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Dullahan is a recurrent enemy in the Castlevania series. He is a cursed headless man eternally in search for his lost head. He sometimes appears as a skeleton and other times as a ghostly armored knight. Along the numerous installments he has appeared in, he has been almost equally encountered as a lesser enemy, as well as a boss (the latter more prominently in recent titles).

Origins

The Headless Horseman Pursuing Ichabod Crane by John Quidor (1858).

In Irish and Celtic mythology, the Dullahan (or Gan Ceann, "without a head" in Irish) was a type of unseelie (dark) fairy, often represented in the form of a headless man riding a black horse and carrying his own head in his arm, which he often used as a lantern to light his way, and sometimes as a ball to indulge in macabre ball games. His eyes would be massive and darting, while his mouth would constantly display a frightening smile touching both sides of his face.

The ancient Irish believed that when a Dullahan stopped riding, a person would die. He would call out the victim's name and kill them by taking away their soul. The only way to be saved would be to present him with gold. Being scared by the material, he would flee.

This monster inspired the famous Headless Horseman from the 1820 Gothic novel The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, who would track down Ichabod Crane at the end of the story, as the latter leaves the village of Greensburgh.

Description

Dullahan's physical appearance varies depending on the game he is encountered in. He is sometimes seen riding a horse or on foot wielding a shield.

He first appeared as a rapier-wielding headless skeleton in Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse (called the Headless Hunter). This form was used again in Super Castlevania IV, where he carries his skull (or an unsuitable one) in one arm. In Symphony of the Night, translated as Dhuron, he gained the ability to raise his sword in the air and have it charged with electricity, making him more dangerous.

In Castlevania: Lament of Innocence, he appears as a regular armor without a head, armed with a sword and a shield featuring a demonic face on it that breathes fire. This sword and shield armored version returned as a boss (although now wearing a red coat with a furry collar) in the subsequent Curse of Darkness, Akumajō Dracula: The Arcade and Pachislot Akumajō Dracula II. There are a few differences between all four of these versions of Dullahan, however. Dullahan in Lament of Innocence has a normal silver sword and his shield is decorated with a face. In Curse of Darkness, Dullahan's sword and shield are glowing and purple, and as stated above, he wears a red coat and is much more agile. The Arcade version of Dullahan looks much like in Lament of Innocence but lacks a shield. Pachislot II's Dullahan looks like the Dullahan from Curse of Darkness, but with no shield, a different sword and riding a horse.

Appearances

Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse

First appearance of this enemy in the series, where it is called the "Headless Hunter". It is a lesser enemy that is first encountered in The Haunted Ship of Fools. It is a skeleton wearing a ragged purple robe, wielding a rapier, and carrying its own skull on its other hand. It paces back and forth at a fast speed and performs quick slashes with its rapier at a steady pace, whether it is near the player or not.

Super Castlevania IV

This enemy reappears in Super Castlevania IV, retaining its name and design from Dracula's Curse, although with updated graphics thanks to the more powerful hardware. Its attack pattern is only slightly changed and it now paces at a lower speed than its previous incarnation and only starts slashing with its rapier when near the player.

Castlevania: Rondo of Blood/Castlevania: Dracula X

Dullahan first appeared as a boss in Rondo of Blood, where he is shown as a ghostly knight wearing heavy armor with no helmet and armed with a giant lance. His zombie-like head floats about the room.

He was given a whole new repertoire of attacks in this game, which include:

  • Performs a lunging thrust forward with his lance, covering a great distance and sending the player flying backward if the attack connects.
  • Performs a high jump forward and impales the ground with his lance.
  • Slams his lance into the ground, producing with this a series of stalagmite-like ice blades that travel forward a fair distance.
  • Momentarily stops and sends his head flying forth. The head will get itself engulfed in greenish-purple flames during this attack and home toward the player. Making contact with it will curse the player, heavily reducing their mobility for a while.
    • During this attack, Dullahan will slam his lance into the ground with great force, making debris to start falling down from the ceiling all across the room.
  • Once defeated, Dullahan will perform one last ditch move in an attempt to harm the player, where he'll throw his head high into the air and this will explode, sending out multiple energy balls in a spreading manner.

This boss returned in Castlevania: Dracula X, renamed as "Dyurahan" and bearing some slight modifications to his attacks, although mainly aesthetical. A similar style of this boss appeared later in Portrait of Ruin, although now with gigantic proportions and with a few new attack moves at his disposal.

In Dracula X, if the player is aiming to rescue Maria (and Annet), a further challenge is added to this boss fight, as that would mean the player will have to be carrying the Key, sacrificing with this usage of any sub-weapons.

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

Dhuron is encountered as a lesser enemy in the Long Library. It reuses the same sprite from Super Castlevania IV, being a purple skeleton wielding a rapier in one hand and his own head in the other. He only uses his sword to attack, although he can also cast a lightning bolt on his sword to boost its attack strength and strike faster at Alucard (his sword will be shining and its power doubled from 15 ATT to 30 ATT in the powered-up state).

