History and analysisEdit
Vampires are undead, supernatural beings, whose origins come from Slavic and ancient world folklore. Believed to have originated from the reanimating corpses of restless souls of the dead, heretics of established religion, users of black magic, or even those that have sold their souls to be the incarnate of dark gods and devas, they are known to feast upon the blood of living beings, are endowed with dark powers, like superhuman physical prowess, shapeshifting, flight, teleportation, electrokinesis, pyrokinesis, and immortality. They are able to grant vampirism to others by feeding their own blood to their victims, and can only be slain by sunlight, with anointed and holy items, or by destroying their hearts.
Vampires in CastlevaniaEdit
Vampires in Castlevania are slightly different from their real world basis; where they retain most of their real world traits, they also are granted the ability to use black magic, and some are able to draw upon the very origin of all evil itself, Chaos, to augment their power at the cost of corrupting themselves even further.
Dracula has also demonstrated a power unique to Castlevania as well, being able to channel and absorb the evil and malice of humankind to resurrect himself every 100 years, summon lesser demons, curse lands around him to rot, plague and famine, and corrupt men's hearts even further. It is likely that this power is given to him as he is chosen by Chaos to be a Dark Lord, and thus only available to chosen beings.
Their history in the Castlevania series portrays them as a great evil that terrorizes mankind. While their origins are not clearly established, nothing is truly known about them other than the fact that vampires have existed long before the rise of Dracula, and are born from either rejecting their humanity (sometimes with the aid of magical objects such as the Crimson Stone), or from a human being turned by another vampire.
Vampires are usually featured as white or blue pale-skinned humanoids, with bat-like traits including wings and talons, although more powerful vampires are usually less bestial in appearance. Vampires usually feature abnormal colored eye scleras (such as red-colored in some cases), enunciated canines, and in some albeit unusual cases, increased height, with vampires such as Dracula being twice as tall as an average adult; and Brauner, who while not as tall, is easily above two meters tall.
Dracula's case is an oddity, however, since his original incarnation, Mathias Cronqvist, was a regularly tall male human at the time of achieving vampirism, so it is unknown how he achieved twice that height. One common trait both have is that the two were humans who turned into vampirism willingly. This seems to make sense, as other humans turned into vampires, such as Joachim Armster, were turned by yet another vampire and did not have an increase of height. Strangely enough, vampires such as Carmilla are often several meters tall, although this could be attributed to a transformation rather than a more natural state. It is unknown, however, if being turned into a vampire willingly can result in increased height, nor the reason of why this occurs has been specified if true.
Amongst all demons and supernatural creatures featured in the series, vampires are often seen as the most powerful entities known, possessing incredible power. Physical abilities are not limited to immortality: enhanced strength, speed and endurance well above the human levels, as well as magical abilities allowing them to use fire, lightning, ice, wind, darkness, or any other element associated to each vampire, as well as teleporting, psychical powers and even reincarnation, although this ability is only available to the most powerful of vampires.
The arguably most terrifying ability of vampires is transformation, since they often can use this ability to turn into a more bestial or demonic form, much more powerful than their natural state, giving them an edge in battle and making them more difficult to slay. As creatures of darkness, however, they have an abhorrence to light and holy elements, such that sunlight, holy weapons like the Vampire Killer, or enchanted items also work against them. Magic or other elements, while not as effective, can also harm and kill a vampire.
So far, all vampires known are universally evil in some way, being sadistic, nihilistic, ruthless, arrogant and uncaring of all destruction they wage. Some like Dracula go as far as justifying their actions by claiming they exist because the evil of humanity allows them to, thus even questioning the notion that they could be deemed "evil". The only exceptions known are Alucard, who is not a full vampire but a halfbreed instead, and to a lesser extent Rosa in Castlevania 64. In spite of being universally evil, however, some are capable of forming bonds, as Dracula after becoming a vampire genuinely loved his wife Lisa as well as his son Alucard, and Brauner was shown to be protective of his "daughters".
