5 Castlevania Tropes That Will Make Bloodstained a True Spiritual Successor
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is so close to release we can almost see its reflection in the mirror. Since the game is a spiritual successor to the Castlevania series, on which producer Koji Igarashi worked for 13 years, it seems like a good time to look at some of the Castlevania tropes that should make it into the game.
While these may seem like odd choices, every one of them helped make up the weird and wonderful feeling that was present in every Castlevania game. None of these need to be oppressively blatant; in fact, some could be smaller additions, like Easter eggs.
Regardless, connecting the two series in these more tangible ways will go along way with long-time fans of the Castlevania series, of which Igarashi has said he is still interested in if Konami would allow him to revisit it.
1. A Convoluted Secret Ending
This one is first because it's the most important one. That's how lists work.
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is one of the greatest games of all time, in part due to its beautiful mechanics, but also in part to its secret ending. To get the true ending, you have to get over 196% completion before beating the final boss.
In Aria of Sorrow, there was a secret ending you could only see if you had a specific set of abilities equipped that all related to Dracula. These were hinted at throughout the game in small books you could find, and they included the Giant Bat ability. The books were utterly inconspicuous and finding them required a level of commitment that most players didn't realize they needed.
Bloodstained needs this level of obfuscation in order to truly feel reminiscent of a Castlevania title.
2. Creepy NPCs
As a gothic-horror series, Castlevania has its fair share of general creepiness. Castles, crypts, murky swamps, haunted forests.
Of course, the monsters themselves always range from being incredibly odd to nightmare inducing. The Dryad in Super Castlevania IV still scares certain players, and the unsettling at best Granfaloon in Symphony of the Night will haunt your dreams.
However, even the friendly NPCs who help you through these games rarely radiate the kind of warmth you would want when fighting against an immortal evil.
Instead, pretty much all of them could walk through a Tim Burton film unscathed. What I'm saying is, Bloodstained needs this level of unease oozing from both friend and foe alike.
3. Easy Farming
Abilities in Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night drop in a very similar way to those in Castlevania games. That is to say that many of them are random drops from the enemies who wander around the world.
To stay true to form, at least one of these enemies should be farmable by merely going offscreen and on again to respawn it. I can't be alone in having memorized the exact amount of time it took to move from one screen to another and then attack while farming the Succubus enemies, can I?
4. Ground Chicken
That's right: I want food to fall out of candles and chandeliers. No ordering food from a service counter like a normal person, oh no, there needs to be world-class cuisine dropping out of the random household (castlehold?) items that get destroyed while fighting off a werewolf.
Otherwise, where can you even find your five a day?
5. Needlessly Attractive Monsters
If the internet has taught us anything, it's that everyone everywhere is horny on main. Not just for real people, nope, but for the kind of monsters that would sooner rip your insides out than do anything else to them.
Just look at The Shape of Water. The thirst (get it?) is uncontrollable, and Rule 34 cannot be denied. Therefore, if Bloodstained is going to stay true to the heart of monster myths and therefore Castlevania, you should want to be with some of the monsters.
I don't make the rules. Lord, imagine making Rule 34...
These are some of the essential elements that make up a good Castlevania game. That means in order for Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night to feel like a true spiritual successor, it has to include these things. Look how spiritual successor Dark Souls successfully implemented key aspects of Demon's Souls to create something new yet also similar.
I feel like I used up all my good (terrible) vampire puns on my previous Code Vein preview, so you can escape them this time around. They'll be back though; like the undead, they never truly rest.