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Castlevania: Dracula X is an action-adventure platform video game developed and published by Konami, originally released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in 1995. It is known in Japan as Akumajō Dracula XX (Double X) (悪魔城ドラキュラXX?) and in Europe under the title Castlevania: Vampire's Kiss.

The game is a reimagining of Castlevania: Rondo of Blood,[1] which was originally released exclusively in Japan for the PC Engine Super CD-ROM². Despite being commonly labeled as a port, the contents of the game are drastically altered from the original and is instead considered to take place in a different continuity than the official timeline.[2]

Plot

The country of Transylvania in the Middle Ages...
In the land which gave rise to countless legends of Dracula, a pitch-black evil has once again come...
Hundreds of years have passed since the time of Simon Belmont, the legendary hero said to have sealed away Count Dracula, and the people have grown used to peace, and corrupted it.
Now, once more, the wickedness in the hearts of some men has resurrected the Dark Lord of evil, Count Dracula.
Count Dracula, now revived, plotted revenge against the descendant of the Belmont line that sealed him away, Richter Belmont.
To lure Richter to the Demon Castle, he lead his new servants in an attack on the town, abducting Richter's lover, Annet, her younger sister, Maria, shutting them up in the Demon Castle.
To rescue Annet and Maria, and to seal away Count Dracula once again, Richter, mourning his fate, took up his ancestral holy whip and headed for the Demon Castle.''

— Translated Japanese instruction booklet description.

Characters

Characters
Protagonist
Image Name Information
DX Jap Manual Richter.JPG
Richter Belmont
(Richter Belmondo)
Age : 19

Descendant of Simon Belmont and renowned vampire exterminator. Has a strong sense of justice and unwavering will.
Supporting cast
DX Jap Manual Annet.JPG
Annet
Age : 17

Richter's girlfriend. She was kidnapped by Dracula and is imprisoned somewhere within his evil castle.
DX Jap Manual Maria.JPG
Maria
Younger sister of Annet. She was kidnapped along with Annet, and is imprisoned somewhere within Dracula's castle. In this version, she doesn't become a playable character when rescued.
Antagonist
DX Jap Manual Dracula.JPG
Dracula
Age : ??? (believed to be about 800 years old)

Proprietor of the evil castle and origin of all wickedness in the world. Cruel and heartless, he at the same time possesses refinement and grace that would be expected only of nobility.


Gameplay

Being a reimagining of Castlevania: Rondo of Blood, gameplay in Castlevania: Dracula X is almost identical to it, only featuring a few minor differences. There is only one player character to play as this time around, the vampire hunter Richter Belmont, with Maria just appearing as a damsel in distress that must be found and rescued in one of the levels.

Unlike its console predecessor, Super Castlevania IV, Dracula X attempts to return to the franchise's basic roots by implementing gameplay mechanics that are much more akin to the classic games of the 8-bit era, while at the same time making use of the more advanced hardware's capabilities to allow the performance of special attacks and effects.

Whip strikes are only performed in one direction, straightforward of the player character (unlike Super Castlevania IV, where the whip could be struck in eight different directions), and lost is the ability to let the whip go limp and jiggle it around.

Sub-weapon throwing is performed by pressing UP on the controller pad and then pressing the attack button (default 'Y') and is no longer assigned to a separate button, making it more difficult to use sub-weaponry while climbing or near stairs.

Mobility during jumping is a cross between Super Castlevania IV and Castlevania: Bloodlines. If the button is tapped when performing a jump, the player character will be committed to it and cannot change directions while in midair. As in Bloodlines, pressing the opposite direction on the controller while in the middle of a jump will make Richter face backward, which can be used to attack pursuing enemies. However, Richter can also change his course in the air like in Super Castlevania IV if the button is held. Jumping has great height and reach, allowing Richter to reach edges and make it across pits that would appear impossible to achieve at first glance. A small leap can also be performed by jumping straight up and pressing forward on the control pad. This results in a jump with a much shorter range and can be used to make tight jumps to not overshoot.

Richter also counts with the ability to perform a backward somersault, which is performed by pressing the JUMP button twice in quick succession (default 'B'). This move is useful for evading certain attacks and it can also allow Richter to reach a few high ledges that would otherwise be harder to climb through normal jumping.

Like in Rondo of Blood, Richter now counts with the innovative capability to perform Item Crashes, which are powerful special attacks performed with the current sub-weapon and which usually cover the entire screen, either killing or heavily damaging most enemies in it and destroying other furniture as well, such as candles. Item Crashes can be performed by spending a determined and generally high amount of Hearts; as such, they must be used moderately and only when necessary, like in considerably difficult parts of the game or when fighting bosses.

