When did you first hear about the classic monsters? Vampires, werewolves, undead creatures and the like? For me it wasn’t movies or comics. I first encountered them in video games.
As a kid I was as rabid a video game fan as I was a comic book fan. I rented NES video games from the local video stores as much as my parents allowed me, but I needed to know what I should be renting and how to beat the games. That’s where the magazine NINTENDO POWER comes in. I had a subscription that lasted years and was able to read about all the new games coming out in detailed walk-throughs. The detailed maps and characters descriptions lit up my imagination as much as the comics I read did, and indeed NINTENDO POWER included manga about METROID and THE LEGEND OF ZELDA, as well as its own comics strip featuring the character Nester.
Now with the news that NINTENDO POWER is ending I want to look back at some of the games that influenced me and the creation of DRACULA WORLD ORDER. Above is video of CASTLEVANIA III: DRACULA’S CURSE.
I know there’s been a billion Castlevania games, but my era of being a gamer covers the 8- and 16-bit years. The Castlevania games were my introduction to the idea of vampires, as you played as a member of the vampire-hunting Belmont clan. But you didn’t just fight vampires. Inside the spooky level designs you had ghosts, werewolves, and even Medusa coming after you. From an early age I associated the use of monsters with the use of all the monsters.
The third installment to the series was ambitious. You could take multiple paths and it had different endings. Also, you could switch characters mid-game. I remember reading that in NINTENDO POWER and being simply fascinated. I didn’t know then by the gears of team dynamics and how to write action for multiple characters was building in my head. Of the new characters were a pirate, a sorceress, and…Dracula’s son. Reading that a vampire, someone from Dracula’s own family, could be a good guy was another big revelation.
Flashforward some twenty years later. Plagued by concerns the eight-year-old me would want nothing to do with, I devise a story using the iconography of monsters to write about a world consumed by greed and corruption. The world would be ruled by Dracula, with Frankenstein taking up arms and leading a revolution. Except Marvel just did the Frankencastle series and DC is doing FRANKENSTEIN: AGENT OF S.H.A.D.E. (both fun comics). So do I chuck the idea? Wait, a minute. What about the old Castlevania game? Where you could play as Dracula’s son…