Super Castlevania IV

aka: Akumajō Dracula, Castlevania 4, 惡魔城
Moby ID: 6619
SNES Specs

Description official descriptions

Super Castlevania IV is, story-wise, a remake of the first game in the series. Set in the year 1691, the game casts the player in the role of Simon Belmont, a vampire hunter armed with a powerful whip, on a quest to defeat the evil Count Dracula in his castle. Despite the identical plot, the six castle stages have different layouts and themes; also, five initial stages that depict Simon's advancement towards the castle through various environments have been added.

The gameplay consists of traversing timed, linear platform stages, defeating enemies with the whip or sub-weapons that require collecting hearts and can be found by destroying parts of the scenery. Simon's stand-out ability in this installment are eight-directional attacks with his whip, which allow him, among others, to damage enemies standing below and above him. Holding out the whip will block enemy attacks. Simon can also latch his whip on special grappling points to swing over pits and obstacles. Game progression is saved by passwords given to the player after a stage has been completed.

Visually, the game uses hardware "Mode 7" effects such as parallax scrolling, rotating rooms, and pseudo-3D objects in some locations.

Spellings

  • 悪魔城ドラキュラ - Japanese spelling

Groups +

Screenshots

Promos

Credits (SNES version)

15 People (14 developers, 1 thanks)

Main Programmer
Player Programmer
Enemy Programmer
Main Designer
VRam Designer
Object Designer
Sound Designer
Super Voice
  • Akkun
Total Director
Producer
Special Thanks
  • Konami Kurokotai
Presented by
  • Konami
Cover Artwork by

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 88% (based on 44 ratings)

Players

Average score: 4.1 out of 5 (based on 138 ratings with 7 reviews)

One of the best games for the SNES and of the entire Castlevania series

The Good
In this fourth installment of Konami's Castlevania series, the first for the Super NES (With the first three being for the NES which I haven't played) you play the role of Simon Belmont who comes from a family of vampire slayers who have passed down the knowledge from generation to generation and swore to keep the evil powers of Dracula from taking hold through the centuries. Every 100 years Dracula mysteriously regains his power and must be vanquished. This game is actually a remake of the first Castlevania released on the NES but at the same time is very different from the original.

Released in 1991, Super Castlevania IV is a visually stunning and musically historical 2D platform action game even to this day. It showcased the many graphical capabilities of the new Super NES with parallax scrolling, Mode-7 effects such as rotating and spinning rooms that were so convincing it gave some players motion sickness, and some level bosses that were as large as the screen! The graphics are extremely detailed and remains some of the best seen on the Super NES. The music in the game remains one of the best Castlevania soundtracks to this day and does very well in setting the eerie horror driven atmosphere of the game. Sound effects are well done from the sounds of bricks cracking, bones bursting or wolves howling, they're very well done and highly utilize the stereo functionality of the Super NES. Speaking of atmosphere, this game has plenty of it for your enjoyment. The combination of the creepy background graphics and colour palette and mesmerizingly haunting soundtrack and sound effects suck you in and edge you on until you finally vanquish the irrepressible Dracula.

Gameplay-wise it is very fluid and Simon can now whip in 8 directions (The first and only game in the series to date that features this). You also can collect sub-weapons throughout the game such as the axe, boomerang, fire bomb, knife or stop watch which freezes time. You collect hearts throughout the game which are stored in candles which you must whip in order to release them. Each time you use a sub-weapon, it depletes some of your hearts (Separate from your health meter). Difficulty is moderate with the game being enjoyable with the first few levels being relatively easy with progressing difficulty. Some higher levels can get a bit tedious but the atmosphere of the game makes you want to keep going to see more of it in the levels to come.

As far as replayability goes, you are able to play the game on a harder difficulty once you beat it and while you may not want to play it again right away, you can record your password and come back to it in a few weeks to enjoy all over again. This game has no battery-backed memory, so it uses the mentioned password continue system to allow you to continue your game later where you left off.