The classic mechanic of allowing the player to throw up to three weapons in succession is still present in Dracula X, although it works in a different manner. While the classic Double and Triple Shot power-ups don't make an appearance in this game, the ability is instead related to the amount of Hearts the player is currently holding. Each weapon requires a specific amount of Hearts to be able to be thrown more than once; for example, while the Dagger can be thrown as quickly as the player can perform the move, regardless of the amount of Hearts they are currently carrying, both the Axe and the Boomerang require that the player has 20 Hearts in their collection to be able to throw it twice in succession, and 30 Hearts to be able to throw three, one after another.

In regard to the stages themselves, most stages count with an alternate exit; some are traps that will deviate the hero from their way and prevent them any possibility to reach the best ending, while others can only be accessed through the use of Keys to unlock the doors guarding them. Reaching the exit to an alternate path doesn't necessarily mean having to fight a boss at the end of the stage, although in turn it can lead the player to face other bosses which are not normally fought through the main path.

The plot of the story involves the abduction of Richter's sweetheart, Annet, and her sister, Maria, and the hero will have to search high and low through the many stages that conform the game trying to find their whereabouts. The game counts with three endings: one, if Richter doesn't find any of the girls during his adventure; the second, if he only manages to save Maria; and the third, if he manages to save both. The three endings themselves are very subtle between them; the same ending sequence is played after defeating the game's final boss, Count Dracula, with the only difference being the backdrop shown during the credits roll.

Due to the mobility restrictions, enemy positioning, and several other factors, Castlevania: Dracula X is generally considered to be one of the hardest games in the series.

Stages

Stage Name Boss Music
Stage 1 Burning Town Keruberosu Bloodlines
Cerberus
Stage 2 Gate and Entrance to Evil Castle Myotia Vampire Hunter
Stage 3 Great Hall Dyurahan Bloody Tears
Stage 4 Dungeon Minotaurusu Cemetery
Stage 4' Caves Ghost Cemetery
Stage 5 Courtyard Lypuston Slash
Stage 5' Stage 5' Salamander Picture of the Ghost Ship
Stage 6 Clock Tower Carmilla (if Annet wasn't rescued)
Death (if Annet was rescued)
Beginning
Stage 7 Count Dracula Dracula Den
Illusionary Dance

Comparison with Rondo of Blood

When the Super NES port of Castlevania: Rondo of Blood was first announced, fans were excited to see that the popular Japanese PC Engine CD game would make it to the console and be released internationally. However, players were disappointed to see that the final product, now titled Castlevania: Dracula X, was very different from the original game. The levels were completely different (yet still contained many sprites, enemies, bosses and elements from the PC Engine CD game), the non-linear gameplay was drastically toned down (instead of four alternate levels, as in Rondo of Blood, Dracula X features only two), and the difficulty was increased. While Maria can still be rescued, she was unplayable and demoted to just another damsel in distress in the remake, thus making Richter Belmont the only playable character in this game. It is also said to be one of the toughest and most frustrating games from the entire Castlevania series.

Nevertheless, there were a few things arguably thought to be better than the original Rondo of Blood. Often cited are changes to the music tracks, better graphics for the background flames in Stage 1, more defined and colorful sprites in general, and increased difficulty in the final Dracula battle, which some considered far too easy in the original version.

A few notable alterations to the plot of Rondo of Blood were also made. Maria and Annet were made sisters, even though they weren't blood relatives in the original version. It also should be noted that neither of them is said to have the surname "Renard", Maria's family name in Rondo of Blood. Maria also doesn't display any signs of magical abilities, whereas they were awakened in Rondo of Blood and she used to fight enemies in the game. In Dracula X's instruction booklet and opening, it is mentioned that Simon Belmont defeated and sealed away Dracula "several hundred years before", while at least one source related to Rondo of Blood places it exactly one hundred years after Simon instead.[3] The character Shaft was omitted from the story as well.  

For unknown reasons, the Super NES remake was made radically different. It has been speculated that this was due to differences between NEC and Konami and/or hardware limitations. Also, the official artwork used for the original Japanese release and for the PAL region releases is in a completely different style. However, the North American release still uses the artwork from the original PC Engine version for unknown reasons.

