Why has it been so hard for Video Games to make the transition to other mediums? After all, there's so many great films based on books, comics, TV shows, and even theme park rides. The "Lord of the Rings" and "Harry Potter" films enchanted fans and critics alike. Movies based on shows such as "Star Trek" and "The Simpsons" managed to be more than just feature-length episodes on the big screen, and Marvel's cinematic universe is the benchmark at which all other comic book movies are measured.
What is it about gaming that seems to curse every attempt to adapt it to different mediums?
Well, if there's anyone who's qualified to lift curses, it's the Belmont clan; and it looks as if they've managed to lift the video game adaption curse. "Castlevania" Season two proves that their debut wasn't just a fluke. While the heavier focus on exposition over action may turn off some fans, it addresses problems of the previous season and expands upon its strengths.
The curse of Dracula has begun
The season starts by reminding viewers of the catalyst behind Dracula's war; the bigotry and superstition of humans.
In the very first scene, we see the events that lead up to Lisa Tepes' public execution. In what could have been a simple good vs. evil story, "Castlevania" manages to make its vampiric and human antagonists different shades of grey. The second season seems to beg the question: is humanity, with its tendencies to lash out at those who are different or trying to help, even worth saving? Much like Dracula's wife, even the Belmont clan and the speakers have been subjected to fear and hatred from the very people they swore to protect.
Despite the heavier themes, the series isn't so po-faced that it can't indulge in some lighthearted quips and raunchy humor. One of the problems with the first season is that there was so little time to introduce Trevor, Sypha, and Alucard.
Actually, there wasn't really enough time to have them play off of each other. This is not a problem here, as the three manage to develop natural chemistry throughout the second season's eight episodes. Trevor acts as the drunken and self-aggrandizing id, Alucard the principled superego, and Sypha as the ego who keeps the two in check.
Enough talk - have at you
Fans expecting the action and spectacle of the source material may be a bit thrown off by the political intrigue and scheming in the first few episodes. It's not inherently a problem, but the beginning of this season is more akin to a vampiric themed "Game of Thrones" than what fans would expect from a show bearing the name "Castlevania." However, once the stakes have been raised and motivations properly established, the series delivers the action goods in an explosive penultimate episode.
The fight scenes are all the more satisfying once we've been given proper time to emphasize with and relate to these characters.
Netflix's "Castlevania" manages to not only avoid a sophomore slump, but it also provides an excellent blueprint for future screen adaptions of video games. By utilizing the elements that work in both mediums and jettisoning out those that don't, "Castlevania" can be easily recommended to horror and gaming fans alike.