Castlevania is a video game developed and published by Konami for the Nintendo 64. It is the first released 3D game in the Castlevania series, and was released in North America on January 26, 1999. Its Japanese title is . Early in development, the game was known as Dracula 3D and Dracula 64. Fans and media alike nicknamed the game "Castlevania 64" to differentiate it from other games in the series that bear the same title.
The cartridge does not have a built in save feature; all saved games are stored on a memory pack.
As they penetrate the castle walls, an aristocratic vampire appears to warn Carrie and Reinhardt that "all who oppose the Dark Lord will die." The two then come upon a decrepit villa, where they meet the elderly vampire hunter Charles Vincent, beautiful yet unwilling vampire Rosa, demonic salesman Renon, and young boy Malus. Beneath the estate's maze garden lies a subterranean path to the castle's center, where Dracula's servants (Actrise and Death) attempt to waylay the heroes by pitting them in battle against their loved ones (the Fernandez warrior and Rosa).
Carrie kills her vampirized kin while Reinhardt bests Rosa in combat. The heroes then climb several of the castle's towers before confronting Actrise and Death atop the Room of Clocks. With their defeat, the heroes move on to climb the Clock Tower to the Castle's Keep.
The heroes may also need to battle Renon, the Demon Salesman in his true form. This depends upon if thirty thousand gold or more is spent with Renon over the course of the game.
If the player took fifteen or fewer days to reach the second chamber on the stairs to the Castle Keep, they will arrive before Charles Vincent (thus triggering the good ending). After fighting de Rais disguised as Dracula, they will encounter Malus - who transforms into an adult - and defeat him atop the Clock Tower. After his defeat, Malus will regain the form of a child. Attempting to dupe the hero, he will pretend to have no recollection of the battle, but Vincent will arrive and douse the boy with holy water. Vincent explains that Malus was not possessed, but was in fact Dracula reincarnate. Malus then transports the hero to an alternate realm to battle his true form, a centipedal dragon named Drago. After Dracula's defeat the player will receive one of the good endings: In Carrie's ending she places a nosegay upon her stepmother's grave. In Reinhardt's ending Rosa, who sacrificed herself for him atop the Room of Clocks, is revived and her humanity restored.
While in development at Konami Computer Entertainment Kobe (KCEK), Castlevania was originally known as Dracula 3D. United States news media referred to the game by this title as well as Dracula 64. In September 1997, the game was approximately 10% finished and was 20% complete in February 1998. In October 1998 the game was featured at the Tokyo Game Show; several levels were playable and the game was a hit with the crowd. Later that month, it was revealed that KCEK decided to drop two of the planned four characters from the game "in favor of focusing the programming team's development efforts and moving completion of the game forward. In January of 1999 a Japanese release date was set for March 4, 1999 and Castlevania won the "Game of the Month" award at IGN.com. On the 18th, it was announced that the U.S. release date for the game would be January 26, 1999. On that date, the game shipped as planned and was available the day after at a MSRP of $49.95.
The character artwork was designed by Yasuomi Umetsu.
Several elements of the game were designed to allude to past Castlevania titles: Carrie's alternate costume is an homage to Maria Renard's dress in Demon Castle Dracula X Rondo of Blood, Reinhardt's alternate costume is an homage to Simon Belmont's outfit in the first Castlevania, and the Behemoth boss in the Castle Center can be crippled, a reference to the crawling Behemoth first featured in Rondo of Blood.
Castlevania also features sporadic voice acting, mainly for the prologue's narrator and several of the game's main characters. Bianca Allen provided the voice for Carrie and Andrew Hanikson for Reinhardt. The PAL version of the game features voice acting for Gilles de Rais in the Castle Wall and Castle Keep levels; the American version did not include the voice work for the latter level.
Defenders of the game also respond with the fact that Castlevania was the first game that Konami KCEK had programmed in 3D. They also speculate that the game was rushed out for a holiday release. Many elements of this claim are evident, such as how the werewolf Cornell and chainsaw-wielding Coller were cut from the game. Technical problems and sacrificed material would later be addressed in its sequel, Legacy of Darkness.