With the first game coming out in 1986, the almost four-decade-old Castlevania series has oodles of games.


And we’ve got them in order of story and release, as well as the multiple timelines explained to make sense of the convoluted titles.

There’s been renewed interest in the series owing to the animated Netflix Castlevania series, as well as Castlevania: Nocturne and its upcoming season 2.

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Despite the popularity of these series, we haven’t had much in the way of new games other than Grimoire of Souls, which is exclusive to Apple Arcade.

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Fortunately, there is a veritable wealth of Castlevania games to dive into. Read on for all things Belmont, vampires and confusing millenia-spanning story arcs!

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How to play the Castlevania games in release order

Artwork of Shanoa from Castlevania: order of Ecclesia for the Nintendo DS. She is holding a large red staff
Shanoa from Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia. Konami

Below are all of the Castlevania games and their spin-offs (excluding slot, medal and pachinko games) by release order, if you would like to play them in the same way that they came out.

We also have every platform they were released for, but the first listed is the initial platform it came out on.

  • Castlevania (1986 | Family Computer Disk System, NES, PC, Commodore 64, Amiga, Nintendo Virtual Console)
  • Vampire Killer (1986 | MSX2, Nintendo Virtual Console)
  • Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest (1987 | Family Computer Disk System, NES, PC, Nintendo Virtual Console)
  • Haunted Castle (1988 | Arcade, PS2, PS4, Switch)
  • Castlevania: The Adventure (1989 | Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Nintendo Virtual Console)
  • Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse (1989 | Family Computer Disk System, NES, PC, Nintendo Virtual Console)
  • Castlevania II: Belmont’s Revenge (1991 | Game Boy, Game Boy Color)
  • Super Castlevania IV (1991 | SNES, Nintendo Virtual Console, Super NES Classic Edition)
  • Kid Dracula (1993 | Game Boy)
  • Castlevania Chronicles (1993 | Sharp X68000, PS1, PSN)
  • Castlevania: Rondo of Blood (1993 | PC Super Engine, PSP, PSN, Nintendo Virtual Console)
  • Castlevania Bloodlines (1994 | Sega Genesis)
  • Castlevania: Dracula X (1995 | SNES, Nintendo Virtual Console)
  • Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (1997 | PlayStation, Sega Saturn, Xbox Live Arcade, PSP, PSN, Android, iOS)
  • Castlevania Legends (1997 | Game Boy, Super Game Boy)
  • Castlevania (1999 | Nintendo 64)
  • Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness (1999 | Nintendo 64)
  • Castlevania: Circle of the Moon (2001 | Game Boy Advance, Nintendo Virtual Console)
  • Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance (2002 | Game Boy Advance, Nintendo Virtual Console)
  • Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow (2003 | Game Boy Advance, Nintendo Virtual Console)
  • Castlevania: Lament of Innocence (2003 | PlayStation 2, PSN)
  • Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow (2005 | Nintendo DS)
  • Castlevania: Curse of Darkness (2005, PlayStation 2, Xbox)
  • Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin (2006 | Nintendo DS)
  • Castlevania: Order of Shadows (2007 | Mobile phones)
  • Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia (2008 | Nintendo DS)
  • Castlevania: Judgement (2008 | Nintendo Wii)
  • Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth (2009 | Nintendo Wii)
  • Castlevania: The Arcade (2009 | Arcade)
  • Castlevania Puzzle: Encore of the Night (2010 | iOS, Windows Phone)
  • Castlevania: Harmony of Despair (2010 | XBLA, PSN)
  • Castlevania: Lords of Shadow (2010 | PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
  • Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate (2013 | PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo 3DS)
  • Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 (2014 | PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
  • Castlevania: Grimoire of Souls (2019 | Android, iOS)

How to play the Castlevania games in story order

Artwork of Alucard from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night wearing a black outfit and holding a long blade
Alucard from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. Konami

As with many longstanding series with many entries, there are multiple timelines in Castlevania: the main, alternate and Lords of Shadow.

The latter two are not considered to be canon, making Dawn of Sorrow or Grimoire of Souls the last canonical point of the Castlevania main timeline – depending on who you ask.

Castlevania main timeline in chronological order

Below all are the titles that are considered the "mainline" entries in the series in their chronological order. Some of the remakes aren’t considered to be completely canon but the plots are largely the same.