Vampires also have their weaknesses: They are vulnerable to holy weapons such as crosses and holy water, which at the very least causes them excruciating pain if not destroy them outright (Malus was exposed to holy water by Charles Vincent and rolled around in agony from exposure, but was not actually killed by the substance). In addition, as they are beings of darkness, they are also exceedingly vulnerable to sunlight, to the extent that being exposed to it even in bat form would cause them to burn up. However, not all vampires have this fatal weakness to sunlight, as Alucard was seen exposing himself to daybreak without any ill effects, and Malus in the bad endings as well as when first meeting him in the Villa maze is not negatively impacted by the sunlight in any way. While not a true weakness, they also cannot cast a reflection if exposed to a reflective surface such as a mirror, which can cause problems if they are trying to fool a Vampire Hunter into fleeing, as demonstrated by a vampirized villager that Reinardt Schneider and Carrie Fernandez encountered at the Villa. They also are extremely vulnerable to regular water, which has a similar reaction to them as acid, with even Alucard being vulnerable without protection.
In the Lords of Shadow saga, Vampires are rather different. They are not initially as powerful as portrayed in the main series where they are relatively scarce and basically the strongest of fiends, but rather are one of three demonic races along the Werewolves and Undead and are under the command of Carmilla. Vampires are regardless dangerous creatures who use their superb physical abilities and flying to their advantage. Vampires can be born through being fed the blood of another Vampire, and they gain special, unique abilities attributed to the day they were "born". For example Alucard was born in a full-moon granting him abilities related to Werewolves.
While at first they were not truly considered stronger or weaker than other races, the events of the games changed the balance in power drastically, as Gabriel Belmont defeated the Lords of Shadow, he eventually turned into a Vampire himself and replaced Carmilla as their leader and turning into the Prince of Darkness. With the Werewolves lacking a leader of their own kin to follow they, eventually ended in the servitude of Gabriel, while the Undead are at large serving the hiding Zobek, thus making Vampires the dominant race in terms of powers, further evidenced by the breed of new and more powerful Vampires through Gabriel's reign.
Known appearances in the Castlevania seriesEdit
- See also: Vampire/Enemy Data
Powerful vampires who answer to no one.
Dracula's follower vampiresEdit
Ancient vampires devoted to Dracula. Their contract with him allows for them to be reborn with the castle.
Dhampirs are the halfbreed children of a vampire and a human, who can choose whether to follow the ways of the vampires or the ways of the humans.
- Alucard (the dhampir son of Dracula)
Victims of vampirismEdit
Humans who were turned into vampires either against their will or when left with no other choice, often to the great lament of their loved ones. These victims were unable to return to being humans and were usually slain by heroes.
- Joachim Armster - Circumstances of his turning by Walter are unknown.
- Gwendolyn - Eric Lecarde's love interest.
- Lyudmil - Turned by Alucard.
- Sara Trantoul (not completely turned) - Turned by Walter.
- Justine Gandolfi - Turned by Walter.
On rare situations, a vampire can be cured from their vampirism. So far, only those who have been unwillingly turned into vampires seem to have been cured. When using the vampire cures on other undead, it has been known to destroy them (such as using the Undead Killer or Sanctuary spell).
- Main article: Vampire/Enemy Data
- While they are a present theme in Castlevania, vampires don't have much fulfillment in the series, unless assisting Dracula in his resurrection or ascension to power. Their appearances and attributes vary from game to game, but they usually appear as antagonists throughout the series, fighting against the heroes or taking someone they care about away. Vampires have enhanced strength and senses, and being undead, they are virtually immortal. As children of the night, it is said they have power over darkness.
- They are shown to possess advanced powers, but are no match to those of Dracula himself, although they vary among their appearances, such as teleportation, shapeshifting, and mental powers. Other attributes are their pale skin and different colored eyes (varying between scarlet red and light blue) in their appearances, and some of them being of demonic nature, such as Olrox or J. A. Oldrey.
- In Castlevania Judgment, Death reveals to Golem that humanity is distinguished from everything else for having the ability to "ponder its own existence" as this is the essence of the human soul, most likely speaking about the power to change their own destiny. In Castlevania, vampires have souls, as evidenced by Dracula's reincarnation and by the fact that they had their own stolen by Dracula. But Death's statement may imply they lack the means to break free from their destiny as envoys of evil, as the series makes a point to explain that vampires have given up their own humanity.
- In the games, just like in vampire lore, they are highly vulnerable to Holy Water and the Cross sub-weapons, as they cause great deal of damage to vampires. Being creatures of darkness, they also are affected by sunlight.