Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse

aka: Akumajou Densetsu
NES Specs [ all ]
(prices updated 9/21 10:25 PM )

Description official descriptions

Taking place 100 years before the events of Castlevania 1 and Castlevania 2, Dracula the Vampire has risen up to threaten the small village of Warakiya. Citizens who had banished the Belmont family now beg for Trevor Belmont's help in slaying Dracula. In his strange castle, Dracula has been assembling a massive army of undead creatures to sweep the Earth clean of life and bring everlasting darkness. Trevor agrees to help and equips his family's hereditary whip, the "Vampire Slayer", in order to destroy Dracula.

Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse is a side-scrolling platform game. The gameplay is nearly identical to the first Castlevania game. The player takes the role of Trevor Belmont who is able to move left and right, jump, attack with his whip straight ahead and use a special weapon. These special weapons consume hearts, which can be found by defeating monsters or destroying candles. Power-ups include: a throwing dagger, a throwing axe, A time-stopping stopwatch, a cross-shaped boomerang and a vial of holy water. Additionally there is a double shot (II) and triple shot (III) power-up which increases the number of special weapons that can be used at one time. Trevor is defeated if his life meter runs out, and can find a roast turkey power-up to replenish it. Trevor progresses through each level defeating monsters and eventually encountering a boss creature. At different points in the game the player will be able to chose between different paths, which will determine which levels are played.

At the end of certain levels, the player may encounter a companion which can be recruited. Only one companion can accompany Trevor at any time; accepting a new companion means rejecting the existing one. Once recruited, Trevor can change between his own form and that of the companion. Each companion has an independent life meter and has unique abilities such as powerful magic, the ability to climb walls or flight. These abilities may also affect the types of power-ups that appear in candles and the exact function of special weapons.


  • 悪魔城伝説 - Japanese spelling

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Credits (NES version)

19 People (14 developers, 5 thanks)



Average score: 90% (based on 26 ratings)


Average score: 3.9 out of 5 (based on 84 ratings with 4 reviews)

Castlevania III: Action-Packed! Non-Linear! Dracula's Son!

The Good
Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse (Dracula's Curse) for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) is the third and final Castlevania game to be released for the original NES system. In addition to some totally incredible, 8-bit animation, graphics, music and sound effects, Dracula's Curse does retain once nice feature from its predecessor; non-linear game play.

It should be noted that this game is a return to the basic game play mechanics seen in the original Castlevania game. It departures from most of the changes seen in Castlevania II: Simon's Quest, which is probably a good thing for the franchise, although I do not agree with much of the negativity that surrounds Simon's Quest.

Gone are the adventure role-playing game elements found in Castlevania II: Simon's Quest. Instead, Dracula's Curse is entirely a side-scrolling, arcade-action platform game, in the tradition of the first Castlevania game.

Dracula's Curse stars not Simon, but one of his ancestors, by a few centuries. Setting the game before the events in the first Castlevania game is an interesting story choice which could have fallen apart in less skilled hands.

Trevor C. Belmont is just as skilled as Simon in using his whip and other violent weapons to make sure that the undead stay dead. In the “olden days” it would seem that the Belmont had some pretty cool magical powers at their disposal.

In addition to Belmont, the player is able to gain control of three additional characters – each with their own special abilities. The new playable characters breath life in to the series and also help to make the game less linear then the first Castlevania game.

Sypha Belnades is a sorceress who has strong magical spells, but weak physical attack capabilities.

Later on you can control a private named Grant Danasty (who can climb walls and change direction in mid-jump). If you are really good at this game, the you can unlock Dracula's son!

Yeah! That's right! Alcuard, is a dhampir with the special talent of shooting fireballs and transforming himself into a bat. This is probably one of the first (perhaps only) NES games that allow you to take control of a vampire, let alone the son of the game's main villian.

The game play – most notably the ending – will change depending on which character you use or bring along with you on a level. Each of the three allies are helpful in different parts of the game and the ability to switch characters (and backtrack through previous levels) are great, non-linear elements.

