracula X (SNES)

This streamlined and stripped-down remake of Rondo of Blood was a disappointment to Rondo followers, but a great 16-bit Castlevania for those that didn’t know what they were “missing.”
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12. Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance (GBA)

The only Castlevania to ever feel like a direct follow-up to Symphony of the Night, Harmony obviously doesn’t quite touch the greatness of its predecessor…but it gets respectably close (if only it weren’t for that awful soundtrack).

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11. Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles (PSP)

While not as pretty or as polished as the original, this 2.5D remake of Rondo of Blood is still a really good tribute to a really great game.

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10. Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin (NDS)

The penultimate 2D Castlevania expertly combines the Metroidvania trappings with touches of the franchise’s past, such as the character-swapping of Castlevania III and the unconnected areas of the pre-Symphony entries in the series.

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9. Super Castlevania IV (SNES)

Part remake of the original Castlevania, part gratuitous showpiece of the SNES’ capabilities, and part abandoning of all realistic whip physics all rolled into one fantastic action game.

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8. Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow (GBA)

Taking the Castlevania series into the “future” for the first time allowed for slight dalliances in sci-fi to complement the traditional fantasy tone, making for one of the most creative and original entries in the series to date.

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7. Castlevania: Bloodlines/The New Generation (Genesis/Mega Drive)

Konami let its Contra and Castlevania franchises get a little “weird” on the Genesis, resulting in black sheep entries that are nonetheless praised precisely because they are so different from the pack.

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6. Castlevania (NES)

Despite the rapid evolution of the series that seemed to make the original seem quaint by comparison, the first Castlevania remains one of the tightest and most entertaining side-scrolling action games ever made.

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5. Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia (NDS)

After a whopping ten Castlevania games in just eight years, people were too burnt out on the franchise to give one of its absolute best games the respect it deserves, making for the biggest tragedy in Castlevania‘s history that doesn’t involve breast envy or a title with a “64” in it.

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4. Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow (NDS)

This direct sequel to Aria took everything great about that game and used the DS’ added horsepower to deliver a near masterpiece–only tacked-on touchscreen spell casting keeps it from achieving that status.

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3. Castlevania: Rondo of Blood (PC Engine Super CD ROM²)

Importers have a tendency to oversell the greatness of Japan-only games, but in the case of Rondo, they were 100% justified in their evangelizing.

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

The ultimate “traditional” Castlevania game, Dracula’s Curse does things that NES games shouldn’t be capable of–not the least of which is its ability to feel every bit as fresh and engaging in 2016 as it did in 1989.

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1. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (PS1/SAT)

Symphony is a legitimate contender for best overall game of all time, so it’s a given that it’s the best in the Castlevania series. As close to perfect as a game can get…with the possible exception, coincidentally, of Super Metroid.

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Check out my other “Worst to Best” lists:

Super Mario Worst to Best

Tomb Raider Worst to Best

Contra Worst to Best

Metroid Worst to Best

Video Game Movies Worst to Best

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