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Castlevania is a series of Action video games by Konami. Featuring an eternal quest to defeat the evil Dracula, it contains many mythical and fantastic elements.
Castlevania began with a game by the same name for the NES in 1986. It was one of the first great action-platformers for the system, and would be remembered as one of the great horror-themed games on the platform. Castlevania would have two sequels on the NES: Simon's Quest, which had a radically different Metroid-like structure, and Dracula's Curse, which was largely an expansion of the original game. They were released in 1987 and 1989 respectively.
For the better part of a decade, Castlevania would appear in a variety of forms on various platforms, mostly using the formula set by the first and third games. These included Super Castlevania for the SNES, Bloodlines for the Genesis, and Rondo of Blood for the PC-Engine. This established a series trend of Castlevania not being tied to any one platform.
Starting in 1997 though, the series began to split into two. On one side, you had Metroid inspired 2D games such as Symphony of the Night, one of the most recognizable 2D games of the generation. These games would eventually migrate to Nintendo's Game Boy series of handhelds, where they were recurring hits.
Meanwhile, Castlevania has also made various attempts to succeed in the third dimension. These included games such as the Legacy of Darkness for the Nintendo 64 and Resurrection for the Dreamcast. However, these games have generally failed to make a critical or sales impact like the original games, Symphony of the Night, or its follow-ups.
2D Castlevania games have been very well received on a critical level, especially since Symphony of the Night in 1997. Critics tend to give these games scores of at least 4/5, and various games in the series have won a variety of awards. However, the 3D games have been less well received in general, despite multiple attempts to reinvigorate the series in this fashion. Furthermore, the Castlevania games, though renowned, are hardly blockbuster material, as only one or two games in the series have sold over a million units despite the many entries.