AKUMAJŌ DRACULA XX
( Castlevania: Dracula X ) ( Castlevania: Vampire's Kiss )
Release: 1995-07-21 (¥9800)
Released in America as
CASTLEVANIA DRACULA X
( SNS-ADZE-USA )
Released in Europe as
CASTLEVANIA VAMPIRE'S KISS
( SNSP-ADZP-EUR )
Akumajō Dracula XX is an action/platform game by Konami and based on
Akumajō Dracula X Chi no Rondo originally released in 1993 for the PC Engine System.
Centuries have passed since Simon Belmont defeated count Dracula and foiled his plans
for domination. However, peace did not last for long and evil individuals now seek to resurrect the
Transylvanian vampire once again, and this time around, Dracula vows revenge and
declares war to the entire Belmont family. In an effort to attract Richter Belmont
(Simon's great grandson) to his castle, the Prince of Darkness kidnaps his girlfriend
Annette Renard and her little sister Maria Renard. Like his ancestors, Richter
is a vampire hunter and, without hesitation, he rises up to the challenge and ready himself to take
on Dracula's armies of undead beasts and monsters. The player takes control of Ritcher
and must journey through several strange and doomed places, from the crumbling ruins of a burning
town to the deepest parts of Dracula's unholy castle. His main weapon is the legendary
Vampire Killer, powerful whip passed down from generation to generation within the Belmont
clan. The game also features a handful of secondary weapons that can be collected along the way, such as
the Axe, the Holy Water, the Daggers and so forth... They however come in limited
quantities and Richter must constantly replenish them by collecting little hearts scattered
around each level (usually hidden inside candles). These weapons can also help the player in desperate
situations and unleash powerful attacks (called "Item Crash") that inflict serious damage to
most enemies on the screen. Akumajō Dracula XX consists of seven stages (as well as two
alternate levels) and a password system allows the player to continue an earlier game.
Akumajō Dracula XX is loosely based on
Akumajō Dracula X Chi no Rondo,
a Super CDRom² game originally released for the PC Engine system in 1993 (picture on the right).
Both game share a similar storyline, the same main character (Ritcher Belmont)
and various elements and enemies. However, the similarities end here and the
Super Famicom version tested here can probably be best described as a downgraded
remake of the original. In a nutshell, they are two separate games - levels have a
dramatically different layout, most were completely redesigned and the game is a lot
shorter with fewer stages. It is also a lot more linear and doesn't really feature the
same open-ended stages and alternate routes of Chi no Rondo (only two alternate
levels are included in Akumajō Dracula XX). Finally, it is also worth
mentioning that Maria was a playable character in Chi no Rondo
(option completely removed from Akumajō Dracula XX) which also featured
kidnapped villagers (Tera and Iris), some unique and impressive enemies (such as large stone golems)
and complex animated sequences and cutscenes featuring CD quality sound and speech.
The American and European releases of the game were edited in places. The
first obvious difference is the name change - it was renamed Castlevania Dracula X
in the Unites States and Castlevania Vampire Kiss in Europe. The
European and US versions also appear to be censored and the blood was
re-colored white, especially when Richter dies (picture on the left). Another interesting difference
is the Cross secondary weapon - although it definitively looks like a crucifix
in the Japanese version, it was changed to a cross in the American
and European releases. Finally, Death's final death was changed - although
he cuts off his head with his own scythe in the Japanese version, it just disappears
in a burst of flames in the American and European versions. All the other differences are
relatively minor, such as extra copyright information when the American
and European versions boot up.
Teaser text from the American version:
The Legend Returns...
Rising up from his eternal sleep, Count Dracula is back again to
battle the descendants of the great vampire-stalking Belmont
family of the Castlevania series. He has summoned his
dark minions - Cerberus, Minaurus, and
the Salamander - to bring a reign
of terror on the land.
Grab your whip and try to defeat
these dark forces in this new conversion of the hit
Japanese game: DRACULA X. The 7+ stages unfold with
myriad possibilities depending on the choices you make during
the game. This multi-ending, multi-story feature takes you
through many levels of adventure. You must strategically use
magical tomes, mystical power-ups and titanic weapons to
defeat the horrifying bosses and discover secret bonus levels.
