The 15 best video games of the 1980s

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5. Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse

Released: 1989 (Japan) / 1990 (North America)

Platforms: NES, Wii / Nintendo 3DS / Wii U Virtual Console

Castlevania III hit shelves in Japan in December 1989, just barely making the cut to be included on this list even before you use the Japanese release date technicality that permitted Final Fantasy on the list before it. This was one of the toughest choices for inclusion, just based on the fact that the original Castlevania is also quite worthy of discussion for the best games of the ‘80s.

But what the first Castlevania did, Castlevania III does better, and then adds in more. It’s here that Castlevania started allowing players to utilize multiple characters, although Trevor Belmont is always the main character. (If you’ve watched Castlevania on Netflix, you’ll recognize both Alucard and Sylpha Belnades as two of the sidekicks available.) Moreover, Castlevania III brings in multiple paths throughout the game, expanding Metroid’s multiple-endings and making the game even more replayable by providing different challenges depending on which characters you’re using.

Sure, we might know Simon Belmont a little more here in the West, but there’s a reason that Trevor is his echo fighter in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. It’s a sign of how much respect Castlevania III is owed.