Castlevania - where to start?

I've been interested in the Castlevania series for a long time now, but due to the series' ridiculous backcatalogue of games, I haven't really known where the best place to start is.

I recently found Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles for ridiculously cheap so I decided I might as well start there.  I know this game has the original Rondo of Blood and (an apparently updated w/ new voice acting?) Symphony of the Night.

What I want to know is, should I start with the PSP update of Rondo of Blood, or should I start with Symphony of the Night?  I know the latter is arguably the most popular game in the series so I thought it may be a good place to start.

The only other problem I have is, does anyone know what the specific differences are between Symphony of the Night on XBLA, PSN, and PSP?  As far as I know the XBLA version has altered sound effects, the PSN version is the original PS1 version, and the PSP version in DXC has a new voice cast.

Many thanks to any and all replies that can clear some of this up for me.

32 Comments
33 Comments
Posted by KnightsofRound

I've been interested in the Castlevania series for a long time now, but due to the series' ridiculous backcatalogue of games, I haven't really known where the best place to start is.

I recently found Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles for ridiculously cheap so I decided I might as well start there.  I know this game has the original Rondo of Blood and (an apparently updated w/ new voice acting?) Symphony of the Night.

What I want to know is, should I start with the PSP update of Rondo of Blood, or should I start with Symphony of the Night?  I know the latter is arguably the most popular game in the series so I thought it may be a good place to start.

The only other problem I have is, does anyone know what the specific differences are between Symphony of the Night on XBLA, PSN, and PSP?  As far as I know the XBLA version has altered sound effects, the PSN version is the original PS1 version, and the PSP version in DXC has a new voice cast.

Many thanks to any and all replies that can clear some of this up for me.

Posted by turbomonkey138

Get them all :P

Posted by AllThatBacon

I don't think there's any major differences between the PS1 version and the XBLA one, so I would start with Symphony of the Night. It's the only one I've played a lot of besides Portrait of Ruin and Circle of the Moon and I personally think it's great. DO IT!

Posted by Discorsi

Just wait for the movie.

Edited by Eirikr

You got the main differences in the SotN versions. You'll be fine just playing the one on DXC. I personally prefer the original PS1 version that's also on PSN, but that's because I love hilariously bad voices.

Starting with Symphony is fine. You'll have to unlock it in DXC, though by playing the Rondo remake. My other personal favorite Castlevania game is Castlevania IV for the SNES. It's pretty easy by Castlevania standards and a whole lot of fun.

Posted by joey

Play the original version of SOTN to get the amazing voice acting.

Posted by Godwind

I believe the XBLA version had some cuts.

Posted by Video_Game_King

It doesn't matter, they're both good places to start. Rondo is just a straight-up platformer with tinges of SOTN elements; SOTN is an action-RPG-Metroid thing sequel to Rondo. They're both really good games.

Posted by AgentJ
@KnightsofRound:
If you want to experience Castlevania, your best bet is going to be getting a DS. between it and the GBA (whose library the DS can play) there are 6 of the best Castlevania games ever made, including my personal favorites in Order of Ecclesia, Circle of the Moon and Dawn of Sorrow. 
Posted by ArbitraryWater

You are already half-set with SotN on your PSP. If you have a DS w/backwards compatibility, you are set for the other half.

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Edited by Eirikr
@AgentJ said:
" @KnightsofRound:
If you want to experience Castlevania, your best bet is going to be getting a DS. between it and the GBA (whose library the DS can play) there are 6 of the best Castlevania games ever made, including my personal favorites in Order of Ecclesia, Circle of the Moon and Dawn of Sorrow. 
"
They are all good games, but there's not a lot of variety to see there. Starting with Drac X Chronicles is without a doubt the best bet, as it has one of the best traditional Castlevania games and one the best Metroidvania style games.
Posted by ThomasP

I think you should play SOTN first, just in case you finish Rondo and do not feel like playing another Castlevania game. It's the best in the series in my opinion. Check out the games released on the DS as well.

Edited by KnightsofRound
@AgentJ said:
" @KnightsofRound:
If you want to experience Castlevania, your best bet is going to be getting a DS. between it and the GBA (whose library the DS can play) there are 6 of the best Castlevania games ever made, including my personal favorites in Order of Ecclesia, Circle of the Moon and Dawn of Sorrow. 
"
I already have a DS w/ GBA backwards compatibility.  The reason why I haven't bothered with any of the DS Castlevania games thus far is that I wanted to make sure I started in the right spot.  The main reason I bought DXC was because I knew it had Symphony of the Night included, but I'm also willing to part with a bit of change to play the original version of that game.

Thanks to everyone so far for the responses.
Posted by AgentJ
@KnightsofRound: I see. since you already own that package, I'd play it through in chronologic order first. after that, maybe 4, circle of the moon or aria of sorrow, and then each of the DS games (dawn of sorrow and order of ecclesia first)
Posted by KnightsofRound
@AgentJ said:
" @KnightsofRound: I see. since you already own that package, I'd play it through in chronologic order first. after that, maybe 4, circle of the moon or aria of sorrow, and then each of the DS games (dawn of sorrow and order of ecclesia first) "
Funnily enough, I actually tried to buy Order of Ecclesia a few months ago but my EB Games only had a used copy of it, and I do not like buying used games.

I have moved since then however, so I will give another look for it before resorting to online.  I was going to start there since it was the newest game.

