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Video Game / Castlevania: Dracula X

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Castlevania: Dracula X (a.k.a. Vampire's Kiss) is a remixed port of then PC Engine-only Rondo of Blood for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, released in 1995.

Evil men resurrect Dracula, who then proceeds to kidnap Richter Belmont's girlfriend Annet and her younger sister Maria and hides them in his castle. Richter then must follow his ancestors' footsteps by taking the horrors of castle by himself.

Many changes were made when the CD-based Rondo of Blood was turned into Dracula X due to the smaller storage capacity of SNES cartridges. The voice acting is gone, the game is much more linear due to overhauled level design removing the original version's branching pathways, the difficulty is ramped up (likely to compensate for the lessened replay value), and Maria is no longer playable. The story was also altered enough that it became incompatible with the main timeline, so the game is treated as being in an Alternate Continuity.

Dracula X / Vampire's Kiss provides examples of:

  • Adapted Out: The Dark Priest Shaft is nowhere to be seen in the SNES Dracula X. While he wasn't exactly an important character in the original Rondo of Blood, it made The Reveal of him being the mastermind behind the events of Symphony of the Night less impacting than it should have, as most overseas players who went into Symphony of the Night from Dracula X had no idea who Shaft was.
  • Alternate Continuity: In Dracula X, Annet is said to be Maria's older sisternote . Dracula X also describes the setting as being "The Middle Ages" and notes that Simon Belmont lived "hundreds of years ago." Officially, Simon fought last fought Dracula in 1698, less than 100 years before Richter took up the whip in 1792...and the Middle Ages ended in the 1400s, making this version basically incompatible with any sort of official timeline.
  • Battle Amongst the Flames: The background of the boss fight against Cerberus in the first stage, since it takes place among the blazing village.
  • Bittersweet Ending: If you fail to save one or both of the girls. Dracula is defeated and the day saved, but Richter looks solemn and saddened for not being able to save Annet and/or Maria.
  • Bowdlerise:
    • The Item Crash for Cross in the original game has Richter summoning a giant crucifix that sweeps up across the screen repeatedly, whereas in here, he simply calls a bunch of boomerangs that fly randomly around the screen.
    • Death's blood is changed from red to white - unfortunately, since the red is part of Death's palette, it results in the pendant around his neck being awkwardly miscolored as a result.
  • But Thou Must!: You can fail to save the girls, save only Maria, or save both of them. There is NO option to save only Annet as the door to Stage 5' will not open if you didn't save Maria. There's no explanation for why this is.
  • Cherry Tapping: The key does minimal damage, but it can still be used to defeat enemies. Somebody has actually defeated Dracula with the key!
  • Composite Character: Carmilla in this game is Annet's transformation if you fail to save her. To add another character to the mix, her attacks, right down to the Last Ditch Move, were clearly lifted from the first battle with Shaft in Rondo of Blood.
  • Demoted to Extra: Maria isn't playable in this version; she only wishes Richter good luck when you save her.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: This poorly received SNES adaptation of Rondo of Blood censored blood in a... questionable manner. They turned all the blood white, which makes what Death is doing when Richter hits him look... funny.
  • Double X: Used by the Japanese title of the game; Akumajō Dracula XX.
  • Evil Laugh: Dracula's teleportations have him laughing evilly. When he turns into his demon form, it is accompanied by a deepening one.
  • Face–Monster Turn: Fail to save Annet, and she is transformed into Carmilla to serve as the stage 6 boss.
  • Fake Difficulty: The final battle comes off as this, as you fight Dracula on a series of pillars under the constant threat of being knocked into the pits!
  • Flying Face: Flying ghost skulls appear in Stage 5.
  • Knock Back: Getting hit sends Richter back a few paces, usually to a bottomless pit. Getting hit while crouching doesn't have it.
  • Last Ditch Move:
    • The bats that form giant bat boss shoot away at you after the final blow is struck.
    • Ghost turns into a pile of dust upon defeat, and the pile explodes, sending pieces of it everywhere.
