All 34 Castlevania Games, Ranked from Worst to Best

By: Chris Hodges, editor-in-chief

Slot machines and “erotic pachinko” games not included.

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34. Castlevania (N64)
Castlevania 64
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)
LoS 2
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)
Judgement
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)
Haunted Castle
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)
LoS MoF
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)
Order of Shadows
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)
Legacy of Darkness
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)
Castlevania Legends
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)
Curse of Darkness
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 The 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)
Harmony of Despair
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)
Castlevania The Adventure
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)
Lament of Innocence
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)
Castlevania Puzzle
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)
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)
Lords of Shadow
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)
Belmont's Revenge
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)
The Adventure ReBirth
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)
Castlevania Chronicles
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)
Circle of the Moon
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)
Simon's Quest
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)
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)
Harmony of Dissonance
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)
Dracula X 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)
Portrait of Ruin
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)
Castlevania IV
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)
Aria of Sorrow
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)
Bloodlines
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)
Castlevania 1
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)
Order of Ecclesia
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)
Dawn of Sorrow
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)
Rondo of Blood
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)
Castlevania III
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
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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27 thoughts on “All 34 Castlevania Games, Ranked from Worst to Best

  1. Yeah, that top 3 is undeniable. Imho the only other franchise in video game history with 3 irrefutable masterpieces in its catalogue is Mario with Super Mario 3, Super Mario World and Super Mario 64.

    This may be controversial but I honestly believe Zelda has only produced 2 truly outstanding games with A Link to the Past and Majora’s Mask since all other 3d Zeldas were iterations on ALttP with the exception of Wind Waker, whose several flaws people are always ready to overlook. Twilight Princess would be the best 3d Zelda if the ALttP blueprint weren’t SO exhausted by that point.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My rank 1# C. Symphony of the Night 2# C. Aria Of Sorrow 2# C. Order of Ecclesia 3# C. Down Of Sorrow 4# C. Cicle Of Moon 5# Harmony of Dissonance 6# Dracula X.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! They’re really fun to make and they’ve been super popular. In the next week or two, this one is going to become my most viewed article of all time on the whole site. I will definitely be doing more. Do you think the novelty would wear off if I made it a monthly feature?

      Like

      1. I personally don’t see myself losing interest in them until you’ve covered all of the worthwhile series out there, which if you’re going at the rate of one per month, would literally take years. I like the idea of ranking Konami series specifically, since your lists will (sadly) stand as definitive for many of these franchises, since Konami seems to have all but abandoned them.

        Of course, there are many other series in similar positions; Mega Man and its spinoffs, probably F-Zero and Star Fox, etc.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. My favorites are Dawn of Sorrow and Aria of Sorrow. Always had a soft spot for 3 and 4 as well. Never played bloodlines since Konami has never rereleased it and its like $50 on ebay.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Stupid Lords of Shadow games. This list is pretty darn good, and I agree with the placement of most of the games. For me, the first game remains undethroned and is still one of the best examples of solid controls, a super stimulating difficulty, and fantastic level design. I don’t harbor anything against the Igavania games, I just find them too easy. Great work!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hooray! The only Castlevania game I ever casually played and beat is number 1! I’m not sure why I never got into this franchise, but the NES ones are on my radar, I just need to get around to playing them. This is kind of a hard series of games. At least for me. Fun read, thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The funniest part here is the fact that I had access to the first three growing up but the ones I played the most were the two 64 titles. I loved them. I beat them both and had a lot of fun. I played a lot of the others too. I loved all the 2D ones a lot, but I have to say, personally, I really loved Lords of Shadow. I know the Sequel sucked, but the Lords of Shadow did a great job with the story, game play and world-building. I loved everything about it because they were able to step away from the lore and build their own story with the set pieces and make it something epic. The DLC expanded on it further and built up the sequel too. But the sequel failed on so many aspects that it ruined that part of the series. I would have loved to make the game myself, just to make sure it came out right. Alas, things don’t always work out for us.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s the thing, people got too hung up on “Well Lords of Shadow isn’t really a Castlevania game because of X, Y, and Z.” So what? It could’ve been its own separate thing, not unlike how Metroid Prime became its own separate sort of subseries to the overall Metroid franchise. It would’ve just been the “Lords of Shadow” series of Castlevania, just its own thing. That’s how a franchise stays relevant, by reinventing itself and having separate flavors of its main thing. Look at how the Mario franchise has a distinct set of games that they call “New Super Mario Bros.,” a distinct set of games they call “Mario Galaxy,” a distinct set of games they call “Mario 3D Land/World,” and so on. It lets a series try different things. And when a series DOESN’T do that, people say “Gee, that series is all the same.” You can’t win. I’m pretty sure that people had started to say that about Castlevania, that all of the games were just the same old Metroidvania. Now that’s all they want is for that to come back.

      But yeah, we’ll never know what could’ve become of the Lords of Shadow series since they messed up the sequel SO badly.

      Like

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