Since the beginning, CastleVania has been a blending of the classic horror movies, by putting Count Dracula at the head of the pack, and having other monsters serve as bosses (Frankenstein, The Mummy Man, etc.) Vampires have been part of lore and legends throughout history. However, they were first made popular through Bram Stoker's Dracula, written in 1897. Yet how well does Bram Stoker's story fit into the CastleVania lineage?
Please note that the Castlevania timeline is very inconsistent. There are a few loop holes - for one, the American Castlevania 3 instruction manual specifically states that Trevor's adventures take place 100 years before Simon's, whereas the official Japanese version has Christopher (and the Gameboy titles) following Trevor's Adventure. This was likely a mistranslation, however. Also, the resurrection dates are not always exactly 100 years, but this can be acceptable. This official timeline was previously found at Konami Japan's Castlevania page, which has since been dismantled, for whatever reason. Similarly, some games (like the Nintendo 64 games, Castlevania Legends and Circle of the Moon) have been taken out of the official timeline for reasons that aren't entirely apparent. They are included here to give the full story of the series.
There's also some confusion about the games featuring Simon Belmont. For all intents of purpose, the MSX Vampire Killer, NES Castlevania, SNES Super Castlevania IV, arcade Haunted Castle and X68000/PSX Castlevania Chronicles are just different versions of the same story. They also all have the same name in Japan (simply Akumajou Dracula.) Therefore, they are counted as one. The only real difference between any of them is that Haunted Castle has the unnamed main character fighting to save his newly-wed wife (called Selena on a Japanese fansite, though who knows how canon that is) from Dracula. Similarly, both the PC Engine and SNES Dracula X are considered the same game.
By nature, vampires must have blood from others to survive. Vampires often make victims drink blood from their veins, thus infecting them. When they die, then that person would come back to life as a vampire. Vampires can only come out at night, as they are much weaker in daylight (as they cannot use many of their powers.) Unlike many vampire movies and novels, vampires do not burn into ash at sunlight. Garlic and crosses repell them, while holy water can inflict burns on vampires. Although they remain primarily in human form, they can also turn into a bat, a wolf, or turn into mist to float around freely.
In all of the CastleVania games, the hero kills Dracula simply with their whip. This does not normally seem possible. In the lore it is said that, first, a stake must be driven into the heart of the vampire. Then, there are two methods to make sure that the vampire stays dead: (1) cut off the vampire's head, stuff the mouth with garlic and put it face down, or (2) throw the vampire, in its coffin, and sink it to the bottom of a body of water. However, the Vampire Killer whip is blessed with a special power that lets the Belmonts destroy the creatures of the night.
The beginning of the Belmont conflict against Count Dracula seems to begin with Leon Belmont in Castlevania: Lament of Innocence. The Belmonts were continually called to use their superhuman abilities and hard trained skills for the side of Good. When Count Dracula and his army of darkness began to cast a shadow over all of Europe, a Belmont was never far. The Belmont Clan would have their mettle tested many times, and always prevail. Their stories are told with you, the player, as their guide.
1094 - Castlevania: Lament of Innocence
It is the time of the crusaders, and our story focuses on Leon Belmont, hero of the knighthood. One dark day, his fiance Sara is kidnapped. His friend, bedridden Mathias Cronqvist, tells Leon that his lady has been taken away by a vampire named Walter, who lives in the forest known as Eternal Night and possesor of the legendary artifact known as the Crimson Stone. Unable to convince the church to lend him aid, he gives up his sword and his title to find Sara himself. Upon entering the evil forest, Leon comes across a mysterious old man named Rinaldo, who bequethes to Leon a whip enchanted with the power of alchemy.
After making his way to the final chambers, Leon rescues Sara, only to discover that she has been tainted by the vampire, and is doomed. Unable to reverse her cruel fate, Sara sacrifices herself to let her soul be entwined with the alchemy whip, creating the legendary weapon known as the Vampire Killer. This enchanted whip can destroy the power of Walter, and Leon takes revenge for the death of his beloved. After defeating the evil vampire, the true nature of the plot is revealed - the kidnapping of Sara was all orchestrated by Mathias. Angry at God for the death of his wife, Mathias sold his soul and embraced the side of the vampire - he used Leon to kill Walter so he could claim the holy artifact, the Ebony Stone, as his own. Mathias then flees, hiding out in other countries under assumed names, slowly working in the underworld and emerging to become Dracula, Lord of the Vampires. Leon swears that, until the time, the Belmont clan will hunt him dead.
