GamaChronicles: Castlevania (Day 4 of 7)

Today on GamaChronicles, we will be taking a look at the last game in the original trilogy on the NES: Castlevania III – Dracula’s Curse.

GamaChronicles are week-long features of a topic, game series, or cultural icon, with drip-content released on a daily basis. Check back every day for updates.

Box art for Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse

From Wikipedia:

Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse is the third Castlevania video game produced for the Nintendo Entertainment System. It was published by Konami in Japan in 1989, and in North America in 1990, and in Europe by Palcom in 1992. It was later released on the Wii Virtual Console. It is notorious for its difficulty, and like its predecessors is also notable for its highly regarded sound track.

Title Screen

The plot of Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse is a prequel to the original Castlevania (much like the earlier Game Boy game Castlevania: The Adventure) set a few centuries before the events of the original game. The game’s protagonist is Trevor C. Belmont, an ancestor of the original hero Simon Belmont.

Trevor Belmont in Stage I’s Cathedral

Joining Trevor Belmont in his mission to defeat Dracula are three new playable characters: Sypha Belnades, a young sorceress with poor physical attack power but powerful elemental magic spells at her disposal; Grant Danasty, a pirate with the ability to climb on walls and change direction in mid-jump (a rare ability in earlier games of the series); and Alucard, Dracula’s son, a dhampir with the ability to shoot fireballs and transform into a bat.

Alucard, son of Dracula (Alucard is Dracula spelled backwards)

Trevor can be accompanied by only one companion at a time. If he chooses to take on another he must abandon his current companion. The player can “spiritually transform” between Trevor and his ally with the “select” button. Both Trevor and whoever is accompanying him share the same health meter. The ending of the game differs depending on which companion Trevor has with him at the time, or if he does not take another character with him at all. (Wikipedia)

Castlevania III cartridge in Japan

Castlevania III was the final game in the series directed by Hitoshi Akamatsu. For years, few people knew who directed the first three Castlevania games, because game creators at the time used pseudonyms. It was actually in an interview with the director of Super Castlevania IV when Mr. Akamatsu was revealed as the original trilogy director.

According to an article on Fandom, a former Konami employee said that Akamatsu tried to make all three original games with a vision of a movie director, but unfortunately, the sequels to Castlevania sold poorly, so he was demoted to working in one of Konami’s game centers and then he quit. Allegedly, Konami placed profits above all else, and developers who weren’t creating games that made lots of money were all eventually axed one-by-one.

Hopefully Mr. Akamatsu has gotten to see how popular his game has become, and it brings him some satisfaction, even if he was not able to personally capitalize on the fruits of his labor.

Full walkthrough below (Alucard):

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 VRCVI. This chip added an extra two square waves (each with eight pulse width settings instead of the standard four) and a sawtooth wave. (

You can listen to the soundtrack from the Japanese version below, courtesy of grad1u53

Update: in researching the differences between the English and Japanese versions of Castlevania III, I stumbled upon a website that catalogues all of the differences in painstaking detail:

The Cutting Room Floor

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