Certain points in the game allow you to pick the path that you will take, which also will impact the game play. The game takes place inside a huge Gothic Castle – I count fifteen stages in total – and it is nice to be able to choice an upper or a lower route to your final destination (which is the main hall in the Castle)

The Castle in Dracula's Curse looks amazing, especially the attention to detail paid to the game's backgrounds. The music and sound effects are also impressive. It is about as scary as the Big N would allow a Nintendo game be—outside of Japan.

Combined the incredible visual and audio effects in the game are probably the closest to the survival horror genre. If you want to see a game that pushes the NES hardware to the max, then check out

The Bad
Critics had attacked Castlevania II: Simon's Quest for being too easy as well as for its adventure role-playing game structure. Again, while I do not agree with the critics, the developers of Dracula's Curse clearly listened to what the people disliked about Simon's Quest.

Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse is is not an adventure role-playing game. It is also harder then the previous two games in the original Castlevania game trilogy.

Dracula's Curse does have a password feature, to help stem the tide of total frustration.

Oddly enough, some of the biggest complaints with Dracula's Curse is that failed to fix some of the pesky, game play problems seen in the first Castlevania game.

Whenever your character is hit, he (or she) has the nasty habit of actually moving backwards a bit. This was a trait seen in (too) many NES games.

When dealing with a large enemy or projectile, I can appreciate the rationale behind the "impact" backwards movement.

However, it is just frustratingly silly when every single enemy or projectile in the game has the ability to knock you off a platform, just by touching you.

"Silly" because it does not make much sense, and "frustrating" because, yeah, it can make some of the aspects in the game seem so difficult you shout just about every single profane and bad word you know. You might even invent a few.

Likewise, the control mechanics for climbing up and down stairs can cause some needless frustration. You send quite a bit of time going up and down stairs, it would be nice if didn't feel quite so defenseless while climbing.

The Bottom Line
Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse for the Nintendo Entertainment System features awesome graphics, animation, music and sound effects. It is top-notch, side-scrolling, arcade-action game with some new playable characters and non-lineal elements. Victory against Dracula's Curse will only come to those gamers able and willing to survive the many tricky platforms and vicious supernatural monsters that await you in the Castle's many rooms.

NES · by ETJB (431) · 2014

The last and best Castlevania installment for the NES

The Good
Dracula's Curse is the last installment of the heavyweight Castlevania franchise on the NES and it went out fighting. Konami looked at every feature about the first two games and managed to improve every concept substantially. This is evident from the time you power on the cartridge. Rather than the same side-scrolling filmstrip title screen as seen in the first two episodes, #3 grabs you with a vertical-scrolling filmstrip animation introducing you to the story. Fantastic!

Say a prayer at the ruins of a church and then jump right into the action, whipping those monsters into shape and teaching them to stay dead. Let your eyes feast on the gorgeous graphics every step of the way, from the stained glass windows of the ruined church at the start, to the meticulous inner workings of the clock tower, to the eye-popping landscape below as you are climbing the castle walls. The music, as always, does not disappoint, and remains some of my favorite melodies of any NES game produced.

The lead character's play control is still as slow and awkward as ever. However, that is addressed somewhat by the fact that Trevor can enlist the help of various allies: Grant, the pirate, is nimble and can climb anywhere; Sypha, can attack with powerful spells; and Dracula's own flesh and blood son (wait, do vampires has flesh?) is every bit as slow as Trevor but makes up for it by his capacity to transform into a bat.

I am glad that the creators scaled back on the adventure approach in this game. Trevor still has some say in which path he takes to reach his ultimate goal-- Dracula. But it is not a total adventure as seen in the previous installment.

