Castlevania: Dracula X (known in Europe as Castlevania: Vampire's Kiss and in Japan as Akumajou Dracula XX, loosely translated to "Devil's Castle Dracula XX") is an horror-fantasy side-scrolling platformer developed and published by Konami for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System on July 21, 1995 (in Japan), on September 1995 (in North America), and on February 22, 1996 (in Europe).
Based on the Japanese-exclusive PC Engine game Castlevania: Rondo of Blood, Dracula X shares most of its graphics, gameplay, storyline, and music. However, some components (such as the levels) were completely redesigned.
The game takes place sometime in 1792, one hundred years after the events of the original Castlevania. Players control vampire hunter Richter Belmont, descendant of Simon Belmont, as he sets out to seal the fate of Count Dracula while rescuing his beloved Annette Renard (along with her sister, Maria).
Castlevania: Dracula X plays like a traditional Castlevania game. Players guide Richter through seven stages, increasing their score by defeating enemies and collecting bags of money (dropped by enemies or destroying scenery). Players will also find heart-shaped jewels, which serve as ammunition for Richter's sub-weapons and super attacks (known as "Item Crashes"). Unlike Super Castlevania IV, released four years earlier, the player cannot do any special tricks with his Vampire Killer whip (such as whip in eight directions, hold out the whip freely to block projectiles, and use the whip to grapple onto special points). However, Richter can perform a backflip dodge (by double-tapping the jump button). Richter can also maintain his position while getting hit simply by crouching (preventing him from being knocked back), and can jump on and off stairs (by holding up or down on the d-pad and pressing the jump button).
Other than jewels and bags of money, players can also find pendants (which clears the screen of all enemies), transparency elixirs (which grant Richter temporary invulnerability), and food (which restores some of Richter's health). Defeating a boss causes a Mystic Sphere to drop from the sky, refilling Richter's health completely and clearing the stage. Players earn extra lives by finding 1-Up items scattered throughout the game and clearing stages without getting hit, as well as for every time the player earns 20,000 points.
Along the way, Richter can pick up unique sub-weapons that consume the Heart meter for a special attack (performed by holding up on the directional pad and pressing the attack button). Richter can also perform "Item Crushes", which sacrifice more jewels for a super attack (by pressing the special Item Crush button). All of the sub-weapons and Item Crushes perform like they did in Castlevania: Rondo of Blood. However, this game is missing the Holy Bible sub-weapon.
- Dagger - At the cost of one Heart, Richter throws three very fast (but very weak) daggers. The Item Crush, at the cost of 10 Hearts, produces a rapid stream of daggers.
- Axe - At the cost of one Heart, Richter tosses an axe in the air in an arced path (going through both walls and enemies). The Item Crash, at the cost of 10 Hearts, causes Richter to float up in the air and produce a circle of axes that fan out around him.
- Holy Cross - At the cost of one Heart, Richter throws a cross-shaped object forward, which will return in the other direction like a boomerang, damaging enemies along the way. The Item Crash, at the cost of 15 Hearts, causes the screen to be bombarded with large crucifixes.
- Holy Water - At the cost of three Hearts, Richter throws a bottle of holy water on the ground, creating a small area-of-effect attack with the flames it creates. Its Item Crash, at the cost of 20 Hearts, causes holy water to rain from the sky all over the screen.
- Pocket Watch - At the cost of five Hearts, Richter freezes most enemies in their place for five seconds. The Item Crash, at the cost of 30 Hearts, grants Richter a temporary shield of pocket watches (causing a lot of damage when inflicted upon enemies).
- Key - Found in Stage 3, it is used for unlocking certain doors (allowing the player to rescue Annette and Maria). The Item Crash, which can only be performed if Richter has 15 Hearts or more (it does not consume any jewels), causes Richter to hold the key out in front of him, causing major damage at the cost of its close range.
Pressing the Item Crush button without carrying a sub-weapon causes Richter to throw a giant flaming whip attack (at the cost of 15 Hearts).