Akumajō Dracula

The first entry in the famed Konami series, Akumajō Dracula was the birth of everything the eponymous series would come to represent, and would establish the fertile soil from which all subsequent entries would blossom.

Akumajō Dracula

Japanese Title: 悪魔城ドラキュラ Akumajō Dorakyura
English Release: Castlevania (NES, 1987)

Release Date: September 26, 1986
Publisher: Konami
Developer: Konami
Genre: Action Adventure
Product Code: KDS-AKM
Disk Format: Double-sided
Notable Credits: Produced by Akihiko Nagata.  Directed by Hitoshi Akamatsu. Programmed by Nobuhiro Matsuoka. Art by Noriyasu Togakushi. Music Composed by Kinuyo Yamashit and Satoe Terashima. 

Konami’s release of Akumajō Dracula on the Disk System represented the first major release by a third part publisher on Nintendo’s young Famicom add-on. For a company whose game development teeth were cut on Japanese PCs, most notably the MSX, the Disk System must have seemed familiar territory to Konami.

Konami took full advantage of the Disk Cards’ capabilities, and filled Akumajō Dracula with long complex stages punctuated with obsessively detailed sprites, lush atmospheric environments, and an accomplished musical score; arguably the best on the Disk System. The soundtrack would establish the emotional and thematic core of the series’ sound and many tracks appearing here for the first time would become series mainstays and be remixed and resampled in numerous future entries. The score is perhaps second only to Akumajō’s sequel, also a Japanese Disk System exclusive, Dracula II: Noroi no Fūin as far as 8-bit music is concerned.

With Akumajō Dracula, Konami brought genre stylings to standard action adventure game design. Built on striking horror themed visuals and challenging, razor precise game play, Akumajō Dracula carved out its own niche and firmly established Konami as a premier third party developer for the Nintendo Famicom.