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Actually, this game's proper name is merely Castlevania; the "64" is only added to differentiate it from the oft-remade adventure of Simon Belmont. For clarity's sake, however, we'll stick with tacking on the "64" moniker.
Castlevania 64 (Japanese: Akumajō Dorakyura Mokushiroku, "Demon Castle Dracula Apocalypse") was the first 3D entry in the franchise, one that was later given an Updated Rerelease known as Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness. Most players think they hit the Polygon Ceiling really hard, especially in light of the recent release of the critical darling, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. Koji Igarashi, himself, effectively struck them from the official canon at the same time he disowned Castlevania Legends, but he seems to have warmed up to them significantly in later years -- they were both included in the more recent publications of the CV timelines (though minus the descriptions), and Legacy of Darkness star Cornell has roles in both Judgment and Lords of Shadow.
Both games chronicle the adventures of Reinhardt Schneider, a member of a Belmont branch family who inherited the Vampire Killer, and Carrie Fernandez, related to the Belnades clan, as they enter Dracula's castle to take the vampire out. In addition to these stories, Legacy of Darkness also follows a werewolf named Cornell eight years prior who enters the castle to rescue his sister Ada; he also finds and liberates a boy named Henry Oldrey, who grows up to become a soldier for the church who -- wait for it -- enters Dracula's castle, only his mission is to rescue children there.
Castlevania 64 and Legacy Of Darkness provide examples of:
- Anachronism Stew: Skeletons on motorcycles... in the 19th century. And this is lampshaded by The Angry Video Game Nerd.
- And Your Reward Is Clothes: Both games let you unlock an alternate outfit for the available characters except Henry; Reinhardt's and Carrie's in 64 Shout-Out to previous games by letting them dress as Simon Belmont and Maria Renard, respectively.
- Legacy Of Darkness's alternates let you scoff at the redesigns by playing in characters' original Cv64 oufits, including Cornell's.
- Another Side Another Story
- Badass: Cornell, especially when shapeshifted.
- Broad Strokes: Reinhardt and Carrie's games in Legacy of Darkness travel through Cornell's variations of the levels and omit lines of dialogue they had in the original, so there's still some merit in owning both games if you want the whole story.
- It is debated whether these games are part of IGA's official timeline. IGA, in a 2008 interview with Nintendo Power magazine (covering Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia), considers these games side stories and not part of his timeline, as they're unmentioned on the Japanese timeline (updated as of 2007's The Dracula X Chronicles), though they were shown in the timeline that came with pre-ordered copies of Portrait of Ruin, minus the descriptions.
- Camera Screw: Almost a given for early 3D platforming.
- Childhood Marriage Promise: Malus to Carrie, in Carrie's bad ending. After she accepts, he ominously says, "Now we have a binding contract..."
- Creepy Child: Malus. He's actually Dracula himself.
- Deal with the Devil: Buy too much stuff from Renon and you'll have to fight him later when he comes to collect his "payment".
- Disc One Final Boss: The Behemoth in Castle Center.
- Fast Forward Mechanic: The Sun and Moon cards can be used to advance the current time so you can (among other things) have certain timed encounters and battle vampires during the day when they're weaker.
- Guide Dang It: The game doesn't really tell you that the ending is in fact impacted by how much time you took to get there.
- He Who Fights Monsters: The vampire hunter Charles Vincent warns you against trying to defeat Dracula in his place. Take too long, and he himself will be vampirized. Win quickly enough, and he'll come through for you when you need it.
- Kick the Dog: Carrie is made to fight her vampirized cousin (who was originally supposed to be Sypha herself).
- Reinhardt being forced to attack Rosa counts as this.
- Kid Hero: Carrie is 12 years old.
- Late Arrival Spoiler: Malus is actually Dracula, the one you fight in the Castle Keep is just an impostor.
- Love Redeems: The vampire Rosa appears in everyone's plot, but it is Reinhardt who comes to know her, stops her suicide attempt, and refuses to kill her in battle later. She eventually sacrifices herself to save him from Death, and she is reborn as a human at the end.
- Multiple Endings: Depends on how fast you make your way through the castle or, in Legacy of Darkness, on how many children you rescue (as Henry).
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Cornell tries to rescue his sister, it leads to Dracula getting resurrected early.
- Nitro Express: If you have played this game, you know this as the worst part of the game.
- Ominous Latin Chanting: The game's version of "Dance of Illusions" has a (synthesized) choir as part of the music.
- One-Winged Angel: Dracula's final form. A definite Oh Crap moment.
- Our Vampires Are Different: The N64 games are, thus far, the only games in the franchise to have vampires as common Mooks, and vampirism is even a status effect. If you contract it and it's not healed in time, you get a Nonstandard Game Over after watching your character sprout an angry face and fangs.
- The Resenter: Ortega, Cornell's rival, who envied Cornell's mastery of his alternate form and sought Dracula's help to match him.
- Schizo-Tech: Henry wields a gun as his primary weapon. And let's not get started on the robotic chainsaw-wielding Frankenstein's monster in the hedge maze. Or the motorcycle-riding skeletons armed with machine guns.
- And let's also not forget the Tower of Science, with its giant formaldehyde canisters, futuristic motif, electric shock currents and guard robots with infrared beams and machine guns.
- Schrodinger's Player Character: Reinhardt, Carrie and Henry all go to Dracula's castle in the year 1852 for their respective missions, but they never encounter one another.
- Henry is actually a case of being late to the party. He arrives well after Reinhardt and Carrie have passed through the areas he visits.
- Shock and Awe: The Vampire Killer's final powerup grants it lightning properties in Legacy of Darkness; this replaced the weak fire effect from 64.
- Stock Sound Effects: Every metal gate in the game seems to suffer from The Creaky Metal Door syndrome.
- Super Mode: Cornell's werewolf form enhances his strength.
- Unlockable Content: With each child Henry frees, a new option is made available to the player.
- Updated Rerelease: Legacy of Darkness, though it would be better to call it a complete version of the 64 game.
- White-Haired Pretty Boy: Cornell.
- Wicked Witch: Actrise.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Carrie, Malus and Actrise.