Castlevania: Lament of Innocence – 1094 AD (2003)

The PAL box art for Castlevania: lament of Innocence for the PS2

Coming out back in 2003, Lament of Innocence – the first PS2 Castlevania title – explores the origins of the feud between the vampire-hunting Belmont clan and the Dracula family, as well as how Dracula came to be.

Set during the First Crusade in 1094 AD, Leon Belmont races home from the Holy Land upon discovering his fiancée has been kidnapped by Lord Walter Bernhard – a powerful vampire.

We’re also introduced to the iconic Vampire Killer Whip – a staple of the series and a relic of the Belmont Clan.

The only way to play Castlevania: Lament of Innocence is on the PS2 or by emulating it, if you own a legal copy. If you don’t, you can pick up a copy from eBay for a pretty penny.

Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse – 1476 AD (1989)

A screenshot from Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse for the NES

Released in 1989, Dracula’s Curse was the first of many prequels in the Castlevania series. The game takes place in 1476, when Count Dracula’s army of monsters marches across Europe. With no hope in sight, the powers that be call upon Trevor Belmont – the wielder of the Vampire Killer Whip – to defeat Dracula.

Previously, the Belmonts had been exiled from Wallachia for fear of their immense powers, making it a situation of "needs must". Alongside Trevor, players can play as Sypha Belnades, Grant Danasty or Alucard who all have their own special abilities.

Dracula’s Curse was included as part of the Castlevania Anniversary Collection, which can be played on PC, Switch, PS4 or Xbox.

You can also emulate Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse if you own a legal copy, or play said copy on original hardware. If you need to buy one, make sure you’ve got at least a few pennies to rub together.

Castlevania: Curse of Darkness – 1479 AD (2005)

The PAL box art for Castlevania: Curse of Darkness for the PS2

Taking place three years after Dracula’s Curse, players take control of Devil Forgemaster Hector and former employee of Dracula as he returns to his ex-master’s castle in order to stop his resurrection – not that Europe is faring too well in his absence, as his curse still wreaks havoc.

Trevor Belmont and St Germain make an appearance, too, with the former even becoming playable after completing the game.

If you have a PlayStation 2 or Xbox, you can find a copy of Curse of Darkness for around the price of a modern AAA title. If you own legal hardware and a copy, you can emulate it to tidy up the graphics and play it on PC.

Castlevania: The Adventure/The Adventure ReBirth – 1567 AD (1989, 2009)

The North American box art for Castlevania: The Adventure for the Game Boy

Almost a century after the events of Dracula’s Curse, players take control of Christopher Belmont as he delves into Dracula’s castle to face off a new vampiric threat.

There isn’t a great deal of story, despite being dubbed "The Adventure", and it’s one of the more punishing titles in the series.

You can get a Game Boy version, but our recommendation would be the Castlevania Anniversary Collection. There is also ReBirth for the Wii, though it’s exceedingly hard to track down unless you managed to download it back in the day.

Castlevania II: Belmont’s Revenge – 1591 AD (1991)

The North American box art for Castlevania II: Belmont's Revenge for the Game Boy

Belmont’s Revenge sees us equip the Vampire Killer Whip once more as a slightly older Christopher Belmont, after Dracula, who has risen again (shock), kidnaps his son, Soleil.

Belmont’s Revenge plays quite better than The Adventure but, though the game isn’t very long, the player movement speed is rather lethargic, making for irksome traversal.

Boxed copies go for crazy money, but you can get a cartridge for around £60 or so. Failing that, you can save yourself the hassle and opt for the Anniversary Collection.

Castlevania/Super Castlevania IV/Castlevania Chronicles – 1691 AD (1986,1991, 1993)

The North American box art for Castlevania for the NES

This is the one that set it all off, and there’s a number of different versions to check out. All the remakes tell roughly the same story – not there is much in the way of a story, other than that Simon Belmont must stop Dracula before he takes control of Transylvania at the tail end of the 17th century.

You can pick up a copy for NES, SNES, PS1 or the Anniversary Collection, depending on your taste.

