The Black Panther (also known as Black Leopard) is an enemy in the Castlevania series. It is a jet-black predator that has lived in the castle for ages. It runs at great speed and, in some instances, it is referred to as a liquid creature that takes the shape of a panther.
The Black Panther is a large shadowy feline that resides in Dracula's castle. This jet-black cat likes to sit and wait for a hapless adventurer to wander by and then dashes at full speed at them. If it lands behind its prey after a jump, it will turn around and dash back for one more attack. Sometimes, it will even stop in the middle of a dash and turn around to charge back at the player.
Some Black Panthers can assume human-form and are thus called Were-Panthers.
When Soma Cruz gets a hold of the Black Panther's soul, he gains the Sonic Dash ability, which allows him to move at an absurdly high speed and create a sonic barrier around him that will instantly kill weaker enemies and damage larger ones.
Black Panthers were replaced by other types of similar carnivores in some sequels, although they have reappeared in recent installments.
First appearance of the Black Leopard in the series. The first one is encountered near the beginning of the game, lying on a platform of the main hall. When approached, it will quickly pounce forward over Simon and change direction once it lands. It can be easily dispatched with a single strike of the whip (there's no need to crouch). The second leopard is encountered shortly after, on a higher platform. The railing on the background makes it a bit hard to see and thus may take the player by surprise. Another one lies just a bit further.
Black Panthers can also be dispatched with ranged attacks. A well placed Axe will take care of them before they even attack. Alternatively, the player may approach the leopard to a certain distance, jump in place and throw a bottle of Holy Water; if it didn't hit the leopard directly, the bursting flame afterward will provide a brief moment of protection, making the leopard to run right into it.
Black Leopards behave pretty much the same as in Castlevania; however, since in Vampire Killer the player advances through stationary screens instead of a scrolling background, they may get caught unprepared by a leopard ready to attack on the next screen. Fortunately, this factor sometimes makes them a bit easier to be dealt with, as the leopard will frequently reach the edge of the screen and exit without even having to fight it.
His behavior remains the same as in previous opus. However his sprite is darker and doesn't have a colored outline, so that it can be not only difficult to discern, but in addition his load can take the player by surprise.
Due to the technical capabilities of the console, this is the first time its roar can be heard.
- Main article: Were-Panther Skeleton
Skeletal panthers appear in both Rondo of Blood and Dracula X, this time called Were-Panther Skeletons. There are two variants, one that stands on its hind legs and has a wider repertoire of attacks, and another which is more beast-like and charges on all fours the same way as a regular black panther.
Similar "Wolf Skeletons" have appeared in later games.
In Symphony of the Night, the Black Panther can dissolve into a puddle of black liquid that cannot be attacked and cannot attack. It then moves to another location, reforms and charges again. However, it can easily be dispatched with a well-timed hit when it reforms or with ranged attacks.
- Main article: Shadow
One form of the shapeshifting Shadow boss in Harmony of Dissonance is a black panther. Shadow usually starts the battle in this form, which is arguably the easiest. The panther only makes runs from one side of the room to the other, occasionally performing leaps in an attempt to catch the player in midair if they jump too soon.
Although the Black Panther doesn't make an appearance in Aria of Sorrow, its soul does. If Soma delivers the last blow to Graham Jones with the Flame Demon, Giant Bat and Succubus souls equipped, he will get to continue to the next room and find a soul-keeper containing the Black Panther guardian soul. This soul grants Soma the Sonic Dash ability, which enables him to run at high speeds and create a shockwave around him as he runs.
Unlike in Aria of Sorrow, the Black Panther does make an appearance in this installment, although very late in the game. Only two appear in the entire game, both in the second section of The Abyss. Its appearance is a throwback to its original incarnation in the first game, just lying there in wait for prey to come by. Likewise, the pitch black of its fur and absence of movement makes it hard to see, with its red eyes being the only easily discernible feature to locate it. When approached, it will launch in a fast dash forward; this time, however, if it hits a wall, it will bounce back in a somersault and continue the race in the opposite direction.
In Order of Ecclesia, the Black Panther is an anthropomorphic female panther. Shanoa can obtain the Arma Felix glyph from it, which allows her to transform into a black panther herself. In this state, she can communicate with several cats found along her journey, which will then share their secrets. Furthermore, all feline enemies will now be oblivious to her and not harm her in any way.
It reappears in Origins, in his original Castlevania form. He functions as he did in the original game, as a simple enemy. However, his soul doesn't allow Soma to multiply his speed or create a shockwave while moving. Instead, it allows to summon an 8-bit black panther.
|Item Data: Meal Ticket|
|Image||Name - Game|
|Type / Users||Attributes / Consume||Statistics / Sell||Found||Notes|
|Mystery food ticket [use]|| Food|
| Buy: $2,000 Find: Black Marble Gallery, Reverse Caverns, Underground Caverns|
Drop: Black Panther, Stone Rose
|Legendary Masamune Katana|| 2 Handed Weapon (Katana)|
| Attrib: Cut|| ATT +55 DEF -30|| Drop: Black Panther|| Effect: Slash Flurry|
Special: ↓↘→ + [Attack] for attack then warp attack (ATT +110)
|Generate shock waves while you dash.|| Guardian Soul|
| Attrib: Sword|
Consume: 2 MP/sec
| 8 AP|| Find: Top Floor|
|Move at high speed while creating a shockwave.|| Guardian Soul|
| Attrib: Slash|
Consume: 3 MP/sec
| Rarity: *|
Drop: Black Panther
|Grants cat-like abilities.|| Back Glyph|
|Consume: 80 MP|| Drop: Black Panther|| Effect: Transforms Shanoa into a werecat. She can attack with claw-swipes and rapid tail-whips, both at the cost of MP.|
Special: Shanoa is able to talk to the cats in Wygol Village. Black Panthers and Ladycats become allies.
|Summon an 8-bit black leopard.|| Bullet Soul|
|Consume: 8 MP|| ATK +12|| Steal: R. Black Leopard (5.5 %)|
First Obtained: Chapter 10
- Its behavior in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night might be a reference to Lodem from Mitsuteru Yokoyama's Babel II, a shapeshifting creature whose favorite form was that of a black panther.
- Its female humanoid appearance in Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia may be a reference to Cat People, where the character Irena Dubrovna can turn into a panther.
- Black Panther is also the name of a 1987 Konami game where the player controls a cybernetic panther in a side-scrolling action-platformer.