The Bad
There are times when the game has noticeable slow-down especially when there are many enemies on the screen or when you whip a couple of skeletons and all of their bones go flying around the screen. It can be annoying at times but rarely would cause you to lose a life.

Other than that, I can't think of much else I disliked about this game.

The Bottom Line
This is an example of a Castlevania game at it's finest. A 2D action side-scrolling platformer where your quest to kill Dracula, while not an overly original plot, makes for a delicious gameplay experience which is highly addictive. Definitely a classic. If you have a Super NES it is well worth checking out. Many hours of haunting enjoyment await you.

SNES · by Xantheous (1509) · 2005

Easily one of the most enjoyable platformers for the SNES.

The Good
Super Castlevania IV is the fourth installment in the very famous Castlevania series by Konami. After releasing 3 successful titles on the NES, Konami didn't just rest, on the other hand they provided this gem early in the SNES live. It is basically some kind of remake of the original Castlevania story wise, you also take the role of Simon Belmont in this one, but on the design side it is totally different and improve most aspects of the older games.

Graphically wise, I often do not like early SNES games (prior to 1992), because they often just waste the 16-bit graphics of the console, since designer weren't used to this system, and I tend to prefer late NES games released in the same period. However, Castlevania IV is without a doubt an exception : It fully uses all of the SNES' graphical capabilities, and look just as good as many later SNES games. The look of the hero himself isn't perfect, I think it has some weird color in him. But that is my only small complaint. Every thing else in the game, background, enemies, special effects, looks absolutely perfect. The game does a whole load of very nice usage of the infamous mode-7 at several places in the game. Instead of trying to do dummy 3D, it does a smart use of this mode, featuring big rotating objects, a boss that will go smaller and smaller when you hit him, and at some place a very cool and very frightening rotating room, which won't leave you just forgetting it. However, there is quite some load of slowdowns here and here.

The music is very great, and fit very well the situation. There is also two different boss music (which is a great idea), and many levels are speared in different sections with different music, often a variation about the same theme, which is incredibly cool and more varied that just having the same music over the whole level (and the levels are long). And not a single level shares any music with another, unlike previous Castlevania games. Finally the music of the first level is easily the best music I've ever head in the whole Castlevania series (which globally have excellent music all the way). My only small complain is that a last boss music is lacking, the game re-use the strange frightening intro music for the first part of the final fight, which fills incredibly well the situation making you anger, and the rocking level 1 music is used for the last part of the final fight, helping you to have hope in defeating the final boss. This is fine as it, but why didn't they have a music especially written for the last fight ? The sound effects aren't very realistic, but they are quite exiting and very fun to listen overall.

The gameplay is 100% perfect all the way along. Just like previous Castlevania, you are travelling on side-view platforms, hitting enemies and candles (that hold powerups and score points) with your whip.

The game has standard SNES controls, B jumps and Y attacks. Older Castlevania games on the NES had incredibly corny controls, jumps were impossible to time (your player being jumping always the same distance), and you had to press up and down arrow to climb stairs, else you'll fall in the stairs. Now all this crap is gone for good, and Simon Belmont will always do what you tell him to do. You can time your jumps normally, you just have to press forward to climb stairs, and just press the R button to trow your special weapon, instead of doing that crap up+B combo like in the NES Castlevania games. You can attack not only forwards, but also up and down (in all 8 directions actually) Last, but not least, you can hold the Y button down to release your whip, blocking all projectiles from enemies ! And you can then swing your whip around with the control pad, destroying projectiles and slightly hurting enemies (however, this often won't be enough to seriously hurt them).

The levels are very well inspired and designed. It's always hard to determine what makes levels look like so inspired, but the CV4 levels should be one of the most inspired levels I've ever seen in many platformers. I think the huge amount of non-repetitive background details, the high density of different enemies, and the fact that often whole levels are made around "themes" is what makes them feel so inspired. For example, a particular level in the game is make all of gold. And, like if it was just a random fact, there is a very high density of candles holding gold bags. And guess which color the skeletons are in this stage ? While they are either withe or red everywhere, they are gold in that place. Definitely those levels are a constant surprise when making trough the game for the first time, that you'll never forget it even if you make trough the game after one hundred times knowing all levels by heart. That's just what I call a perfect gameplay experience.

