Alucard (Castlevania)

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Alucard
Castlevania series character
AlucardSotNArtwork.jpg
First game Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse (1989)[1]
Designed by Ayami Kojima[2] (Castlevania: Symphony of the Night)
Voiced by (English) Robert Belgrade (Castlevania: Symphony of the Night)
Yuri Lowenthal (Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles, Castlevania Judgment, Castlevania: Harmony of Despair)
Richard Madden (Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2)
Voiced by (Japanese) Ryōtarō Okiayu (Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow, Castlevania: Harmony of Despair)
Mamoru Miyano (Castlevania Judgment)

Adrian Fahrenheit Ţepeş (アドリアン・ファーレンハイツ・ツェペシュ Adorian Fārenhaitsu Tsepeshu?), better known as Alucard (アルカード Arukādo?), is a character in Konami's Castlevania series of video games. His first appearance in the series was in the 1989 game Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse, but he is best known for his role in the critically acclaimed Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, released in 1997. His design in Symphony of the Night was created by Ayami Kojima, marking her first contribution to the Castlevania franchise.

In the series, Alucard is the son of Dracula, the antagonist of the Castlevania series. Due to his human mother, Lisa, Alucard is a dhampir, a half-human, half-vampire. His mother's death and admonition not to hate humanity caused him to take up arms against his father. In Dracula's Curse and Castlevania Legends, he fights against his father alongside the vampire hunters of the Belmont clan, and he is featured as the protagonist of Symphony of the Night. Alucard additionally is present in Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow and the follow-up sequel Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow, where he interacts with the protagonist of both games, Soma Cruz, as the Japanese government agent Genya Arikado (有角 幻也 Arikado Gen'ya?).

Several video game publications have provided praise and criticism on Alucard's character. In Aria of Sorrow and Dawn of Sorrow, where Alucard was present as Genya Arikado, reviewers noted that although he fell into a stereotypical character mold, the greater concentration on supporting characters was a welcomed change from previous Castlevania games.

Conception and design[edit]

Alucard debuted in Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse for the Nintendo Entertainment System, where he was designed by T. Fujimoto and I. Urata.[1][3] He was intended to be a mirror image of his father, as evidenced by his name, his father's name spelled backwards.[1] Much of the original artwork for the game was lost during the Great Hanshin earthquake.[4] Alucard's subsequent appearances would largely be designed by Ayami Kojima, who managed the character designs for Castlevania: Symphony of the Night and Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow.[2]

Kojima's work in Symphony of the Night was her first breakthrough into the gaming industry, and her dark, gothic style borrows heavily from bishōnen-style art.[2] In Aria of Sorrow, Kojima's designs followed the "different route" theme that producer Koji Igarashi was attempting to pursue with Aria of Sorrow by placing it in a futuristic setting.[5] Following this theme, Alucard's appearance as Genya Arikado was made much more contemporary, featuring modern attire as versus the medieval appearance of previous Castlevania characters.[5] Kojima was not present in the design team for Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow, and Arikado, along with the rest of the cast, were drawn in an anime style. Igarashi, also the producer of Dawn of Sorrow, wished to utilize the anime style as a marketing technique due to his belief that the Nintendo DS targeted a younger audience than previous Castlevania games had.[6][7] The anime style would also serve as a litmus test as to whether future Castlevania games would incorporate the style.[8]

Voice actors[edit]

Symphony of the Night was the second Castlevania game to use voice actors for the characters (the first being the Akumajō Dracula X Chi no Rondo for the PC Engine Super CD-ROM², which released only in Japan at the time).[9] The Japanese voice actor for Alucard was Ryōtarō Okiayu, and the English voice actor was Robert Belgrade. In Castlevania The Dracula X Chronicles, Castlevania Judgment and Castlevania: Harmony of Despair, Alucard was English voiced by Yuri Lowenthal. Igarashi noted that due to fan complaints over the poor voice acting in a majority of the original cast in Symphony of the Night, a new script for the game better translating the original Japanese text, as well as a set of new voice actors were used.[10][11]

Appearances[edit]

In the 1989 Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse for the NES, Alucard is initially a boss encountered over the course of the game by the primary protagonist, Trevor Belmont. If the player defeats Alucard, he can be utilized as a playable character in the game.[12] This was a significant departure from the first two Castlevania games for the NES, and the fourth installment on the Super NES, which only featured Simon Belmont as the primary playable character, and Alucard's abilities, a fireball attack and the ability to transform into a bat, were unique elements introduced into the series.[1][12] Following the defeat of Dracula and the game's conclusion, Alucard voluntarily goes into a protracted sleep to ease his feelings of patricide and to prevent his powers from harming the world.

