Count Dracula cannot slay the Belmont clan by himself. More than a dozen Castlevania titles have proven as much. The dark lord of the chaotic castle calls upon all kinds of classic monsters and mythological creatures to serve as soldiers and defenders of the realm. From basic bats to fishmen to hunchbacks to werewolves and beyond, every incarnation of Castlevania is loaded with beasts that the protagonist must destroy on the way to the Count. Dracula has been building up his bestiary over the years, and Game Informer has an intriguing look at how the basic bosses of the land have grown with new entries in the franchise. Starting with the original bosses from the first Nintendo Entertainment System title in the series, Tim Turi explores how famous monsters such as Giant Bat, Medusa, Frankenstein's Creature, and the rest have changed across sequels.
If the original Castlevania is full of difficult speed bumps, the game's first brick wall is comes in the form of a lumbering reincarnated abomination. The twisted spawn of Victor Frankenstein shambles onto the screen at the end of act four, accompanied by a tiny man. Though the miniscule monster looks identical to the garden variety Flea Man enemy, Konami asks us to believe this one is Igor, Dr. Frankenstein's infamous hunchbacked assistant. The tiny pest leaps around the stage launching fireballs as Frankenstein's Creature trudges towards Simon. The famous monster fits in perfectly with Castlevania's classic movie monster vibe, and thus Frankie's fate was sealed for the rest of the series.
The ill-fated Dr. Frankenstein must have been busy, as his monster returns again and again, often with the same limited mobility and intimidating stature. In Castlevania III, the demented science project stomps the earth in a rage, causing boulders to rain down. Simon Belmont encounters the demon shambling around an abandoned laboratory in Super Castlevania IV. In the SNES game, Frankenstein's Creature tosses countless vials filled with noxious chemicals. Several games tap even deeper into the film version of Frankenstein, allowing the beast to wield the force of lightning from which it was given life. While Frankenstein's Creature doesn't harness electricity in Symphony of the Night, it is gargantuan and wields a hammer. Castlevania fans who owned a N64 were treated to the most terrifying iteration of the monster. Players encounter a perplexing hedge maze in Castlevania 64 made even more challenging by the invulnerable, chainsaw-wielding flesh golem stalking within. The most dramatic departure for this foe's appearance is in Castlevania: Lords of Shadow. Instead of reassembling pieces of human corpses, Dr. Frankenstein implants a human brain into a giant mechanical electrical scorpion.
Of all the bosses in Castlevania lore, I always cringe when I come across an incarnation of Frankenstein's Creature. As a child, defeating the creature was an impossibility when I played the original Castlevania. I became stuck on trying to kill him for years and years, and it wasn't until I was a teenager that I finally was able to finish him and his little hunchback cohort. Typically it seems that the arrival of the creature is a sign that the given game is about to take things up a few notches and really start to mean business. Practice and training are over when Frankenstein's Creature appears. Not to take anything away from the other bosses such as the twin mummies and Death himself, but that damned creature is my most feared and despised of Dracula's underlings.