The difficulty is very well balanced. All levels seems very hard on the first try, but you'll eventually pass them all when gaining knowledge. It is definitely easier than CV1 and 3 on the NES, and that is a good thing (unless you are one of those hardcore fans of CV1). It's not easy either, just perfect difficulty for me. If you're a hardcore CV1/3 fan and the easier difficulty bothers you, beat the game and try the second quest.

The Bad
Honestly, there is nothing much to write here. There is really no major issues (nor minor issues also). The only thing that came to me is that they censored some details of the game, like nude statues and blood for the US and European version. While this don't ruin the game at all I'm just against nonsense censorship, especially considering that Nintendo did place nude statues in their own Kid Icarus, and then force Konami to censor their statues. Oh, well.

The Bottom Line
I think this is the best of the Castlevania games I've played, but I did play only the early games, so I don't know much about the others. I think anyone that happen to like the console platformer genre should give a try on this one, because the game is simple very accessible to everyone. Personally I like this one a lot better than all of NES Castlevania games, which a lot of people seems to like. So if you liked them, you'll like this one even more. And if you disliked them, chances are that you may like this one.

SNES · by Bregalad (937) · 2007

The best old-school Castlevania game in the series.

The Good
For years now, fans of the Castlevania series have stood and argued their corner for what they feel is the greatest triumph of the series. For me, and for many others, it is surely Castlevania IV.

The game is a masterclass of music, environment and atmosphere. This game in the series inspires an almost macabre emotion within the gamer, a sense of spine-tingling dark excitement—emotion we use to bolster and enthuse our hero, Simon Belmont, that his diminutive strength overcome the many dark denizens and perils of the night.

Almost from the go you’ll encounter garishly drawn backgrounds, use of dark colours such as purples and greys—dismal tones indeed—the game establishing its setting through an impressive gloomy palette. Graphics appear at times insipid and tasteless, flawed, yet therein lies perfection in capturing setting, locality and feel. In Castlevania IV the experience of the game is everything. Landscapes are anxious, small crumbling towers decay in the backdrop, fell fogs roll in and out, the moon remains vacant in the night sky.

Musical compositions go a long way to assisting the immersive quality of the game. You’ll quickly come to realise this: the sinister introduction sequence is particularly effective through the use of a disquieting piece of music. You will literally feel your spine shudder. Even this is followed up with an eerie title display and music vaguely reminiscent of a Hammer Horror. Orchestral value is significant, with use of strings, cello, flute, and many more—the instruments frequently (and very comfortably) lying atop bass. Compositions are generally short, but take nothing away from them: each is a masterpiece; the collection a remarkable feat of instrument sound engineering and programming.

Castlevania IV doesn’t disappoint with the gameplay. It’s the only 2D game in the series to let Simon cast his whip around at any angle, let if freely dangle as a means of protection, or use it to swing off objects. There’s nothing more satisfying than whipping and dispatching an enemy with a downward forty-five degree angle assault, or making two or three successive whip swings and jumps to a rewarding platter of fowl (yum). There are eleven levels in the game, so it’s by no means small, and the levels vary significantly in feel and design.

The Bad
Admittedly, the game isn’t too difficult, and being able to flick the whip out at angles makes it easy to kill some enemies above you, for example, without becoming embroiled in direct hand-to-hand. The main character, Simon Belmont, is a little slow and sluggish, occasionally unresponsive. That said, when you get into the game, and become more adept at controlling the character and his whip, the fun will begin.

