My Top-10 Castlevania themes
I just recently posted my Top-5 Castlevania games. One of the reasons I love the Castlevania series is because of the absolutely wonderful soundtracks for each game. So, even though I’ve probably done this list before, I felt it was time to once again list my favourite themes from the Castlevania series. I laid down a couple of rules for the list. I decided to go with my traditional one entry per game to prevent the list from being dominated by songs from only a few games. Ultimately, this led to me having to do the thankless task of only picking one great song from a few games with many great tunes, but it was also intended to prevent the list from running on forever. I also decided that the song had to be the original version of said track, since themes are recycled from game to game a lot in Castlevania.
Even so, here’s a couple of honourable mentions which didn’t make the list because they broke the second rule but I would have wanted to have included anyway.
The rendition of Bloody Tears heard in the (de-canonised) Game Boy title Castlevania Legends is one of my all-time favourites, especially because it was able to freestyle on such a highly recognised song and do it well.
People are probably not surprised that Castlevania for Nintendo 64 is not featured heavily, but I did want to include the opening theme version of Bloodlines (Richter’s Theme) because it’s so beautiful. Unfortunately, it’s not original to the game which is the main issue here.
Doing any more honourable mentions would cause this opening to drag out, so let’s instead get on with the list…
10. Battle of the Holy
Castlevania the Adventure is one of the lesser loved entries in the Castlevania series, but I’ll be damned if the first level theme isn’t just the beez-neez. It shows a lot of levels for a Game Boy theme and has a really nice groove. However, CVTA’s soundtrack is otherwise honestly a bit unmemorable. At least there’s a bit of greatness in it though…
9. Iron-Blue Intentions
This one comes from the rather unknown Sega Mega Drive (Genesis) title Castlevania: Bloodlines (a.k.a. The New Generation). The soundtrack of this MD title is extremely solid even if it’s rather so-and-so as a Castlevania game over-all. The calm melody of this interrupted by the drum and organ explosions is a really nice listen.
8. Praying Hands
Compared to its predecessor, Castlevania II: Belmont’s Revenge on the Game Boy had an amazing soundtrack. I would go so far as to say one of the best for the entire system. This theme has a nice long arc and has an excellent mysterious atmosphere. The various melody changes are what make it such an outstanding number from this title.
This one comes from a lesser known entry on the Game Boy Advance called Castlevania: Circle of the Moon. COTM is another MetroidVania title but the first area theme from it has always stuck with me. The intro is excellent and I love once the song really start gets going. It gets quite funky towards the end…
6. Theme of Simon (Dance of the Holy Man)
One of the absolute stand-out numbers from Super Castlevania IV which is a game filled with excellent theme. It’s quite surprising that it actually took this long for Simon to actually get a theme dedicated to himself. The dramatic build-up and the melody shifts keep this one from becoming stale.
5. Bloodlines (Richter’s Theme)
The theme of Richter Belmont is so well-known and beloved that it reappears in almost every game in the series, despite Richter appearing only in a couple of titles in all. It’s also interesting considering that the theme debuted in Akumajou Dracula X: Rondo of Blood for the PC Engine which was unavailable in Western territories for a really long time. This one is just bopping and a really fun theme to listen to with a great dynamic pace.
4. The Beginning
The first level theme of Castlevania 3: Dracula’s Curse is so energetic that it’s become a mainstay theme for the whole series. The way it slows down and builds up again is awesome. Also, despite being fairly short, I don’t feel it starts to feel repetitive the same way as Bloodlines or even Theme of Simon. Plus, there’s something cool and creepy about the theme at the same, capturing perfectly the essence of Castlevania.
3. Wandering Ghosts
I’m not a fan of Symphony of the Night in the very least, but god damn if this game doesn’t have some of the best themes from the entire series. This one is quite funky and really unconventional for the series. The playful guitar segments really sell it as well as the slightly cheezy horror touches here and there. What I really love is that semi-Spanish guitar part towards the end.
2. Vampire Killer
I tend to flip-flop on whether I like Vampire Killer or Bloody Tears more. Both are iconic themes from their respective games. You can tell that Vampire Killer is something special as it’s appeared in practically every single game of the series since the release of the original Castlevania on the NES. It has intent in its boot-steps (just like Simon Belmont) but it also hints at the horror theme nicely. This is effectively the theme song of the entire series and I truly love it. Like I said, it’s a coin toss between this and Bloody Tears most of the time.
1. Bloody Tears
Castlevania 2: Simon’s Quest may be a terribly flawed game, but I still love it. One of the reasons for this is the brilliant soundtrack which features possibly my favourite theme of the entire series. It’s fast-paced but also extremely melodic and shifts notes aggressively and of course there’s that frantic organ intro which is just brilliant. Every single Castlevania soundtrack here on out features a version of this song and I highly recommend checking those out as well, but I truly enjoy the NES version the most (yes, even more than the FamiCom Disc Drive version).
Want to listen to all these songs in playlist form? Click here!!