, better known as is a fictional character
's Castlevania series
of video games
. His first appearance in the series was in the 1990 Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse
, but he is best known for his role in the critically acclaimed Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
, released in 1997. His design in Symphony of the Night
was created by Ayami Kojima
, marking her first appearance in the Castlevania
In the series, Alucard is the son of Dracula, the titular antagonist of the Castlevania series. Due to his human mother, Lisa, Alucard is a dhampir, a half-human, half-vampire. His mother's death and admonition not to hate humanity caused him to take arms against his father. In Dracula's Curse and Castlevania Legends, he fights against his father alongside the vampire hunters of the Belmont clan, and he is featured as the protagonist of Symphony of the Night. Alucard additionally is present in Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow and follow-up sequel Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow, where he interacts with the protagonist of both games, Soma Cruz, as the Japanese government agent .
Several video game publications have provided praise and criticism on Alucard's character. His role in Symphony of the Night was particularly noted, with several reviewers celebrated the depth and complexity his status as Dracula's son added to the plot; Games Are Fun called him "the best anti-hero to ever star in a videogame [sic]." In Aria of Sorrow and Dawn of Sorrow, where Alucard was present as Genya Arikado, reviewers noted that although he fell into a stereotypical character mold, the greater concentration on supporting characters was a welcomed change from previous Castlevania games.
Conception and design
Alucard first debuted in Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse
for the Nintendo Entertainment System
, where he was designed by T. Fujimoto and I. Urata. He was intended to be a mirror image of his father, as evidenced by his name, his father's name spelled backwards. Much of the original artwork for the game was lost during the Great Hanshin Earthquake
. Alucard's subsequent appearances would largely be designed by Ayami Kojima
, who managed the character designs for Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
and Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow
Kojima's work in Symphony of the Night was her first breakthrough into the gaming industry, and her dark, gothic style borrows heavily from bishōnen-style art. In Aria of Sorrow, Kojima's designs followed the "different route" theme that producer Koji Igarashi was attempting to pursue with Aria of Sorrow by placing it in a futuristic setting. Following this theme, Alucard's appearance as Genya Arikado was made much more contemporary, featuring modern attire as versus the medieval appearance of previous Castlevania characters. Kojima was not present in the design team for Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow, and Arikado, along with the rest of the cast, were drawn in an anime style. Igarashi, also the producer of Dawn of Sorrow, wished to utilize the anime style as a marketing technique due to his belief that the Nintendo DS targeted a younger audience than previous Castlevania games had. The anime style would also serve as a litmus test as to whether future Castlevania games would incorporate the style.
Symphony of the Night
was the second Castlevania
game to used voice actors for the characters (the first being the Akumajō Dracula X Chi no Rondo
for the PC Engine Super CD-ROM²
, which released only in Japan at the time). The seiyū
for Alucard was Ryōtarō Okiayu
, and the English voice actor was Robert Belgrade. In Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles
, Alucard was voiced by Yuri Lowenthal
. Igarashi noted that due to the complaints over the poor voice acting by Belgrade and the other voice actors in Symphony of the Night
, a new script for the game better translating the original Japanese text, as well as a set of new voice actors were used.
Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse
In Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse, Alucard is initially a boss encountered over the course of the game by the primary protagonist, Trevor Belmont. If the player defeats Alucard, he can be utilized as a playable character in the game. This was a significant departure from previous Castlevania games, which only featured Simon Belmont as the primary playable character, and Alucard's abilities, a fireball attack and the ability to transform into a bat, were unique elements introduced into the series. Following the defeat of Dracula and the game's conclusion, Alucard voluntarily goes into a protracted sleep to ease his feelings of patricide and to prevent his powers from harming the world.
