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frogbeastegg

Mostly, I read
(she, her)
Each time the DS games are discussed I feel a twinge of regret for selling my unplayed copy of Order for £crazy some years ago. Still got the first two in my library, waiting for attention. I played and enjoyed all three GBA titles but never got far with the DS ones. Burn-out, partially, with the games appearing so frequently and alongside plenty of Metroids. The touch screen boss seals in the first DS game put me off, too, and that was the start of my Castlevania break. Little did I know that we were about to swap from glut to drought of Metroids and Vanias.

Anywho.

One Dracula whipped in Castlevania II: Belmont's Revenge. Much improved over the first game. Not sure I'll play it again but I'm at least theoretically open to the possibility.

One Dracula exploded into bats and melted by the sun in Super Castlevania IV. I had a hell of a time with that fight, pun intended. At first it seemed easy, and I was digging the unexpectedly tranquil music and chill purple visuals. Then came the flame faces. Oh gods, the flame faces, with the spawning right next to me or the moving so I couldn't seem to avoid taking a hit either from them or from the pile of flame left behind. And the little purple ball thingy which spat tiny purple ball thingies. And the teleporting right on top of me wherever I moved to. And the surprisingly large hitbox on the lightning columns. This fight felt like too much for my eyesight to cope with; too many factors to track overall and without much warning, the purples which blended in with the background, some tiny dot sprites, other parts I couldn't see reliably in time to react because they're outside the central area where my sight is reliably clearest. Took me around an hour of rewinding save states made after each clean Drac hit; I feel like it shouldn't count because I had to cheat so much, and at the same time it should because I persisted through something which honestly felt semi-impossible.

I'll revisit IV in the future. I can see a lot of merit in it and did enjoy some parts. Music's great. It's got some ideas which give it personality, like the 8-directional whip. Against that go two factors. 1) I find the whip sound effect underwhelming. 2) I have a hard time visually interpreting the graphics thanks to muted, samey colour choices at certain spots and some tiny sprites. I'm constantly dying in any of these classicvanias and this is the first one where I've felt it's because I'm physically incapable. Save states will be a fixture with this one and I kind of hate that. It's hard to know how I feel about the game when so much of my time was dominated by an increasingly bitter awareness of that my contact lenses only fix most of my sight most of the time. But I liked enough things to at least give it some more time, see if I can figure something out to improve my experience.

Planning either Bloodlines or Simon's Quest for my next Classicvania. Maybe Bloodlines. It has an easy mode and I could use a morale-booster after IV. Then I could do II, then the other route of Bloodlines, on to the face-beating that is III's legendary difficulty, Rondo, then back to the comfy grounds of the Igavanias. Time permitting.
 

Kishi

Little Waves
(They/Them)
Staff member
Moderator
One Dracula exploded into bats and melted by the sun in Super Castlevania IV. I had a hell of a time with that fight, pun intended. At first it seemed easy, and I was digging the unexpectedly tranquil music and chill purple visuals. Then came the flame faces. Oh gods, the flame faces, with the spawning right next to me or the moving so I couldn't seem to avoid taking a hit either from them or from the pile of flame left behind. And the little purple ball thingy which spat tiny purple ball thingies. And the teleporting right on top of me wherever I moved to. And the surprisingly large hitbox on the lightning columns. This fight felt like too much for my eyesight to cope with; too many factors to track overall and without much warning, the purples which blended in with the background, some tiny dot sprites, other parts I couldn't see reliably in time to react because they're outside the central area where my sight is reliably clearest. Took me around an hour of rewinding save states made after each clean Drac hit; I feel like it shouldn't count because I had to cheat so much, and at the same time it should because I persisted through something which honestly felt semi-impossible.
It's not obvious, but you can hit the purple ball to get some meat.
 

frogbeastegg

Mostly, I read
(she, her)
It's not obvious, but you can hit the purple ball to get some meat.
I managed it by accident once or twice and it certainly helped. The problem is the balls are functionally invisible to me a lot of the time. They’re so small and so similar in colour to the background I’d have to halt everything and deliberately search for them to catch them earlier. [pondering] I wonder if I can do that? If this game’s pause function acts like the first NES game’s I’d be able to stop the action frequently, search for threats, then have a bit more time to react. If it works there then it might also help with some of the other problem spots. Won’t stop me jumping to my death because I keep interpeting the background as the foreground but I already know that can be solved with memorisation.

Thanks for sparking that idea. I’ll try it later.
 

MetManMas

DNM-123
(He, him)
The Iron Shield is pretty sick, but it is eventually less effective than the Alucard Shield, which is just "hold down the button and do 255 damage on like every other frame." Against, say, Galamoth, the Iron Shield is way less useful.
Well yeah, I'd expect the Alucard Shield to be better, but barring luck run launching exploits you won't have it until well into the Reverse Castle while the Iron Shield can be bought or acquired as a drop well before you get the Shield Rod.

Once you get it back after Death, by all means use it if you want to wreck stuff even harder.
 

conchobhar

What's Shenmue?
(he/him/his)
I wasn't planning on participating since I had just done my own marathon back in July (in retrospect, foolish to do so out of season), but seeing this thread enough times gave me a bit of a hankering. So I just ran through Adventure and Belmont's Revenge for an additional Two Draculas.

Also, earlier this month, I beat Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver (in which every boss in a vampire, culminating in the rather Dracula-esque Kain) and Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap (which includes a vampire dragon), if those count for any Bonus Draculas.
 

ShakeWell

Slam Master
(he, etc.)
Well yeah, I'd expect the Alucard Shield to be better, but barring luck run launching exploits you won't have it until well into the Reverse Castle while the Iron Shield can be bought or acquired as a drop well before you get the Shield Rod.

Once you get it back after Death, by all means use it if you want to wreck stuff even harder.
Oh, yeah, for sure. But also, I honestly was using the Medusa Shield's homing lasers more than the Iron Shield, because even though it's a rare-ish drop, grinding it out is easy in the early game, as soon as you get the Shield Rod. Also, on this run, I got a Crissagrim after like five Schmoos and barely used it. So it goes, I guess.
 

Sarge

hardcore retro gamin'
Took down the Count in Boktai again towards the end with the boss refights, so that's another bonus Drac.

By the way, Boktai is shockingly great. I really had a fun time with it, and will definitely be hitting up the sequels at some point. (I mean, I guess I should have known since I liked Lunar Knights a bunch, but still. I just never stuck with it for long.)
 

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
Lunar Knights is a serviceable but inferior successor to the Boktai throne. I only played the second game, but it's very, very good.
 

Sarge

hardcore retro gamin'
Lunar Knights is a serviceable but inferior successor to the Boktai throne. I only played the second game, but it's very, very good.
Maybe that's true - I haven't played through Lunar Knights since it came out, but I remember having a ton of fun with it. I know I need to grab the mostly-translated Boktai 3 as well if I'm going to hit up the rest of the series. I could technically play on my real carts, but I'm not usually in a position to be playing when I can get sunlight, so patched ROMs seem the better option.
 

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
I should rather say that I played only the second game and Lunar Knights. Lunar Knights is fine for what it is, but viewed in the context of the series, it comes up short. The loss of the solar panel is a contributing factor, but so is the increased focus on action over stealth. The wall knock is still available in Lunar Knights, I think, but it's never demanded.
 

Sarge

hardcore retro gamin'
I can see where that might turn folks off. Lunar Knights was definitely more standard action-RPG, whereas Boktai had a very Ghost Babel feel to a lot of the proceedings, just integrated into an ARPG context. I might revisit Lunar Knights one of these days and see how I think it holds up, but I'm happy to hear that Boktai 2 apparently continues the series' quality. And it really is too bad we didn't get the third game as well.
 

Kishi

Little Waves
(They/Them)
Staff member
Moderator
Well yeah, I'd expect the Alucard Shield to be better, but barring luck run launching exploits you won't have it until well into the Reverse Castle while the Iron Shield can be bought or acquired as a drop well before you get the Shield Rod.

Once you get it back after Death, by all means use it if you want to wreck stuff even harder.
FYI, people have long since figured out ways to skip Death swiping your stuff at the beginning of the game without being in Luck Mode. The only prerequisites are getting to 41 hearts as Richter (in order to get a Neutron Bomb in Alucard's starting inventory) and knowing what pixel you want to be on when you use it. Being able to buffer inputs out of the map overlay means there's effectively no skill barrier. I recommend watching this tutorial by Turbodog and trying it out, because anyone can do it, and it's a fun thing to pull off.

If you are (for some reason) playing the PSP/PS4 version, you can just hold Left as you enter the room where Death is. The scene only loads the first time you enter that room, so you're off the hook after that.
 

Albatoss

Assassin
(He/him, they/them)
I've just defeated Dracula in the Arrange Mode of Castlevania Chronicles. It's been a few years since I last pulled out my copy and played it, and as a result was this playthrough was very sloppy - I had two Game Overs in stage 5 (the clock tower) and one in the final stage. The second half of the game is just so brutal! I'm glad I stuck it out, but I definitely would have given up for the night if I had had a third Game Over in stage 5.
 

