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Haunted Castle

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Haunted Castle
HC logo

HCj logo
Japanese title 悪魔城ドラキュラ
Akumajō Dracula
Developer(s) Konami
Publisher(s) Konami
Released date(s) February 1988 (Japan)
September 22, 1988 (USA)
November 1998 (Europe)
May 25, 2006 (Japan, PS2 re-release)
Platform(s) Arcade
PlayStation 2 (re-release)
Designer(s) Masaaki Kukino [1]
Composer(s) Kenichi Matsubara
Genre(s) Platform game
Mode(s) Single player

Haunted Castle is the name of an arcade game released in 1988 by Konami. In Japan, the game is known as Akumajō Dracula (the name given to all the older Castlevania games), so besides the different name it gained in the west, Haunted Castle is indeed a game from the Castlevania saga. It is one of four Castlevania arcade games released (along with the PlayChoice-10, VS. Castlevania and Castlevania: The Arcade).


The storyline is similar to the older Castlevania titles, in which Dracula wakes up to wreak havoc after a hundred years of slumber and Simon Belmont enters the castle in order to take him down.[2] The most notable difference is the presence of Selena, whom he is marrying at the beginning of the game. She is kidnapped by Dracula during the wedding, prompting the main character to travel to Dracula's castle and rescue her.

The main character and his bride are not named in the English version of the game, but they are given names in the Konami Best Selection Help Video, which also gives a text story of this game. It is not known if the Japanese version of the game gave the characters names.


Haunted Castle is a typical platform game comprised of six levels, which are played through in a linear progression. The player controls the main character, whose primary mode of attack is via his whip. He must fight various enemies which consist partially of skeletons, zombies, fishmen and hunchbacks. By destroying certain enemies, he can switch his weapon to a more powerful chain or sword. In addition, various sub-weapons can be obtained which provide different means of attack, which consist of dynamites, boomerangs, stopwatches, crosses and torches. Hearts are collected to use each of these sub-weapons. The player can only carry one sub-weapon at a time.

Each one of Haunted Castle's six levels conclude with a boss fight: these bosses are generally taken from horror literature or legend, and include Medusa, Frankenstein's Monster, and of course, Dracula.

Character GalleryEdit

See also Haunted Castle Artwork
Image Name Information
Simon Belmont
(Simon Belmondo)
The main character of the game. He was to marry Selena at the village's church, but Dracula interrupted the wedding.
Simon's bride, who was captured by Dracula during her wedding.
The fiend who returned. The main antagonist and final boss of the game.

Critical reactionEdit

Many gamers have criticized Haunted Castle for certain gameplay problems: the main character, whose sprite is rather large when compared to other Castlevania games' characters, is an easy target for enemy and obstacle hits. This is made worse with poor hit-detection.

Another big gripe among gamers is the game's difficulty. The game must be completed in one life. If the main character loses all of his life or falls into a pit, the game is over. While it was possible to continue, the game would start the player off back in Stage 1 after 3 continues. However, the player is given the option of adding additional energy to the health meter in replace of continuing, although it too is limited.

Many assume these factors are what contributed to Haunted Castle's poor sales when it was released to arcades.


In 2006, a small Japanese game publisher called Hamster ported the Japanese version of Haunted Castle, Akumajō Dracula, to the PlayStation 2 as part of their "Oretachi Gēsen Zoku" ("We Are Arcade Gamers") series. The game is an emulated version of the arcade original. Included as bonus material were a mini-CD with the game's soundtrack and a mini-DVD with a music video and half of an instructional playing video.

This port was not released outside of Japan.[3]

Fan SpeculationEdit


Graves in the first boss room

The game's placement in the Castlevania chronology is somewhat disputed as many fans consider it to be a revision of the first game. Technology-wise it predates Super Castlevania IV, another remake of the first game, but the two games seem quite similar despite their varying gameplay.

However, some elements imply that the game occurs in 1695 or 1696, as the graves in the background of the first boss fight show years ending with 91, 92, 93, 94 and 95. Thus, this game would take place before Simon's Quest. Despite this, it is not known how Dracula would be reborn after just 4-5 years instead of one hundred.

Related ProductsEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers Volume 1. Interview with Masaaki Kukino. Szczepaniak. 2014.
  2. Nintendo Power, July 2008, 48
  3. [1]

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