Castlevania: Circle of the Moon

See also: Dead Warrior

In Circle of the Moon, Dullahan rides half of an undead horse that is missing its hind quarters (similarly to the Dead Warrior). He holds his sword above his head while charging back and forth. His design, including garments and a cape, is reminiscent of the Headless Horseman.

Castlevania: Lament of Innocence

Dullahans appear in the Pagoda of the Misty Moon. They appear as bloodstained knights missing their heads, wielding a bloodstained sword and a shield with a demonic face on it.

In Crazy Mode, they additionally appear in the Castle Entrance, Anti-Soul Mysteries Lab and Garden Forgotten by Time.

Castlevania: Curse of Darkness

Dullahan is the boss of the Infinite Corridor. He is fought in a large square room, the walls of which are covered with alcoves containing hundreds of heads in glass boxes. The foe himself is a large suit of armor wearing a red coat with a fur-lined collar. He wields a glowing purple sword and shield, and both armaments are covered in ghostly purple human faces, with the sword emitting a trail of what appear to be souls. He mainly attacks by performing lengthy sword slash combos and shield rushes.

He also has two charged up attacks:

  1. He will hold his sword outward above his head with both hands –where it will emit a blue glow from the tip– and slam it into the ground, surrounding himself in a damaging blue aura.
  2. He will charge his sword pointing straight above his head –where several blue rings will appear around the sword– and then swing it down, firing a laser out of the tip. Dullahan will then start spinning around to cover the whole room with this beam.

Dullahan will also occasionally leap into the air and slam his sword into the ground, emitting several shockwaves that travel outward. He'll briefly open his stealing window while performing this move when he is in the air and just after he hits the ground. Due to this, he is one of the most difficult enemies to steal from in the game, although the reward for successfully accomplishing this feat is the valuable Purple Glitter, which is the final unique material required to craft the Laser Blade, the most powerful sword in the game.

Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin

Dullahan is the first boss of the game and is encountered in the City of Haze. He is a gigantic, headless knight who has his severed head floating around him. If the head reattaches to his body, it will spew out a series of heavy damaging dark energy rays, each aimed at the player's current position and with slight homing capabilities. After he vomits about five of these, the head will detach and float about again, although not before it spews out dozens of smaller, rounder dark energy rays. The most practical way for the player to dodge these rays is to crouch at the far end of the boss room, although they can also be destroyed by attacking them.

Damage can only be dealt to Dullahan's body, while attacking his head will have no effect.

Castlevania: Order of Shadows

Concept art for a skeletal Dullahan boss was provided on the website for the game, although the boss did not make it into the final release.

Akumajō Dracula: The Arcade

External videos:

Pachislot Akumajō Dracula II

The headless Dullahan appears mounted on a horse and armed with a sword in Pachislot Akumajō Dracula II. In order to defeat him, he must first be knocked off of his horse and then slain.

Castlevania: Harmony of Despair

Dullahan looks like he did in Portrait of Ruin, although he is not a boss this time around, but an advanced enemy instead. Instead of his body being vulnerable and head invincible, it is the opposite; his head being the only weak spot and his armor invulnerable.

Castlevania: Grimoire of Souls

Dullahan appears as a boss in Grimoire of Souls. He appears way bigger than previous incarnations and retains his appearance from Portrait of Ruin, which is implied to be the result of the Grimoire text it occupied being rewritten to such an extent that it became abnormally powerful due to Hermina's meddling. Because of this, Jonathan Morris was left in danger of being killed by him (and indirectly endangering the catalogue version of Charlotte Aulin, thanks largely to her ties to the era the Grimoire represented).