1450 - Castlevania: Legends
Several hundred years after Leon first encounters Dracula, you will find Sonia Belmont. Perhaps thinking the Belmont clan is long extinct, Dracula comes out of hiding and sets out to cover the world in darkness. What he didn't know was that a descendent of Leon still existed - Sonia Belmont, who happened to be aquainted with his long delinquent son Alucard. She was successful in defeating Dracula, but her powers were so strong that the people of Romania feared her, and thus had the Belmonts exiled from the land of Translyvania. However, at the end of the game, Sonia gives birth to a baby - quite possibly, this is Trevor, Alucard's lovechild.
1476 - Castlevania 3: Dracula's Curse
Next in the line of active Vampire Hunters was Trevor Belmont. He was called to action when Dracula was prematurly risen by some of his followers (whom he promptly slaughtered and sacrificed for thier services). The Count now had two purposes, to cover the world in darkness, and to destroy the Belmont family once and for all. Trevor, had the help of three brave fighters: Grant DaNasty, Sypha Belnades, and Alucard, son of Dracula. With their help, they managed to lay Dracula to rest Trevor was also victorious at gaining the trust of Romania, which became once again home to the Belmonts.
1576 - The Castlevania Adventure
Dracula rises from his hundred year hibernation, sure that his plan had worked and that he no longer had to fear the Belmont family. He was dead wrong. Christopher Belmont set forth to prove this to him. During the confrontation with Christopher, Dracula felt it would be better to turn tail and run. He would not stand a chance against a Belmont, so he searched for some leverage.
1591 - Castlevania 2: Belmont's Revenge
Fifteen years later, Dracula found Christopher's son, Soleiyu. He kidnapped Soleiyu, forcing Christopher to be more careful in his second battle with Drac, for one mistake and Dracula would have Soleiyu killed. Christopher found and rescued Soleiyu, who had be brainwashed by the forces of evil, and set forth to destroy the Count with raging fury.
1691 - Castlevania
Another hundred years passed, and Dracula rose from his sleep with a plan. If he was defeated again, he would not sleep alone! He began reaking havok and quickly drew the attention of a new Belmont. Simon was the great-grandson of Christopher, and had been trained with the experience of two great Vampire Hunters before him. However, all the training he had would not prepare him for what Dracula had planned. Simon made it to Dracula with all the skill of a warrior, and promptly slayed him.
1698 - Castlevania 2: Simon's Quest
Simon thought that his torments were over when he defeated Dracula. What did not know was Dracula had placed a curse on him before their battle had ended, and slowly Simon would fall ill and die. One of the village elders told him that the only way to break the curse was to resurrect Dracula and burn him. Simon would need the Count's body parts to do this, and the Count knew it. The Count had previously ordered his followers to scatter his body and guard it's pieces with their lives. He knew that he'd be sacrificing an early resurrection, but it was worth it to him. He would sleep his hundred years, and when he awoke, Simon would be long dead and the Belmont family lineage with him. Simon set forth to gather Drac's parts. He resurrected the Count and burned him, lifting the curse.
1748 - Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance
Lydie Erlanger, Transylvanian youth, has been kidnapped and brought into the mysterious castle in the fog. Her friend, Juste Belmont (grandson of Simon) and Maxim Kischine, must enter the once again and slay the forces within. Once inside, Maxim begins to act funny - in his jealousy, could he be conspiring against the Belmonts? It is discovered that Maxim tried to recover the body parts of Dracula burned by Simon in order to prove his worth as a Vampire Hunter, ended up being possessed by Dracula, and kidnapped Lydie so he could resurrect once again. In spite of this obstacle, Juste puts a stop to all of these plans, and the world is safe again.
1792 - Dracula X: Rondo of Blood
Once again, Count Dracula comes back to the mortal plane and he awakens having learned a small lesson from his last endevor. This time he learned of a Belmont named Richter. He observed Richter for a while and learned that he had a girlfriend, Annette Renard, and several friends in the village. His time act was now. He kidnapped Annette, her sister Maria, and a few other villagers. Richter set forth on his long journey, not knowing if things would turn out for the better. However, when Richter rescued Maria, she swore she would become a vampire hunter too, and joined the Belmont on his quest. Together they freed all of the captives, and slayed Dracula yet again.