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
Alucard's following appearance in the series is in the 1997 Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
, where he is featured as the game's protagonist and primary playable character. Due to the brainwashing of the current member of the Belmont clan, Richter Belmont
, Alucard heads to his father's castle to find Richter and ensure that Dracula does not return into the world. He encounters Richter, who has been controlled by the dark priest Shaft into believing he is the lord of Dracula's castle, and Alucard manages to free him from the spell controlling him. In response, Shaft creates an inverted version of Dracula's castle for Alucard to travel through, and Alucard defeats Shaft, and ultimately, Dracula as well. Symphony of the Night
also expands on Alucard's background, revealing how his human mother, Lisa, was hunted down and executed by humans who believed her to be a witch. Despite this, Lisa admonished Alucard to respect humans and not hate them as his father did. Alucard's placement as a protagonist was unusual for the series up to that point, as previous Castlevania
games featured solely members of the Belmont clan as the protagonists. Symphony of the Night
would later be re-released as part of the Xbox Live Arcade
for the Xbox 360
,, on the PlayStation Network
for the PlayStation 3
, and part of Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles
, a compilation that contained Symphony of the Night
alongside Akumajō Dracula X Chi no Rondo
. Aside from the changing of the script and Alucard's voice actor to Yuri Lowenthal, his role in the Symphony of the Night
portion of The Dracula X Chronicles
remains the same.
The 1998 Castlevania Legends
for the Game Boy Color
was Alucard's third appearance in the series. Similar to his initial appearance in Dracula's Curse
, he is a boss challenging the skills of the game's protagonist, Sonia Belmont
. After she defeats him, he accepts her strength and decides to submerge his powers by sleeping, believing that she will defeat Dracula in his stead. Koji Igarashi later removed Castlevania Legends
from the official canon
of the series, meaning that the plot of the game never occurred in the series' continuity.
Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow and Dawn of Sorrow
In Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow
, Alucard is present in disguise as the enigmatic Japanese government agent Genya Arikado in order to prevent the powers of his father, who was finally defeated by Julius Belmont
, from ending up in the wrong hands. He meets the game's protagonist, Soma Cruz
, and explains his "power of dominance," or his ability to absorb the souls of the monsters he defeats and use their abilities. He instructs him to seek out the castle's throne room, where Soma realizes that he is Dracula's reincarnation
. Arikado subsequently advises Soma to destroy the flow of chaos in the castle to free himself from his fate, which Soma succeeds in doing.
Alucard reprises his role as Arikado in the sequel to Aria of Sorrow, Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow, where he works to stop the machinations of a cult headed by Celia Fortner to create a new dark lord by killing Soma. Arikado initially requests that Soma does not become involved, but later gives him a letter and talisman from Mina when he encounters him later in the game. After both of Celia's "dark lord's candidates," Dmitrii Blinov and Dario Bossi, are defeated, Arikado stops Celia's attempt to force Soma to awaken into the new dark lord, but inadvertently allows Dmitrii to revive himself. He confronts him, but is stopped when Dmitrii uses Celia as a sacrifice to seal his powers. Following Soma's battle with Dmitrii, Arikado explains to Soma that he is not destined to become the dark lord, nor does he need to. In the game's Julius Mode, Arikado is playable as Alucard after he is found in the castle.
Alucard has received praise and criticism from several video game publications, primarily concentrating on his role in Symphony of the Night
. In a review of Symphony of the Night
celebrated the fact that Alucard was not a member of the Belmont clan
, the protagonists of most Castlevania
games, and that the fact he was Dracula's son added "an element of depth to the plot" due to the varied reactions he would receive from the inhabitants of Dracula's castle. RPGamer
digressed with this assessment, noting that the plot and Alucard's role "isn't very deep" and secondary to the concentration on gameplay. Games Are Fun called Alucard "the best anti-hero to ever star in a videogame" and that the relationship between Dracula and Alucard was "enthralling." Alucard's graphical representation was the subject of praise from critics. GameSpot
called Alucard's sprite and running animation "easily some of the most impressive visuals in the entire Castlevania
library." Games Are Fun
extolled Alucard's sprite as "the star of the show," making note of its size, animation, and the variety of special effects that occur during gameplay, and also praised Alucard's design by Ayami Kojima
as "absolutely stunning."
Alucard's appearance in Aria of Sorrow and Dawn of Sorrow as Genya Arikado was also noted by reviewers. RPGamer celebrated how the greater concentration on supporting characters, including Arikado, were a welcome change from previous Castlevania games. RPGFan derided Arikado's "cool and impassive personality" as stereotypical, but praised the game's character development as setting him apart from previous supporting characters in the series. The switch to an anime style for the character designs in Dawn of Sorrow was notably criticized, as many reviewers preferred the designs made by Ayami Kojima. GameSpy deplored the "shallow, lifeless anime images" and IGN called the images "down to the level of 'generic Saturday morning Anime' quality."
Notes and references