The Bottom Line
The game doesn’t have the depth of Symphony of the Night, the wealth of collectables, the size of the castle, etc. It more than makes up for this however with atmospheric action. Rondo of Blood is often argued a better game, although I think this depends on whether you like its anime style or not. Castlevania IV is infinitely darker, more mature, for the Hammer Horror in you.

SNES · by The Silverlord (3) · 2003

[ View all 7 player reviews ]

Discussion

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Also released May 2019, part of Anniversary Collection, including a Windows version. Andrew Fisher (695) Jun 23rd, 2023
Odd resolution Mobygamesisreanimated (11068) Jul 12th, 2007

Trivia

1001 Video Games

The SNES version of Super Castlevania IV appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Boss names

There are some interesting and quirky boss names in this game. The level 4 mid-boss "Puwexil", the skull with the lashing tongue, when spelled backwards is "Lix Ew Up". The level 4 end boss, a huge rock monster named "Koronot", when spelled backwards is "Ton O Rok". The level 6 end boss, the dancing spectres "Fred Askare & Paula Abgoul" is an obvious and very quirky play on names for Fred Astaire & Paula Abdul.

Version differences

There are differences between the US and Japanese releases of Super Castlevania IV. In Japan, the game is simply known as Akumajo Dracula. The cross on the tombstone at the beginning of the game was removed, for fear that people would be offended by lightning destroying the icon. Also, the name "Dracura" is visible in the Japanese version, but is merely a smudge in the American one.

There was also another censorship issue...the statues in level 6 were originally topless, but a toga was added for American release (why they changed this and not the nude Medusa is unclear). The font used in menus and the status bar is entirely different.

Then there is the gore. The opening logo drips blood. All of that green slime in level 8 was original red, and even bits of gore were cleaned off the spikes in the English release. Cryptically enough, the tears of the crying eyeball thing are still red.

Awards

  • Electronic Gaming Monthly
    • November 1997 (Issue 100) - ranked #20 (Best 100 Games of All Time)
  • Retro Gamer Magazine
    • (Issue 37) - voted #19 in the "Top 25 Platformers of All Time" poll

Information also contributed by PCGamer77 and Xantheous

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Related Sites +

  • Mr. P's Castlevania Realm
    A comprehensive hosted fan "shrine" site dedicated to everything and anything related to Castlevania including Super Castlevania IV. Tips, cheats, walkthroughs, enemy lists, backstories, collectors collections, the Castlevania timeline and more.
  • OC ReMix Game Profile
    Fan remixes of music from <em>Super Castlevania IV</em>.
  • Super Castlevania IV is Hard
    Alex explains why he thinks Super Castlevania IV is too hard
  • The Castlevania Dungeon
    A hosted fan "shrine" site devoted to all the games of the Castlevania series, including the SNES game Super Castlevania IV. Content includes game info/descriptions, plot summaries, various kinds of media (images, MP3s, etc.) and links to other Castlevania-related sites.
  • The Castlevania Treasury
    A fan "shrine" site dedicated to all the games in the Castlevania series including Super Castlevania IV. Includes music from the games, backstories, walkthroughs, trivia details and much more.
  • Video review of the <i>Castlevania</i> series (WARNING: Language)
    The Angry Video Game Nerd, James Rolfe, reviews games in the Castlevania series. In part 3, he reviews &lt;i&gt;Super Castlevania IV&lt;/i&gt; and &lt;i&gt;Castlevania: Dracula X&lt;/i&gt;, both on SNES as well as &lt;i&gt;Castlevania&lt;/i&gt; on Nintendo 64. He mentions &lt;i&gt;Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness&lt;/i&gt; but does not review it.

Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 6619

Contribute

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by PCGamer77.

Wii added by Corn Popper. Wii U, New Nintendo 3DS added by Michael Cassidy.

Additional contributors: Xantheous, Satoshi Kunsai, Alaka, CaptainCanuck, Игги Друге, LepricahnsGold, Thomas Thompson, FatherJack, A.J. Maciejewski.

Game added June 7th, 2002. Last modified April 3rd, 2023.