Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Castlevania: The House That Dracula Built

Very few games can encapsulate the spirit of Halloween better than Castlevania.  A journey through a gigantic castle filled with all sorts of monsters and creepy scenery, which concludes in a showdown with Dracula?  The only way this could be anymore Halloween-themed is if it had a set of decorative Jack O'Lanterns scattered throughout each castle.  Today we're going to cover some of the monsters that our vampire-hunting protagonists encounter in the Castlevania games.


In these games you'll find the usual suspects in fantasy horror games/media, such as zombies, skeletons (so many different types of skeletons that it's not even funny), and bats.  Since these are so common in other games, let's discuss some other enemies that are less abundant outside of Castlevania.


Medusa Heads


If you've played any of the games in this series, then you're very familiar with this enemy (probably more familiar than you'd like).  Their appearance is pretty self-explanatory thanks to their name: they are essentially disembodied heads of Medusa, complete with the snake hairstyle.  These enemies tend to attack in swarms which fly through the air, usually in a bobbing pattern which generally makes them difficult to avoid.


Most people will list Medusa Heads as the most annoying enemy in the Castlevania games due to the relentless way they throw massive amounts of these monsters at you.  There is really no choice but to try and attack as many as possible, otherwise you'll take too much damage to continue much further.


Bone Pillar


Yes, I said I'd be skipping skeletons in this article, but I'm willing to make an exception for this iconic enemy.  Bone Pillars are usually represented as two or more skulls stacked on top of each other.  They aren't the boring overused human skulls either, they are dinosaur skulls.

Note the stack of dinosaur skulls at the right side of the screen.

At first you might consider these to be a mild threat because they are a completely stationary enemy, basically just a skull statue.  However, Bone Pillars are capable of shooting fireballs from their mouths, giving them a pretty decent ranged attack.  To make matters worse, sometimes these enemies hang out on the far side of a gap you must jump over.  Time your jump wrong and the knock-back from getting hit by a fireball will send you to your doom.


Mermen


Even though the name of this enemy might make you think it's some kind of pansy straight out of The Little Mermaid, make no mistake, Mermen are worthy to be in Dracula's castle.  They are actually quite hideous in appearance, looking similar to the Zoras in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.


Wherever you find pools of water in a Castlevania game, chances are a Merman is lurking within.  These enemies will jump out of the water and proceed to stalk towards you (bet you never thought a Merman would be capable of walking on dry land, did you?).  Every once in a while Mermen will shake things up by stopping and shoot fireballs out of their mouth.  Despite being fairly easy to defeat, you never want to underestimate a ranged attack.

There are obviously many more enemies in the Castlevania games, but to be honest most are variations of each other (there must be over twenty different types of skeleton warriors in these games).  Besides some of the more annoying enemies (I'm looking at you Medusa Heads), most of these creatures are fun to battle while you play as a vampire-slaying bad-ass.  Which Castlevania enemies do you guys consider to be the most memorable?

2 comments:

  1. I love the Castlevania series, but I think the Fatal Frame series would be the best choice for a game for Halloween =), nicely written once again!

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    1. Fatal Frame is definitely a great choice for Halloween, those games are intense! I wrote an article about Fatal Frame this past month, I couldn't pass up the chance to talk about that game since it's October.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

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