The first trailer for Netflix’s upcoming animated series based on the Castlevania video games was released Wednesday, and it is definitely an animated series based on Castlevania video games. Beyond that, the trailer gives little more than a glimpse of the show: a vampire rising from a coffin, Simon Belmont’s whip, a castle vaguely resembling the map from the original 1986 video game, and no explanation whatsoever for the title “Castlevania.” Is it a castle named after an Eastern European country? An Eastern European country named after a castle? A Dracula—or group of Draculas—named after both a castle and a country? The trailer has no information about this crucial question.
What it does have, though, is a pretty credible mock-up of Netflix as it might look if it ran on the Nintendo Entertainment System, and on the basis of the trailer alone, this seems like an avenue Netflix should pursue post haste. Kevin Spacey’s performance as Frank Underwood on House of Cards might seem unsubtle on a high-definition TV, but convert it to 8-bit NES graphics and title it HOUSE-OF-CARDS and suddenly the nuances shine through—at least judging from still images. Sadly, the only video we get to see rendered in NES graphics is part of the trailer for Castlevania, which ends up looking like static. As for the non-Nintendoed footage from the show, if Netflix’s Castlevania is going to be, as producer Adi Shankar promised, “R-rated as fuck,” “in the vein of Game of Thrones,” “the best fucking video game adaptation we’ve had to date,” or “America’s first animated series for adults,” those facts are not yet in evidence.
Netflix’s series arrives in July. In the meantime, here’s a slightly more brightly colored 8-bit Castlevania: