Kid Dracula
Box Shot
Kid Dracula (Boku Dracula-kun)
Platform: Famicom
Publisher: Konami
Designer: Konami
Genre: Action
Players: 1
Published Date 1991
Reviewed by: Kurt Kalata

If you were to parody Castlevania and mix it in with a bit of Mega Man, you'd have a good idea about what Kid Dracula is like. The star of the game is a cutesy Alucard (son of Dracula, for the uninitiated) that must go throught many wacky levels to save the world from Garamoth, a big Godzilla-type thing from the prehistoric era. For whatever reason, Konami deemed this game unappropriate for the United States, even though the Game Boy version was later released in America. Kid Dracula is a very weak link to the Castlevania series...a label on the cart that I own even calls it "Castlevania Jr." It has very little to do gameplay wise to the CV series, even though music from it was featured in the Dracula Music Collection CD that came with Dracula X: Nocturne in the Moonlight for the Playstation.

The game starts off with Kid Drac hopping out of his coffin and heading through the castle, off on his adventure. Along the way, you'll make your way through the clouds, swim underwater, survive the perils of the arctic, play through a city infested with UFOs and King Kong rip-offs and even play a quiz game with the Statue of Liberty (which is completely incomprehensible due to my utter lack of Japanese knowledge.) You'll even head through a pirate ship, go through ancient Egypt and finally head into outer space for the final confrontation with Garamoth.

If those locations sound a bit wacked out, the enemies are equally weird. The first levels contains ripoffs of familiar Castlevania bad guys like Frankenstein, zombies, bats, etc. although the first bosses are a set of Ku Klux Klanmen. You'll also fight chickens, witches that resemble Samantha from Bewitched and Japanese ice skaters. Weird, yes. But intruiguing, to say the least.

There are also tons of bonus games that appear after each level. Like Super Mario Bros. 2, you can use the coins you collected in the level to gain more lives, but there is a great variety of games. There are understandable games like roulette, but others border on downright bizarre (one seems to be a game about guessing the color of dancing girl's underwear, but again, I can't understand Japanese so I'm lost here.)

Kid Dracula's main weapon is a fireball he can charge up like a Mega Buster, but he acquires different powers through the levels. Some of these include a five way homing fireball, an exploding firebomb, the power to turn into a bar (what vampire would be without that?), flipping gravity to turn upside, freezing enemies and other such powers. You start with three hearts but your max life can be incresed to five by finding heart boxes. You lose these extra hearts when you continue though. There IS a password feature to help.

The visuals are very bright and cheery, very crisp and clear. There are some neat pixel based effects throughout the game (especially some fire effects near the end of the game.) The music is pretty good too, the first level being a remixed version of the Castlevania 3 level 1 tune (called Beginning.) The game controls pretty well too, although the way Kid Drac recoils when he gets hit can be a bit irritating (he hops backward a few times, making it impossible to judge whether Kid Drac will fall of a precipice.

The game as a whole isn't too hard, although you tend to get sent back kinda far when you die (depends on the level actually) and the final boss sequence is maddening...you have to defeat a flame lion, run through an area with falling spikes, dodge robots, defeat a robot that attacks when its head screws off, and then finally face Garamoth himself. All with only getting hit five times. God forbid you run out of lives, then you can only take three hits. The sequence with jumping onto moving platforms through a vacuum tube is pretty tough, and all of the slowdown in the section make it a bit annoying too. But other than sections like this, the game isn't too bad.

Given how difficult this game will actually be to FIND, I can't actually recommend you go out and spend like $50 on it. But if you happen to stumble upon it, then it's a worthy action addition to the Konami library.