The Bad
One thing about this game that still sticks out in my mind is the ultra-tedious brick-climbing you had to go through in order to reach Dracula's castle. At one point in the game, these mysterious bricks fall from the sky in a predictable manner. You have to figure out the pattern by trial and error and keep on top of the bricks in order to reach the castle. That is painful. And time-consuming. During this time, you get a good view of the landscape below. However, as more advanced console and arcade systems were gaining ground at the same time this game was released, the slow scene only gave me time to contemplate how neat it would be if the game could perform parallax scrolling to give a real sense of depth and vertigo.

The Bottom Line
Overall, I was very impressed with this game, particularly with the fact that Konami managed to keep the series from getting stale. Excellent! Many series get stale on the 3rd installment since they continually follow the same formula.

NES · by Multimedia Mike (20603) · 2005

A must play, the best NES game made

The Good
Programming was easy, and simple to follow. You could choose your own path from time to time, and pick your own partners if you wanted them.

This game was pretty good on a musical sense, but I still felt left out because of Konami's custom sound chip, the VRC-6 only available on the Famicom system in Japan.

Bosses were tough, but not impossible.

Graphically, the background is great, but the tiles were no upgrade from Castlevania I and II.

The Bad
Level 5A, 7A, 7B, 9 and 10 slowly move in part of it. once you head off the screen, youre dead.

Again, In Japan this game may look and feel the same, but its not the same as the North American version.

The Bottom Line
This game will not disappoint anyone, regardless if youre into action games or not, everyone should play this game.

NES · by Scott G (765) · 2006

[ View all 4 player reviews ]


Subject By Date
Also released May 2019, part of Anniversary Collection, including a Windows version. Andrew Fisher (695) Jun 23rd, 2023


Japanese version

The Japanese version of Castlevania III has a few differences from the U.S. version, but here's the biggest one...

The Japanese version was built around a special mapper chip Konami created, called the VRC6. (In Japan, most third-party Famicom developers used to create their own custom memory mapping chips to enhance the power of the Famicom/NES.) The VRC6 had one special power to it: it allowed the system to play digital instrument samples during music playback, and Konami made major use of it for the Japanese version's music. In short, the Japanese version's soundtrack is better sounding.

Also changed between the two versions were the Hunchbacks (they were frog-like monsters in the Japanese version), some nudity, and the damage system (in the Japanese version, the amount of damage you took depended on what hit you). Trevor's name was "Ralph Belmondo". The zombies, mudmen, leviathan and mummies had more animation to them with slightly different sprites. Instead of having his regular stabbing dagger, Grant uses throwing daggers as his regular weapon (because of this, Grant can only collect the axe and stopwatch as his alternate weapons). Also, the Japanese version is easier than the North American version.


  • Electronic Gaming Monthly
    • December 1989 (Issue 5) - Best Sequel (Forecasting the 1990 Award Winners) (tied with Super Mario Bros. 3 and Phantasy Star II)
    • October 1990 (Issue 15) - Best Nintendo Game of the Year (NES version)
    • February 2006 - #119 out of 200 of the "Greatest Games of Their Time"
    • November 1997 (Issue 100) - ranked #57 (Best 100 Games of All Time)

Information also contributed by Big John WV and CaptainCanuck

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Related Sites +

  • Castlevania Dungeon
    Fansite dedicated to everything and anything Castlevania.
  • OC ReMix Game Profile
    Fan remixes of music from <em>Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse</em>, including the album "Sonata of the Damned".
  • Video review of the Castlevania series (WARNING: Language)
    The Angry Video Game Nerd, James Rolfe, reviews games in the <i>Castlevania</i> series. In part 2, he takes a second look at <i>Castlevania II: Simon's Quest</i> and reviews <i>Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse</i>, both on NES.

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Longwalker.

Wii U, Nintendo 3DS added by Michael Cassidy. Wii added by gamewarrior.

Additional contributors: Roedie, Satoshi Kunsai, Guy Chapman, chirinea, Alaka, LepricahnsGold, Patrick Bregger, Thomas Thompson.

Game added October 10th, 2002. Last modified August 30th, 2023.