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Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse/Regional Differences

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This is a sub-page of Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse.

Title

Japan US Europe
Akumajou Densetsu-title.png Castlevania III Draculas Curse-title.png Castlevania III Draculas Curse EU-title.png

The Japanese title screen is rather barebones compared to the US and European versions, which add the usual copyright and licensing info and arrange the OPENING and PASSWORD options horizontally to fit. For some reason, the European release awkwardly places these in the middle of the copyright info.

The European release also replaces all mentions of Konami and their logo with "Palcom Software", which was a Konami subsidiary that handled PAL conversions at the time.

Music

Stage 1 theme used in US/EU versions

Stage 1 theme used in JP version

The Akumajou Densetsu cartridge uses Konami's VRC6 memory mapper chip which, in addition to bank switching, supports three additional sound channels. When the game was brought to the US and Europe, it was made to use Nintendo's MMC5 chip instead. The MMC5 also supports additional sound, but the NES does not support the cartridge audio pin required for additional sound to work, so the additional sound channels were removed.

Intro

Akumajou Densetsu Castlevania III
They move; trust me. If they weren't planning on scrolling them, they should've finished the white border around the frame!

During the intro scroll, dark clouds sweep in above Dracula's castle in the Japanese version. Castlevania III lacks this animation.

Grant's Dagger

Akumajou Densetsu Castlevania III
ZA WARUDO! Bad stab.

Grant DaNasty's dagger attack was modified for the US and European releases. In the Japanese version, Grant's normal attack acts exactly like the dagger subweapon: Grant throws a large dagger across the entire screen. This does not consume hearts and can be used while clinging to walls and ceilings. Only one of these daggers can be on screen at a time.

In the US and European versions, Grant's normal attack is a stab with a small, hand-held dagger which he cannot use from walls or ceilings. The dagger subweapon has been made available to him, which replicates his attack in the Japanese version but consumes hearts. The subweapon can be paired with the double and triple shot powerups, which allows Grant to have up to three thrown daggers onscreen at once.

Second Quest

In the international version, some enemies have new graphics and behavior after beating the game once.

First Quest Second Quest
Completely idiotic and yet one of the most dangerous enemies in the game. "Imma bite ya!"

Medusa heads become flying skulls with a very erratic and unpredictable flight pattern.

First Quest Second Quest
Extreme Makeover: Zombie Edition. Pimp My Zombie.

The zombies in the main hall-stage get some stylin' robes like they had in the original Castlevania. The emerging from ground sprites went unused as this enemy only appeared in the main hall of the castle.

First Quest Second Quest
CV3-Knights.png CV3-2nd Quest Knights.png

In certain rooms, the knights become stronger, gaining a shield and learning to attack with their spears.

Censorship

Castlevania III managed to slip a lot of religious imagery under Nintendo's radar, but all of the game's nudity has been censored. Some graphics and palettes have also been improved.

Akumajou Densetsu Castlevania III
CV3-NameEntryJ.png CV3-NameEntryW.png

The nude statues seen on the name entry screen and password screen have been given dresses and their shading has been updated. The vines that were originally on the statues were removed. Castlevania III also uses a much more stylish font than Akumajou Densetsu. Amusingly, the opposite went on to happen in Castlevania IV.

Akumajou Densetsu Castlevania III
Stare Nothing to stare.

The same also applies to the nude statues at Block 8-01 in Dracula's Curse.

Akumajou Densetsu Castlevania III
Always thought this looked cheesy as hell. Someone out there is no doubt claiming this is censorship.

The cross in the intro scene originally had a "glowing" effect surrounding it, which was removed in Castlevania III.

Akumajou Densetsu Castlevania III
Oh, boobies. Pettan pettan tsurupettan.

Medusa lost her female characteristics in Dracula's Curse.

Akumajou Densetsu Castlevania III
That's one glitchy sprite. There's even a snake-arrowhead in there. Hey, where's my tits!
Besides the breast reduction, the completely messed up animation frame for her aiming upward stance was cleaned up. Still, three of her animation frames were less than perfect. Her head looks suspiciously mispositioned in one of her aiming straight ahead frames.
Unused.