Introduction text from the American version:
The Middle Ages....
An evil darkness had
befallen the land,
giving rise to sinister
Until now the people of
Transylvania had grown
accustomed to their
secure in the knowledge
that their famed hero,
Simon Belmont, had
sealed the fate of
Count Dracula several
hundred years prior.
possessed by the Darkness
conspired to revive
the King of Blood....
Dracula, now undead once
more, plotted to exact
revenge upon de
descendant of the family
that destroyed him...
The Prince of Evil
viciously attacked the
town with his unholy
He snatched away
Annet and her sister,
Imprisoning them in his
vile castle, he lies in
wait for Richter to
attempt a rescue.
Richter, burdened by
his destiny, left for
Dracula's castle with
his legendary ancestral
whip, the determination
to save his loved ones
and the resolve to send
Dracula to eternal
damnation once and for
Game Staff (Copied from the end credits) :
A. S. Minakata
Click on picture to enlarge|
Annette and Maria:
Richter's girlfriend and her sister can be rescued during the game.
Interestingly, Akumajō Dracula XX can be completed without saving the girls,
but this leads to the worst ending and you don't get to fight the vile Death boss
at the Clock Tower stage (Level 6). To find the girls, the player must first find
the key. It is hidden at the end of the third stage, in a hallway with statues and
candles - the last candle hides the key (make sure you don't fall from the pillars that
precede this room, or you will be sent to the alternate stage 4 and won't be able to
save Maria and Annette !). Collect the key and store it in your secondary
weapon inventory (you read this well, you can't use other secondary weapons when you
carry the key, but you can somewhat use it as a weak weapon). Then go the level 4 (the mine)
and use the key on a door located near a section with large platforms/buckets attached to
metal chains. There you will find Maria.
Annette is a bit more difficult to
find - you first have to go to the alternative Level 5'. To do so, go to the end of
stage 4 and open the door that leads to the underground lake - this is where Annette
is kept prisoner (apparently the door won't open if you haven't saved Maria first,
even if you have the key). Once you reach Level 5', fight your way through it until
you reach a room with water pouring from a pillar. Hit the hole from which the water
spurts - the water level should lower significantly, allowing you to go down and find
Annette. All of the above is really tricky to achieve - collecting the key is
very difficult (the medusa heads from level 3 will most likely make you fall down to
Level 4, which prevents you to collect the key and save the girls) and you must carry the key
around without dying once!
Although Akumajō Dracula XX is a lot more linear than its PC Engine counterpart, the
game does actually branch out in a couple of places. In stage 3, there is a room with a series of pillars - jump
down between one of the gaps to directly go to stage 4 without saving Annette or Maria. The second
alternate route is at the end of stage 4 - there open the door with the key (see the Annette and Maria
section aforementioned) to enter the underground lake.
There are three different endings in the game. The first one is the default ending and happens if you
fail to rescue Annette and Maria. The second one happens if you only rescue Maria
and the last one (and arguably the best) happens if you rescue both Annette and Maria.
Add your Pov here !
The image of Akumajō Dracula XX has been severely tarnished by the
excellent Akumajō Dracula X Chi no Rondo. Well, this statement is a
rather fair argument, the Super Famicom version tested here was initially
supposed to be a port of the excellent PC Engine masterpiece...
and instead, Konami turned its attention elsewhere and decided to take a
detour... That's not to say that the game is bad and Akumajō Dracula XX
is a good game on its own merits. Konami has certainly nailed high quality
production values here and it looks absolutely gorgeous (although the first
levels feel more polished than the rest of the game). Well, my only gripe with
Dracula XX is that it feels rushed - a large portion of the enemies has
been omitted, the alternate routes are gone and several areas from Chi no Rondo
are nowhere to be found. So here you have it, for the series die-hard fans,
Akumajō Dracula XX can be seen as a huge disappointment that completely
fails to capture its model in any shape or form. For the others, the title is still
an excellent (yet insanely difficult) platform game with a rich atmosphere, an awesome
gameplay (you can finally jump and land back on a staircase!) and a great
addition to the series.