ShakeWell

Slam Master
(he, etc.)
I started a new playthrough of SotN and hey, does the first Drac fight with Richter count? It's definitely Dracula and he's definitely defeated... I think he should at least be a Bonus Drac, and if so, I have two more of those, because I never counted my first one.
 

Beta Metroid

At peace
(he/him and such)
^That particular fight is named as an example of a full-fledged Dracula in the OP, which is good, because I just did it myself (I was going to wait until I'd completed this SOTN run to recap it, but I may not have time for that before Halloween. Hopefully I can at least grab one last Bonus Dracula via Olrox)!

I know for much of this forum, SOTN is one of those "know it inside out and backwards (and upside down)" games, but I first played it in college/12 or so years ago) and have finished it only three or four times. So while I'm generally familiar with the game, some of its basic elements are still relatively fresh for me. Silly dialogue aside, the intro as an entire package is so wonderful! While the game is most directly a follow-up to Rondo, its callbacks and love letters to the franchise as a whole up to that point make it feel very "climactic," and the way that intro builds up to the "Castlevania" title appearance sets the tone just right!

I already have a death in the run, because I wanted to trigger the early Slogra-Gaibon appearance, did so before I grabbed a shield, and got humbled in the tiny room they appear in. I love the "boss team-ups" that represent different games of the series. Though I do feel like Slogra, the toughest boss of SCV4 (including Dracula) gets the short end of the spear. His crazy speed/jumping, lengthy invincibility frames, and becoming more dangerous and aggressive after his spear breaks are traded in for basically being a paperweight for Gaibon to toss around. Gaibon himself loses his "shake chunks of ceiling loose" attack, but gets upgraded fireballs, and he was pretty easy in his original incarnation despite his endgame appearance, so he fares quite a bit better in comparison.

I know "maximalist design" is SOTN's jam, but I don't understand why they delay having candles function like Castlevania candles for about two minutes, then enable them via an item that you basically can't miss. Not an issue at all, but strange.

I like how Richter's sub-weapons differ from Alucard's in ways that reflect how he uses them in Rondo, but they only semi-commit to this, and it's weird. The holy water and cross make perfect sense (and represent both of the common ways holy water has been used in the series), the ax is basically identical, and Richter's dagger item crash makes sense. But why doesn't he throw daggers in a spread of three anymore? It still would have differentiated his style from Alucard's, but maybe given Richter's dagger a bit of an upside, instead of "definitively worse than Alucard's, discounting the item crash." And they both use the Bible the same way, which is completely different from how Richter used it in Rondo. Again, not a big deal at all...It's just weird that they make some of Richter's sub-weapons very accurate to his Rondo portrayal (whether they differ from Alucard's versions or not), and then just forget his Rondo versions of other sub-weapons.

I think before I played SOTN, I was really defensive of old-school Castlevanias, so while I heard its soundtrack was incredible, I was reluctant to give it due credit. But this soundtrack is incredible. I already mentioned that lovely intro/opening crawl music, and the Dracula's Castle theme is such a great "first level" tune. And the best is yet to come!

Also, just curiosity: Was Castlevania's version of Alucard inspired by any particular Dracula/vampire lore? I've read that the name came from the movie Son of Dracula, part of Universal's monster cycle (I've seen several of those films, but not that one), but it looks like that version was basically a reincarnation of Dracula, and still evil? What's the source of the rebellious, heroic (half-)vampire son character?
 

Kishi

Little Waves
(They/Them)
Staff member
Moderator
Alucard is 100% D from Vampire Hunter D. About all he's missing is the hat (which does show up in Bloodstained). I suspect the only reason they never called him a dhampir even though he fits the description is that D uses that term and they would have lost what little plausible deniability they had.
 

Dracula

Posts: 52,928
(He/His)
Yep, prologue Dracula is a viable Dracula as originally stated. Although you can't technically lose in this battle, it's also technically a test of skill and is a full-fledged Dracula battle regardless.

And if you have any intersecting interest in Castlevania and anime, I'd definitely recommend a watch of at least Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust, which is a best-in-class OVA of its era and is positively bursting with Castlevania energy. The original 80s OVA comes up behind as another rec if you like D enough to watch more of him, and especially if you just generally enjoy gritty 80s anime stuff with a mixture of gothic fantasy and sci-fi. I watched both of these films frequently in high school after I learned about the D/Alucard connection. I couldn't get enough of 'em.

Now, for our weekly checkup:

  • I'm counting both Grimm and N.K. Grimm as Bonus Draculae, accepting the arguments put forth earlier in the thread.
  • Kain of the Legacy of Kain series is an edge case, looking more generally demonic than Draculaic, but I think his black heart is in the right place. Bonus Dracula.
  • Similar for the Vampire Dragon. The cloak pushes him into eligibility for Bonus Dracula.