A few Medusa-tiles went unused in the Japanese ROM, an arm meant for the glitchy animation frame. And a different part of the body found in both ROMs, meant for this frame:

In-Game Unused
Ugly. Much better.
Akumajou Densetsu Castlevania III
Castlevania III Statue JP 1.png Castlevania III Statue US 1.png
Castlevania III Statue JP 2.png Castlevania III Statue US 2.png

The leftmost statue where you meet Sypha and the similar one where you fight the Bone Dragon King received additional clothing. Interestingly, a statue depicting the same woman does appear in headless form on the first stage of the game, but that one was left unaltered in the international release.

Other Graphic Differences

Hmmm...
To do:
Rip the sprites for the Double Dragon.
Akumajou Densetsu Castlevania III
This hideous mess is actually the same sprite; it just uses pink in place of black. They forgot to switch the dark and light colors! CV1 had them in the opposite order for its blue and beige palette.

In the Japanese version, the thrown holy water sprite lack the black outline it has in the original Castlevania. This was fixed in the international versions but somehow it ended up with a reverse color palette.

Akumajou Densetsu Castlevania III
He looks bored and not at all threatening. Extreme Makeover: Zombie Edition.

The zombies were almost entirely overhauled for Castlevania III. The emerging from ground sprite was completely redone.

Akumajou Densetsu Castlevania III
Annoying little ass. Now with spikes!

The toads get more spikes and look angrier in the international versions. Only the Akumajou Densetsu toads flash when they're attacking.

Akumajou Densetsu Castlevania III
CVIII Eyeball JP.png CVIII Eyeball US.png

The Eyeballs are less bloodshot in the international versions.

Akumajou Densetsu Castlevania III
oooooooooh. I look more macho now!

The Mummies were overhauled in the international versions, dropping the zombie pose completely. Their projectile was also redrawn.

Akumajou Densetsu Castlevania III
Aww!! Ain't it just the cutest little face gnawler?! I had a nightmare about these guys in the original when I was five or so. Level 4 was terrifying.Satan in flea form?

The ghoul rabbit's sprites were replaced by those of the fleaman enemy from the original Castlevania, which behaved identically. The jumping frame was also updated, but went unused in Castlevania III, and in fact appears to be a leftover of an earlier redesign.

Akumajou Densetsu Castlevania III
This is not a bat. This is a bat.

The Bad Bat boss' palette was also changed. In Akumajou Densetsu, the Bad Bat will flash with the player's colors when hit, whereas the Castlevania III one flashes with its own designated palette when hit.

Akumajou Densetsu Castlevania III
I look drab. Dude, where's my tail?

The Lesser Demon received a complete graphical overhaul in Castlevania III.

In addition, his fireball attack was changed:

Akumajou Densetsu Castlevania III
Castlevania III Leviathan Fireballs JP.png Castlevania III Leviathan Fireballs US.png

In the Japanese version, the Lesser Demon spits two smaller fireballs in any direction. In the international version it was changed to three bigger ones which travel in an arc.

Akumajou Densetsu Castlevania III
Look ma, I can shoot downwards. Oi! My fire looks like fire now.

The Water Dragon bosses in Akumajou Densetsu can breathe flames downward, and hold the attack longer no matter the direction. Their Castlevania III brethren can only breathe flames directly forward. The graphics of both the dragons and their flames were also updated.

Akumajou Densetsu Castlevania III
Parley? Parley!
He knows you are a girl, Sypha. Maybe not.
Friends Forever. A certain mage is missing in this picture.

Trevor switched his shaking hands between regions in order to fix some very awkward handshakes with Grant and Sypha (Alucard also had to be redrawn as a result).

Also, for some reason, one of the cracks below the pyramid-like structure in the background was replaced with a skull.

Akumajou Densetsu Castlevania III
Castlevania III BLK 4-01 JP.png Castlevania III BLK 4-01 US.png
Castlevania III BLK 4-02 JP.png Castlevania III BLK 4-02 US.png

A few segments of the Murky Marsh received a graphical overhaul - the backgrounds were changed and received a different palette along with added rays of light shining through from above. The mud was also given a different texture throughout the stage.

Akumajou Densetsu Castlevania III
I gotta admit, this actually looked ugly. Much better.

The Catacombs' palette in the early part of the stage was changed in the international version.

