Akumajo Dracula X: Gekka no Yasokyoku (悪魔城ドラキュラＸ ～月下の夜想曲～) is an entry in the Castlevania series released for the Sega Saturn exclusively in Japan in 1998. Although the title translates closer to Castlevania: Nocturne in the Moonlight, most Western gamers know this game as Castlevania: Symphony of the Night — the official English title used for the original Sony PlayStation version, and all successive re-releases.
Akumajo Dracula X: Gekka no Yasokyoku in an action RPG, on which you choose one of three characters: Alucard, the main character, Richter Belmont, previously unlockable in the PlayStation game, and Maria Renard, an exclusive playable character.
Upon choosing Alucard, the game starts at the final battle of the previous game of the series, with improved graphics and a cutscene. In this battle you control Richter Belmont rather than Alucard and if you are about to die, Maria Renard appears to save you. The other characters start straight to the main storyline.
All characters can pause the game (), access a castle map ( then ), jump (), use at least one button to attack (), back dash () — Richter doesn't have a second attack button, nor can back dash — and use the special weapons found in candles (+). Richter and Maria don't feature an options menu brought up by hitting like Alucard, and thus cannot equip or use items other than the special weapons (enemies don't even drop anything but hearts and gold for them).
Holding when choosing Richter Belmont gives him different clothing. Idling for a few minutes at the title screen makes Shiina Hekiru (the voice actress who interprets Maria Renard and the fairy familiars) inform the current time of the Saturn's clock.
Alucard, real name Adrian Fahrenheit Tepes (アドリアン ファーレンハイツ ツェペシュ), is the 400 years old son of Dracula with an human woman named Lisa (リサ). He is the only character that receives experience and use all items. and are used to attack/defend, , and are used to Transform Into Mist (霧に変身), Transform Into Bat (コウモリに変身) and Transform Into Wolf (狼に変身), respectively; uses consumable items. His spells are:
Dark Metamorphosis (ダーク メタモルフォーゼ)
/ - recovers HP when hitting, with physical attacks, enemies which shed blood
/ — shoots three fireballs; holding upon casting shoots meteors
Summon Spirit (サモン スピリット)
/ — summons a spirit that chases and hit enemies
Tetra Spirit (テトラ スピリット)
hold 3sec, then /
Soul Steal (ソウル スチール)
/ — hits everything on screen, recovering HP at the same time
Richter Belmont (リヒター ベルモンド)
Richter's secret outfit.
Richter is a 24 years old member of the Belmont clan of vampire hunters. He attacks with his family's legendary whip — the Vampire Killer, which can be fully extended or flailed in multiple directions (hold and use the D-pad). His only functional buttons are: for attacking, for Item Crash (using it with no special weapon endows his whip with fire) and to jump. His moves set includes:
Drop Kick (ドロップキック)
Maria Renard (マリア ラーネッド)
Maria is 17 years old and the younger sister of Richter's deceased girlfriend. Rather than wield a weapon she fires a magical shot ( — can be charged up), kicks () and invokes the "Four Symbols" (Chinese mythological creatures).
Her moves and summoning spell are:
Guardians' Knuckle (ガーディアン ズナックル)
3-steps Jump (3段ジャンプ)
Jump Kick (ジャンプキック)
, hold //,
Drop Kick (ドロップキック)
Recall Suzaku (朱雀 召還)
hold 2sec, / — owl familiar
Recall Genbu (玄武 召還)
/ — recovers about 1/6 of life
Recall Byakko (白虎 召還)
/ — powerful flamethrower
Recall Seiryuu (青龍 召還)
/ — dragon controllable with the D-pad, plus invulnerability for its duration
Shiseijuu Shoukan (四聖獣 召還)
, hold 3sec, +/ — invincibility for 40sec, also causing damage if touched
The Saturn version of this game contains various exclusive features including a new playable character (Maria Renard), new items, new enemies (sixteen lesser, a boss, plus Maria Renard if playing as Alucard), two new areas (Cursed Prison and Underground Garden) and a secret outfit for Richter Belmont. A third equippable hand is available to Alucard for equipping usable items such as healing items. A relic known as "God Speed boots" become available to Alucard halfway through the game and allow the player to move faster. Classic Castlevania music is remixed and a couple new tracks have also been recorded.
Unfortunately, the game was badly ported to the system. The PlayStation does not have a 2D graphics mode, instead relying on programmers to turn the 3D mode into a 2D one through the use of polygons and textures. The Saturn contains both 2D and 3D graphics modes, which can be used in conjunction with each other, however the developers of this game did not take advantage of it, forcing the Saturn to render it in the same method as the PlayStation.
The results of the bad port include, among other things, stretched graphics (The PS1 runs the game with a 256x224 screen resolution, while the Saturn goes for 352x240) and other distortions. There are longer loading times, and transparency effects in the Saturn version are also altered as the Saturn cannot handle alpha transparency while dealing with 3D polygons. It is believed that many of these issues could be fixed had the game been altered to play to the Saturn's strengths.