Differences between Dracula X and Rondo of Blood

  • Many levels were completely redone. While some retain a similar thematic to their Rondo of Blood counterparts, the overall structure and graphics are completely original.
  • The Prologue stage was removed and the game starts off with the Burning Town instead in Dracula X.
    • Additionally, the sign at the beginning that indicates the town is Aljiba was also removed.
  • The way of writing Annet's name was changed; in Rondo of Blood it was written as "Annette" (which she retained for the rest of the games she also appears in).
  • Neither Maria nor Annet are given a surname this time around and their relationship was changed to being sisters instead of only friends like in the original game.
  • Maria was moved to Stage 4 instead of Stage 2 and she is no longer a playable character.
    • Similarly, Annet was moved from Stage 7 to Stage 5'. She still appears in the clock tower if she wasn't rescued, although just as part of the boss's introduction and the player can't save her.
  • The Grand Cross has a completely different attack pattern by scattering several Crosses on the screen instead of summoning the giant crucifixes from Rondo of Blood.
  • Most bosses were repositioned throughout the stages.
  • The other two captured maidens, Tera and Iris, do not appear in Dracula X.
  • Two bosses that weren't in Rondo of Blood, Keruberosu and Ghost, were added to the game.
  • Several bosses from Rondo of Blood, such as the Wyvern, Bone Golem, Dogether, Laura, Medusa, Mummy, The Creature and Shaft, do not appear in Dracula X.
  • Richter does not have a single dialogue in Dracula X.
  • Voice acting was not included in Dracula X, although grunts were still kept.
  • Maria, Annet, Carmilla and Dracula had completely different designs in both their artworks and sprites in Dracula X.
  • Annet can turn into Carmilla before reaching the end of the Clock Tower if she was not rescued in Stage 5'. This event does not take place in Rondo of Blood, as Carmilla and Annet are separate characters.
  • Richter and Death had their blood recolored to follow Nintendo's restrictions at the time, although for some reason blood was still kept on the title screen.
  • The game only has two cutscenes in Dracula X, which differ completely from those present in Rondo of Blood.
    • On a similar note, in the ending, Dracula and Richter's exchange after the battle is excised.
  • Simon Belmont is mentioned in the intro for Dracula X. He was never alluded in Rondo of Blood.

Regional differences

All versions of this game are pretty much the same, only having very subtle differences between them - mainly the removal of most or all blood in certain animations.

  • Title screen:
    • The Japanese version displays two leaned crucifixes forming the letters "XX" and the title has a blood motif borderline.
    • The US version shows two animated brushstrokes apparently made with blood which form a letter "X" stylized as a leaned crucifix and blood flows out of the word "Dracula" forming a puddle at its base. Oddly, this is the bloodiest title screen of all, which is notable due to Nintendo's regulations toward violent and religious imagery on games for their systems in the US at the time.
    • The European version only displays the title with a uniquely stylized font and notably using a pink/violet color tone for details, probably as an alternative to the color red in order to avoid it being misinterpreted for blood.
  • The original Japanese version displays blood in the main game, which was removed in the US version. When Richter dies, he disintegrates into a splash of blood. The red color was changed in the US/PAL versions, where he instead turns into a ghostly white color.
  • In the Japanese version, when Death is defeated, his scythe goes flying straight up and decapitates him on its way down, with blood gushing out from the injury. This was also removed from the export versions.
  • In the Japanese version, the sprite of the Crucifix sub-weapon is faithfully represented as such, while in the US and PAL versions it was changed to resemble a four pointed utensil apparently made with two sticks fastened together with a bolt and its name was changed to "Boomerang" instead.

Related products

See also

References

  1. http://www.konami.jp/gs/game/dracula/product/1995.html
  2. IGA: 悪魔城ドラキュラX -血の輪廻- と悪魔城ドラキュラXXですが、XXは血の輪廻の移植として制作されたわけですが、血の輪廻のスタッフの意思をまったく反映しておりません。 私としては、先に作った人の意思を優先しますので、XXが外伝扱いと考えております。 Translation: Regarding Castlevania: Rondo of Blood and Castlevania: Dracula X, though Dracula X was created as a port of Rondo of Blood, it does not reflect the intentions of the Rondo of Blood staff at all. For myself, I give priority to the intent of the original creators and treat Dracula X as a separate continuity.
  3. Akumajō Dracula X: Chi no Rondo Advertisement

External links

Castlevania: Dracula X
Characters
Richter BelmontAnnetMariaDracula
Bosses
KeruberosuMyotiaDyurahanMinotaurusuGhostLypustonSalamanderCarmillaDeath
Areas
Common areas
Burning TownGate and Entrance to Evil CastleGreat HallClock TowerCount Dracula
Main path
DungeonCourtyard
Alternate path
CavesStage 5'
Music
Divine BloodlinesDracula Music Collection
Archives
BestiaryInventory
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