Dracula as he appears in Symphony of the Night, artwork by Ayami Kojima
|Designed by||Ayami Kojima|
|Voiced by (English)|
|Voiced by (Japanese)||Norio Wakamoto, Nobuhiko Kazama (as Mathias), Mahito Ooba, Hiroya Ishimaru, Jouji Nakata|
Dracula (ドラキュラ Dorakyura ), whose full name is Dracula Vlad Tepes, is a fictional vampire from the multi-platform Castlevania video game series. He is the main villain of the series and the final boss of almost every installment, the only exceptions being the first and last games in the series' chronology.
The Dracula of Castlevania is based on Bram Stoker's character in the novel of the same name, which was in turn very similar to the infamous Vlad III Dracula of Wallachia. The Castlevania Dracula draws some history from both, but instead of preying on maidens this one threatens whole realms with his armies at the least, and at worst is presented as the very embodiment of evil. He is, however, capable of loving relationships (his evil nature is partly fuelled by the loss of two women he loved) and despite their differences is fond of his son Alucard.
Conception and design[edit | edit source]
Dracula's appearance is very inconsistent throughout the series' history. It has been subtly revealed in Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow that this is because of Dracula's physical body dying when he is defeated, and thus he is reborn with a new one which is then summoned, unbeknownst to the new host (Soma Cruz) itself, into Castlevania. In just about every game, he wears very aristocratic clothing, whether it be a tuxedo (a la Bela Lugosi) or some sort of royal garb (complete with medals and medallions). His face has evolved into many different forms. Initially, his face resembled that of Bela Lugosi's Dracula in the first few games (this appearance was reused in Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin). Every few games, his appearance changed from one sort to another. In Akumajou Dracula X: Chi no Rondo and the beginning of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, he had the form of an anime character with medium length, dull purple hair. He has a more demonic look in Castlevania: Dracula X and Castlevania: Bloodlines. The more recent look of Dracula, starting with Symphony of the Night, gives him a beard or goatee of some sort and longer hair. His hair color still changes between a dark brown or black and a gray color. His facial proportions also change. He has a very heavyset and muscular looking face in the Nintendo 64 Castlevania games, whereas he has a more thin and elegant face in Symphony of the Night and the first two hand held games. In Curse of Darkness, Dracula wears a long robe of some sort, with a more realistic version of the Symphony of the Night face.
His most common form of attack is to teleport from one part of the screen to another, then opening his cape to fire a spread of three small fireballs at the player, whereas in later games he can also fire larger, meteor-like fireballs: these attacks are called "HellFire" and "Dark Inferno" respectively. Usually, he can only be damaged with strikes to the head or neck area. After being defeated in his humanoid form, Dracula usually morphs into a larger, more powerful demonic form.
Appearances[edit | edit source]
Castlevania and Simon's Quest[edit | edit source]
Dracula had vowed revenge against mankind for the death of Lisa. However, during his rule over Wallachia, he would meet up with many members of the Belmont Clan whose cursed blood and enchanted whip allowed them to defeat Dracula.
According to the official Castlevania timeline (see the Castlevania article), the first Belmont to defeat Dracula was Trevor Belmont. When Trevor fought against Dracula, he was aided by Alucard who fought alongside him, a pirate named Grant DaNasty and a sorceress named Sypha Belnades. Trevor was most likely the one to land the final blow, due to Dracula's weakness being the Vampire Killer, and all games in the future reference Dracula as being defeated by Trevor.
Christopher Belmont, a descendant of Trevor, would become the second Belmont to defeat Dracula. First, Christopher defeated the vampire lord in one adventure, then prevented Dracula from being reborn in the body of Christopher's son Soleiyu in another adventure.
The most famous of all the Belmonts who would defeat Dracula is Simon Belmont. Before Simon, the Belmonts were feared for their supernatural physical prowess. But Simon, who came in a time of need, saved the land and made the Belmont name famous for killing Dracula and his minions once again.
During his defeat at the hands of Simon Belmont, Dracula played a trump card and placed a curse on Simon and the land of Wallachia. This curse would kill the land and Simon if not broken in time and would thus kill off the Belmont bloodline.
Simon had thought his job was done, but he would learn of this curse and once again set out with all the strength he had left. He had to collect the body parts of the deceased Dracula which were scattered all over the land by Dracula's minions and followers to attempt an early resurrection of the Dark Lord. After traveling throughout the land's various towns and manors, Simon was successful in collecting the body parts and reassembling them at the ruins of Castlevania in order to defeat the wraith-like Dracula, thus lifting the curse.
Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse[edit | edit source]
Through various actions, Dracula had gained immortality. Not only would he live forever, if his physical body was destroyed his spirit would live on and resurrect in physical form periodically as long as human wickedness existed to fuel him (the general timetable for his resurrection is every 100 years, but premature resurrections are not uncommon). Not much is known about what Dracula did during the time following the events of Castlevania: Lament of Innocence. It is known that he would have a relationship with a human woman by the name of Dr. Lisa Farenheits. The time frame of this union is still unknown. This woman looked exactly like his deceased wife, Elisabetha. The union would bear Dracula a son, who was named Adrian Farenheights Tepes, but would be later known as Alucard.