Castlevania II: Simon's Quest – 1698 AD (1987)

The North American box art for Castlevania II: Simon's Quest for the NES

During the face-off with Dracula in the original Castlevania, Simon received a cursed wound that has plagued him ever since. Seven years on, Simon must bring Dracula back in order to vanquish him so that the curse may finally be lifted, lest Simon succumbs to its powerful magic.

Simons’s Quest also marked what would become a series staple – an open world that required players to revisit areas as they progressed through the game in a similar vein to Metroid. Thus, the genre would be known as a Metroidvania henceforth.

There are some not-so-silly copies of Simon’s Quest for NES, but you can also play it via the anniversary collection.

Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance – 1748 AD (2002)

The PAL box art of Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance for the Game Boy Advance

Fifty years after Simon’s Quest, where Dracula’s Curse was finally broken, the Belmonts live in a world that now accepts them with even a village springing up around their ancestral castle.

Grandson of Simon, Juste Belmont became friends with villagers Maxim Kischne and Lydie Erlanger. When Lydie is kidnapped, however, Juste tracks down a castle and enters it along with Maxim – but not all is well, as it seems as both Dracula and Death have been up to much trickery.

Harmony of Dissonance isn’t too expensive for the Game Boy Advanced (as far as retro Castlevania games go), but the game can be had much cheaper with the Castlevania Advance Collection.

Castlevania: Rondo of Blood/Dracula X/Dracula X Chronicles – 1792 AD (1993, 1995, 2007)

The Japanese box art for Castlevania: Rondo of Blood for the Sharp X68000

Similarly to the original Castlevania, Rondo of Blood has seen a fair few remakes and ports over the years, but they all follow the same plot. This time the Vampire Killer Whip is in the hands of Richter Belmont as he tracks down his kidnapped lover Annette to Dracula’s castle.

Dracula X featured new and expanded levels that made use of the SNES's extra horsepower. Dracula X Chronicles is a 2.5 Remake for the PlayStation Portable.

The only way to play Rondo of Blood on modern systems is via Castlevania Requiem for PS4 (which includes Symphony of the Night). Dracula X and X Chronicles must be played on original hardware or emulated if you own legal copies and their associated consoles.

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night – 1797 AD (1997)

The PAL box art of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night for PS1

Perhaps the best known Castlevania, Symphony of the Night set the tone for all subsequent games in terms of gameplay and art.

This time around, players wouldn’t be taking control of a Belmont - but of Alucard, Dracula’s son, who was a playable character in Dracula’s Curse.

After Dracula’s defeat in Rondo of Blood, Richter Belmont vanishes without a trace and the Dracula castle returns, prompting Alucard to awaken from a long slumber to destroy it.

Teaming alongside Richter’s friend, Maria, Alucard discovers Richter is under the control of a mysterious entity known as Shaft, and is controlling the castle.

It would, of course, be remiss of Dracula not to be resurrected as well – this results in an inevitable father-son showdown that will push your button reflexes to the extreme.

The easiest way to play it is via the Castlevania Requiem or the Xbox Live Arcade version via backwards compatibility, but you can also pick it up for other systems – for a hefty sum, that is. It’s included as an unlockable secret in Dracula X Chronicles for the PSP for example, though this admittedly isn’t very straightforward.

Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia – early 1800s (2008)

The PAL box art of Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia for the Nintend DS

Following the disappearance of the Belmont Clan after the events of Symphony of the Night, the Order of Ecclesia is one of many groups that were founded in order to counter the Dracula menace should he ever return (he will).

One member is Shanoa – their most potent warrior - and she is selected to undergo a ritual that would pair her with the magical source of Dracula’s powers known as the Dominus Glyps.

Fellow order member Albus makes off with them, along with Shanoa’s emotions and memories. It’s then down to the unfeeling Shanoa to track him down on a journey that is deeply connected to the Belmont mystery.

Unfortunately, the game has never been ported to another system, and as such, can only be played on the Nintendo DS or emulated if you own a legal copy and a Nintendo DS. Copies fetch quite a bit of money, so be prepared to dig deep if you’re desperate to play this one.

Castlevania: Bloodlines (AKA Castlevania: The New Generation) – 1917 AD (1994)

The PAL box art of Castlevania: The New Generation, released as Bloodlines in other territories

Marking the series's first Sega foray, Bloodlines (known as The New Generation in Europe) leapt another century forward, with the game taking place amid the First World War in 1917 – 20 years after Dracula was last defeated. But he has risen again.

