European box art
Vampire Killer, known as Akumajō Dracula (悪魔城ドラキュラ, officially translated Devil's Castle Dracula) in Japan, is a platform-adventure game produced by Konami and released in 1986 for the MSX2 computer platform in Japan, Europe, and Brazil. It was never released in North America. It was in development around the same time as the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) game Castlevania, which shares the same title in Japan. The MSX2 version of Akumajō Dracula was released in Japan on October 30, 1986, a month following the NES version, making it the second game in the Castlevania series.
In contrast to the more traditional platform gameplay of the NES Castlevania, the MSX Vampire Killer was instead a more open-ended platform game. The game's non-linear design had a similar structure to Metroid released that same year. The game laid the foundations for the open-ended action-adventure platform gameplay later seen in the 1987 title Castlevania II: Simon's Quest, 1997 title Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, and most 2D Castlevania games following it.
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Vampire Killer is seen as unique in the early Castlevania series for containing several features that weren't seen in other games that were intended to be remakes of the original game. For example, to progress in the game, it is necessary to acquire "skeleton keys" hidden in the several rooms within the game's castle, in order to open doors to other rooms. Other keys also have to be found in order to open treasure chests containing useful items, such as shields for protection and speed boots. Merchants can be found along the way (and mostly by breaking open walls with the whip), selling items to the player. While containing considerably different gameplay than the original Castlevania, both games share most of the same background settings, enemies and music.
The unique gameplay features from Vampire Killer were reintroduced to the Castlevania series with Castlevania II: Simon's Quest in 1987 and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night in 1997. As with many other MSX titles such as Metal Gear and Contra, the action takes place one screen at a time in a fashion similar to the original Legend of Zelda for the NES.
- Konami Digital Entertainment Co., Ltd.. Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles. (Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc.). (23 October 2007) Japanese: 悪魔城の城主、邪心の神、ドラキュラ伯爵の復活であった。 Konami translation by Ken Ogasawara: Dracula, lord of darkness, master of the devil's castle, walks among us.
- Kurt Kalata; William Cain. "Vampire Killer (1986)". Castlevania Dungeon. Archived from the original on 2011-12-31. Retrieved 2011-03-01.
- Parish, Jeremy (Aug 01, 2008). "Famicom 25th, Part 17: Live from The Nippon edition". 1UP.com. Retrieved 2011-12-31.
- Vampire Killer (1986) MSX release dates at MobyGames
- Castlevania at MobyGames
- Kurt Kalata; William Cain. "Castlevania 2: Simon's Quest (1988)". Castlevania Dungeon. Archived from the original on 2011-12-31. Retrieved 2011-02-27.
- Gapper, Michael (December 3, 2009). "10,000 years of Castlevania". GamesRadar. Retrieved 2011-12-31.