Alucard's following appearance in the series is in the 1997 Castlevania: Symphony of the Night for the PlayStation and Sega Saturn, where he is featured as the game's protagonist and primary playable character.[4] He is described as a man of great strength and inhuman beauty. Due to the brainwashing of the current member of the Belmont clan, Richter Belmont, Alucard heads to his father's castle to find Richter and ensure that Dracula does not return into the world.[9] He encounters Richter, who has been controlled by the dark priest Shaft into believing he is the lord of Dracula's castle, and Alucard manages to free him from the spell controlling him.[13] In response, Shaft creates an inverted version of Dracula's castle for Alucard to travel through, and Alucard defeats Shaft, and ultimately, Dracula as well.[14][15] Symphony of the Night also expands on Alucard's background, revealing how his human mother, Lisa, was hunted down and executed by humans who believed her to be a witch.[16] Despite this, Lisa admonished Alucard to respect humans and not hate them as his father did.[17] Alucard's placement as a protagonist was unusual for the series up to that point, as previous Castlevania games had featured often members of the Belmont clan as the protagonists.[18] Symphony of the Night would later be re-released as part of the Xbox Live Arcade for the Xbox 360,[19] on the PlayStation Network for the PlayStation 3,[20] and part of Castlevania The Dracula X Chronicles, a compilation that contained Symphony of the Night alongside Akumajō Dracula X Chi no Rondo.[10] Aside from the changing of the script and Alucard's voice actor to Yuri Lowenthal, his role in the Symphony of the Night portion of The Dracula X Chronicles remains the same.[10]

The 1997 Castlevania Legends for the Game Boy was Alucard's third appearance in the series. Similar to his initial appearance in Dracula's Curse, he is a boss challenging the skills of the game's protagonist, Sonia Belmont. After she defeats him, he accepts her strength and decides to submerge his powers by sleeping, believing that she will defeat Dracula in his stead.[21][22] Koji Igarashi later removed Castlevania Legends from the official canon of the series, meaning that the plot of the game never occurred in the series' continuity.[23][24]

In the 2003 Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow for the Game Boy Advance, Alucard is present in disguise as the enigmatic Japanese government agent Genya Arikado in order to prevent the powers of his father, who was finally killed by Julius Belmont, from ending up in the wrong hands.[25][26][27] He meets the game's protagonist, Soma Cruz, and explains his "power of dominance," or his ability to absorb the souls of the monsters he defeats and use their abilities.[28] He instructs him to seek out the castle's throne room, where Soma realizes that he is Dracula's reincarnation.[29] Arikado subsequently advises Soma to destroy the flow of chaos in the castle to free himself from his fate, which Soma succeeds in doing.[30]

Alucard reprises his role as Arikado in the sequel to Aria of Sorrow, the 2005 Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow for the Nintendo DS, where he works to stop the machinations of a cult headed by Celia Fortner to create a new dark lord by killing Soma.[31] Arikado initially requests that Soma does not become involved, but gives him a letter and talisman from Mina when he encounters him later in the game.[32] After both of Celia's "dark lord's candidates," Dmitrii Blinov and Dario Bossi, are defeated, Arikado stops Celia's attempt to force Soma to awaken into the new dark lord, but inadvertently allows Dmitrii to revive himself.[33][34] He confronts him, but is stopped when Dmitrii uses Celia as a sacrifice to seal his powers.[35] Following Soma's battle with Menace, a giant demon that sprouts from Dmitrii, Arikado explains to Soma that he is not destined to become the dark lord, nor does he need to.[36] In the game's Julius Mode, Arikado is playable as Alucard after he is found in the castle.[37]

Alucard was one of the playable characters in Castlevania Judgment for the Wii, a fighting game based on the series.