Though chronologically we have not played as a Belmont a number of times, Bloodlines was the first Castlevania to not have a Belmont running the show, with players able to choose between vampire hunters John Morris and Eric Lecarde.

The two fight their way across war-torn Europe as they seek to put a stop to Dracula once more, whose revival may have had something to do with the onset of the war.

Original copies for the Mega Drive and Genesis are eye-wateringly expensive, though you can opt to snap up a copy of the Anniversary Collection.

Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin – 1944 AD (2006)

The PAl box art of Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin for the Nintendo DS

After successfully putting an end to Dracula’s plans, John Morris’s son, Jonathan Morris, takes up the Vampire Killer Whip, alongside the powerful witch Charlotte Aulin, to put a stop to Brauner, a vampire artist who has brought back Dracula’s castle to wreak havoc across the world.

Brauner has many ruinous portraits in the castle that control its powers. Worlds exist within these paintings, and Jonathan and Charlotte must enter them to vanquish the evil that lies therein.

Eric Lecarde even makes an appearance, tying the game more closely to Bloodlines.

New to Castlevania was the ability to play the game in cooperative multiplayer, but unfortunately it’s not for the main campaign, and is instead relegated to a series of boss challenges.

The bad news continues, too - Portrait of Ruin has never received a port, and as such, you can only play the game on a DS, 2DS or 3DS if you own a legitimate copy. Mercifully, it’s reasonably inexpensive when compared with other entries.

Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow – 2035 AD (2003)

The PAL box art of Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow for the Game Boy Advance

Leaving the Belmonts well in the past, in 2003, the series looked forward to the near future in 2035, when Soma Cruz – an exchange student in Tokyo – finds himself in Dracula’s castle and discovers they wield the power of dominance, meaning that they can take the souls of monsters to utilise their abilities.

Prior to this, the Belmonts finally vanquished Dracula in 1999 and locked his powers in a solar eclipse. In true Castlevania fashion, however, this wouldn’t be enough to keep ol’ Drac out of the fight for long, and it was prophesied he would resurrect once more 36 years later by his reincarnation.

With Soma in the middle of the lion's den, doomsday cult leader Graham Jones looks to complete the prophecy.

With the powers of dominance came with Tactical Soul system, Soma’s means of getting new powers and abilities through the game.

You can pick up a Game Boy Advance cartridge, but it’s far simpler to pick up the Advance Collection instead.

Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow – 2036 AD (2005)

The North American box art for Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow for the Nintendo DS

The last of the mainline series, Dawn of Sorrow picks up one year on from the events in Aria of Sorrow, with the world’s ne’er do wells unable to resist the temptation of using Soma Cruz to revive Dracula.

Such a ritual would kill Soma, something With Light cult leader Celia Fortner is all too happy to abide by as punishment for resisting Dracula’s prophecy.

Rather than hanging around waiting for his enemies to come to him, Soma takes the fight to With Light, and finds himself in an all too familiar-looking castle.

Back are the Tactical Souls, with the addition of the new Magic Seal System. Upon defeating bosses, you must draw a seal on the touchscreen to trap the enemy's soul. If you’re not quick enough, the boss will regain strength and health and continue the fight.

Dawn of Sorrow is still stuck on the DS, so you will need original hardware and a copy of the game to play it, or legally emulate it if all your wares are legitimate.

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow timeline in chronological order

Artwork of Gabriel Belmont for Castlevania: Lord of Shadows wearing black and red armour
Konami, Mercury Steam

Though not considered canon with the main Castlevania timeline, the Lords of Shadow games from Spanish developers Mercury Steam games (Metroid: Samus Returns, Metroid: Dread) are a thoroughly enjoyable romp and worth checking out if you can’t get enough Castlevania.

The series explores the Lords of Shadow, a malignant force that stops passed souls from transitioning to the afterlife, and the origins of Dracula himself and his relation to the Belmont line.

Playing them in chronological order is simply as the games came out in release order, other than the Lords of Shadow 2 DLC, which acts as a prologue to the main game.

