I got Knocked Back, but I got up Again
Alucard isn’t too complex. His look is distinguished: a mix of late 1700’s era clothing, flowing white hair, and a lively cape ever behind him. He is driven, singularly motivated to do one thing, finally put an end to the evil reign of his storied father Vampire Dracula. Blitzing Dracula’s castle while feeling incredibly powerful and swiping your sword seamlessly through hordes of monsters without a second thought, the game is exhilarating straight out of the gate! Making your way effortlessly through the main foyer feeling amazing, when abruptly you are stripped of your gear by Death himself. Alucard got knocked down, but he’ll get up.
As Death slips away with your powerful equipment, you are left with bare fists and introduced to an entirely different death: virtually everything in the castle. Don’t jump onto a ledge where an enemy is, lest you get an axe through your person. Don’t attempt to walk through that door, a Medusa head will be waiting outside of your view to punish you for walking that way. Never go into that room under prepared, as a minor boss lurks, ready to ruin your day. The game knows it, you know it, and every sprite in the game knows it: the game wants to punish you and make you feel small and alone. Everything that touches you knocks you back, and you are helpless to the consequences of said knock-back, sometimes grazing a pixel of an enemy while helplessly careening down a tall shaft back to the bottom where you started. Alucard gets knocked down, but he gets. Up. Again.
No matter the struggle, the touch from the enemy, or the untimely death, Alucard cannot be deterred. Though a litany of classic horror creatures (as well as many unwieldy never-before-seen creatures) seek to stop you at every corner, Alucard doesn’t give up. He can’t give up. It’s not in his DNA. There is much to say about a person like that. Someone who doesn’t let the weight of the world stop them or even slow them down. A person to deflect the implications of heredity and expectation for the sake of the greater good. An individual willing to see something through no matter the cost. Jesus is that someone.
My intent isn’t to blindside anyone reading this. I really want to strip away all the pomp and gore and horror from Castlevania: SOTN to uncover a deeper something. Yes, Alucard is the hero in the series, that’s the given. What is easily missed is our ability to appreciate the resilience of his character. Certainly there is something to be said by someone who is constantly knocked down and plagued by frustrating knock back; yet they continue to get up. To stand firm.
To ignore the fact that I’ve loosely been referencing Chumbawamba this whole time and see the spiritual implications for what they are. When you’ve done all you can to stand, stand firm. Get knocked down, do! Don’t stay knocked down, don’t find rest in the lowness of your spiritual battles. Stand and find respite in the God that lifts you up. Just as Alucard has a singular purpose, so too, do Christians. We serve a God that doesn’t ask us to stay knocked down. He bids us get up again, and again, and again…
Despite the fact that I cannot account for the inner dialogue of an 18th century 16-bit half-vampire Nintendo licensed sprite of the son of Dracula, I can glean scriptural implications from the drive he elicits. I wanted to get back up and try, regardless of the difficulty or frustration. Alucard’s fight became my fight and I trusted victory lingered on the horizon. Psalms 56:2-3 serves as a great reminder, “My enemies have trampled upon me all day long. For they are many who fight proudly against me. When I am afraid, I will put my trust and faith in You.” [AMP] We see Alucard’s struggle, but we also see the passion to press on. It begs the question: do we have that same passion and are we using that passion for our Creator?
The final beauty in getting knocked back and getting up is that, as Christians, we know our enemy. Not only is he known, he has been defeated, is defeated, and will continue to be defeated. His defeat defies time, as God has always known that our oppressor wouldn’t last, and that his reign would be humorously short, provided we align our perspective with Christ’s victory on the cross. Christ, singularly purposed, bearing unimaginable pain through the process of crucifixion was, at several points, knocked down. He kept in close communication with His Father, as we should, and continued on the path He knew would bring Salvation. The heavy lifting has been done. When I am afraid, I will put my faith and trust in You, Lord.
Regardless of the game we are currently wrapped up in, we can see through the missions, objectives, collectibles, upgrades, and unlockables to ground ourselves again in the victory of a life with Christ. Oh, and Alucard is Dracula spelled backwards, super creative!
Ephesians 6:13 (AMP) – Therefore, put on the complete armor of God, so that you will be able to [successfully] resist and stand your ground in the evil day [of danger], and having done everything [that the crisis demands], to stand firm [in your place, fully prepared, immovable, victorious].