Aside from usually being an absolute blast to play, the Castlevania games can have the strange effect of prompting one to engage in rather dubious debates regarding some of its more colorful traditions. Certainly, the startling presence of gold coins inside candles and chandeliers is a popular topic, as is the nebulous gender of whatever whip-wielding protagonist winds up exploring Dracula's anarchic abode. There's also the more obvious question as to whether or not Castlevania works in 3D, a question which once lured me into the following (and very real) conversation:

"Hey what did you think about Castlevania: Lament of Innocence? I thought it was a bit crap."
"Well, the level design was far too repetitive, but the atmosphere was really true to the series. As an action game, it works pretty well -- I must admit, it has an ace combat system."
"It has an Ace Combat system?"
"That's what I just said."
"Meaning you fly your Belmont around and shoot down vampires?"

Luckily (?), that particular version of Lament of Innocence never saw the light of day, though if it did, it would likely be mentioned in 1UP's great series retrospective. To celebrate Castlevania's 20th year of existence, the article delves into the pivotal points, the exacerbating enemies and the obscure oddities that litter Dracula's castle. It's well worth a read, especially if you enjoy masterfully written subtitles. Castlevania: Waltz of Discontentedness -- where are you?

This article was originally published on Joystiq.

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