Akumajou Densetsu Castlevania III
Castlevania III Spiky Platforms JP.png Castlevania III Spiky Platforms US.png

The Deadly Towers' spiky platforms received a different palette in the international version.

Boss Rooms

Akumajou Densetsu Castlevania III
Castlevania III Statue JP 1.png Castlevania III Statue US 1.png

In Akumajou Densetsu, you are safe from damage on the lower blocks at the edges of the screen where you fight Cyclops, as he cannot clip through the blocks and walk to the end of the screen as he does in Castlevania III. In addition to the changed boss behaviour, the graphic was modified at the bottom right corner so that the boss (and characters when leaving the stage) have something to walk on.

Akumajou Densetsu Castlevania III
Whoops. Much better.

The coffin doors for the bosses at the Haunted Ship of Doom do not open proper like similar coffins in later stages in Akumajou Densetsu. This was fixed in Castlevania III. Also, international versions removed one safe spot by adding two more blocks above the void located at the bottom right corner, making the battle tougher as the bosses can now walk to the end of the screen.

Akumajou Densetsu Castlevania III
Castlevania III Boss Room BLK5 JP.png Castlevania III Boss Room BLK5 US.png

In Block 5 on Sypha's route, a few blocks were removed from the bottom left corner where Frankenstein's Monster enter the room in the international release. This was probably done in order to not make it seem like he walked right through the blocks. The background was slightly altered as well.

Akumajou Densetsu Castlevania III
Castlevania III Boss Room BLK7 JP.png Castlevania III Boss Room BLK7 US.png

The bottom left and right blocks where you fight the Mummies, Cyclops and Leviathan on Block 7 were removed from the international release in order to make the battle a bit tougher.

Akumajou Densetsu Castlevania III
Castlevania III Boss Room BLK7-07 JP.png Castlevania III Boss Room BLK7-07 US.png

The boss room in Block 7 on Alucard's route was treated in a similar manner. Two blocks were removed from the bottom left corner and two were added in the bottom right corner.

Akumajou Densetsu Castlevania III
Castlevania III Boss Room BLK9 JP.png Castlevania III Boss Room BLK9 US.png

The room where you fight the Doppelganger in Block 9 were also changed in the international version.

Credits

Akumajou Densetsu Castlevania III
Castlevania III Sypha JP.png Castlevania III Syfa US.png
Castlevania III Ralph JP.png Castlevania III Trevor US.png

"Sypha" was changed to "Syfa" and "Ralph Belmond" was changed to "Trevor C.Belmont." The filename was also repositioned.

Alternate Credits

Akumajou Densetsu Castlevania III
Castlevania III Credits 1 JP.png Castlevania III Credits 1 US.png
Castlevania III Credits 2 JP.png Castlevania III Credits 2 US.png
Castlevania III Credits 3 JP.png Castlevania III Credits 3 US.png
Castlevania III Credits 4 JP.png Castlevania III Credits 4 US.png

The alternate credits were rearranged and updated with the NES-staff and the original FC-staff received a special thank you. The titles were also updated with lowercase characters.

Glitches

Several graphical and gameplay bugs present in the Japanese version were fixed in the international releases:

Akumajou Densetsu Graphic Glitch.png
  • The game masks the left 8 pixels of the screen in the Sunken City, making part of the HUD invisible, and displays glitchy graphics at the edges of the screen while scrolling, well within the TV-safe area.
  • When passing through a checkpoint door, the screen bounces downward one line as the door closes.
  • Spamming Grant with Holy Water when he is next to the wall can cause him to get stuck in the wall.
  • The character sprites flicker when the castle collapses in the ending.

Other Changes

Graphic

  • In Akumajou Densetsu, when the parts of the Bone Dragon King fall into the water, they make splashes. Castlevania III lacks this effect.

Audio

  • Hitting consecutive enemies with subweapons in Castlevania III do not make a scoring noise (akin to picking up a money bag) like they do in Akumajou Densetsu, a regular hit noise is heard instead.
  • The Eyeballs and the bone-throwing skeletons have sound effects for their respective attacks in Akumajou Densetsu.
  • In the International versions, there's a sound effect for the blood dripping from the second form of Dracula. This is not heard in the Japanese version.