Alucard appears in Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate, a chapter of the Lords of Shadow reboot series. It is revealed that this version of Alucard was originally Trevor Belmont, the son of Gabriel and Marie Belmont, before being turned into a vampire. Trevor grew up not knowing of his true origin until the Brotherhood of Light reveals to him who his parents were. Believing that his father, Gabriel who became Dracula, murdered his mother in cold blood, he decides to pursue him, in the hopes of destroying him and bringing peace. During the fight Trevor is defeated and stabbed with his Combat Cross. Dying and gazing at the Mirror of Fate he finally realizes the truth of what really happened to Gabriel and feels sorry for him, calling him his father. Dracula feeling confused, gazes at the mirror as well and learns who Trevor was all along. Remorseful and horrified for killing his own son who had been unknown to him the entire time, Dracula desperately tries to bring him back to life by giving him his blood, which seems to be in vain. Dracula mourns over his loss, and places Trevor in a coffin with the name Alucard, since he never learned his son's real name. Many years later Alucard awakens, with pale white skin, white hair, and glowing orange eyes. He meets up with Dracula and his own son, Simon. Alucard tries to finish what he started, angry that his father turned him into a vampire. Dracula asks Alucard to join him in remaking the world and destroying the brotherhood, but Alucard refuses. Dracula proceeds to attack Simon for being a Belmont, wishing to end the Belmont bloodline due to his hatred of his past life. Alucard and Simon manage to defeat Dracula, and part ways as Dracula's castle crumbles.

Alucard appears in the sequel Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 as a supporting character. Since the game takes place centuries later, Alucard's personality and standing towards his father has drastically changed. He believes that Dracula can still be redeemed and makes it his goal to free the world from tyranny and vanquish the evil that had corrupted him and his father. He concocts a centuries spanning plan to put his father into a deep sleep by piercing his heart with the Crissaegrim sword, in order to make both the lord of the dead, Zobek and Satan himself, believe that Dracula is dead, so they can come out in the open. Once they do, Alucard would remove the sword so Dracula can resurrect and then destroy Zobek and Satan for good. Dracula agrees with his son's plan and awakens centuries later during modern times. Throughout the game Alucard also appears as a younger Trevor Belmont and guides Dracula through his Castle to help him recover his old powers and missing memories. In order to not draw suspicion to his plan, Alucard masquerades himself as Zobek's Lieutenant and eventually reveals his true identity to his father once he remembers their pact. They destroy Zobek and Satan and appear to be on good terms in the end. Alucard is also the protagonist of the DLC Revelations, taking place shortly prior to the events of the game.

Reception[edit]

Alucard has received praise and criticism from several video game publications, primarily concentrating on his role in Symphony of the Night. GameSpot featured him in their article "All Time Greatest Game Hero".[38] In a review of Symphony of the Night, RPGFan celebrated the fact that Alucard was not a member of the Belmont clan, the protagonists of most Castlevania games, and that the fact he was Dracula's son added "an element of depth to the plot" due to the varied reactions he would receive from the inhabitants of Dracula's castle.[18] RPGamer disagreed with this assessment, noting that the plot and Alucard's role "isn't very deep" and secondary to the concentration on gameplay.[39] GameSpot called Alucard's sprite and running animation "easily some of the most impressive visuals in the entire Castlevania library."[9] James Paul Gee of CiteSeer noted that "even though Alucard is a vampire hunter, he has no distinctive skills associated with this profession".[40] In 2012, GamesRadar ranked him as the 91st best hero in video games.[41] Empire also included Alucard on their list of the 50 greatest video game characters, ranking him as 34th.[42]