With these and the other points counted, our total has risen to 31.5 Dracula Points. With a little less than two weeks left in October, I'm starting to wonder if my plans for world domination may come together at last!
 

Dracula

Posts: 52,928
(He/His)
Gebel in ROTN counts as a Bonus Dracula. We've previously counted Bloodless from Curse 2 as a Bonus Dracula. I don't think Curse 1 has anything that would count, but nobody has made a case for it yet.
 

Falselogic

Techno-Threadcromancer
(they/them)
It was Dracula Dracula from the famous series Dracula and Friend's Fun Time Party Castle for the NES
 

Tomm Guycot

(he/him)
Gebel in ROTN counts as a Bonus Dracula. We've previously counted Bloodless from Curse 2 as a Bonus Dracula. I don't think Curse 1 has anything that would count, but nobody has made a case for it yet.
Bloodstained: RotN has Gebel, OD (Orlok Drakul or "Original Dracula" either way he's Alucard) and Iga, who all use the same rig and Dracula tactics.

I feel like all 3 are at least bonus Draculas
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Gebel in ROTN counts as a Bonus Dracula. We've previously counted Bloodless from Curse 2 as a Bonus Dracula. I don't think Curse 1 has anything that would count, but nobody has made a case for it yet.
Bloodless was in CotM1, 2... I believe is Drac-less

Also, an arguement could be made for 8-Bit Overlord from RotN, as it's Draculas second form from CV1
 

Dracula

Posts: 52,928
(He/His)
Bloodstained: RotN has Gebel, OD (Orlok Drakul or "Original Dracula" either way he's Alucard) and Iga, who all use the same rig and Dracula tactics.

I feel like all 3 are at least bonus Draculas
Yep definitely Bonus Draculae for all of these.
 

Phantoon

I cuss you bad
I'm playing Harmony Of Dissonance and really enjoying it, with one proviso: it's way too open early on. I feel like I've seen a vast amount of (both) castles and am on the right hand side unclear of where to go next. I know there's going to be a lot of trudging in my future and I wish it had fed me in smaller courses; I'm not even clear how (or if) one castle affects the other. I'm pretty sure there's a corridor I should be going down but there's a door I can't open in both versions and I'm not clear what opened the previous ones in the corridor.
 

ShakeWell

Slam Master
(he, etc.)
Alucard is 100% D from Vampire Hunter D. About all he's missing is the hat (which does show up in Bloodstained). I suspect the only reason they never called him a dhampir dunpeal even though he fits the description is that D uses that term and they would have lost what little plausible deniability they had.
Fix'd. This is a joke about the english dub of those movies, for those who haven't seen them.

And if you have any intersecting interest in Castlevania and anime, I'd definitely recommend a watch of at least Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust, which is a best-in-class OVA of its era and is positively bursting with Castlevania energy. The original 80s OVA comes up behind as another rec if you like D enough to watch more of him, and especially if you just generally enjoy gritty 80s anime stuff with a mixture of gothic fantasy and sci-fi. I watched both of these films frequently in high school after I learned about the D/Alucard connection. I couldn't get enough of 'em.
Bloodlust is the rare instance of a sequel that outdoes its original in every way. I've always kind wanted to read the novels (I believe the first movie is based on the first book, and the second movie is based on the third or fourth? But there are like twenty of them), but never pulled the trigger on any of them. Also, fun fact: noted Final Fantasy author Yoshitaka Amano was the primary illustrator for the novels.
 

WildcatJF

I will not be stopping
(he / his / him)
I'm probably among the few who consider Portrait the best of the DS entries, but I take solace in that amazing soundtrack and Charlotte being a riot to play. Order is second, as I like the challenge and art design the most of the DS games, and Shanoa is the closest to Alucard in terms of controls. Dawn should be my favorite, given Aria is my favorite in the series and this is essentially that x2, but the emphasis on grinding and touch screen gimmicks makes it my least favorite of the bunch.
 

Beta Metroid

At peace
(he/him and such)
I made some decent progress in Symphony, but took a break to knock out Dracula X SNES really quick. At least, it was going quick, until I got to the man himself. Four deaths prior to Dracula, got dumped into the pit by Drac nine times, and beaten due to plain ol' damage another couple times. I'm excited to take out Olrox next!
 

Dracula

Posts: 52,928
(He/His)
The best advice I have for people who really want to finish Dracula X for SNES is if you're ducking, you don't get hit with knockback damage. Even then, that Drac battle is still just a big ol' slog, especially if you don't have an axe.
 
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