Konami’s Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 marks the end of a trilogy detailing Gabriel Belmont's fight against evil forces in the modern world. The beloved series will return with some new game down the road, but it's interesting to see how the story of the Belmonts and their epic clashes with Dracula evolved. 

Over the years, we've played tremendous games in the franchise while experiencing epic moments that defined the series. That said, these 10 Castlevania moments stand out most. 

10.) Castlevania: Rondo of Blood – Maria Becomes the Hero (TurboDuo, Wii) 

The Belmonts take center stage in the Castlevania adventures most of the time, though beating a certain part of Castlevania: Rondo of Blood (also known as Dracula X) will earn you a unique new character. Once you find and free Maria, you'll be able to play as her – but don't expect the usual experience. Instead of a whip, Maria uses turtle doves to attack enemies, and can also double jump to reach higher areas. While not as effective as Richter, she’s worth the trouble to unlock. 

9.) Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse: Three New Characters (NES)

Castlevania III wrapped up the classic NES trilogy in style while introducing a fun new dynamic to keep things interesting – three new playable characters. You'll find these warriors over the course of your journey, each with capabilities that come in handy. There's Sypha, a sorceress that can unleash powerful magic spells; Grant, a mini-pirate with the ability to crawl up walls and ceilings (ideal for reaching hidden areas); and Alucard, Dracula's son, who transforms into a bat and shoots fireballs. Each one is worth trying, and Alucard went on to star in one of the best Castlevania games, Symphony of the Night, in 1997.

8.) Castlevania: Lords of Shadow: Doing 3D Justice (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3) 

The developers at MercurySteam, working alongside Kojima Productions, made the successful transition to 3D with Lords of Shadow, complete with beautiful visuals and addictive hard-hitting gameplay; previous 3D Castlevanias, while good, bowed to their excellent 2D counterparts. Sure, it resembled God of War, but it still worked beautifully. Lords of Shadow 2 follows a similar format, so fans should love it. 

7.) Castlevania: Breaking the Hidden Wall (NES)

Each Castlevania game comes with a variety of secrets – and the original has one of the best. On the first stage, right before you head into the catacombs beneath the castle, stop by the solid wall on the right. Use your whip to break through and you'll find a heart boost. We're not sure how strong the whip is to destroy walls, but every little thing helps. Be sure to check walls throughout the game for other goodies – even a turkey leg!

6.) Castlevania: Symphony of the Night: Incredibly Cheesy Dialogue (PlayStation) 

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night’s memorable prologue is great for all the wrong reasons. Not only is it deliberately cheesy, but also filled with lines that stick with you. "Die, monster! You don't belong in this world!" "What is a man! A miserable little pile of secrets! But enough talk, have at you!" 

When you pick up Lords of Shadow 2, pay attention to the opening boss battle. You'll hear your nemesis and Gabriel utter these same lines. 

5.) Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse: Choose Your Own Path (NES)

Most Castlevania games follow one path when it comes to reaching Dracula, with no alternate roads to take. Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse tried something new, introducing two different paths, with characters to unlock for good measure. It helped add to the game's replay value as players discovered which way worked best for them. We'd love to see future Castlevania games do this. 

4.) Castlevania: Dracula X Chronicles Makes its U.S. Debut (PlayStation Portable) 

For several years, the only way you could play the excellent Castlevania: Rondo of Blood was paying $200+ for an import on the TurboDuo. That changed when Konami released Dracula X Chronicles for PSP. Not only did it have a souped-up version of Rondo, but it also included the original game for good measure – and Symphony of the Night! Later, Konami released it for the Wii's Virtual Console for $9.

3.) Castlevania: Lords of Shadow- Become Your Worst Enemy (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)

 

(Warning: spoilers ahead!)

When Castlevania: Lords of Shadow concludes – with the DLC chapters attached – you learn that Gabriel Belmont finally succumbed after taking Dracula’s powers, only to become the blood-sucking fiend. It's a surprise ending that'll throw you for a loop, and a perfect way to tie in with the start of Lords of Shadow 2. How will the story end? We're not sure, but we can't wait to find out. 

2.) Super Castlevania IV: The Classic Whip Swing (SNES)

One of the best abilities in the first 16-bit Castlevania involves swinging the whip while holding down the attack button. However, it serves another purpose – getting across chasms. Once you find the proper "hook point" to latch your whip onto, you can use it like a rope and swing across pits with ease. You'll want to master this ability right away, as it'll help you get around later levels in the game. 

1.) Castlevania: Symphony of the Night- Superb Castle Flip (PlayStation)

(Warning: spoilers ahead!)

Symphony of the Night has so many great moments, including a few boss battles that'll leave you shaking. Here’s our favorite. After facing Richter Belmont, Alucard will explore the castle once more, except the designers flipped it upside down. Despite revisiting previously explored territory, the game feels wonderfully different. Don’t miss it!