Alucard's appearance in Aria of Sorrow and Dawn of Sorrow as Genya Arikado was also noted by reviewers. RPGamer celebrated how the greater concentration on supporting characters, including Arikado, were a welcome change from previous Castlevania games.[43] RPGFan derided Arikado's "cool and impassive personality" as stereotypical, but praised the game's character development as setting him apart from previous supporting characters in the series.[44] The switch to an anime style for the character designs in Dawn of Sorrow was notably criticized, as many reviewers preferred the designs made by Ayami Kojima. GameSpy deplored the "shallow, lifeless anime images" and IGN called the images "down to the level of 'generic Saturday morning Anime' quality."[45][46]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Bozon Mark (2007-01-18). "IGN: Castlevania: The Retrospective - Page 2". IGN. Retrieved 2008-02-17. 
  2. ^ a b c "Creative Uncut - Artist Profile: Ayami Kojima". Creative Uncut. Archived from the original on 25 January 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-17. 
  3. ^ "Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse for NES - Technical Information, Game Information, Technical Support". GameSpot. Retrieved 2008-02-17. 
  4. ^ a b Kalata, Kurt (2006-07-26). "Tales From The Crypt: Castlevania 20th Anniversary Blowout from 1UP.com - Page 2". 1UP.com. Retrieved 2008-02-16. 
  5. ^ a b Nutt, Christian (2003-01-18). "GameSpy: Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow Preview". GameSpy. Archived from the original on 10 February 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-17. 
  6. ^ Barres, Nick Des. "TGS2005 - Koji Igarashi". playonline.com. Retrieved 2007-02-18. 
  7. ^ Sheffield, Brandon (2005-08-15). "Whip Smart: Konami's Koji Igarashi On Mastering Castlevania". Gamasutra. Retrieved 2007-02-18. 
  8. ^ Payton, Ryan (2005-11-03). "A new art style for Castlevania". 1UP.com. Retrieved 2007-02-18. 
  9. ^ a b c Whalen, Mike; Varanici, Giancarlo (1998-09-10). "The History of Castlevania - Page 11". GameSpot. Retrieved 2008-02-17. 
  10. ^ a b c Shoemaker, Brad (2007-02-02). "Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles Hands-On First Look". GameSpot. Retrieved 2008-02-18. 
  11. ^ Rorie, Matthew (2007-07-12). "E3 '07: Castlevania Dracula X Chronicles Hands-On". GameSpot. Retrieved 2008-02-18. 
  12. ^ a b Whalen, Mike; Varanici, Giancarlo (1998-09-10). "The History of Castlevania - Page 5". GameSpot. Retrieved 2008-02-16. 
  13. ^ Konami (1997-10-02). "Castlevania: Symphony of the Night". PlayStation. Konami. "Richter: Ma... Maria? / Maria: Richter. / Richter: You saved me." 
  14. ^ Konami (1997-10-02). "Castlevania: Symphony of the Night". PlayStation. Konami. "Alucard: It seems your power is insufficient. / Shaft: Five years, five years to gather my powers for this, and all for not. / Alucard: You claimed to love the darkness, go then and dwell there for all eternity." 
  15. ^ Konami (1997-10-02). "Castlevania: Symphony of the Night". PlayStation. Konami. "Alucard: Go back whence you came, trouble the soul of my mother no more. / Dracula: H...how...how, how is it I've been so defeated?" 
  16. ^ Konami (1997-10-02). "Castlevania: Symphony of the Night". PlayStation. Konami. "Dracula: You have ever been the ally of humans. Have you forgotten what they did to your mother?" 
  17. ^ Konami (1997-10-02). "Castlevania: Symphony of the Night". PlayStation. Konami. "Dracula: What...what were Lisa's last words? / 'Alucard: She said do not hate humans. If you cannot live with them, then at least do them no harm. For theirs is already a hard lot. She also said to tell you, that she will love you for all of eternity." 
  18. ^ a b Gann, Patrick (2007-12-10). "RPGFan Reviews - Castlevania: Symphony of the Night". RPGFan. Retrieved 2008-02-17. 
  19. ^ Sinclair, Brendan (2007-03-16). "Castlevania sinks fangs into XBLA next week". GameSpot. Retrieved 2008-02-18. 
  20. ^ Bishop, Sam (2007-11-29). "Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (PSN) Review". IGN. Archived from the original on 14 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-02. 
  21. ^ Konami (1997-11-27). "Castlevania: Legends". Game Boy Color. Konami. "Alucard: Ooww! I had no idea you had become so strong. / Sonia: Oh, Alucard! / Alucard: It looks like this time it is I who have learned a lesson. / Sonia: Alucard, did you purposely...? / Alucard: No, Sonia. You have made me believe in your strength." 
  22. ^ Konami (1997-11-27). "Castlevania: Legends". Game Boy Color. Konami. "Alucard: Do not trouble yourself about it, Sonia. Now, I must sleep. I fear we shall not meet again. Farewell, my beloved, my beautiful vampire hunter." 
  23. ^ Bozon Mark (2007-01-18). "IGN: Castlevania: The Retrospective - Page 6". IGN. Retrieved 2008-02-18. 
  24. ^ Kalata, Kurt (2006-07-26). "Tales From The Crypt: Castlevania 20th Anniversary Blowout from 1UP.com - Page 5". 1UP.com. Retrieved 2008-02-18. 
  25. ^ Konami (2003-05-06). "Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow". Game Boy Advance. Konami Tokyo. "Yoko: You've met Aluca... um, I mean, Genya Arikado right" 
