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Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse (悪魔城伝説 Akumajō Densetsu?, lit. "Legend of the Evil Demon Castle [or Legend of the Devil Castle]") is the sixth installment in the Castlevania series and third to be released on the Nintendo Entertainment System. It was published by Konami in Japan in 1989, and in North America in 1990. In Europe, it was published by Palcom Software in 1992.

According to the game's instruction booklet, Dracula's Curse takes place in 1476, 215 years before the events in Castlevania and Castlevania II: Simon's Quest. Many characters and elements introduced for the first time in Castlevania III would become mainstays in the series.


The year is 1476 and Count Dracula has begun ravaging Europe with an army of monsters. His sole purpose is to exterminate mankind.

The Belmont Clan of vampire hunters, once exiled from Wallachia, is beseeched by the Church for help, as their own armies have met with defeat. The people feared the Belmonts' "super-human" power and drove them out of the land, but with Dracula about to swallow Europe in darkness, they are left with no choice but to call Trevor Belmont, the current wielder of the Vampire Killer.

Joining Trevor Belmont in his mission to defeat Dracula are three other heroes: Sypha Belnades, Grant Danasty and Alucard.

Trevor and his companions cross the Transylvanian countryside, defeat Dracula's minions and eventually defeat the Count himself. Once his father is defeated, Alucard goes into a self-induced slumber, unable to cope with having fought his father. Grant Danasty oversees the reconstruction of Wallachia after the battle is finished. Trevor Belmont and Sypha Belnades marry once peace is restored in the region.

Timeline inconsistencies[]

The origins of the conflict between Dracula and his son Alucard (as well as the latter's vampiric condition), along with his reasoning for declaring war against humanity given in the instruction booklet, are different than later explanations given by Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, leaving some people to believe this information has been retconned.

Alucard's backstory also differs somewhat and suggests that rather than inheriting his powers from Dracula because he was his son, he is mentioned to once have had a human heart but lost his soul due to a contract his father made with the Devil. This contradiction has yet to be addressed. On a similar note, the Trevor and Alucard ending implies that the defeat of both Dracula and the Evil God ultimately restored Alucard's humanity, due to him not being affected by the rising sun.

Falses inconsistencies[]

The title Castlevania: Lament of Innocence is believed to have created inconsistencies in the timeline featuring Dracula receiving his powers from the Crimson Stone, however this can be classified as Dracula's origin as a vampire while Dracula's Curse features the Count's rise to his position of Dark Lord.

Akumajou Densetsu Translation

Translation of Akumajō Densetsuʼs opening.

When Dracula was still known by the name of Mathias Cronqvist, he managed to get his hands on the Crimson Stone, which allowed him to gain power over Death, who was bound to the stone. Being an Angel of Death, his role was to harvest souls and grant them to his master, thus allowing that individual to absorb them. After Walter's defeat, Death was able to take his soul and granted it to Mathias, his exact words being: "This power... I offer to the king who wields the Crimson Stone!"

Another supposed contradiction is that the game intro states that Dracula was able to revive Dark Gods from the underworld and borrowed their powers for his evil goals, supposedly overwriting the statement previously given in the instruction booklet. The Dark Gods and the evil deity were most likely never supposed to be the same character; however, a Castlevania comic that chronicled the timespan between Dracula's Curse and Curse of Darkness once again makes references to these Dark Gods (being referred to as "The Evil Lords") and states that Dracula merely used their power to get even stronger establishing that the pact is to gain powers of control over monsters and corrupted humans with negative feelings –called the Power of Dominance– granted by Chaos.


Protagonists and Allies
Image Name Information
Trevor C
Trevor C. Belmont
(Ralph C. Belmondo)
The last member of the legendary Belmont family and genuine Vampire Hunter. His Clan had been driven out of the land centuries ago, because the people feared their strong supernatural powers. ()
Sypha Belnades
Sypha Belnades
(Sypha Velnumdes)
Sypha is a priestess who disguised herself as an apprentice monk and uses the power of the elements. She had been dispatched on a secret mission to infiltrate Dracula's demon castle, but failed when she got captured by a Cyclops and turned to stone. ()
Grant Danasy
Grant Danasty A carefree rebel and thief from the town of Wallachia. He had been plotting to overthrow Count Dracula, but he and his comrades were no match for his army. ()
(Adrian Fahrenheitz Tepes)
The son of Count Dracula. He changed his name to Alucard as a sign that he opposed his father's way of life, and infiltrated the underground of Wallachia when Dracula dispatched his armies. ()
Dracula The Lord of the Vampires who became a Devil worshipper after the death of his second wife. ()