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – 1047 AD (2010)

Gabriel Belmont AKA Dracula and a coffin with legs in Castlevania: Lords of Shadow
Konami, Mercury Steam

With the threat of the end of days brought about by the Lords of Shadow looming across Europe, Gabriel Belmont, a powerful holy knight belonging to the Brotherhood of Light, seeks to help the soul of his murdered wife, Marie, cross over to the afterlife by collected the fragments of the broken God Mask.

As Gabriel makes his way across Europe, he collects fragments of the God Mask by defeating the Lords of Shadow in the hopes of reviving Marie.

Two DLCs, Reverie and Resurrection, continue the story, and see Gabriel turn into a vampire himself in order to stop the Forgotten One, a powerful entity who is attempting to break free after the defeat of the Lords of Shadow.

At the very end, we see Gabriel in the modern day, tired and in a weakened state, living as Dracula in hiding.

You can play Lords of Shadow relatively easily by either playing it on PC, original hardware or via backwards compatibility on Xbox.

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate – 1073-1103 AD (2013)

The North American Cover art for Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate for the Nintendo 3DS
Konami, Mercury Steam

Mirror of Fate sees you play through three generations of Belmont Trauma with Garbiel, Trevor and Simon, as well as Dracula’s revived son, Alucard.

In Mirror of Fate’s prologue, it is revealed that before Gabriel’s fate of becoming Dracula, his wife, Marie, gave birth to a secret son, Trevor. Trevor was hidden from Gabriel as the Brotherhood were well aware of what was to become of Gabriel.

Twenty-five years after the event of Mirror of Fate, Simon Belmont arrives at Dracula’s Castle after years of living in the mountains in order to retrieve his father Trevor's Combat Cross, as Dracula killed him.

He runs into Alucard mutiple times before facing off with Dracula himself, before we swap to Alucard’s perspective – who has awoken and discovered his true fate – all the way up to the final fight with Dracula.

After this, the game jumps back to when Trevor looks to kill Gabriel to rid the shame that has beleaguered the family since he became Dracula. Though warned that it will be an ill-fated quest, Trevor proceeds, eventually falling to Dracula, but not before revealing that he is his son.

Thus, Trevor is entombed with the name Alucard, as Gabriel never learns his true name.

You can play Lords of Fate on PC, the 3DS, Xbox via backwards compatibility, PS3 or via PS PLus Premium.

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 – 1547, 2057 AD (2014)

Gabriel Belmont AKA Dracula in Castlevania Lords of Shadow 2
Konami, Mercury Steam

First taking place in 1547, where Dracula sees off the Brotherhood of Light and a gargantuan mechanical titan, we are transported over five centuries later to 2057, where we find a weakened Dracula – now known as Dracul – living in an old cathedral with no recollection of how he ended up there.

A former foe and sometimes ally Zobek finds him, and warns him that Satan is planning to return owing to Dracul’s compromised condition.

Dracul isn’t out of the fight, however, as he wishes to seek revenge against Satan by killing him and restoring his powers so that he himself may finally know the eternal peace of true death.

Zobeck hands him the venerable Vampire Killer whip on the condition that he kills the acolytes, who wish for the return of Satan. Once the deed is done, Dracul wants to use the powerful weapon to put an end to his tortured existence.

Alucard, too, joins in the fray, and is also a playable character in the Revelations DLC, which acts as a prologue to the Lords of Shadow 2.

You can play Lords of Shadow 2 and its DLC on PC, Xbox via backwards compatibility, via PS Plus Premium or on original hardware.

Castlevania alternative timeline in chronological order

The PAL box art of Super Castlevania IV for the SNES

Below is the list of all the Castlevania games that exist in the alternative timeline. There are some repeats from the main timeline, as many of the remakes are considered to be non-canonical, but we included them in the mainline series due to how similar the plots are.

  • Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth – 1576 AD (2009 | Nintendo Wii)
  • Super Castlevania IV – 1691 AD (1991 | SNES)
  • Castlevania: Dracula X – 1792 AD (1995 | SNES)
  • Castlevania: Circle of the Moon – 1830 AD (2001 | Game Boy Advance)
  • Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness – 1844 AD (1999 | Nintendo 64)
  • Castlevania 64 – 1852 AD (1999 | Nintendo 64)

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