  26. ^ Konami (2005-10-04). "Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow". Nintendo DS. Konami Tokyo. "Genya Arikado: You're late, Julius. / Julius Belmont: Arikado? Or should it be Alucard? / Alucard: That doesn't matter. I had to transform to draw out my full power." 
  27. ^ Konami (2003-05-06). "Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow". Game Boy Advance. Konami Tokyo. "J: My real name is JULIUS BELMONT. I am a descendent of a clan that has fought against Dracula for ages. / Soma: And that person who destroyed Dracula in 1999 was... / Julius: Yes. It was me..." 
  28. ^ Konami (2003-05-06). "Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow". Game Boy Advance. Konami Tokyo. "Arikado: So it has awakened. / Soma: What? What has? / Arikado: The spirit of the creature you killed has just entered your body. You have the power to absorb the abilities of the monsters you kill." 
  29. ^ Konami (2003-05-06). "Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow". Game Boy Advance. Konami Tokyo. "Soma: Finally... I clearly understand... everything. I am... Dracula." 
  30. ^ Konami (2005-10-04). "Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow". Nintendo DS. Konami Tokyo. "From the Library Menu: Soma Cruz: The rebirth of Dracula, he has the ability to dominate the souls of monsters and use their powers as his own. A year ago, he learned that he was destined to become the dark lord. However, he overcame the chaos that raged within and escaped that fate." 
  31. ^ Konami (2005-10-04). "Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow". Nintendo DS. Konami Tokyo. "Genya Arikado: They want to resurrect the lord of darkness. Like some sought to do with Dracula. / Soma Cruz: I guess they don't like the fact that I didn't become the 'lord of darkness'. / Genya Arikado: Not only that, they intend to create a new lord by eliminating you." 
  32. ^ Konami (2005-10-04). "Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow". "Genya Arikado: Also, Mina entrusted me with this. It's for you. / Soma Cruz: What? A letter? And a talisman?" 
  33. ^ Konami (2005-10-04). "Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow". Nintendo DS. Konami Tokyo. "Genya Arikado: That Mina is a fake! / Celia Fortner: Arikado! Why must you always get in the way? / Genya Arikado: How clever of you to use a Doppelganger. Ah, but you haven't won just yet..." 
  34. ^ Konami (2005-10-04). "Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow". Nintendo DS. Konami Tokyo. "Dmitrii Blinov: I should thank my lucky stars for making good my escape. I managed to loosen myself when the boy's emotions shifted momentarily. / Celia Fortner: I thought you'd died... / Dmitrii Blinov: Shedding my former body was a desperate gamble. But it has worked out quite well." 
  35. ^ Konami (2005-10-04). "Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow". Nintendo DS. Konami Tokyo. "Soma Cruz: You killed your own ally? / Dmitrii Blinov: She had always dreamed of seeing the dark lord. She served me to the end in my becoming. She should feel honored. Not only that, she even helped me take care of that pesky Arikado. / Soma Cruz: ?! / Genya Arikado: He's right. His sacrifice reversed the flow of my dark power" 
  36. ^ Konami (2005-10-04). "Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow". Nintendo DS. Konami Tokyo. "Soma Cruz: Then that means there will always be a need for a dark lord. All because I ducked out from becoming the next in line! / Genya Arikado: Don't misconstrue me! Perhaps there is a need for the dark lord...But there is no reason at all for you to become the dark lord. / Soma Cruz: But if it weren't for me, none of this would have happened! / Genya Arikado: You're neither a god nor a demon. You're only human. You have no chance at ever achieving perfection. Or are you saying you want to be the dark lord? / Soma Cruz: No...Of course not." 
  37. ^ Pavlacka, Adam (2005-10-04). "Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow Review| Nintendo DS Game Reviews". Yahoo! Games. Retrieved 2008-02-18. [dead link]
  38. ^ "All Time Greatest Game Hero - The Standings". GameSpot. Archived from the original on 6 October 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-15. 
  39. ^ Jackson, Jordan. "RPGamer > Staff Retroview > Castlevania: Symphony of the Night". RPGamer. Retrieved 2008-02-17. 
  40. ^ Gee, James Paul (2007). "Pleasure, learning, video games, and life: The projective stance". A new literacies sampler (CiteSeer) 29. ISSN 1523-9543. CiteSeerX: 10.1.1.128.3508#page=105. 
  41. ^ "100 best heroes in video games". GamesRadar. Retrieved April 20, 2013. 
  42. ^ "The 50 Greatest Video Game Characters - 34. Alucard". Empire. Retrieved August 2, 2013. 
  43. ^ Boulette, Bryan. "RPGamer > Staff Retroview > Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow". RPGamer. Retrieved 2008-02-17. 
  44. ^ Thomas, Damian (2005-10-16). "RPGFan Reviews - Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow". RPGFan. Retrieved 2008-02-17. 
  45. ^ Leeper, Justin (2005-11-04). "Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow Review". GameSpy. Archived from the original on 5 February 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-18. 
  46. ^ Harris, Craig (2005-10-04). "IGN: Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow Review". IGN. Retrieved 2008-02-18.