Castlevania: Dracula X Strategy Guide
                   ---------------------------------------
                          Revised March 20, 1996


Contents:


   1)  Introduction
   2)  Game description
   3)  How the SNES Drac X relates to past Castlevania games
   4)  Items
   5)  Weapons
   6)  Item Crash
   7)  The stages and bosses
   8)  General hints and tips
   9)  Passwords
  10)  Cheat codes
  11)  Other Castlevania games to check out


1) Introduction:

I recently felt like writing a strategy guide.  So I thought why not write one 
based on the SNES Dracula X?  While arguably the weakest recent entry in the 
Castlevania series, this game is still loaded with plenty of technique and 
challenging gameplay.  Besides, this is probably the last 16-bit Castlevania
game Konami will release so it's definitely worth a least a rental.  Please
note that there are some spoilers here, so don't read this if you want to
develop your own strategies and solve all the mysteries yourself. I
respectfully ask that this guide is not altered without at least letting me
know your intentions first.  Feel free to upload this anywhere.  Note that
from here on the game title "Castlevania" will be periodically shortened to 
"CV" in this text.  All trademarks and copyrights are fully acknowledged to
their respective owners and Konami.


2) Game description: 

Game Title:  Castlevania: Dracula X

Developer:  Konami

Game System:  Super NES

Cartridge Size:  16 megabits

Save Feature:  Password

Number of levels:  There are nine levels total in the game.  This includes
seven standard stages and two alternative levels.  Only seven of the stages 
must be completed to win the game.

Gameplay:  A side scrolling action/adventure game that uses the classic
Castlevania structure throughout.

The story:  After Simon Belmont successfully defeated Count Dracula, it
seemed that the Prince of Darkness was sealed away forever.  However,
hundreds of years later the hapless people of Transylvania were again 
becoming victims of the evil count by night.  Dracula is free once again...

Bent of revenge against the Belmont family, the Count kidnaps Richter
Belmont's girlfriend, Annet, and her sister, Maria.  It is now up to Richter
to save Annet and Maria and carry on the family name by once again defeating
Count Dracula.  This time Dracula will hopefully be banished forever.

Options:  The option menu allows the usual controller configuration in
addition to selecting stereo or monaural audio.  To my disappointment, there
are no difficulty or BGM selects.

Difficulty:  Since Dracula X is limited to one mode of difficulty, the
question is how difficult is it?  Well, that depends.  Veteran Castlevania
players should be accustomed to this level of difficulty as it's consistent
with the past games on the NES and Bloodlines on the Genesis.  I would 
definitely say that it is noticeably more difficult than CV4.  All players, 
even veterans, will sometimes note a high frustration factor.  This is due to 
the inherit nature of the limited control scheme and the sometimes overly 
aggressive attacks of the enemies.

Control scheme:  The control scheme is most reminiscent of the original 8-bit
versions of CV.  This is taking into consideration the way that the whip and
special weapons are initiated.

Button Y-              Attacks
Button X-              Special attack/Item Crash
Button B-              Jump
Buttons A, L, and R-   No use
Up + Y-                Special weapon
Button B twice-        Backwards leap

This default control scheme can be customized to your own preferences at the
options menu.

Extra Lives:  You are awarded extra lives every 20,000 pts.  Collecting 1-ups
will also result in additional lives.  If the player completes a level with
his or her energy bar at maximum, an extra life (No Damage Bonus) will be
awarded.


3) How the SNES Drac X relates to past Castlevania games:  

This game is NOT a sequel to the SNES version of Super Castlevania IV.  This 
game is loosely based on the PC Engine version of Dracula X.  However, there 
are some changes in this version:

- The levels in the game were completely changed.

- The player can no longer assume the role of the little girl, Maria.

- The Holy Book/Bible is a special weapon no longer available.

- Cut scenes, such as those featured in the game introduction, ending, and 
rescue of Maria have been removed due to limited cartridge space. 

- CD quality music scores are no longer possible due to the cartridge format.  
Some of the impressive voices of the boss monsters were omitted.

- Background graphics were enhanced with added color.

- The U.S. SNES Dracula X was censored.  The bloody death scene of Richter has 
been altered as well as those of the bosses (i.e. Grim Reaper).  References to
religious symbols have been removed (crosses and etc.).

