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Castlevania (NES, Famicom Disk System)

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Title Screen


Also known as: Akumajou Dracula (JP)
Developer: Konami
Publisher: Konami
Platforms: NES, Famicom Disk System
Released in JP: September 26, 1986 (FDS), February 5, 1993 (Famicom)
Released in US: May 1987
Released in EU: December 19, 1988

GraphicsIcon.png This game has unused graphics.
ItemsIcon.png This game has unused items.
MusicIcon.png This game has unused music.
RegionIcon.png This game has regional differences.
Carts.png This game has revisional differences.

BugsIcon.png This game has a bugs page
DCIcon.png This game has a Data Crystal page

Castlevania is a whip-crackin' good NES game by Konami. Kill Dracula before he terrifies the world with his atrocious fashion sense!


Read about notable bugs and errors in this game.

Unused Graphics

Cross and Bible

I would claim censorship if these weren't unused in the FDS version, too.

Though unused in the NES version, similar sprites appeared in the MSX2 sister game Vampire Killer as usable items. There are three crosses and two Bibles: Blue crosses work as a long-range boomerang, gold ones clear all enemies on the screen like the rosary item in the FDS/NES game, and silver ones stop enemies from spawning in from the sides of the screen for a short time. White Bibles decrease the number of hearts merchants charge for items, while black ones increase the number. While the Bible is not used as an item, its graphics are partially used as part of the gears in the background of Stage 17 (the clock tower).

Oddly enough, the cross is not present in any of the FDS version's files, which may imply that some of the NES version's graphics were copied from older source files.

Bonus Items

I walked to get some coffee, but was stopped by two puppies holding a love letter...

Along with the standard crown, chest, and Konami™ brand moai head, some rather unusual bonus item graphics can be found in level 2's sprites. Is that a basket of...puppies?

Unused Subweapons

CV NES Rosary.png

There are three unused subweapon IDs in the game, though only one of them seems to have any unique code remaining. Change RAM address $15B to one of the following values to see the corresponding weapon in action:

  • 0A: Subweapon variant of the Rosary item, which kills all on-screen enemies (excluding bosses). It acts exactly like the regular item version, but does not play a sound when used, and has unique code that prevents you from activating it again until the screen has stopped flashing. Rosary items that would normally drop from candles will turn into small hearts while this is held, much like any other subweapon. Requires five hearts to use.
  • 0C: Alternate axe subweapon, which uses the regular axe's code, but skips Simon's wind-up animation. Appears as a red axe in the status bar, and a normal silver axe when thrown.
  • 0E: Unknown subweapon. Appears as a red 1up item in the status bar, but points to the stopwatch's code and behaves accordingly. An alternate set of status bar graphics has an unused cross graphic in place of the 1up, which might hint at its intended purpose.
(Source: Original TCRF research)

Unused File Select Music

A short tune that plays on the file select screen in the Japanese Famicom Disk System version of the game (documented below). As this feature was removed from the cartridge versions, the track goes unused. The official OST, Akumajo Dracula Famicom Best (KICA-1005; reprint KICA-7901), has it titled "Underground", and it was reused for similar purposes in Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance and Akumajou Dracula THE ARCADE. It also appeared in the Amiga port.

To re enable this music in Castlevania US (PRG1) in the titlescreen. Use Game Genie code: TZTGZP

Revisional Differences

To do:
There's more. Investigate!

Several bugs were introduced or fixed between the various versions of the game; these are documented on the Bugs page.

FDS Versions

Title Loading

In version 1.0, there is no additional loading before the title screen appears. In versions 1.1 and 1.2, there is additional loading after the Disk System license text and before the title screen appears.


In versions 1.0 and 1.1, you must switch to Side B after completing Stage 3 (Block 1-3) and later switch back to Side A before the end credits. In version 1.2, you instead switch to Side B to begin playing and back to Side A right before the confrontation with Dracula on Stage 18 (Block 6-3).

Regional and Version Differences

The game was released in four different formats: the original Famicom Disk System version, a Nintendo Entertainment System cartridge version, a Famicom cartridge version, which was based on the Revision 1 revision of the NES version, and a Classic NES Series version on the Game Boy Advance. Each one has its share of unique features and differences.

Several bugs were introduced or fixed between the various versions of the game; these are documented on the Bugs page.

To do:
See if there are changes in the Famicom Mini version (the GBA version in Japan)

Title Screen

Japan (FDS) US Europe Japan (Re-release) Classic NES Series (GBA)
AkumajouDraculaFDS-title.png Castlevania-title.png Castlevania-title-EU.png AkumajouDraculaFamicom-title.png Castlevania Classic NES Title.png

The title screen was completely redone for Castlevania, although both have a filmstrip motif. Akumajou Dracula's title scrolls in from the left, as opposed to Castlevania's which simply appears. An animated bat was added to Castlevania's title, which flies out of the castle and flaps menacingly at the player until they push the start key or the opening demo starts. Speaking of which, there is no opening demo in Akumajou Dracula—the title screen simply disappears after a short time and scrolls in again.

The Famicom cartridge version enhances the logo slightly with some gray shading and offers an option to switch to easy mode (more on that below). Since the easy mode option and updated copyright text take more space, the title logo has been pushed up and the Konami logo has been removed. The title screen now fades in, instead of scrolling in like the FDS version, and the opening demo from Castlevania is present.


This Konami logo screen is shown before the title screen in the Famicom version, replacing the logo that was removed from the latter.

The Classic NES Series version on the Game Boy Advance has further changes:

  • The TM icon was changed to an (R) icon.
  • "PUSH START KEY" was changed to "START".
  • The ability to save your progress was added. By opening up the emulator's menu (L+R) and choosing "Save", you can start at every third level (1, 4, 7, etc.)
  • The copyright text has several changes.


Why yes, that is a border of skulls, with stakes in their eye sockets, and blood gushing from said staked eye sockets.

Unlike Castlevania and the cartridge version of Akumajou Dracula, where Dracula's castle has to be cleared in one go, the FDS version allows players to save their progress. Up to three players can be saved, which are managed on a very Zelda-esque screen. The current stage is tracked, along with the number of game overs. As mentioned above, the unused music track in the NES version is played on this screen.


FDS NES / FC Re-release
Castlevania FDS Ending.png Castlevania NES Ending.png

In the FDS version your file name is displayed in the cast credits, which makes you the one starring the role of Simon (a nice little detail with the whole movie theme of the game). As the save feature was removed for the cartridge versions this cast credit was adjusted.



Of course, being on a disk comes with disadvantages. The game has to load twice between each level, displaying the castle map in between loads.

Easy Mode

As mentioned above, the cartridge version of Akumajou Dracula features an easy mode, which can be selected on the title screen.

  • Your default amount of hearts is 30 instead of 5.
  • You start with 9 lives per credit instead of 3.
  • Less damage is taken from enemies and bosses.
  • Bosses take double damage from regular attacks and subweapons.
  • Getting hit no longer knocks you backwards. Instead, you just get frozen in place for a split second.
  • You retain your subweapon and double/triple shot powerup upon death, though getting a game over will take away the latter.
  • The double/triple shot powerups are retained when picking up a different subweapon.


  • In the cartridge version of Akumajou Dracula, the countdown of hearts at the end of each stage is faster than in other versions.