Despite emulating his father early in his life, Alucard decided that he did not want to follow in his father's evil footsteps and battled with him many times. It is said he chose the anagram "Alucard" ("Dracula" spelled backwards) for his new name as a symbolic gesture, reflecting his desire to oppose his father's designs.
Lisa was later taken from her home and executed as her expertise in medicine was called out as "witchcraft". This heinous act enraged Dracula beyond belief. Hurt deeply, he vowed to make humanity pay once he mastered the use of the unlimited power he now had.
Castlevania: Lament of Innocence[edit | edit source]
Originally named Mathias Cronqvist (マティアス・クロンクビスト Matiasu Kuronkubisuto ), it was during this time when he was best of friends with a man known as Leon Belmont. (This name may be a reference to Matthias Corvinus of Hungary, a man known to have had ties with the real, historical Vlad Dracula.) Together, the two formed an undefeatable company, that fought in the name of God. Mathias served as the tactical genius, while Leon was a warrior without peer. However, shortly after losing his wife, Elisabetha Cronqvist, Mathias would become bedridden and would reveal to Leon that his own betrothed, Sara Trantoul, had been kidnapped by the vampire, Walter Bernhard, and taken to a castle within the Forest of Eternal Night.
It was a plot. Mathias had come up with a brilliant plan. Blaming God for taking his wife away from him, he turned to evil and was merely using Leon to kill Walter so he could steal the vampire's soul with the use of the Crimson Stone. After Leon defeated Walter, Mathias disappeared, changed his name to "Lord of the Vampires, King of the Night", and then became Count Dracula.
At the end of the game, it is revealed that Mathias was in possession of the Crimson Stone, an alchemical artifact that passes the spiritual essence of any slain vampire into whomever wields it. The power of the stone was what transformed Mathias into a vampire (not the traditional blood-gift). Possessing the stone over the course of centuries is what transformed Dracula into the world's strongest vampire and presumably what assures that he is resurrected whenever he is slain. (This strange loop suggests that whenever Dracula is killed, as wielder of the Crimson Stone, his power is transferred directly back to him every time.)
However, although his dark designs went down exactly as he had planned, Mathias had not counted on the grief and rage of his former best friend. At that moment, Leon swore an oath that he, his children, and all future generations of the Belmont family would "hunt the night" and protect humanity from supernatural evil. The whip that Leon used to destroy Walter, the Vampire Killer, which was created from alchemy fused with the soul of Leon's beloved Sara, would eventually be passed down through generations of Belmonts to become legendary in its own right.
The idea of Dracula becoming a vampire following the death of his wife is very similar to a major story point of the 1992 film Bram Stoker's Dracula, where Count Dracula renounces God after his wife Elisabetha kills herself.
Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow and Dawn of Sorrow[edit | edit source]
In the Game Boy Advance installment of the series, Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow, it is eventually revealed the main character Soma Cruz is in fact something of a reincarnation of Dracula. Apparently in the year 1999, Julius Belmont, the modern day member of the Belmont clan was finally able to defeat Dracula for good and seal away his castle in a solar eclipse. These events have yet to be elaborated on other than a brief mention in Aria of Sorrow. This was not the end of Dracula however, as it seems that after death his soul had been reincarnated in an innocent young man named Soma Cruz.
As he has been sealed away, Dracula does not appear in either Aria of Sorrow or Dawn of Sorrow. However, the boss "Graham" in Aria of Sorrow, and the alternate final boss (Soma) in Dawn of Sorrow fight very similarly to him.
Reception[edit | edit source]
Dracula was listed as the third top villain of 2006 by Game Informer. He was also listed as the number 7 most recurring video game character who has died repeatedly and been resurrected. He is ranked third on EGM’s Top Ten Badass Undead. GameDaily ranked him number sixteen in their "Top 25 Evil Masterminds of All Time" article, noting his persistence. His persistence resulted in him being ranked amongst the most persistent video game villains of all time by GameDaily. IGN listed him eight in their "Top 10 Most Memorable Villains" article, noting his grudge against the Belmonts and calling him "the Timex of villains." In a later article, they listed him as one of their favorite monsters in video gaming, stating a preference for the Castlevania representation of Dracula over others due to him having "a sense of fashion and style that few other versions possess." They would also list him as the 23rd best video game villain, calling him one of the most prolific video game villains ever. GamesRadar listed him first on their list of video game villains who never stay dead, stating that he has died more than any other video game villain ever and that like The Legend of Zelda antagonist Ganon, he never learns from his previous battles.
References[edit | edit source]
- "Top 10 Villains of 2006". Game Informer (Cathy Preston) (165): pp. 56. January 2007
- Sharkey, Scott (2007-04-08). They Is Risen. 1up.com. Retrieved on 2008-02-07
- Scott Sharkey, “EGM’s Top Ten Badass Undead: Thriller Night,” Electronic Gaming Monthly 233 (October 2008): 106.
- Top 25 Evil Masterminds of All Time. GameDaily. Retrieved on 2008-11-29
- IGN Staff (7 March 2006). Top 10 Tuesday: Most Memorable Villains. IGN. Retrieved on 2008-12-14
- Schedeen, Jesse (31 October 2008). The Monsters of Gaming. IGN. Retrieved on 2008-12-26
- The Top 7... villains who never stay dead. GamesRadar. Retrieved on 2010-01-05