Players control Simon Belmont, who has entered Castlevania to defeat the vampire Count Dracula. It is the first game in Konami's Castlevania video game series, and was developed in tandem with the MSX2 game Vampire Killer, which was released a month later and follows the same premise, but features different gameplay mechanics. Castlevania was succeeded by two NES sequels and prequels, Castlevania II: Simon's Quest and Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse. Super Castlevania IV, which follows the same setting, was released in 1991 for the Super Nintendo. A remake of the game for the Sharp X68000 home computer was eventually re-released for the PlayStation as Castlevania Chronicles in 2001.
Castlevania was positively received and financially successful. It is considered an NES classic by PC World, while Nintendo Power and Game Informer ranked it in their list of best video games ever made.
In the year 1691, Transylvania enjoyed a century of peace thanks to the legendary hero, Christopher Belmont, a vampire hunter who vanquished Count Dracula one hundred years earlier with a holy whip named the Vampire Killer. The people of a Transylvanian village were enjoying their fortune with an Easter celebration in honor of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, but every one hundred years, the power of Jesus weakened, and the hearts of men turned black as they yearned for chaos and destruction. During this time, they sought to revive Count Dracula so he may spread chaos and ruination throughout the world. While the Easter celebration carried on with a grand carnival, evil men gathered in a monastery at the edge of the village and conducted a black mass to resurrect Count Dracula.
The men succeeded in bringing their master back in 1691. A bolt of lightning enveloped the monastery where they held the rite, signaling the resurrection of Count Dracula. When the Count returned, his castle, which had fallen one hundred years prior, reappeared in Transylvania, and his legions of loyal minions reformed.
Simon Belmont, the descendant of Christopher Belmont, knew that as a member of the Belmont Clan and the current wielder of the Vampire Killer whip, it was his duty to bring peace and stability back to Transylvania by destroying Dracula. The Count was said to grow in strength with each resurrection, but Simon pressed on. He took the very same whip Christopher used to kill Dracula one hundred years before and entered the castle alone. Simon proved himself a mighty vampire hunter by withstanding the monsters and traps of Dracula's castle, and in the end, destroying Count Dracula himself.
Though Simon prevailed in ridding the world of the scourge of Dracula, he was terribly wounded by Count Dracula in the process.