10 Best Castlevania Games, Ranked


The Castlevania series has been a staple of gaming since its original release on the NES. The series takes gothic horror elements and adds fast-paced platforming action that requires precision and skill to master. Games in the Castlevania series have varied widely in their approach, going from straightforward action side-scrollers to exploration-based 2D titles, and even making the jump into 3D. RELATED: Castlevania: Best Castles In The Series, Ranked

There are so many titles in the Castlevania series that it can be a daunting task to determine the stand-out titles. With so many iconic characters and stories, the series has stood the test of time. Hopefully, Konami will soon resurrect this series; until then, you can play these amazing Castlevania games.


10 Castlevania: Circle Of The Moon

Circle of the Moon was the first Castlevania game released for the Gameboy Advance. After the success of Symphony of the Night, Konami knew that 2D exploration worked perfectly for the series, and they found a home on Nintendo’s portable system.

Circle of the Moon isn’t the best Metroidvania-style Castlevania game, but it is a blast to play and proved how well this series worked on a handheld system. The addition of card-based enhancements added an extra layer of depth to the combat and makes this a stand-out Castlevania title.

9 Castlevania: Lords Of Shadow

Gabirel Belmont artwork for Lords of Shadow

The Lords of Shadow series acted as a reboot of the Castlevania series. The first game in the series is a fully 3D Castlevania game that stars Gabriel Belmont as he attempts to take down Dracula.

Castlevania works best as a 2D action exploration game, but the first Lords of Shadow showed us how great this series could be in 3D.

There were other 3D titles that came out before Lords of Shadow, but none of them featured the tight combat or as compelling a story as this one.

8 Castlevania: Order Of Ecclesia

Shanoa fights a boss

Order of Ecclesia is a Castlevania game released for the Nintendo DS. By the time this game launched, Konami knew it had a winning formula with putting these games on a portable console. Order of Ecclesia introduced one of the best Castlevania protagonists in a story that rivals the best in the series.

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The game takes place a few years after Symphony of the Night and has newcomer Shanoa taking up vampire-hunting duties. She may not be able to wield the classic whip, but the glyph system introduced in the game creates some stellar combat tools that make this one of the most fun portable Castlevania titles.

7 Castlevania: Simons Quest

Simon walks through the ruins of Draculas Castle

Simons Quest is the second Castlevania to be released, and it opened up the world in a way the original game couldn’t. Rather than just facing standard platforming sections in the castle, Simon is tasked with visiting several different locations and tracking down pieces of a defeated Dracula.

The game was our first foray into what a labyrinth-like Castlevania experience would look like. It also keeps the classic difficulty that made the original such a blast to play.

6 Castlevania: Dawn Of Sorrow

Soma Cruz fights enemies

Dawn of Sorrow is a Nintendo DS exclusive title that acts as a sequel to the immensely polished Aria of Sorrow game released on the Gameboy Advance. The game features the same protagonists, Soma Cruz, in a distant future tasked with stopping the re-incarnation of Dracula.

Aria of Sorrow introduced the soul system, a mechanic of capturing defeated enemies’ souls that would give Soma additional combat powers. Dawn of Sorrow continued this mechanic and gives this game a robust set of tools for taking down enemies. It’s a fantastic system and one that we would love to see Konami continue if they ever return to the Castlevania series.

5 Castlevania: Bloodlines

Stage 1-2 of castlevania bloodlines

Castlevania: Bloodlines was once considered the holy grail of Castlevania titles. It was released as a Sega Genesis exclusive, and it wasn’t until 2019 that this game finally became available for other systems.

RELATED: Castlevania: Hardest Bosses In The Series, Ranked

Castlevania Bloodlines delivers the classic 2D action platforming of old Castlevania titles, but this one stands out as the introduction to series composer Michiru Yamane. Yamane would go on to score countless other Castlevania projects, but Bloodlines still remains one of her finest achievements in music.

4 Super Castlevania IV

Opening scene of super castlevania 4

While Genesis owners got Bloodlines, Super Nintendo owners were treated to the superior Super Castlevania IV. This game marked the end of the Simon Belmont era but features some of the best 2D platforming action of the entire series.

Super Castlevania IV perfected every Castlevania game that came before it. The 2D platforming action, brilliant level design, and gothic aesthetic make this not just one of the best Castlevania games, but one of the best games released on the Super Nintendo.

3 Castlevania: Rondo Of Blood

Simon fights a merman

Rondo of Blood was first released in Japan in 1993, but it would take over a decade before the game would hit western audiences. The Dracula X version on the Super Nintendo made too many deviations to be considered a true port, but we finally got to play the game in all its glory on the PlayStation Portable.

Rondo of Blood is one of the most punishing games in the series, but that just adds to its appeal. The game has beautiful 16-bit graphics and features some of our favorite levels in the entire series. Rondo of Blood is a must-play for any Castlevania fan, even if it will continually test your patience.

2 Castlevania: Symphony Of The Night

Alucard fights galamoth

Castlevania Symphony of the Night was a PlayStation One exclusive and the first game in the series to go full tilt into Metroid-like exploration. During this era of gaming, most developers were trying to figure out how to make their games work in a 3D world. Konami decided to instead drastically alter how Castlevania games played and ended up making this all-time masterpiece.

Symphony of the Night worked perfectly on Sony’s console and delivered one of the best stories and protagonists the series has ever seen. The game has been re-released for multiple consoles and plays just as well today as it did back in 1997, solidifying it as not only one of the best Castlevania games, but also one of the best side-scrollers of all time.

1 Castlevania: Aria Of Sorrow

Soma awakens at the beginning of aria of sorrow

There are so many brilliant Metroidvania Castlevania titles, but Aria of Sorrow stands out as the best. This was the third title Konami released for the Gameboy Advance, and it showed they had perfected the metroidvania format for handheld consoles.

The story takes place in the future and features an all-new protagonist and combat system while still retaining the classic Castlevania aesthetic. What truly makes this game stand out is its soul-catching system and different weapon abilities that brought a new level of depth to the series’ combat that had never been seen before. It also features a stellar castle and a memorable soundtrack. There are plenty of great Castlevania games to be played, but Aria of Sorrow is the best of the bunch. NEXT: Best Metroidvania Games Ever Made, Ranked


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