Enemy Data

Main article: Dullahan/Enemy Data

Item Data

Item Data: Dullahan
Image Name - Game
Description
Type / Users Attributes / Consume Statistics / Sell Found Notes
Hide Cuirass Icon.png Hide Cuirass (Leather Breastplate) - Symphony of the Night [edit]
Tanned leather cuirass Body (Body Armor)
Alucard 
DEF +2
Find: Alchemy Laboratory
Drop: Dhuron
Rapier Icon.png Rapier (jpn) - Symphony of the Night [edit]
Long bladed sword Short Sword (Rapier)
Alucard 
Attrib: Cut
ATT +5
Drop: Armor Lord, Dhuron
Special: ↓↘→ + [Attack] for repeated strike (ATT = 15)
Platinum Armor Icon.png Platinum Armor (Platinum Plate) - Circle of the Moon [edit]
Plate armor made of platinum Body (Body Armor)
Nathan 
DEF +150
Drop: Dark Armor, Dullahan, Holy Armor
Thunderbird card.gif Thunderbird - Circle of the Moon [edit]
The legendary Thunderbird is said to have been able to release lightning. Has the power of Electricity. Attribute Card
Nathan 
Attrib: Electricity
Drop: Were-Panther (1.1%), Dullahan (1.4%)
Magical Ticket.png Magical Ticket - Lament of Innocence [edit]
If you use it, you will be taken to the front of Rinaldo's house. Leon Belmont  Sell: $100  Buy: $200 Find: Castle Entrance, Rinaldo's shop
Drop: Dullahan
Wine LoI.png Wine - Lament of Innocence [edit]
1000 years old, millennium vintage. Recovery Item
Leon Belmont 
HP +80
Sell: $790 
Drop: Axe Knight, Dullahan
Purple Glitter.png Purple Glitter - Curse of Darkness [edit]
A crystal that glows a strange purple. Very rare, said to fall from the sky. Material
Hector 
Sell: $300  Steal: Dullahan Lv.49
Crest.png Crest - Curse of Darkness [edit]
All stats increased. Pick-Up
Trevor Belmont 
ATK +5, DEF +5, HP +50, Hearts +5
Find: Aiolon Ruins, Dracula's Castle
Drop: All bosses, excepted Isaac's second fight, Death and Dracula.
Conditions: Item disappears if the player does not pick it up before leaving the Boss Room. 
Relic PoR Icon.png Acrobat Cube (jpn) - Portrait of Ruin [edit]
Spring off partner's shoulders to jump again in midair. Relic
Jonathan, Charlotte 
Find: City of Haze
Vol Confodere Icon.png Vol Confodere - Order of Ecclesia [edit]
A powerful rapier glyph. Glyph (Rapier)
Shanoa 
Attrib: Slash
Consume: 10 MP 
ATK +11
Drop: Dullahan (10%)
Iron Cuirass Icon.png Iron Plate - Harmony of Despair [edit]
Standard breastplate made of iron. Chest (Body Armor)
Soma, Alucard, Jonathan, Julius, Richter 
Attrib: Lightning -25
DEF +6
Sell: $750 
Rarity: **
Bullet Soul HD Icon.png Dullahan - Harmony of Despair [edit]
Unleash a vengeful spirit. Bullet Soul
Soma 
Consume: 15 MP  ATK +12
Rarity: ***
Steal: Dullahan (2.8%)

Gallery

Main article: Dullahan/Gallery

Trivia

  • Headless Horrors from Altered Beast.

    The original Headless Hunter (later renamed as Dullahan) from some early Castlevania titles bears an uncanny resemblance to the Headless Horror, an enemy from the mythological-themed, side-scrolling fighting game Altered Beast (Sega, 1988). The similarities go as far as portraying him holding his skull in one hand and attacking with the other (although in the Castlevania games he was given a rapier), and wearing almost identical garments, consisting of an old and ragged purple robe.

See also

Castlevania: Rondo of Blood
Characters
Protagonists
Richter BelmontMaria Renard
Supporting cast
AnnetteTeraIrisFerryman
Antagonists
DraculaShaft
Lesser roles
Sacrificial maiden
Bosses
WyvernSerpentWerewolfBone GolemMinotaurDogetherDullahanCarmillaLauraHydra
DeathGiant BatMedusaMummy ManThe CreatureShaft GhostDead BehemothDead Wyvern
Areas
Common areas
PrologueDinner of FlamesA Nightmare RebornHear Now the Requiem of BloodBloodlines
Main path
God, Grant Me StrengthAn Evil Prayer Summons DarknessAtop Countless TerrorsThe Devil Flies By Night
Alternate path
Breaking Through the FrontRelease from the Thirst for BloodFortress of the Water DemonWandering
Music
Divine BloodlinesSlashAkumajō Dracula XCastlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles Original Soundtrack
Guides
Akumajō Dracula X: Chi no Rondo Strategy GuideAkumajō Dracula X: Chi no Rondo Official Guide
Konami Akumajō Dracula X Chronicle Official Guide
Archives
BestiaryInventoryMaria ModeAkumajyo Dracula PekeVoice Translations
Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin
Characters
Protagonists
Jonathan MorrisCharlotte AulinWindVincent Dorin
Antagonists
BraunerStellaLorettaDeathDracula
Lesser roles
Richter BelmontMaria RenardOld Axe Armor
Bosses
Main game bosses
DullahanBehemothKeremetAstarteLegionDagon
The CreatureMummy ManWerewolfMedusa
Nest of Evil bosses
BaloreGergothZephyrAguniAbaddonDoppelganger
Fake Trevor, Fake Sypha and Fake Grant
Areas
Castle areas
EntranceGreat StairwayBuried ChamberTower of DeathMaster's KeepThe Throne Room
Portraits
City of HazeNation of FoolsSandy GraveForest of Doom
13th StreetBurnt ParadiseForgotten CityDark AcademyNest of Evil
Music
Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin Original Soundtrack
Guides
BradyGames Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin Official Strategy GuideKonami Akumajō Dracula: Gallery of Labyrinth Official Guide
Archives
BestiaryInventorySisters ModeRichter ModeOld Axe Armor Mode
Akumajō Dracula: The Arcade
Characters
Protagonists
Vampire Hunter - Lady Gunner - Little Witch
Antagonists
Dracula
Bosses
Death - White Dragon - Dullahan - Minotaur - Water Dragon - Were Wolf - Harpy
Stages
Ruins - Palace - Underground Waterway - Ramparts - Clock Tower
Music
Akumajō Dracula Best Music Collections BOX
Archives
Bestiary
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