Dracula (ドラキュラ, Dracula), full title Count Dracula Vlad Țepeș (ドラキュラ・ヴラド・ツェペシュ伯爵, Count Dracula Vlad Tepes) is the main antagonist of the Castlevania franchise. He is loosely based on the historical figure Vlad the Impaler, as well as the titular antagonist in the Bram Stoker novel Dracula.
Dracula is a vampire who serves as the dark lord of a haunted castle in Transylvania, commanding an army of monsters to this end. He has a variety of magic at his disposal, such as teleportation, conjuring projectiles, and transforming into different beasts, which frequently occurs as he nears defeat. He is primarily opposed by the Belmont clan of vampire hunters. Though the Belmonts and other heroes repeatedly kill him, Dracula typically revives alongside his castle once every century, though his followers have also resurrected him prematurely.
Although Dracula debuted in the original Castlevania, his origins lie in Castlevania: Lament of Innocence, where he was once a Crusader and partner to Leon Belmont named Mathias Cronqvist. However, upon the sudden passing of his wife Elisabetha, Cronqvist became filled with anger and hatred, declaring war on God. In 1094, Cronqvist takes control of the Crimson Stone and becomes a vampire, eventually changing his name to Dracula Vlad Ţepeş. Dracula later ended his war against God in 1455 when he met, and eventually married, a human woman named Lisa. Together, they bore a son named Adrian. In 1475, Lisa was executed following accusations of witchcraft, and Dracula declared war against humanity as a result. Adrian, who was present at the execution, was told to deliver Lisa's final words to his father. However, he finds himself unable to reason with him, so he turned against his father and changed his name to Alucard. A year later, Dracula was defeated by Trevor Belmont, Alucard, and their companions Sypha Belnades and Grant Danasty.
A century passed since Trevor's defeat of Dracula. In that time, Trevor became the ancestor to Christopher Belmont, who took up the Vampire Killer whip that Trevor used in battle. However, a cult led by a man named Ivan Bartley resurrected the Count on a dark night, at the same time, resurrecting the castle that was destroyed after Trevor's battle. Thus started a cycle of resurrection occuring every 100 years. Christopher's blood called for him to challenge Dracula and seal his evil nemesis away for another one hundred years. Christopher eventually met and defeated Dracula in battle and afterward escaped the castle before it could crumble atop him. Watching the collapse from a distance, Christopher felt reassured that he had destroyed Dracula, not knowing that the Count had survived the battle by turning into a cloud of mist and reforming into a bat, laying in wait for his next attack.
Dracula's chance came fifteen years later in 1591, when Christopher was now the proud father to Soleil Belmont. The lad was coming of age as a Vampire Hunter and a ceremony was to be held in their honor, with the people of Transylvania feeling confident that this peace would prosper with the father-son duo. On the day following the ceremony, Soleil vanished and four castles of crystal, plant, cloud, and stone appeared. Christopher set out to these castles to find his son, defeating their guardians, and watching as their destruction brought forth the return of Dracula's castle. Venturing into the castle, Christopher finds Soleil in the chapel but something was different about him. The two fought, with Christopher snapping his son out of the hex that was placed upon him. The boy revealed that he had been magically influenced by Dracula, having seen the boy as the best opportunity to strike back against the Belmont clan. In fact, the count had Soleil raise the four castles so that he could use the spirits of their guaridans to make himself whole once more. Christopher pressed on for the final confrontation with Dracula and destroyed the Count, ridding the world of him for the time being. Christopher and Soleil watched Dracula's castle fall with full confidence that he was gone and the Belmont bloodline would strongly continue, with Christopher being revered as a legend.
