This Castlevania article contains spoilers.
The endgame is finally here in Castlevania season 4, which sees Trevor Belmont, Sypha Belnades, and Alucard face off against the forces of evil that wish to wipe out humanity. While the story takes a few interesting turns you’re not expecting, fans of the long-running Konami series will likely notice quite a few connections to the original video games.
As you’d expect, that all means that there are plenty of easter eggs and references to the games as well as real-world history in Castlevania season 4. Here are all of the easter eggs we’ve found so far:
Although Varney seems like a two-bit vampire thirsty for glory at first, he turns out to be the main villain of the season. It’s a surprise twist worthy of Malcolm McDowell, the legendary actor who brings the character to life.
While Varney doesn’t appear in the games, the character does have a long history in vampire fiction. The vampire was first introduced in a series of penny dreadfuls titled Varney the Vampire; or, the Feast of Blood by James Malcolm Rymer and Thomas Peckett and published between 1845-1847. The series spanned 232 chapters and 876 pages, and while it isn’t remembered today as a must-read vampire story, it is responsible for many of the tropes later popularized by Bram Stoker’s Dracula and other horror classics.
Varney the Vampire was the first story to establish that vampires had fangs to puncture the neck of their victims. It also introduced many of the powers vampires are known for today, such as the ability to hypnotize their prey and enhanced strength. Like Dracula, Varney preys on sleeping women in the night.
Throughout Castlevania season 4, Varney is constantly complaining that he hasn’t received the recognition he deserves as the loyal soldier sent to conquer Targoviste for his master. This is a bit on the nose since the character he’s based on is hardly a household name today despite the fact that he influenced the much more famous Count Dracula in a big way.
The Grim Reaper
By the end of the season, Castlevania has dropped its big twist: Varney is just a disguise for the Grim Reaper, a vampiric being who feeds on the souls of the dead. Also known simply as Death itself, the Grim Reaper has been a staple of the video game series since the very start.
Originally one of Dracula’s minions and a boss in 1986’s Castlevania for the NES, Death eventually became one of the main villains of the series. The Reaper’s plan to resurrect Dracula is also ripped right out of the games, especially 2005’s Curse of Darkness, which sees Death manipulate Hector and Isaac into resurrecting the Lord of Vampires.
Death using Varney as a disguise is also very reminiscent of another major plot point in Curse of Darkness. In the game, the Grim Reaper disguises himself as a priest named Zead, who aids Hector on his quest to kill Isaac. Secretly, the Reaper needs Hector to kill Isaac so that Dracula can posses the latter’s body and return to life.
While Greta is an original character for the animated series, her role in season 4 as the unofficial fourth member of the group of heroes who fight Death’s forces at the end will likely remind some fans of Grant Danasty, one of the four playable characters in Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse and a pirate who is very skilled with a knife. Greta also happens to be the head woman of the village of Danesti, an obvious nod to Danasty.
Trevor and Sypha are having a baby! In the original continuity, Trevor and Sypha have two children, one of which becomes the parent of Christopher Belmont, the protagonist of two Castlevania games for the Game Boy, 1989’s The Adventure and 1991’s Castlevania II: Belmont’s Revenge.
In the Lords of Shadow alternate timeline, Trevor and Sypha give birth to Simon Belmont, the protagonist of the 2013 Nintendo 3DS game Mirror of Fate. In the original timeline, Simon is also the protagonist of the very first games in the franchise, the 1986 original and 1987’s Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest for the Famicom and NES.
Okay, this is getting confusing. Moving on.
Look on a map and you’ll find that Danesti is a real place. In fact, there are several communes and villages named “Danesti” in modern Romania. Danesti may also be a reference to the House of Danesti, one of the two noble lineages of Wallachia. The other noble lineage? Draculesti, the line that bore Vlad the Impaler, the main inspiration for Count Dracula.
We also visit the city of Targoviste in season 4. The city is in ruins after countless battles with Dracula and his vampire horde. Fortunately, the city is in much better shape in 2021. It is located in the region of Muntenia, Romania. It was also the capital of Wallachia in the 15th and 16th centuries.
The Grim Reaper’s plan is to transport Dracula and Lisa Tepes’ souls out of Hell and into the Rebis, also known as the divine hermaphrodite in ancient alchemy. The Rebis is a symbol of the “great work,” the ultimate goal of the alchemist, which involves “spiritual transformation, the shedding of impurities, the joining of opposites, and the refinement of materials,” according to Learn Religion. In ancient alchemy, the Rebis represents “a reconciliation of spirit and matter” and has “both male and female qualities.” The “great work” is also used to describe the alchemist’s mission to create the philosopher’s stone, a mythical substance that was said to turn base metals into gold or silver.
This is a bit outside my area of expertise, but as it relates to Castlevania season 4, it goes back to Count Saint Germain, who is an alchemist who has strayed from his path to find the love of his life in the Infinite Corridor. But when he meets a fellow alchemist in the corridor (actually Death in disguise), she tells him that the only way for him to find his love is achieve the great work, in this case creating a literal Rebis that will act as a vessel for the souls of Dracula and Lisa Tepes.
Rosa, a supporting character in Castlevania 64 and Legacy of Darkness, doesn’t actually appear on the show, but Carmilla’s appearance in episode 6 — red dress with sword in hand — does remind me of the Rosa boss fight in those games. Carmilla’s chamber is also drenched in blood…just like Rosa’s flowers in the game.
One of the most basic enemy types in the Castlevania games makes an appearance in the first episode of the season. Trevor and Sypha fight these skeleton soldiers, which are armed with swords and shields, on their way to Targoviste. Throughout the years, Konami has introduced countless variations on the skeleton enemy, but Trevor and Sypha only really have to deal with the regular kind.
Super fast, hopping hunchbacks are constant thorns in Trevor, Sypha, and Alucard’s sides throughout the season. While one of these tiny enemies might not be a challenge, hunchbacks tend to attack in groups, making it harder to keep track of each blade-wielding baddie as they hop around you. Hunchbacks have been part of the series since 1986.
Mighty golems charge into Alucard’s castle during the final battle against Varney/Death and Dragan. They’re essentially giant man-made monsters made of rock and clay, formidable opponents for any Belmont. Golems have appeared in many of the games, either as bosses or regular enemies through out the levels.
Gergoth is one of the most gruesome monsters featured in season 4. Introduced as a boss character in 2005’s Dawn of Sorrow, Gergoth is basically a rotting dinosaur that shoots a laser beam out of its mouth. The half-dead beast is basically kept alive by magic, even as its flesh continues to fall off. The meaty red stump where its tail used to be is particularly grotesque.
Trevor finally acquires a cross-shaped boomerang weapon for his final fight with Death. The four-sided blade weapon is a callback to one of the Belmonts’ signature tools of the trade. Since the very first game, these vampire hunters have used the cross/boomerang (the name of the weapon depends on the game) to vanquish monsters inside Dracula’s castle.
Belmont also finds a dagger that he later uses to finish off the Grim Reaper. This is another weapon you’ll find in most Castlevania games (sometimes simply referred to as “knife”). Like in the games, Trevor is able to “upgrade” the dagger in order to land a killing blow during the final fight.
Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments!