Super Castlevania IV (known in Japan as Akumajō Dracula, translated to Devil's Castle Dracula) is an action horror platformer developed and published by Konami for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System on December 1991. The first Castlevania game for the SNES, Super Castlevania IV is an enhanced recreation of the original Castlevania adventure, introducing many new gameplay elements (such as allowing Simon to whip in eight directions, allowing Simon to flail the whip around him, a grappling system, and a dedicated button for using sub-weapons) and content.
The plot and premise for Super Castlevania IV remains the same as the original Castlevania and its other recreations: players control legendary vampire hunter Simon Belmont, wielder of the Vampire Killer whip, as he sets out through a dark, unholy castle in the year 1691 to destroy the evil Count Dracula.
Super Castlevania IV introduced many key features that have become absent in future Castlevania titles. Simon can now whip in eight directions, where he couldn't in the original games. Holding down the attack button, Simon can brandish the whip, making it so that the player can flail the whip, thus granting greater ability to block projectiles. Simon can now use his whip to grapple on to hooks, allowing him to swing over various obstacles. Simon can adjust the length of the whip while swinging using the D-pad. Returning to IV are the spike pits, moving platforms, and other obstacles.
Simon begins the first level with a basic leather whip, but can gather up to two upgrades, each increasing length and damage (returning to the short leather whip, should you die). Upgrades can also be gathered for sub-weapons, up to level three, though these are much rarer than upgrades for the whip. The sub-weapon upgrades allow Simon to throw whichever sub-weapon he has equipped times the level. For example if the sub-weapon is level two, he can throw two boomerangs instead of one, level three he can throw three etc. Sub-weapon upgrades will reset upon death, and picking up a new sub-weapon.
The sub-weapons Castlevania is known for make a return in Super Castlevania IV. In IV, sub-weapons are assigned to a button, wheras they were used by pressing up attack in previous games. This change is due to the eight attack directions. The only other game in the series to assign sub-weapons to their own button was Castlevania: Bloodlines, as it also featured multiple attack directions. Like previous games, Simon must collect hearts in order to use sub-weapons. The more powerful the weapon, the more hearts it consumes. Hearts can be collected from destructible environmental pieces. Hearts can be collected from destructible environmental pieces.
The level design is more fit to the whip's new abilities in Super Castlevania IV. There are several things that must be hit by the whip, in addition to all-new grapple hooks. Simon can use the whip to grab onto the grappling hook, and then swing across the obstacle that is in his way.