    • The werewolf boss does a flaming gound punch before turning back to human and disintegrating.
    • Carmilla will send her eyeballs downward towards Richter before they hit the ground and burn away.
  • Leap of Faith: Falling into a pit in the last section of Stage 3 sends you to alternate Stage 4, and from here only the worst ending can be attained. This is almost never intentional, though, since there are many Bottomless Pits along with tons of Ledge Bats, effectively making this one of the hardest areas in the game.
  • Lethal Joke Item: The key's Item Crash costs no hearts but makes Richter invulnerable, allowing him to dodge attacks with ease. It only damages enemies he touches directly, but he floats higher than a normal jump, allowing him to kill enemies on higher levels from below.
  • Market-Based Title: The subtitle was changed to Vampire's Kiss for the European release.
  • Multiple Endings: The background for the ending credits depends on the girls you rescued. This is notable since Stage 6's boss depends on your current ending path. The best ending path will have you facing off with Death instead of Carmilla.
  • Necromancer: The evil priest Shaft from the original game is replaced by an unrelated wizard named Ghost, who can summon skeletons to its aid.
  • Nintendo Hard: The game is even harder than the original due to Richter's slower speed (though he's no less agile), tough enemies from later levels being in the earlier ones and having a lot more Bottomless Pits and Ledge Bats.
    • And thanks to the aforementioned abundance of pits, it's very easy to get the worst possible ending, as falling into the Alternate Level 4 from Level 3 leaves Maria's fate uncertain and forces you to kill Annet in Level 6. And given how many enemies are there to try and knock you into the pits, trying for a better ending is significantly harder than expected.
    • Also, the only way to even have a CHANCE of saving the girls requires that you picked up the Key just before Level 3's boss fight... and complete Level 4 without dying once or losing the Key to another subweapon.
  • Password Save: A password is awarded alongside with points at the end of each stage.
  • Reformulated Game: Since the SNES version was made on a 16-Megabit (2-Megabyte) cartridge, while the PC Engine version was a CD-ROM game (540-Megabyte), a straight port was pretty much impossible, so the stages were replaced completely to fit into the smaller ROM size. This was also partly due to exclusivity promised to NEC for the PC Engine game. The plot is pretty much the same, except that Maria and Annet were now sisters, the other two girls are missing, and Shaft is nowhere to be seen aside from having his moveset given to Carmilla. Maria is no longer a playable character; when she is rescued, she simply wishes Richter luck.
  • Related in the Adaptation: Annette and Maria were unrelated characters in the original Rondo of Blood. In the SNES Dracula X, they were made into sisters. This relation is referenced in the PS1 localization of Symphony of the Nightnote .
  • Sequential Boss:
    • Ghost has two stages: First one has him summoning skeletons and firing fireballs, and once his health meter goes down, he enters the second phase where he surrounds himself with flying grave stones and summons green mudmen.
    • Death begins by hovering and summoning scythes, but in his second phase he changes outfits and goes for a more melee-based approach.
    • As usual, Dracula turns into his One-Winged Angel demon form in his second phase.
  • Shout-Out: According to Word of God, a copy of the eponymous castle from The Castle of Cagliostro is in the game.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Even if you don't rescue Annet and Maria and fail to get a happy ending, the credits music is still a triumphant remix of "Bloodlines".
  • Take It to the Bridge: The falling bridge segment from the original game's last level is moved to as early as Stage 2.
  • Underground Level: Stage 4', which puts elements from original game's said level into a underground cavern.
  • Video Game Remake: Technically one to Rondo of Blood, which later got a more direct remake called The Dracula X Chronicles for the PSP. Rondo of Blood and its sequel Symphony of the Night were included as unlockables, but the SNES Dracula X wasn't.
  • The Worm That Walks: The boss from Stage 2 is a group of bats that come together to form one giant bat. It turns back to them when hit, and moves around the arena.

Alternative Title(s): Castlevania Vampires Kiss