AKUMAJŌ DRACULA
( Castlevania )
Game Cover
Game Disk
悪魔城ドラキュラ
©Konami 1986
Release: 1986-09-26 (¥2980)
DiskCard KDS-AKM
Action/Platform game

American Version
country
Released in Japan (Cartridge) as
AKUMAJŌ DRACULA
( RV003 )

American Version
country
Released in America as
CASTLEVANIA
( NES-CV-USA )

European Version
country
Released in Europe as
CASTLEVANIA
( NEC-CV-XXX )

Akumajō Dracula is the first opus in the popular and celebrated video game saga also known as Castlevania in the west. The game takes place at the end of the 17th century and every hundred years, the evil Count Dracula and his minions have risen from the dead and are now bringing chaos and death to the land of Transylvania. Simon Belmont, from the Belmont bloodline of Vampire killers, takes up the challenge. Armed with his mythic and legendary whip, he begins his journey to the Prince of Darkness's castle. Dracula's lair counts six large levels guarded by legions of demonic vampire bats, zombies, fish men, raven, skeletons and so forth. In addition to his magic whip, Simon can pick up secondary weapons by breaking candles and other elements of the scenery (usually walls). These weapons range from a Stop watch (stops enemy action), Dagger (fast throwing weapon), Axe (slow but powerful overhead attack weapon), Cross, Holy Water etc... Our hero can only carry one of these useful weapons at the time and they all come in limited quantities - They can however be replenished by collecting little hearts scattered throughout the levels. Other items are also available to help Simon in his quest such as Crosses or Invisibility Potions. Two special items are particularly worth mentioning - the double and triple shots icons get Simon to fire two or three special weapons at once. Each stage ends with an obligatory boss Simon must take down before advancing to the next level - they range from the mythological Medusa to Death itself who appears as a creepy Grim Reaper.
Related
DraculaII-NoroiNoFuin(Fds) AkumajōDracula (Sfc) AkumajōDraculaX (Pce-SCDRom²) AkumajōDraculaXX (Sfc)
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Msx2 It looks like the first Akumajō Dracula was actually released for the MSX-2 computer in Japan in 1986 (Picture on the left). It was also released in Europe as Vampire Killer. The MSX version is rather interesting - graphics are sharper and the game shares a lot in common with the Famicom Disk version. The structure is however quite different - keys must be found to unlock doors and shops are scattered throughout the game.

Japanese Ad Akumajō Dracula for the Famicom was first released in Japan on Disk. It was then published in the United States (1987) and Europe (1988) on cartridge. Both versions are fairly close to the original and only a couple of item names were changed - the Holy Water that became a less "controversial" Fire Bomb and the Cross made of stakes became a Boomerang. Much later, in 1993, Akumajō Dracula was finally released on cartridge in Japan. The game was also ported to several home systems of the time such as the Commodore 64 (1990), Amiga (1990), PC (1990). Akumajō Dracula was also part of the Classic Nes Series for the Game Boy Advance released in 2004.

Teaser text from the American version:
Enter At Your Own Risk!
If you think it's scary on the outside, wait'll you see the basement. You're in for the longest night of your time. Ghosts, goblins, demons, wolves, bats - creatures lurking around every corner. As you descend deeper and deeper, they get thicker and thicker. Better stick close to the cavern floor - it's your only chance of finding a weapon or two. You're gonna need'em. Because when you finally meet the Count, you know he'll be going for the jugular. So keep your courage up and your stake sharp. And say your prayers.


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Akumajō Dracula - Japanese Guide Book
Japanese guide Book
Akumajō Dracula - Japanese Story Book
Japanese story Book
Akumajō Dracula - Japanese Soundtrack
Japanese soundtrack


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Guide Book
Click on picture to enlarge

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The first thing that stroke me upon playing Akumajō Dracula for the Famicom Disk system was the music - Right from the first minutes of play, the outstanding and familiar melody of the opening level sets the tone which tickles the nostalgic bone. After the pleasure comes the pain. Akumajō Dracula is a great example of tough 8-bit love - the stiff controls lead to countless cheap deaths and Simon's weak jump gets him to often miss platforms and fall into bottomless pits with distressing ease. Bosses are also of the worst kind and patience is a vital virtue in Simon's success. Graphics look overall aged and some of the levels are blocky and the color palette sorely lacks clarity in some occasions. But if you put Akumajō Dracula back in its original context, you get a true classic filled with the same spirit that was poured onto its numerous sequels. A piece of video game history that will bring tears of nostalgic joy to the old school players among us and tears of pain to the others.




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