Gameplay

  • In Akumajou Densetsu, the strength of enemy attacks remain constant throughout the entire game and each enemy does varying damage, In Castlevania III every enemy and boss takes off the same amount of health, and the damage they inflict increases in later stages, as with the first game. It starts low in the first 3 stages, then goes up in the next 3 stages, and is maxed out in the final 3 stages. For example, in Akumajou Densetsu if you're playing as Trevor and get hit by a skeleton in the 1st stage you'll take 3 points of damage, and in the final stage you'll take 3 points of damage. For Castlevania III if you're playing as Trevor and get hit by a skeleton in the 1st stage you'll take 2 points of damage, and in the final stage you'll take 4 points of damage.
  • The second-quest and starting-ally passwords do not work in Akumajou Densetsu. The ten lives "HELP ME" feature was another addition to Castlevania III.
  • Item placement are slightly modified in Castlevania III, and some extra candles are added.
  • Dying at Dracula's Room in Castlevania III will boot you all the way back to the room below the pendulum room. Akumajou Densetsu resets you at the last flight of stairs before Dracula's Room instead.
  • Medusa can only shoot her snake-arrows straight ahead or upwards in the Japanese version. In the International versions, she is able to fire them both high, middle, low, and upwards.
  • The boss mummies in Castlevania III shoot out their shards in a wavy manner, while Akumajou Densetsu boss mummies shoot theirs high and low.
  • In Akumajou Densetsu, Bone Dragons can be damaged by weapon contact anywhere rather than just the head and only take 9 whip hits to kill. In Castlevania III, they take 11 whip hits to kill.
  • There are timing differences in some of the enemies' patterns and attacks.
  • The Bone Pillars only take four hits to kill with an upgraded whip in Akumajou Densetsu, and six in Castlevania III. Also, in Castlevania III their fireballs travels much faster, and the time between their attacks is also reduced.
  • The pendulum room before Dracula is free of enemies in Akumajou Densetsu. In Castlevania III, bats spawn in this room.
  • Dracula's teleportation is much faster in Akumajou Densetsu and his final form's beam attacks are much shorter and never travel upward, in Castlevania III, the beams are fired at your location, no matter where you're at.
  • Alucard's bat-form consume hearts twice as fast as well as costing a heart to activate in Castlevania III.
  • The Axe Armors take six hits to kill with an upgraded whip in Akumajou Densetsu, eight hits in Castlevania III. Also, in Akumajou Densetsu, their shields can't block the Cross (boomerang).
  • The whip does slightly more damage to the Cyclops in Akumajou Densetsu.
  • In Akumajou Densetsu, the Phantom Bat has slightly more invincibility frames after you hit him, this makes the boss slightly easier in Castlevania III.
  • The Holy Water does slightly more damage to Alucard in Castlevania III.
  • In Akumajou Densetsu, the Bone Dragon King can be damaged by weapon contact anywhere rather than just the head. You can do slightly more damage to the Bone Dragon King in the first phase in Akumajou Densetsu, making the second phase much easier to deal with. The boss also moves a bit faster in Castlevania III.
  • In Castlevania III, additional enemies were added in block 5-07 of the Catacombs, a Red Whip Skeleton and ghosts. These enemies only show up on this stage during the second loop in Akumajou Densetsu.
  • In Akumajou Densetsu, the "Double and Triple shot" that are hidden in the walls aren't replaced with a large heart if you already possess them like they are in Castlevania III.
  • Sypha's Thunder spell moves slightly faster and has slightly better homing ability in Akumajou Densetsu. It's also a lot more powerful, where it can destroy many bosses in just two hits.
  • In Akumajou Densetsu, no bats spawn where the water is rising in block 6-04 and 6-05 of the Sunken City.
  • In Castlevania III, it is possible to skip the stages between 4-01 and A-01 with Grant, by abusing a glitch involving changing characters in stairways.
  • The Cross and Holy Water were made rarer and removed from random drops in Castlevania III.

European Release

Hmmm...
To do:
Check if the European release really does the described damage calculation.

While the European release is similar to the US one, there are some subtle differences between both.

  • The damage system follows the US one, except that the damage will be a block less in the earlier stages. For example, getting hit in the first stage will take off two blocks of health in the US version and one in the European version.
  • The stopwatch lasts a second longer.