Video Game: Haunted Castle
Known as simply "Akumajo Dracula" (the same name as the original Famicom Disk System game) in Japan, it was the first arcade-only game in the Castlevania series. The protagonist (presumably Simon Belmontnote ) has to save his bride from the reawakened Dracula. It is an original adventure, but there are quite a few unusual features in this game that never got reused:
- The subweapons are different.
- The main weapons are different; you don't keep your whip but rather you upgrade through two other weapons in the course of the game.
- Simon is actually out to save his wife and Damsel in Distress, Selena, in this game, whereas he's just saving the world in general in the other versions of this story.
Haunted Castle provides examples of:
- All There in the Manual: A video guide in the "Konami Best Selection" series names the bride "Selena" (as opposed to "Mina" from an earlier Japanese gamebook), and confirms that the player character is Simon (albeit not explicitly a Belmont).
- Bribing Your Way to Victory: You can add to your Life Meter by inserting additional credits, either at the start of the game or in mid-game. However, this can only be done up to three times, and you lose one continue (out of three) each time. This gives you more life to have before seeing the continue screen and having your score reset to 0 as a result, but a single Bottomless Pit is all it takes to lose all of the stored-up health.
- Canon Discontinuity: Nothing in the game or directly related materials indicates this, but some published series timelines consider Haunted Castle to be a mere retelling of Simon's first encounter with Dracula (similar to the MSX, SNES and X68000 editions). More often than not, it is simply left out, however.
- Cartoon Bomb: One of the subweapons.
- Damsel in Distress: Simon's bride.
- Difficulty By Region: There were two variants of the game's overseas release. Version M is the most difficult, where a single bone throw by the skeleton enemies in the first stage takes out half of the player's health gauge. Version O, a later release, fixed some of the cheapness from Version M, but is still considerably harder than the Japanese releases (Versions K, N and P).
- Early Installment Weirdness: For starters, subweapons appear far less frequently than any of the games that came before or after. Also, the first one you find is a Cartoon Bomb. It's functionally identical to the Holy Water but looks out of place in this series' setting.
- Excuse Plot: Why the Damsel in Distress is there.
- Fake Difficulty: Moreso than most Castlevania games of the time. Very few gamers have the skill or patience needed for this game.
- Haunted Castle: Not the Trope Namer, but obviously an example of one. Though less of the ominous scary kind, and more of just a platformer filled with all manners of monsters.
- Lohengrin and Mendelssohn: Mendelssohn in the intro — but not for long.
- Long Song, Short Scene: The high score table BGM, which is unlikely to play completely. It was finally remixed and used prominently in the WiiWare game Castlevania The Adventure Rebirth.
- Make My Monster Grow: Dracula's second form is to become so large that his head takes up a quarter of the screen. He doesn't even go One-Winged Angel while doing it.
- Nintendo Hard: Oddly for both the Castlevania series and arcade games in general, this game has limited continues. And that's without talking about the difficult-to-dodge obstacles and the frequent rate of death. The game is near-impossible without cheats or extreme patience.
- Save the Princess: Or in this case, save Simon's bride.
- Visual Pun: The third stage's BGM is "Bloody Tears". In the middle of the stage is a portrait of a woman crying bloody tears.
- When It Rains, It Pours
- Whip It Good: Subverted. Simon's third-tier primary weapon is a sword.
- X Meets Y: More than a few fans have likened this game to "Castlevania meets Ghosts 'n Goblins".
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: One of Simon's oddest looks to date.