Dracula's Curse abandons the adventure game elements of its immediate predecessor and returns to the stage based action platform style of the first game. Unlike Castlevania, however, Dracula's Curse is not strictly linear. After completing the first level and at several other points throughout the game, the player is given a choice of paths to follow. The choices made by the player in these circumstances can have a profound impact on how the game unfolds. There are fifteen levels in total.

Another key feature is the option to choose other playable characters to use along with Trevor Belmont, who plays exactly as Simon Belmont does in the first game. These additional characters are found in stages after certain boss battles and have distinctive abilities that lend in, giving Dracula's Curse much more variety over the original game. With Grant, players can move quicker than Trevor, climb walls and change directions in mid-jump; Alucard has the ability to turn into a bat and fly at the cost of Hearts; and Sypha has elemental spells that can home in on enemies, freeze them or burn them with a short range flame attack. Only one additional character can be had at a time and not all of them can be found on the same path, so it is impossible to encounter all of them in one play-through.


There are four different endings to Dracula's Curse. Which one the player receives depends on which additional character they beat the game with, if any. Each of these endings is a part of the canonical end (Trevor ventured with Grant, Sypha and Alucard simultaneously, as a group).

All endings have the following lines:

"Trevor made many sacrifices. The long fight is over. Dracula is dead and all other spirits are asleep."
— Start of all endings
"After the fight the Belmont name shall be honored by all people."
— Closure of all endings


Method: Do not recruit any partners.

CV3 end Trevor
"In the shadows, a person watches the castle fall. Trevor must go for now but he hopes someday he will get the respect that he deserves."
— Alone

The game is completed without having recruited any of the other playable characters. The ending will only show Trevor watching the castle crumbling from a nearby cliff.

With Grant[]

Method: At the first crossroad, select the path for the Clock Tower of Untimely Death. Defeat the boss at the top of the clock tower. When prompted, take Grant with you and keep him as your partner until the end of the game (i.e., refuse any other characters that offer to join your party).

CV3 end Grant
"Both feel their friendship is stronger since they worked together to rid Wallachia city of evil. Grant will start to rebuild the destroyed areas of the city."
— With Grant

Trevor and Grant watch the castle crumbling from a nearby cliff. Grant lifts both his arms in a victory pose.

With Sypha[]

Method: Make way to the Forest of Darkness and defeat the level boss. When prompted, take Sypha with you and keep her as your partner until the end of the game.

CV3 end Sypha
"Syfa the Vampire Killer has had a bad life but now since she's met Trevor she's beginning to feel more comfortable about herself."
— With Sypha

Trevor and Sypha's ending hits a more romantic tone. Sypha removes her hood and reveals she is actually a woman. Trevor puts his arm around her. Her name during the text scroll is written as "Syfa".

With Alucard[]

Method: Make way to the Caves and defeat the level boss. When prompted, take Alucard with you and keep him as your partner until the end of the game.

CV3 end Alucard
"The battle was won by Trevor and Alucard but Alucard feels guilty because he killed his real father. Trevor realizes this as he stands there thinking about Alucard."
— With Alucard

After completing the game along with Alucard, his feelings of guilt are elaborated on as both men stand on the mountain cliff. Trevor realizes this as he thinks about his friend.


The graphics adhere to the style of its predecessors. It makes noticeable leaps forward in environmental detail and introduces tons of new environmental hazards.


The music for Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse was composed by Hidenori Maezawa, Jun Funahashi and Yukie Morimoto. The original Japanese version contained a specialized sound chip, the Konami VRC6. This chip added an extra two square waves (each with eight pulse width settings instead of the standard four) and a sawtooth wave.

