Dracula (ドラキュラ, Dracula), full title Count Dracula Vlad Ţepeş (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 commands an army of monsters and is the lord of a haunted castle in Transylvania. He has a variety of magic at his disposal, such as teleportation, conjuring projectiles, and transforming into different beasts, which he frequently does when he's nearly defeated. 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, but becomes hateful and declares war on God for the sudden death of his wife Elisabetha. In 1094, Cronqvist takes control of the Crimson Stone and becomes a vampire, eventually changing his name to Dracula Vlad Ţepeş. Dracula would later end his war against God in 1455 when he meets and eventually marries Lisa Farenheit, having a son named Adrian. In 1475, after Lisa is burned at the stake by paranoid witch hunters, Dracula declares war against humanity, unaware of Lisa's final plea to Adrian to not hate humans. A year later, he is defeated by Trevor Belmont's group, including his son, who now goes by Alucard.
Nearly two hundred years later, Dracula returns from the grave, but is defeated by Simon Belmont. In his dying breath, Dracula curses Simon to be slowly killed from the inside-out, which Simon later learns of and undoes 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.
Since then, Dracula is repeatedly revived by his loyal followers before a final battle breaks out in 1999, where he is permanently destroyed by Julius Belmont. 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 learns of this when the castle manifests in a solar eclipse over Japan in 2035, but he resists Dracula's influence, making Julius promise to kill him should he become the evil count. One year later, Soma stops a cult that sought to resurrect Dracula through those who had inherited portions of his power. An alternate "what if" scenario has Soma being corrupted into becoming Dracula, forcing Julius, Yoko Belnades, and Alucard to defeat him.
Since 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 devil, or simply his humanoid form with enhanced abilities.
Dracula has made a few playable appearances. 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 Lords of Shadow rebooted series, protagonist Gabriel Belmont becomes a vampire and comes to be known as Dracula. Dracula himself is a playable character in the fighting game spin-off Castlevania Judgment.
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
Dracula appears as a boss in Classic Mode and Adventure Mode: World of Light. In Classic Mode, he is fought in Luigi, Pac-Man, Simon, and Richter's routes. 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, 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 winged demon, as depicted in Castlevania: Rondo of Blood. 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.
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