Set in the castle of Count Dracula himself, Castlevania is a game that lets players control Simon Belmont in his quest to take down the lord of the vampires.
Armed with his whip, Simon works his way through Dracula’s castle, fighting off enemies and jumping over obstacles on the way to the boss fight at the end of each level, or platform.
Game developer Hitoshi Akamatsu loved cinema and wanted players to feel like they were dropped into the middle of a classic horror film. Judging by the game’s great success, his vision paid off, and spawned a franchise of sequels, prequels, and spin-offs.
A Memorable Debut
Composer Kinuyo Yamashita is the unlikely hero behind the music for Castlevania. She learned the basics of music theory through piano lessons as a child, but earned a degree in electrical engineering instead of music. Her engineering degree lead her to Konami, where she became a pioneer for the video game music industry. Her music and sound effects for Castlevania are still popular over 30 years after the first release.
In addition to Vampire Killer, her rocking songs Heart of Fire, and Wicked Child perfectly set the game’s tone of eerie intensity. She went on to be a very successful freelance composer. Her Castlevania music has grown into a bit of a phenomenon, sparking rock covers and appearances in Video Game Live concerts. I love hearing how the 8 bit sounds of old games get expanded and reimagined for symphonic orchestra. Check out all of the different versions below.
Channel your inner vampire hunter to capture the essence of this sequence. You need to be FEARLESS. Maintain your intensity through the first syncopated rhythm, and then build the energy as you ascend the scale. Keep the articulations crisp and cracking like Simon’s whip, and don’t let Dracula suck your blood!
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