The name Konami is synonymous with so many amazing gaming franchises. Metal Gear. Gradius. Goemon. Pro Evo Soccer. TwinBee. The list seems to read like a 'greatest hits' of gaming history, but some would argue that one series stands above all others in terms of prestige and fame: Castlevania.
Castlevania began life in the '80s and would become one of Konami's most popular properties, but in recent years it has drifted out of the spotlight, and it has fallen to the excellent Netflix animated series keeping to keep the brand in the public eye.
Of course, as is so often the case, when the IP holder sleeps on a franchise, the fans pick up the slack – and that has been happening a lot with Castlevania in recent times.
"Even if Konami lost all interest in making proper Castlevania games, Dracula's Castle can’t be kept in the void forever. It just so happens that this time fans were the ones to aid in its return," reads the official site intro for Castlevania: Spectral Interlude, a ZX Spectrum title which was intended to be a 'demake' of the NES game Castlevania II: Simon's Quest but transformed into its own beast.
Created by a Russian team called Rewind, Spectral Interlude boasts more than 150 screens, 10 enemy types, a wide range of upgrades, an in-game map and a full soundtrack consisting of 12 songs. It even goes as far as to feature a story which explains why the Belmonts mysteriously vanished from later entries in the Castlevania series.
It's one heck of an achievement to create a 'new' Castlevania on hardware as humble as the Spectrum, and Spectral Interlude isn't alone; another fan project that's currently in the works focuses on the character of Maria Renard from Dracula X: Rondo of Blood. Coming to the Commodore Amiga via the Scorpion Engine, Maria Renard's Revenge is shaping up nicely, too.
More recently, we've had news that the original Castlevania is being ported to the Atari XL/XE under the title Castlevania VBXE. It's very early days at the moment, but the footage is nonetheless impressive.
Do you know of any other promising Castlevania-themed fan projects we might have missed? Let us know with a comment.