Castlevania: The Adventure (known in Japan as Dracula Densetsu, loosely translated to "Dracula Legends", and sometimes known as "The Castlevania Adventure" due to the game's logo) is a 2D horror-fantasy action platformer developed and published by Konami for the Game Boy in Japan (on October 27, 1989), North America (on December 15, 1989), and Europe (in 1991).
A handheld successor to the 1986 game Castlevania, The Adventure brings the game's whip-swinging action on-the-go. It features numerous differences with the main Castlevania games, removing the sub-weapon system and allowing players to replenish health with heart-shaped tokens (previously used as ammunition for sub-weapons).
The game's story is set a century before the events of the original Castlevania, with players controlling vampire hunter Christopher Belmont (ancestor of Simon Belmont) as he sets out to defeat Count Dracula.
The game received a sequel in 1991, titled Castlevania II: Belmont's Revenge, and later received a console-focused remake for the Wii in 2009, titled Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth. It was also digitally re-released as a Virtual Console title for the Nintendo 3DS in 2012, and was included in the 2019 digital compilation Castlevania Anniversary Collection for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC.
Castlevania: The Adventure borrows the most rudimentary basics of Castlevania gameplay for the inaugural Game Boy outing: specifically, a lumbering protagonist with limited mobility; a whip that can be upgraded into a chain whip; undead foes; candles that contain pickups; and Dracula as the big bad.
While many in the Belmont clan may be described as slow-moving, Christopher Belmont is especially so. His jumps in this game do not cover as much distance as his fellow Belmonts. He may therefore be considered much harder to control, and his adventure much more difficult to complete, than other Castlevania protagonists and games.
Christopher's whip, as in other Castlevania titles, can be upgraded multiple times. Picking up an orb from a destroyed candle will upgrade the regular whip to a longer and more powerful chain whip; picking up one more will add a fireball attack to the whip. However, each time Christopher takes a hit, his whip downgrades one level.
There are no sub-weapons (boomerang crosses, holy water, axes, etc.) in Castlevania: The Adventure. Therefore the pickups in candles are limited to the whip upgrade orbs; coins for score purposes; crosses that render Christopher invulnerable for a short period of time; and the aforementioned hearts that refill your life meter. There are also no stairs; vertical progress here is achieved through the use of ropes.
The game progresses through four linear stages, with a countdown timer visible at the top of the screen in a minutes:seconds format. Secret areas containing pickups can be accessed by climbing ropes through false ceilings. Each of the stages is capped by a boss enemy.