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Akumajou Dracula X: Gekka no Yasoukyoku / Demon Castle Dracula X: Nocturne in the Moonlight – Sega Saturn

Akumajou Dracula X: Gekka no Yasoukyoku / Demon Castle Dracula X: Nocturne in the Moonlight – Sega Saturn

Castlevania

Platform: Sega Saturn

Developer: KCEN (Sony PlayStation) / KCET (Sega Saturn)

Publisher: Konami

Release Date JP: June, 25, 1998

Genre: Action-Adventure, Platforming

Nerd Rating: Paragon of Perfection

Reviewed by: Juuchi Yosamu

Think you’ve mastered Castlevania: Symphony of the Night? Every nook and cranny explored, every weapon mastered, every boss vanquished? Then I’m here to tell you: “You’re wrong.”

True, being a vampire enthusiast, I was drawn to this game like a moth to the flame but it is the completionist in me that has me coming back, time indefinite. I’ve played through the game 17 times as of today and each time I find something new. An easter egg here, a power up there, a new use for a seemingly worthless item…. this game has so much to offer and it keeps getting better the more I play. “So why the Sega Saturn version?” We can get into that, in depth, after I rekindle some old flames and set ablaze some new ones.

Prologue

You are immediately thrown into the climax of the games prequel: Castlevania: Rondo of Blood. As Richter makes his way to Count Dracula’s chamber, for those of us who have played Rondo of Blood, you may be overwhelmed by feelings of nostalgia. Granted most of mine were throwing the controller against the wall because a skeleton knocked me into a hole after what seems to have been an eternity of Richter’s leisurely pace through a castle filled with monsters and booby traps. This time around Richter is armed with a much more impressive move set. Most impressive of which is his ability to…. run…… my prayers have been answered! A hop, skip and a jump to Dracula’s chamber will bring you to one of the holy grail of Castlevania quotes which, I’m sure you won’t admit openly, you will secretly recite to yourself while your beating things with your belt. Then all those memories of this seemingly indestructible boss begin to surface. Jump, whip, cross, jump, whip…. cross? Dracula is no match Richter’s intense stair master training. Is your blood pumping yet? It might be all those Rockstars or maybe you’re in for one of the best games in history.

Richter standing before Count Dracula about to lay down those words we were all waiting to hear.

Richter standing before Count Dracula (Yes I know this whole scene by heart….. Don’t judge me!)

As much as I enjoy the previous Castlevania titles, sooner or later you get tired of beating people over the head with sub weapons, using your whip and walking like a boss. With that being said, this game is a beast of it’s own while still incorporating the essence of Castlevania.

Synopsis

The story takes place 5 years after the battle between Richter and Count Dracula. Richter mysteriously vanishes leaving no other Belmont to ward off the inevitable rise of Count Dracula and his minions. Maria Renard Richter’s sister in law, goes searching for when, to every ones dismay, the castle of Lord Dracula has been reincarnated. The protagonist is a man named Adrian Fahrenheit Tepes, A.K.A Alucard, a Dhampir who you may remember from his first appearance in Castlevania III: Curse of Dracula. Alucard, the son of Count Dracula,  goes to the castle in order to end his cursed bloodline and finish this timeless struggle one and for all. So lets delve into this masterpiece and uncover why people still say it holds dominion over all the other Castlevania titles.

Graphics & Audio

As to be expected from a Castlevania title, the scenery is beautiful and the sprites are well constructed. Music? Absolutely stunning, Michiru Yamane’s music is profoundly moving, classical, techno, gothic rock, jazz, metal and more. One minute you want to get up and punch holes in the wall and the next you’re sipping a cup of tea in the rose gardens like a sir.

Alternate Endings

I have always enjoyed games with alternate endings. After all the effort you put into the game it feels good to be rewarded for it  and in this game the payout it monumental.

Variety 

Heaven Sword special attack.

Heaven Sword special attack.

You aren’t bound to the use of whips and sup weapons like in the previous titles. Alucard has a plethora of armaments at his disposal including enchanted weaponry, magic spells, familiars and items.

With such a wide selection at your disposal you can choose to get up close and personal or fall back and let your familiars and magic tear your foes asunder.

 Leveling 

Might want to level up a bit before fighting Galamoth.

Might want to level up a bit before fighting Galamoth.

The implementation of leveling can be a great boon to some games or can lead it into ruin but it’s execution in this game was perfectly balanced. It isn’t necessary to grind for hours in order to defeat an opponent but, if you desire or you are having difficulties, you can grind away to decimate your foes in seconds.

Sega Saturn Perks

Playable character: Maria Renard (Maria is a playable character in the Playstation Portable version.)

Both Richter and Maria are both playable from the start.

Richter and Maria have their own intros, endings and themes.

16 new lesser enemies.

2 new bosses.

More equipable items and a few new consumable items.

1 new relic (Genius!)

2 new familiars

Finally… two new areas: Underground Garden and Cursed Prison. (For us who have already played through the game…. You know what that really means….)

~

That is one of the freakiest things I’ve ever seen in my life….

Maria exploring the Cursed Prison.

Conclusion

There are bonuses after completing the game as well as multiple endings and that nagging feeling that you forgot something will keep bringing you back with your magnifying glass. Paired with 3 different characters to choose from makes the replay value on this game extremely high. For those of us who’ve played the PlayStation version, can you live with the idea that your inventory, map completion and enemy list will forever be incomplete? NEVAH!!! This game is one of a kind and was worth every pain staking second of using Sega Saturn’s horrendous controller.

Written by Nerd Bacon

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3 Comments

  1. Is it weird that, at the time, I preferred the Saturn controller?

    I mean, yeah – I got the Saturn first, and I had it for more than a year before I ever touched a PS1… and I came to love the Playstation controller during the PS2 era. But the truth of the matter is that, for me, before the era of dual-stick controls, the Saturn controller was the tops – at least for me.

     
  2. Cool review… I’ve never really played any of the Castlevania series but your description of the music led me to try to find some on Youtube and you’re right, the composer is a genius.

     
    • Juuchi Yosamu says:

      I’m glad I could help spread word of the awe inspiring Michiru Yamane. If I’m right about the music, it goes to reason that the game may be equally moving. Try playing it’s NA release, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. Have you ever wondered why the title of a Castlevania game is usually linked with a style of classical music? (Nocturne, Symphony, Aria, Rondo, Concerto, etc.) I like to think it’s because the music makes you feel like your in the theater listening to those pieces. Give the game a try, it’s game play (which is already damn good) is only multiplied by the combination of the music.

       

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