The music of the game has been commercially released several times while included with single disc albums of selected arranged tracks. They are titled Akumajō Dracula Famicom Best (March 20th, 1990), Perfect Selection Dracula (1991), Perfect Selection Dracula ~New Classic~ (1992), Perfect Selection Dracula Battle (1994), Castlevania 20th Anniversary Deluxe Music Collection (2006), and Akumajō Dracula Best Music Collections BOX (2010). The full sound track was released on vinyl in the Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse - Original Video Game Soundtrack (2017).

A popular piece from the game is Beginning, which became a frequently recurring tune in the franchise. Some songs like Mad Forest and Prelude were also remixed and used in later titles.

Inspiration and lore[]

Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse is the first game in the series to lay an explicit connection with Dracula and the real life Vlad III. The game draws inspiration from Bram Stoker's novel and states that Dracula is an evil sorcerer which was also brought forward in the novel. The only difference being that in the novel he became a vampire after his death whereas in the game he got his powers from an evil deity. This is further implied by the setting which is the 15th century, implying to take place in 1476, the year that the real Țepeș supposedly died; this is also the official date given in the series' timeline which was published later.

The character of Alucard is another movie reference which once again fits with the style of the game. His name is taken from the 1943 film Son of Dracula.

Grant's Japanese name is given as Grant Dănești, a reference to the historical house who rebelled against Vlad Dracula but were later persecuted. This fits well with Grant's role in the game, but he is never mentioned to be of a noble lineage.

Regional differences[]

Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse is notorious for having one of the largest lists of localization changes in the series:

Aesthetic changes
  • The original Japanese version used the same font as Castlevania. A new font was created for the American localization.
  • The Japanese version contained the specialized sound chip VRC6, which was removed in the North American release due to lack of support for external audio on the American NES. The VRC6 added an extra two square waves (each with eight pulse width settings instead of the standard four) and a sawtooth wave.
  • In the Japanese version, the main protagonist was known as "Ralph C. Belmondo". The American localization changed it to Trevor Belmont.
  • Densetsu
    No religious content was removed in the American release, even though Nintendo of America had very strict policies in this regard back then. Only a glinting effect was removed from the large cross Trevor prays to at the beginning of the game.
  • In the Japanese version, several enemies were colored different, had original sprites, or had slightly different attack patterns. For example, the Hunchbacks that appear in the North American version, in the Japanese original they were the same hopping Gremlins later seen in Super Castlevania IV.
  • The female statues in Stage 8 are partially nude in the Japanese original. Just like in Super Castlevania IV, these statues were clothed for the American release.
Gameplay changes
  • In the original Japanese version, Grant throws daggers as his main attack and can only use the Axe as a sub-weapon. In the American localization, he wields a stabbing dagger instead and can use the Axe or the throwing Dagger as sub-weapons.
  • In the original Japanese game, each enemy takes a different amount of HP away from the player. In the American localization, each enemy deals the same amount of damage to the player, although this damage increases in the later stages, similar to the original Castlevania. These changes arguably make the American localized game harder.
  • The final form of Dracula was made more challenging in the American release. He fires his "laser beams" more often, and they are both longer and launched in a greater variety of directions than in the Japanese version.
  • In the final stage of the Japanese original, after losing to Dracula the player begins right outside of the castle keep. In the American localization, they start back at the level's second section instead. This is another factor said to make the American localization harder.
  • Many of the candles that originally contained Crosses in the Japanese version drop Daggers instead in the American localization.




Dracula's Curse has contributed many things to the series that have been used extensively. Examples include recurring enemies like whip-toting skeletons named Gates of Death, Owls, and Dullahans. Dracula's Curse introduces the Belnades family, which has members that appear in other Castlevania titles, and Alucard, who is the starring character of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. Trevor Belmont plays an important role in Castlevania: Curse of Darkness and is a playable character in the extra mode, and the story of Curse of Darkness continues shortly after the events of Dracula's Curse.

Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow's extra mode, Julius Mode, is a clear homage to Dracula's Curse, as it features a Belmont, Belnades, and Alucard teaming up to slay the Dark Lord. Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance borrows bosses from Dracula's Curse, such as the Leviathan Gargoyle (named Pazuzu in Harmony), Skull Knight, and the Cyclops. Zombie versions of Trevor, Grant, and Sypha serve as a boss battle in Symphony of the Night and Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin. It is unclear if the ghost ships in Castlevania: Rondo of Blood and Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness are meant as an homage to Dracula's Curse, but Dracula's Curse is the first Castlevania title to feature a haunted ship stage.


