Castlevania Legends (悪魔城ドラキュラ 漆黒たる前奏曲 Akumajō Dracula: Dark Night Prelude?) is the fourteenth installment in the Castlevania series, and the third to be released on the Nintendo Game Boy. It was developed by KCE Nagoya and published by Konami in Japan in 1997, and in North America and Europe in 1998.
According to the game's storyline, it was set before any of the previous games in the series and dealt with the origins of Dracula and how his feud with the Belmont family first started. When the first official timeline was published it was retconned out of the storyline. The game now takes place in an alternate timeline, separated from the main chronology.
The year is 1450 and a mysterious man made a pact with an evil deity to become immortal and conquer the world. Having become a powerful Demon King, he summoned evil demons from the underworld and sent them out to overthrow the entire European continent. He became known as Count Dracula, and nobody dared to oppose his might.
The Belmont family, a house of nobles living in a remote area of Transylvania, had a young girl with powers not possessed by common folk. Sonia Belmont was looked after by her grandfather who trained her in the use of his special whip that contained magical powers.
One night, when she was 17 years of age, she encountered the young enigmatic Alucard, and formed a bond with him. He was the son of the feared Count, but he had decided to turn away from him and his evil deeds.
The mansion where Sonia was born was one day suddenly attacked by grotesque monsters. When she returned to find her home in ruins she encountered her grandfather breathing his last. Before he passed away, he passed his whip on to her and told Sonia to use her special abilities to rid the land of evil.
Sonia traveled across the Transylvanian countryside to Dracula's Castle, destroyed Dracula's minions, and eventually defeated the Count himself. After having crossed paths with Sonia, Alucard decided to seal himself away before she would press on to face his father, unable to deal with seeing his father dying as well. However, Sonia gave birth to a child not soon after that would continue both his legacy and that of the Belmont Clan.
The first Vampire Hunter from House Belmont to become legendary. She is a master of the whip and possesses special abilities that normal people do not. ()
The enigmatic son of Dracula. He did not support his father's action and changed his name to his current alias to show that he opposed the Count's evil ways. ()
An immortal vampire and master of the Demon Castle. In his mortal life he made an pact with an evil deity. He gained tremendous power and decided to conquer the world. ()
Castlevania Legends consists of six timed stages, each ending in boss battles. Obstacles such as pits are found along the way, as well as trap rooms that can cause instant death. The control scheme is similar to the previous two Castlevania titles released for Nintendo Game Boy, with a few notable improvements. The option to use sub-weapons has been removed. In addition Sonia is able to slowly crawl, which Christopher was unable to do in the previous Game Boy installments. This move is required to avoid getting hit and to slowly travel through cramped corridors.
Instead of sub-weapons, Sonia can unlock powerful Soul Weapon abilities from defeated boss creatures. Soul Weapons consume hearts and are chosen from a menu by pressing the Select button during normal play. The effects of these abilities include freezing enemies for a short time (Wind), refilling Sonia's health bar (Ice), killing or damaging all enemies onscreen (Fire), fire out a wave of energy that shoots through anyone in its path (Saint), or destroying an enemy and nullifying its projectile attack (Magic). A new ability called Burning Mode can be initiated by pressing the A and B buttons at the same time; this makes Sonia invincible for a limited amount of time, increases her walking speed and makes her whip attacks stronger. Because of this feature the game is considerably easier then its two predecessors.
Because the game was released very soon after Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, its design was influenced by the open-ended gameplay of that title. Multiple paths can be chosen, which often lead to a special item that can be collected. However, there is only one correct route to take to the end of the stage.
Another example would be the hidden stage that can be accessed by finding its hidden entrance in Stage Five, the Cathedral. Playing this stage is essential for getting the special ending because one of the special items that are needed to trigger it can be found there.
The game's regular weapon, the whip, can once again be upgraded by collecting crystals found by hitting candles. Light Mode selectable at the start of the game lets the player start with a fully upgraded whip. Unlike the previous Game Boy Castlevania titles, should Sonia take damage by an enemy, the power of the whip will not decrease to a previous form. When the whip is fully powered, it can launch fireballs straightforward. Another staple that the game shares with the previous two entries is the absence of staircases and their replacement with ropes.
A notable feature in the Japanese version is the option to save after each stage while all previous games in the series except Castlevania: Symphony of the Night do this by the means of a password system. The other versions of Castlevania Legends continue this tradition.
Most of the music of Castlevania Legends was newly composed. However, the first stage notably has a modified version of Bloody Tears as its background music, and the final battle's background music begins with a quote from Vampire Killer.
The music of the game has been commercially released as part of Akumajō Dracula Best Music Collections BOX (2010).
A sound test was originally intended to be featured in the game, but the idea was scrapped. It was programmed and is fully functional, though, and can be accessed by entering a GameShark code once the player starts a level.
- 01. Outside the Castle
- 02. Inside the Castle
- 03. The Clock Tower
- 04. The Top Floor of the Castle
- Hidden Stage: The Hidden Stage
- 05. The Cathedral
- Stage 1 - Creatures Bat
This humanoid bat is an artificial life form created by Dracula's alchemists. It can fly about the arena and attacks Sonia with its brute physical strength.
- Stage 2 - Death Dragon
Once a great dragon of legend, it was slain by Dracula and then resuscitated in a zombified form to serve him for all eternity. It is a very large boss for a Game Boy game, and attacks Sonia with its searing flame breath and using its large bulk to crash onto the ground, causing large rocks to fall upon her head.
- Stage 3 - Grim Reaper
Death has always been Dracula's greatest ally, even in his earliest days as the Dark Lord. As usual, he attacks using his giant razor-sharp sickle and quick speed and agility.
- Stage 4 - Alucard
Alucard awaits Sonia in the keep of Dracula's Castle, where he will test her strength. If she can defeat him, he will allow her to face his father in his stead.
- Final Stage - Dracula
The Dark Lord himself is the final test that Sonia must face. In his first form, the battle is waged in the castle's throne room. He will teleport between several locations and will attack with Hellfire each time. In his second form, which is considerably more difficult, he transforms into a giant dragon-like demon whose body is filled with tormented souls. The head of his body is the target, and it moves between several locations in a set pattern. The player must quickly determine the head's pattern and move Sonia accordingly to successfully dodge all of Dracula's attacks. There are also two pits in the room which must be avoided at all costs.
- Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse — Legends was initially intended as a prequel to Dracula's Curse.
- Castlevania II: Belmont's Revenge — The previous game in the Game Boy series (although not chronologically). Legends is based on the same engine.
- Castlevania: Resurrection — A canceled Dreamcast game that was intended to be a time traveling sequel to Legends from Sonia's point of view.
- Akumajō Dracula X: Nocturne in the Moonlight (Saturn) — The next game developed by Konami/KCE Nagoya.
- Akumajō Dracula Best Music Collections BOX — Contains music from this game on Disc 5.
- Nintendo Power Legends Guide
- Futabasha Akumajō Dracula Dark Night Prelude Official Guide — A Japanese Official Guide for this game.
|Sonia Belmont - Dracula - Alucard|
|Creatures Bat - Death Dragon - Flying Wolf - Grim Reaper - Medusa - Jumping Demon - Executioner|
|Outside the Castle - Inside the Castle - The Clock Tower - The Top Floor of the Castle - The Cathedral|
|Akumajō Dracula Best Music Collections BOX|
|Nintendo Power Guide - Futabasha Official Guide|
|Bestiary - Inventory - Castlevania: Resurrection|