Vampire Killer, known as Akumajō Dracula (悪魔城ドラキュラ Akumajō Dorakyura?) in Japan, is the second game in the Castlevania series and the only title released for the MSX2 home computer. It was released in Japan on October 10, 1986, roughly one month after Castlevania appeared on the Famicom Disk System. It has some key gameplay differences from the Famicom/NES version, emphasizing exploration and puzzle elements rather than straightforward action.
Transylvania enjoyed a century of peace thanks to the legendary hero, Christopher Belmont, a vampire hunter who vanquished Count Dracula one hundred years earlier with a holy whip named "Vampire Killer". The people of a Transylvanian village were enjoying their fortune with an Easter celebration in honor of Christ's resurrection, but every one hundred years, the power of Christ weakened, and the hearts of men turned black as they yearned for chaos and destruction. During this time, they sought to revive Count Dracula so he may spread chaos and ruination throughout the world. While the Easter celebration carried on with a grand carnival, evil men gathered in a monastery at the edge of the village and conducted a black mass to resurrect Count Dracula.
The men succeeded in bringing their master back. A bolt of lightning enveloped the monastery where they held the rite, signaling the resurrection of Count Dracula. When the Count returned, his castle, which had fallen one hundred years prior, reappeared in Transylvania, and his legions of loyal minions reformed.
Simon Belmont, the descendant of Christopher Belmont, knew that as a member of the Belmont Clan and the current wielder of the Vampire Killer whip, it was his duty to bring peace and stability back to Transylvania by destroying Dracula. The Count was said to grow in strength with each resurrection, but Simon pressed on. He took the very same whip Christopher used to kill Dracula one hundred years before and entered the Castle alone. Simon proved himself a mighty vampire hunter by withstanding the monsters and traps of Dracula's Castle, and in the end, destroying Count Dracula himself.
- For additional artworks, please visit Vampire Killer Artwork.
The protagonist and playable character of Vampire Killer. He is a descendant of the legendary hero Christopher.
Vampire Killer consists of six non-linear stages, with a boss at the end of each stage. Each of these stages are made up of three separate areas, with a door at the end that requires a special key to unlock. These keys are hidden throughout the areas and often require a puzzle to be solved in order to obtain them. All of the levels consist of separate screens and often loop at times, creating the illusion that Dracula's castle is a maze.
Simon's primary weapon is the traditional Vampire Killer whip, which can be replaced with a Fighting Chain. This weapon is rarer than the Morning Star power-ups found in the original Castlevania. Items can be collected by killing enemies, hitting candelabras, and opening treasure chests. These chests can be opened by picking up regular keys, which Simon can carry several of at the same time. A rare master key can also be picked up and can be used several times instead of disappearing right away.
Aside from the whip, Simon can use both secondary weapons and other primary weapons that replace the Vampire Killer. Daggers, Axes, and Crosses are these kind off weapons and are either temporary or are lost if not collected again after usage. Simon's sub-weapon arsenal is relatively smaller than in other Castlevania games, only consisting of the Holy Water and the Hourglass. These sub-weapons cost Hearts to use. Simon can only carry one sub-weapon at a time.
Other magical items include: Rings, Shields, Crystals, Potions, Boots, Wings, Maps, Rosaries, and Bibles. All of which offer several abilities and effects.
In order to obtain some of these items, the service of an Old Crone is required. They are spread throughout the castle and are usually hidden from plain sight. When encountering a Old Crone, it's common practice to whip it repeatedly until she offers an item. Any whipping done thereafter will bring about a different result, which may not always be in the player's favor. The merchant's color at the time provides a hint. The goods offered cost Hearts, just like sub-weapons.
After beating the game, the player returns to the first stage, although this time the challenge-level will now increase due to a larger population of minor enemies.
Broadsword: Unlike in the rest of the Castlevania series, the knife will take the place of the primary weapon. The player can throw two of them at a time, and they will travel the length of the screen.
Battle Axe: Like the Broadsword, the Battle Axe takes the place of the primary weapon. It acts more like a boomerang in this game, traveling half the length of the screen before returning. It must be caught upon return or the weapon will be lost.
Battle Star: The Battle Star also takes the place of the primary weapon and acts much the same as the Battle Axe. It can cover almost the entire length of the screen. Like the Battle Axe, it must be caught back for further use.
Holy Water: The Holy Water works like it does in the other Castlevania titles. It is thrown in a small downward arc and burns the floor on impact. Enemies who step into the blaze will be dealt damage. Hearts are consumed for each use.
Hourglass: This weapon works like the Stopwatch from previous titles. Once activated, it will freeze enemies on screen for a set amount of time. Unlike the Stopwatch, however, the Hourglass can even freeze boss characters.
- Main article: Vampire Killer (disambiguation)
The term "Vampire Killer" has been widely used throughout the Castlevania series to refer to a variety of related themes, objects, or media. Some examples include:
- Vampire Killer, the title of a game by Scorpio Gamesworld for both the Amstrad CPC and ZX Spectrum in 1984. The title is unrelated to the Castlevania series and predates Konami's Vampire Killer by two years.
- Vampire Killer, the name given to the legendary whip wielded by several heroes in the Castlevania series. It was originally created with alchemy by Rinaldo Gandolfi, as explained in Castlevania: Lament of Innocence.
- Vampire Killer, the title of a famous music theme played in many Castlevania games.
- Vampire Killer, the Japanese title of Castlevania: Bloodlines, released for the Sega Mega Drive in 1994.
- Castlevania — Vampire Killer is a rearrangement of the original Castlevania.
- Akumajō Dracula Best Music Collections BOX — Contains music from this game on Disc 1.
- MSX & MSX2 MEGA-ROM Guide Book — Contains a guide for this game (Japanese).
- A ZX Spectrum game also titled Vampire Killer (Scorpio Gamesworld, 1984) predates Konami's title by two years. While its gameplay style is different, being more of an adventure game, both games share a similar premise: climb to the top floor of a haunted castle to kill Count Dracula.
|Vampire Killer (MSX)|
|Simon Belmont • Old Crone • Count Dracula|
|Phantom Bat • Queen Medusa • Mummy Man • Frankenstein Monster • Grim Reaper • Count Dracula • Spirit of Dracula|
|Stage 1 • Stage 2 • Stage 3 • Stage 4 • Stage 5 • Stage 6|
|Underground • Vampire Killer • Stalker • Wicked Child • Walking on the Edge • Heart of Fire • Out of Time|
Nothing to Lose • Poison Mind • Black Night • Voyager
|Bestiary • Inventory|