  • The box art of the North American version of Dracula's Curse was created by Tom duBois.
  • Dracula's Curse was the first game in the Castlevania series to use the "items and grid" password system.
  • Dracula's final form in this game bares a striking similarity to statues of the Sumerian demon Pazuzu. The Japanese version implies this was not Dracula transforming into the form, but rather reviving the demon in an attempt at gaining more power.[1]
  • In Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, fake zombie versions of Trevor, Sypha, and Grant fight Alucard in the Reverse Castle. They later make a reappearance in the Nest of Evil in Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin.
  • Project 51 Productions obtained the rights from Konami to create movies based on Castlevania. Their first project was going to be a direct-to-DVD feature covering the events of Dracula's Curse. The script was going to be written by comic author Warren Ellis, with art direction by James Jean. Information on the project could be found at, but even though still states this domain contains such information, the site itself is unavailable.
    • The movie was eventually canceled and the project turned into a Netflix animated series simply called Castlevania.
  • Koji Igarashi says in an interview present in Castlevania Chronicles that Akumajō Densetsu (Japanese version) is one of his favorite episodes in the series, along with Rondo of Blood. His signature game, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, pays homage to both games.
  • It is the first game to feature some vocalizations (as Death is heard laughing before launching an attack in the second phase of his boss battle, and the various bosses when defeated emit a low roar), aside from the small grunts heard when taking damage in previous titles.
  • In the Japanese version, at the end of the intro it's mentioned that the events of this game take place 100 years before Simon Belmont; this was removed in the overseas versions.[2]
  • According to an early preview of Electronic Gaming Monthly, the original four playable characters were Simon Belmont, Igor, Count Alucard—Dracula's brother—, and "the Vampire Hunter".[3]
  • On their November 1989 issue, Family Computer Magazine published an article containing information about a preliminary playable character called "Vampire" (バンパイア Banpaia?). According to the article, he was an enemy-turned-ally, his basic attack was a fireball (although he wasn't as strong as Trevor), he was quicker than the other characters and could perform "wolf kicks" in combat, and besides his wolfman form, he was also going to be able to turn into a bat and fly.[4]
    • Apparently, most of this character's abilities ended up being given to Alucard and shaped what would eventually become his character in that game.
  • The map of the first portion of the game is labeled as "Castlevania" even in the Japanese version. This might be the first time the term "Castlevania" was used in-game in Japan.

See also[]

Related products[]

Related games[]

Related albums[]

Related fiction[]

Related guides[]


  1. @VGMuseum1 at X (July 26, 2021).
  2. Akumajō Densetsu intro cutscene
  3. Electronic Gaming Monthly, Issue #9, page 27 (1990).
  4. "Vampire: Used to be an enemy. His basic attack is a fireball, but he is not as strong as Trevor. He can turn into a bat as well as a werewolf. When he is a bat, he is able to fly. He can run quickly, and he can perform wolf kicks in combat while transformed." - Family Computer Magazine, November 1989, page 17.

External links[]

Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse
Trevor C. Belmont · Sypha Belnades · Grant Danasty · Alucard · Dracula · Evil God
Skull Knight · Nasty Grant · Cyclops · Mummies · Giant Bat · Snake Man Sentinel · Frankenstein · Water Dragons
Skull Knight King · Bone Dragon King · Leviathan · Doppelganger · The Grim Reaper
Town · Clock Tower · Forest · Swamp

Underground Passage · Basement · Morbid Mountains · Sunken City
Ghost Ship · Tower · Aquaducts · Rampart and Lookout Tower
Castle Entrance · The Villa and the Waterfalls · The Clock Tower and the Castle Keep

Prelude · Epitaph · Prayer · Beginning · Destiny · Clockwork · Mad Forest · Anxiety · Rising · Stream · Dead Beat
Nightmare · Encounter · Demon Seed · Déjà-Vu · Riddle · Overture · Big Battle · Evergreen · Flashback
Akumajō Dracula Famicom Best · Akumajō Densetsu SOUND TRACKS
Tokuma Shoten Akumajō Densetsu Guide Book · Nintendo Power - Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse guide · NES Game Atlas
Bestiary · Inventory