1917 - Castlevania: Bloodlines

n 1897, Count Dracula, the Lord of the Vampires, revived as he did every one hundred years, but he was returned to the grave by Jonathan Harker and Quincey Morris after a battle that went from Transylvania to England and back again. Years later, a dark sorceress named Drolta Tzuentes sought to bring an ancient evil back into the world. With twisted and perverse divinations, she resurrected Countess Elizabeth Bartley, the vampress niece of Count Dracula who was put on trial and sentenced to death for her unholy bloodlust centuries before.

The newly resurrected Bartley sought a means to once again allow her uncle to walk the night and terrorize the mortal world. Elizabeth acknowledged the fragility of the developing situation involving the world's greatest political powers. The nations of Europe forged secret alliances that divided the continent in two opposing sides. They also engaged in a race for colonial supremacy that was bound to spark disputes over boundaries of control and influence. Furthermore, the nations contended in a heated arms race, building massive forces that were ready to mobilize at any time because tensions were so high.

Passionate nationalism, distrust, fear, hatred, and competition created an incredibly unstable and dangerous situation in Europe. Elizabeth took advantage of the treacherous global climate and orchestrated events to have the Crown Prince of Austria assassinated, which led to a tremendous war that quickly spread around the world as countries were dragged into the conflict, due to their complex web of alliances.

The clash came to be known as the Great War, as it was the bloodiest event the world had ever seen at that time. The severe chaos and bloodshed that ensued would be Elizabeth's means to resurrect the Count, as she would harvest the souls of the millions who were killed as a result of the hostilities. In 1917, she put her plans into full fruition and journeyed across Europe uniting the forces of darkness. As she went, she left a trail of landmarks debauched by her magic, which her forces held custody of.

The Belmont family who had repeatedly prevented the take over of Dracula vanished over one hundred years before. They passed their legendary whip, Vampire Killer, to a branch of their family called the Morrises. It was the responsibility of Quincey Morris' son, John Morris, to prevent the resurrection of Count Dracula.
John traveled from Texas to Europe to hunt Elizabeth and put an end to her. Alongside him was his faithful Spanish friend, Eric Lecarde, a lanceman brandishing a weapon given to his family by Dracula's benevolent son, Alucard. Unbeknownst to John, Eric joined him because Elizabeth abducted and vampirized his lover, Gwendolyn. Eric was unable to cure her, and was forced to kill Gwendolyn to save her soul. Eric hunted Elizabeth to make her pay for tainting his innocent beloved with her unholy disease. Together, the two friends adventured across Europe, following any signs of Elizabeth.

First, they inspected Romania and the ruins of Count Dracula's Castle, where Drolta had left a mechanized knight to slow them down. They next got wind of Elizabeth's presence in an Atlantean Shrine in Greece, but when they arrived, she was gone. She had corrupted other areas like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, a munitions factory in Germany, and the majestic Palace of Versailles in France. John and Eric attacked each of these dark strongholds, liberating them from Elizabeth's vile clutches by expelling the evil that permeated them.

Though John and Eric were worthy opposition for the Countess, her goals were becoming a reality. The resurrection rite for Dracula was nearly complete, and she held the body of the Count within the Castle Proserpina in England. When John and Eric learned of Elizabeth's headquarters, they charged the sinister castle, overcoming the Countess' traps and even defeating Dracula's eternal servant, Death.

The hunters finally came face to face with the Countess Bartley. She used her dark magic in an effort to stop them, but it wasn't enough, and she was ultimately overcome, though not before accomplishing her goal. Count Dracula was resurrected and waited just a small way ahead. Eric and John continued to the highest point of Castle Proserpina and confronted Dracula and the dark witch, Drolta. Together, the hunters vanquished the vampire and sorceress, bringing an end to Dracula once more, and pushing the dark hordes back to the netherworld as Castle Proserpina collapsed.

John upheld his duty, and though he was not a full Belmont, it was proven that the blood flowing through his veins was strong; strong enough to save the world from the scourge of Count Dracula. Eric obtained a measure of peace in knowing that he had avenged the tragedy of Gwendolyn. Though Eric was victorious, new adventures still awaited him. The Great War would come to an end soon, and with the carnage over, and Dracula, Drolta, and Elizabeth dead, the world would at last be at peace . . . until the next sick mind would be so foolish as to resurrect the Count and his castle.

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