Known as simply "Akumajo Dracula" (the same name as the original NES game) in Japan, it was the first arcade-only game in the Castlevania
series. It is yet another retelling of "Simon Belmont's"note
original adventure against Dracula, 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 Distressed Damsel wife, Serena, in this game, whereas he's just saving the world in general in the other versions of this story.
There's been a recent trend toward reusing the mostly unique music from this game in other Castlevania
games—"Don't Wait Until Night" was featured (in a double remix) in Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow
, "Underground Melody" also known as "Den of Worship" in Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow
, and "Crucifix Held Close" (formerly labeled as "Cross Your Heart") in Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin
Haunted Castle provides examples of:
- 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.
- Cartoon Bomb: One of the subweapons.
- Difficulty By Region: There were two variants of the game's overseas release. Version M is the most difficult, where are single bone throw by the skeleton enemies at the beginning of 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 N and P).
- Distressed Damsel: Simon's bride, Serena.
- 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 Distressed Damsel is there.
- 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.