1797 - Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
Four years after Richter's battle with the Count, darkness came yet again. A Dark Priest named Shaft, was hungry for ultimate power and thought he could achieve this with the help of Dracula. He set forth to resurrect Drac yet again, but first he would remove a major obstacle in his path, Richter Belmont. He placed a spell upon Richter and actually managed to get him to side with evil. This large shift in power caused Alucard to awaken from his slumber - the same Alucard who had purposefully put himself to sleep in hope of ridding existence of his cursed bloodline. Now Shaft had to be stopped to prevent all of mankind from being extinguished. During the raid of the newly appeared castle, he crosss paths with Maria several times, who is also searching to investigate the appearance of Richter.
As it turns out, the Belmont has been possessed by Shaft to rule the castle. After breaking this curse, Alucard enters the Inverted Castle, a bizarre world where everything is turned upside down. He seeks down Shaft, defeats him, and faces off against his father once more. When victory has been taken, he swears to sleep yet again.
1830 - Castlevania: Circle of the Moon
The dark priestess Carmilla seeks the return of her master, Lord Dracula. Using the life power of the captured vampire hunter Morris Baldwin, two young disciples, Hugh Baldwin and Nathan Graves, must not only save him but stop yet another resurrection of the evil lord Dracula. Hugh, envious of Nathan's skills, is weak against the evil powers of the castle and turns against Nathan. But in the end, Carmilla is defeated and Dracula is destroy yet again.
1844 - Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness
Through the necromancy of his followers, Dracula is once drawn back into land of the living earlier than usual. However, his body is not fully regenerated. After destroying local villages, he begins to kidnap children, looking for a suitable soul. It is then when man-beast Cornell steps in and attempts to stop this plan, for his adopted sister Ada is one of those captured. Although he saves his sister, he is not entirely successful in destroying the Count.
1852 - Castlevania 64
Eight years down the road, a man of Belmont lineage named Reinhart Schneider, and a small girl, descendent of Sypha named Carrie Fernandez, continue to investigate the missing children from the local village. All signs point to Castlevania. They discover a frightened child named Malus, whom they attempt to help out of the castle, only to learn that this young one is actually harboring the soul of Dracula within him. In Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness, you also play as a gun-wielding knight named Henry, one of the children Cornell freed several years prior, to rescue other village kids that are still remaining.
As documented in Bram Stoker's Dracula, it was in 1897 that Dracula rose again, by unknown means, and had Jonathan Harker as his guest. In a final showdown, Quincey Morris and Jonathan Harker dug a knife into the chest of the sleeping Dracula. Quincey, however, did not survive the gash inflicted by gypsies under the influence of the Count's hyponotism. Although the book does not mention this, Quincey's son, John, was hiding in the background, and had witnessed the whole event. It is also not mentioned that Quincey was a member of the Belmont family lineage. Logically, this is improbable...there is no way a little two year old (since John was born in 1895) could follow his father across the countryside to Romania to witness the final battle. And Quincey must be a widow, since he tried to court Lucy early in the novel.
1914 - Castlevania Bloodlines
Not long later, a witch practicing black magic accidentally resurrected Elizabeth Bartley, one who was tried and convicted of being a vampire years before. She was, in fact, the niece of the Count Dracula, and decided to try to raise her uncle. John Morris is joined by this companion Eric Lecarde, who seeks vengeance against Bartley for killing his wife. Both knew that they had to stop Bartley and Dracula once again.
2035 - Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow
Dracula was resurrected in the year 1999, but a brave group of warriors sealed the evil lord and his castle in an eclipse, in what is known as the "Demon Castle Wars". Thirty six years later, in Japan, high school student Soma Cruz and his friend Mina Hakuba enter into a shrine, only to emerge inside Castlevania. There they encounter Graham Jones, a cult leader who looks to assume the power of Dracula for his own. They are helped by a mysterious man named Genya Arikado, who is not-so-subtly alluded to as being Alucard in disguise. Soma soon learns that the soul of Dracula lies within him, and he must confront the chaos within his psyche to not only save the world, but save himself from eternal darkness.