Black Panthers, also known as Black Leopards, are enemies in the Castlevania series. They are jet-black predators that have lived in the castle for ages. They run at great speed and, in some instances, they are referred to as liquid creatures that take the shape of a panther.
Black Panthers are large shadowy felines that reside in Dracula's castle. These jet-black cats like to sit and wait for hapless heroes to wander by, and then dash at full speed toward them. If they should jump and land behind a hero, they will turn and dash back toward them in an attempt to come back for one more attack. Sometimes, they will stop mid-dash to turn around and charge back toward a hero. Some Black Panthers can assume human-form and are thus called Were-Panthers.
Whenever Soma Cruz gets a hold of their souls, he gains the ability to dash at impressive speeds, creating a sonic barrier around him that will instantly kill weaker enemies and damage stronger ones.
Black Panthers were replaced by other types of similar carnivores in some sequels, but have reappeared in recent installments.
First appearance of the Black Leopard in the series. The first one is encountered near the beginning of the game, lying on a platform of the main hall. When approached, it will quickly pounce forward over Simon and change direction once it lands. It can be easily dispatched with a single strike of the whip (there's no need to crouch). The second leopard is encountered shortly after, on a higher platform. The railing on the background makes it a bit hard to see and thus may take the player by surprise. Another one lies just a bit further.
Black Panthers can also be dispatched with ranged attacks. A well placed Axe will take care of them before they even attack. Alternatively, the player may approach the leopard to a certain distance, jump in place and throw a bottle of Holy Water; if it didn't hit the leopard directly, the bursting flame afterward will provide a few moments of protection, making the leopard run right into it.
Black Leopards behave pretty much the same as in the previous game; however, since in Vampire Killer the player advances through stationary screens instead of a scrolling background, they may get caught unprepared by a leopard that was ready to attack on the next screen. Fortunately, this factor sometimes makes them a bit easier to be dealt with, as the leopard will frequently reach the edge of the screen and exit without even having to attack it.
Skeletal panthers appear in both Rondo of Blood and Dracula X, this time called Were-Panther Skeletons. There are two variants, one that stands on its hind legs and has a wider repertoire of attacks, and the other which is more beast-like and attacks exactly the same as a regular black panther. These simply charge forward and crumble into a pile of bones when destroyed. Similar Wolf Skeletons have appeared in later games.
In Symphony of the Night, Black Panthers can dissolve into a puddle of black liquid that cannot be attacked and cannot attack. They then move to another location, reform, and charge again. This behavior might be a reference to Lodem from Mitsuteru Yokoyama's Babel II, a shapeshifting creature whose favorite form was that of a black panther.
One form of the shapeshifting Shadow boss in Harmony of Dissonance is a black panther. Shadow usually starts the battle in this form, which is arguably the most vulnerable and easiest. The panther only makes runs from one side of the room to the other, occasionally performing leaps in an attempt to catch Juste in midair if he attempts to jump too soon.
Although the Black Panther doesn't make an actual appearance in Aria of Sorrow, its soul does. If Soma fights Graham with the Flame Demon, Giant Bat, and Succubus souls equipped on the last hit of the first phase, he will get to continue to the next room and find a soul-keeper containing the Black Panther guardian soul. This soul grants Soma the Sonic Dash ability, which enables him to run at high speeds and create a shockwave around him as he runs.
Unlike in Aria of Sorrow, the Black Panther does make an appearance in this installment, albeit very late in the game. Only two appear in the entire game, both in the second section of the Abyss. Its appearance is a throwback from its original incarnation in the first game, just lying there in wait for prey to come by. Likewise, the pitch black of its fur and absence of movement makes it hard to see, with its red eyes being the only easily discernible feature to locate it. When approached, it will launch in a fast dash forward; this time, however, if it hits a wall, it will bounce back in a somersault and continue the race in the opposite direction.
In Order of Ecclesia, the Black Panther is an anthropomorphic female panther. Shanoa can obtain the Arma Felix glyph from it, which allows her to transform into a black panther herself. In this state, she can communicate with several cats found along her journey, which will then share their secrets. Furthermore, all feline enemies will now be oblivious to her and not harm her in any way.
|Enemy Data: Carnivores|
|Image||Name - Game|
|When you come within a certain distance of this enemy, he charges you. He's very fast, so make sure you strike your Whip before he strikes you.()|| HP: 1|
| 1. Main Hall|
|'|| Exp: 19|| 1. Entrance Halls|
|'|| HP: 2|
| 1. Monastary, 8. Dracula's Tower|
|'|| HP: 2|
| 7. Clocktower|
|'|| HP: 1|| 2. Entrance|
|Liquid creature. Takes black panther shape.|| Weak: Fire|
| Drop: Meal Ticket, Masamune|| Anti-Chapel|
| ''Abil: Can transform to Black Panther, Sword and Moth.|| Level: 36|
| Castle B: Sky Walkway|
|A jet-black beast that runs with great speed.|| Strong: Bashing|
Weak: Piercing, Slashing
| Soul: Sonic Dash (64%)|| The Abyss|
|A black, female panther.|| Strong: Strike, Light|
Weak: Slash, Flame, Poison, Curse, Stone
Skill Pt: 3
| Drop: Arma Felix (3%)|| Castle Entrance, Library|
|A dark predator that has lived in the castle for ages.|| Exp: 200|| Soul: Red|| Chapter 10|