One of the longest running series of games in the history of video gaming is the Castlevania series. In the games, the Christian hero squares off against vampires and other monsters using holy water, crosses and a flaming whip that can be upgraded to become more powerful. I played these games as child as far back as 1987, before many of you kids were even BORN!
But the appeal of the music from the series is still strong for me. The later games in the series often re-use or remix the original themes from the earliest games, especially the most ancient and famous songs like “Vampire Killer” and especially “Bloody Tears”. So it’s not surprising for people to listen to a soundtrack today that sounds similar to the music from 20 years ago!
Here is the main theme of the hero Leon from Castlevania: Lament of Innocence (2003):
And a few of my favorite themes from Castlevania: Curse of Darkness (2005).
That one makes me think of how Christians have abandoned the university to the secular left, and now it’s in ruins with truth nowhere to be found.
And, Machine Tower:
Levels where the hero is inside a giant clock tower are extremely popular in Castlevania. Clock towers were first introduced in Castlevania I in 1987.
And here is one more from Curse of Darkness, Mortvia Aqueduct:
This is a very suitable theme for driving at night. I have a strange habit of working in cities far from home, and it is not at all unusual for me to work a full day and then drive 12 hours to my parents’ house all night and arrive at 7 AM the next day. I consider it very heroic because I love my sports car and driving at night with the top down under the stars is so much fun. Especially if you drive fast, like I do!
My favorite theme of all is the “Theme of Simon” from Super Castlevania IV. Here is the original theme from 1994 from the Super Nintendo with a more modern 2007 remix tacked on at the end. The Super Nintendo was the first video game console I ever owned, because we were very poor when I was growing up.
It is also fun to learn to play them yourself on the piano. One video of someone playing Bloody Tears on the piano has over 1.2 million hits on youtube. (Bloody Tears is a theme from the first Castlevania ever, “Haunted Castle”, which was an arcade game that you played for 25 cents in a real arcade!). I remember this theme from the first Castlevania game I ever played, Castlevania II. So this is really a blast from the past for me… this is my childhood.
Castlevania music extremely popular in Japan and live bands even perform them. Here’s an orchestra playing a remix of the most famous Castlevania song, from level 1 of the first Castlevania console game ever made (for the Nintendo Entertainment System). It’s called “Vampire Killer”. It transitions into the level 3 theme “Wicked Child”. Then finally into a battle theme from the fight with Dracula.
I actually had a friend who used to play Castlevania II with me when we were kids. One day we rented Castlevania I, just for fun, and when we heard the level 3 theme “Wicked Child”, we were both amazed. I was actually able to keep the theme in my head and recognize it many years later when I found a rendition of it online. I think the scenery of walking across a crumbling castle ledge outlined by a giant yellow moon really stuck in my mind. Ever since seeing that, I have been a real night owl. I used to study all night in university and sleep during the day.
And of course you buy all the CD with the soundtracks from the games, even in North America! I can whistle many of the songs for my bird and he really loves listening to me whistle them. He is as old as the games themselves and has been hearing these songs from me for over 20 years! (Although I haven’t played any of the games since high school, I still care about the music!)
Looking back now, it was probably remarkably important for me to have good, heroic music to listen to as an alternative to sappy contemporary Christian music and godless, hedonistic, popular music. I think that men need to see themselves as heroic in order to actually engage in heroic deeds. Good music helps. A lot.