Now that Dylan has reviewed every NES game (and moved on to do every Sega game here), he has recruited me to help review some Famicom exclusives. Who am I? My name is Ryan, and I am currently working on a business degree, a game collection, a record collection, and putting Band-Aids over the cracks in my life with video game sessions. Nothing really important, it’s the games you want!
Title: Akumajou Special - Boku Dracula-Kun (Kid Dracula)
Release date: October 19, 1990
I can’t lie: Kid Dracula is a game I have been dying to try. It is a parody spin-off of the Castlevania series, and that alone should get anyone excited. In the game, you obviously control Kid Dracula, a lovable fireball shooting vampire.
Seen here: Kid Dracula confronting Link’s worst fear.
Kid Dracula itself is pretty simple. Imagine your traditional 8-bit Castlevania where you jump along platforms and take out baddies until you get to the boss. Instead of the iconic whip, you use fireballs. This is where some other changes come in. There is a very Megaman(X)-like feature involved. You can charge your shots to make them more powerful or initiate other effects, and after defeating each boss, you receive a new power.
I chose spread in every game. Contra taught me well.
Aside from the additional firepower, if you kill an enemy with a charged shot, they will drop a coin which you can use in one of four post-level mini-games for extra lives. The mini-games range from a standard game of roulette to stabbing a skeleton in a barrel (which, surprisingly, is not as easy as it sounds).
Not being able to read the Japanese language makes the mini-games more challenging than the actual game.
The game also allows you to increase your health from picking up heart containers in a Zelda-esque manner. You can’t increase your health past five, so you should be maxed by the second boss, but the containers will still completely refill your health when collected.
I didn’t even have to use a sword!
Kid Dracula plays great, and not surprisingly coming from Konami, the soundtrack is awesome. The game looks fabulous, from settings, to characters, to animations. The controls are tight, so the platforming is a breeze if you’re experienced. A few parts get challenging, but it is by no means a Battletoads-level of difficulty. Unfortunately, since I can’t read the native language I have no idea what the story is. I know you come out of a coffin in the beginning of the game - 'cause, you know, you're Dracula. I suppose I could read the Wikipedia article for the plot, but that isn't nearly as fun as assuming it's about a young boy bent on revenge for someone waking him up too early for school.
Yea, everything looks great! Except that… Nazi Ghost?
While Kid Dracula is extremely fun, the hectic platforming can be infuriating, to the point where you may want to quit. There was one jump in particular that I could not make, thanks to an enemy hitting me through the platform above me, making me fall to my death. The game also shares some of the NES-era tricks like “if you haven’t played this level before, you will die” by sending fast moving enemies into you during platforming sections. Normally, this wouldn't matter, but the knockback from enemy attacks is enough to trip you off of the majority of platforms in the game.
Overall, aside from a couple gripes, Kid Dracula is a great game for any platformer or Castlevania fan. I would really love to see this ported to the 3DS or Wii U’s virtual console so more people can experience it. Very solid, and I am happy to start my Famicom journey with this.
If you happen to be interested in seeing more of my opinion, I am on Twitter @PantsAre4Posers. I also have a Tumblr that I use for comics/games/records, and am on Instagram @PantsAreForPosers where you can see some of my comic/game/music stuff, plus pictures of my cat and girlfriend.