Title - Akumajo Dracula (悪魔城ドラキュラ)
Developer - Konami
Game Type - Platform Action
Catalogue No. - SHVC-AD
No. Of players - 1
High resolution scan pack download

In this day and age the name Konami doesn’t always mean quality since they have now gone the way of many game companies by whoring out their IPs to other developers but back in the 16 bit days of the Super Famicom, the name Konami mean quality.  You really knew that you were getting something great just as you knew if you saw the name Acclaim / LJN on a game that your were getting something completely awful.

These days Akumajo Dracula or Castlevania 4 as it was known in English is still a fantastic game 23 years (now 2014) after it was first released however there are some game play points that may have been glossed over back in the day but are inexcusable these days.  The main one being that you can’t jump while on stair cases.  This is so annoying resulting in death many a time.  Another very annoying point is that you can’t jump on to stairs. You just fall right through them!  What’s with that that?  There’s no logic at all behind that type of thinking.  Then there’s the way you are knocked back when hit along with re-spawning enemies.  It is possible to be knocked back in to another enemy and then another.  Again, resulting in death.  But that’s enough of the annoying points.  Let’s talk about how great this game was and still is even now.

Graphically the game isn’t actually that good.  In fact I’d go as far as saying it’s quite messy BUT the effects used in this game and the actual art direction is wonderful.  I’ll never forget the first time I walked in what can only be described as a rotating tunnel from a side on view.  It was truly a revolutionary moment in gaming.  It had never been done before and even now it still impresses.  The game play even though it has the annoying aspects listed above is still so tight.  Every jump you make, every enemy you take out is done because of your skill.  There’s no real cheap shots in this game if you really play well.  Most of the time you die is because of a lack of skill.

The audio is something else.  I don’t care what anyone says, out of the entire Akumajo Dracula series this has the best music hands down.  Sure, other games have great music too but none have the amount of quality tracks as this game.  Every single piece of music is an aural delight.  You’d swear that someone had hidden grand piano and orchestra inside of your Super Famicom.

Akumajo Dracula was directed by Masahiro Ueno (credited in the game as Jun Furano since Konami did not allow the use of real names at the time), who was also the main programmer. His first 16-bit game, Ueno's team possibly started development on it during 1989. Ueno liked the original Akumajo Dracula for the Famicom (NES) the most and wanted to make a pure action game that was similar to it. Many features in Akumajo Dracula were introduced to make it a less frustrating game for players, such as giving them more control over Simon when he walked up stairs, although it still needs a lot of work.  Ueno also worked on both the Japanese and English versions of the game, with the latter featuring some instances of censorship. He was asked to alter the colour palette in the English version in order to remove some depictions of blood in stage eight plus the title screen is also missing the dripping blood.