I am tempted however to try and play the games in chronological order as best to my ability, starting with the GBA games before going to the DS ones.  I will most likely play Rondo/SotN first though, just to get acquainted with the series.
Posted by animateria
@AgentJ said:
" @KnightsofRound: I see. since you already own that package, I'd play it through in chronologic order first. after that, maybe 4, circle of the moon or aria of sorrow, and then each of the DS games (dawn of sorrow and order of ecclesia first) "
^
This is pretty much what you should do.

Circle of the Moon and Aria of Sorrow are really excellent in the series.

And Portrait of Ruin is the weakest of the DS versions so it's totally skip-able.


As for SOTN, the GBA ones spoiled me and I found it rather lacking in boss battles.

I should pick up that PSP one at some point as well.
Posted by StarFoxA

Definitely play the three DS games, and the GBA ones.

Posted by Eirikr

Just don't ignore the older games. Alternate playing one in-between the portable games.

Edited by KnightsofRound
@Eirikr said:
" Just don't ignore the older games. Alternate playing one in-between the portable games. "
You are referring to the originals, yes?  NES/SNES?  I am interested in playing these games, but is there any way I can play them outside of ROMs/Emulators?  I do not have a NES or SNES.

I've seen Castlevania Chronicles on the PSN, but I am not exactly sure what this is.
Posted by Eirikr
@KnightsofRound: Castlevania I-IV are on Virtual Console. I keep hoping Bloodlines eventually makes it.

Castlevania Chronicles is a remake of Castlevania 1, and it's pretty awesome. You can also set it to a pretty lenient difficulty to have fun with it, and it's pretty cheap to boot. Like 6 bucks on PSN?

Skip Castlevania 1 for NES if you get Castlevania Chronicles, Castlevania II is arcane and probably best dabbled in emulator, Castlevania III is bitch-ass hard but well-designed, and as I've said above Castlevania IV is easier but tons of fun.
Posted by Video_Game_King

There's Virtual Console and I believe the first one was ported to the GBA.

Posted by JJOR64

The XBLA one is based on the PS1 version of the game.  If you are looking for Castlevania games like SOTN, check out all three DS games.  All three of them kick ass.  If you are looking for ones like Dracula X Chronicles, check out Super Castlevania IV on SNES (or Wii VC.)

Edited by sasnipes
Maybe its just me and I'm crazy, but I'd say start with Castlevania 1 for NES (can be downloaded via VC for Wii), its still probably my fave, closely followed by II and Dawn of Sorrow.  I feel like 1  is so much better than Castlevania Chronicles for some reason, but I could be slightly biased by the rose-tinted glasses of nostalgia :P

Edit:  And Castlevania 1 has the classic music that defined the series, and Dawn of Sorrow is pretty good musically as well.  The music draws me towards the series about as much as the gameplay.
Posted by Eirikr
@sasnipes: No, you're definitely not crazy, Castlevania 1 is still pretty great, mostly because it's so well designed. But for a new player, I think the Chronicles version is a better bet since it's a bit easier.
Posted by ShadowKiller

I'd start with Dracula X Chronicles and play SOTN after you unlock it. If you have a DS I also highly recommend the 3 Castlevanias, Dawn Of Sorrow is one of my favorite games.

Posted by Verdugo

I think I've only played Circle of the Moon for the GBA. I don't own it, but I remember it being fun.

Posted by Arkthemaniac

Considering Symphony of the Night is simply the best game ever made, it could be a good entry into the series.

Posted by The_A_Drain

Castlevania (no extra name) for GBA was the only one I actually finished.

That said, SoTN on XBLA is amazingly good, and the DS ones are fantastic as well.

You should also play Super Castlevania IV and the original NES Castlevania.

I also hear lots of good things about Rondo of Blood and Dracula X although I never played them (they might even be the same thing i'm not sure, dunnothey aren't available here to my knowledge, or if they are probably orrendously expensive.

Edited by King9999

Definitely play Dracula X.  I wanted that game for the longest time when it was released for the Turbo Duo, so I was extremely happy when Konami released the game on the PSP.  SotN is a great game, but the gameplay is broken (read: easy by Castlevania standards).

Any other 2D Castlevania game is good; make sure you play Dracula's Curse.  I would stay away from Castlevania 2 and Harmony of Dissonance.  The latter is even more broken than SotN, if you can believe it.

Posted by lightwarrior179

Play SotN first. Not only because it's the easiest game to get into for a newbie of a series but also because it's got arguably the most immersive atmosphere along with music in the entire series. 
Or if you want a more traditional approach ,start with Dracula X. Whatever you do,you shouldn't miss the GBA Castlevania games like Circle to the Moon or Aria of Sorrow because they rank amongst some of the best in the series as well. 

Posted by Turtlefuzz

The DS games are a lot like SOTN, and if you can get your hands on an SNES, get Super Castlevania 4.

Posted by Mmmslash

When playing SotN, remember that spamming Holy Water subweapons is your best friend ever. It makes some otherwise nightmare-hard boss encounters easy as pie.
 
I'm looking at you, Minotaur/Wolfman duo.

Posted by ArbitraryWater

Well, since someone decided to revive a 6 month old topic, I am justified in using this picture:

Oh, and to anyone who actually cares about the topic at hand, Symphony of the Night or one of the DS games (though not Order of Ecclesia. That game is crazy hard.) is the best place to start.
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