Nearly one hundred years later, Dracula was resurrected in a black sabbath on April 15th, Easter Sunday, by a demonic cult by crushing a freshly extracted human heart over his ashes, spilling its blood on them. He was defeated by Christopher's descendant, Simon Belmont. In his dying breath, Dracula set a curse on Simon that slowly killed him from the inside, which was undone by reviving Dracula and destroying him once more. A century later, Dracula is revived twice by the Dark Priest, Shaft, but is defeated first by Richter Belmont, then by Alucard five years later, who tells him the last words of his wife: "Do not hate humans. If you cannot live with them, then at least do them no harm, for theirs is already a hard lot." Alucard then adds that his mother would love the count for all eternity. Dracula asks for Lisa's forgiveness as he fades away, bidding his son farewell.
Across the 19th century, Dracula would see himself resurrected by his minions and humans are drawn to his power. However, the Belmont clan was unable to fight back, as a prophecy had prohibited them from touching the Vampire Killer, the holy whip created by Leon until the appointed time had come. Other hunters would take their place, including Shanoa, Nathan Graves, Reinhardt Schneider, and the Morris clan; Quincey, John, and Jonathan. After resurrections in both World Wars, the final battle against Dracula ensued in 1999, where he was permanently destroyed by Julius Belmont, Alucard, and their allies. Portions of his power were passed down to those who were born on the day of his death, and Dracula himself reincarnated as Soma Cruz in 2017. Soma learned of this when the castle manifested in a solar eclipse over Japan in 2035, but he resisted Dracula's influence, telling Julius to kill him should he become the evil count. One year later, Soma stopped a cult that sought to resurrect Dracula through those who had inherited portions of his power. An alternate, non-canon scenario depicts a corrupted Soma transforming into a reincarnation of Dracula, forcing Julius, Yoko Belnades, and Alucard to defeat him.
Since the original Castlevania, Dracula transforms into his second form when his life bar is depleted. The shape his second form takes varies by game: examples include a giant bat, a giant head, a demon, or simply his humanoid form with enhanced abilities.
Dracula has even made a few playable appearances, such as in the fighting game spin-off, Castlevania Judgment. His reincarnation, Soma Cruz, is the protagonist of Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow and Dawn of Sorrow, and is also playable in Harmony of Despair. In the rebooted Lords of Shadow series, protagonist Gabriel Belmont becomes a vampire and comes to be known as Dracula.
As a stage element
Dracula appears as a background character on Dracula's Castle. When the moon disappears and bats gather around Dracula's coffin, lightning will flash and reveal Dracula's shadow in one of the windows.
As a boss
In Classic Mode, he is fought by Luigi, Pac-Man, Simon, and Richter. Dracula appears as a boss in Classic Mode and Adventure Mode: World of Light. In World of Light, he is fought at the end of the Dracula's Castle dungeon in the Dark Realm, and must be defeated before the player may challenge Dharkon. He reappears during the Final Battle as part of the boss rush leading up to the Galeem and Dharkon fight. He does battle on a stage resembling the Dracula's Castle stage, but with a flat and empty layout that extends to the side blast zones. Nothing to Lose usually plays during the fight in the first form, which will change to Black Night when he changes to his demon form, but Dwelling of Doom plays in Pac-Man's Classic Mode, Dance of Illusions in Richter's Classic Mode, and Galeem / Dharkon during the boss rush.
Defeating Dracula in Classic Mode is a challenge, which unlocks the Black Night music track. Defeating Dracula in the Dracula's Castle dungeon in World of Light rewards the player with the Dracula and Dracula (2nd Form) spirits.
Dracula begins the fight in his regular humanoid form, based on Ayami Kojima's artwork for Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. The battle opens with Dracula on his throne holding a glass, which he tosses aside as he gets up, then warps onto the stage to start the fight. Like in his own series, Dracula moves about the stage by teleporting in a beam of light. Dracula only takes damage when hit in the head, which has traditionally been his weak point since his first appearance. Attacking any other part of his body creates a small mist effect, which resembles Alucard's mist transformation.
When his health bar is depleted, Dracula will transform into a large green winged demon, as depicted in Castlevania: Rondo of Blood and Symphony of the Night. His health is fully restored, and he uses an entirely different set of attacks. Unlike his first form, Dracula's second form may be damaged by hitting any part of his body and will walk and jump instead of warping to move.