- The final battle with Dracula is completely different from the SCD version.
The SNES battle is noticeably more difficult.

The actual game itself:  I would say this game, in terms of structure, is
most reminiscent of the 8-bit versions of Castlevania.  All of the levels are
straight forward in terms of action.  No impressive background effects with
Mode 7 are here to break away from the basic structure.  Play control has
also been significantly simplified from CV4.

The graphics are good, though at times they are well below Konami standards.
In fact, at times this game reminds me of Bloodlines for the Genesis.  CV4, 
despite being released in the U.S. over four years ago, has significantly 
better character graphics that are larger and more detailed.  The music is 
well done, with many rescored music tracks taken from previous Castlevanias.  
The sound effects are effective though not nearly as dramatic as I hoped from
a 16 megabit CV game (especially when considering the 8 meg CV4's outstanding 
effects).

While sounding negative, this version of CV is definitely worth a look; if 
not for novalty's sake.  The CV gameplay IS there and the challenging levels 
should make this worth at least a rental if not a purchase for a die-hard CV 
fan such as myself.  And yes, there are some interesting twists that make it 
stand apart from the other U.S. CV games:

- There are different endings depending on what path is taken and who is
rescued.  Although not significantly different from one another, three 
endings do exist.

- The goal is more than defeating Dracula.  Both Annet and Maria must be
saved to truly win the game.  They are both hidden in two levels of the game.
However, these areas are not immediately apparent and a key must be found.

- By sacrificing several heart points, Richter can perform an "item crash"
with the special weapon that is currently being utilized.  This powerful
attack can effect more than one enemy and can be helpful in tight situations.

- There are alternative stages.

- The player can perform a backwards leap that can get Richter out of
dangerous situations very quickly.

- There is no time limit in the game.

- The whip is always at its maximum strength and doesn't have to be
lengthened like in past CV games.  For some, this could be seen as a
shortcoming.

- When a new special weapon is acquired, the old one stays on the screen for
a short time to be reclaimed if the player chooses so.  This is especially
nice if the player accidentally receives a new special weapon that he/she
didn't want in the first place.


4) Items (all can be found in the glowing candles):

Heart- Gives heart points.  A small heart gives one heart point while a large 
heart gives five. Each special weapon uses heart points when used. Some 
consume more than others. 

Money bag- Increases the score by 100, 400, or 700 pts.  Helpful when you're 
on the verge of earning an extra life.

Food- Restores some of your life.  Check for hidden food by whipping steps or 
walls.  If you're already at full health, you will be rewarded 1000 pts.

Potion- Makes Richter appear partially invisible.  While in this state,
Richter is immune to all attacks.  When weaker enemies come into contact
with him, they will be instantly killed off.

Pendent- Destroys all on-screen enemies.

1up- Gives the player an extra life.  Is usually well hidden in walls.

Special Item:

Key- Used to open locked doors.  This item is essential to free Maria and
Annet.  Can also be used to attack enemies.  However, given its short range,
it's not very practical as a weapon.


5) Weapons:

Axe (1 heart point)- The axe is very powerful and effective when attacking 
enemies above.  This special weapon cannot not be quickly thrown in
succession.  It also can be difficult to aim and requires good timing.  The
axe is somewhat useless against enemies that are at very close range.

Boomerang (1 heart point)- The best overall weapon.  It is powerful and can 
be thrown quickly in succession.  When three are thrown one after another,
this weapon can be particularly devastating to bosses and hard to kill enemies.  
Once they are thrown, they return back thus attacking the enemy a second
time.  When used to attack enemies and bosses that are at the edge of either
side of the screen, the boomerang can inflict massive damage as it remains
idle in the air before it changes direction.  Its only shortcoming is that
long range enemies cannot be reached.  Keep an eye on the heart points with
these.

Dagger (1 heart point)- In other Castlevania games, I considered it a great 
misfortune when I received this weapon.  While still the weakest weapon in
the game, it has been improved as each attack actually launches three daggers simultaneously
as opposed to one.  This is definitely the fastest of all the special weapons
and can be thrown effectively at enemies at any range.

Holy water (3 heart points)- An often underestimated weapon.  While having a 
short range and is somewhat useless against targets located above, this
weapon can be deadly to slow moving enemies who remain on the platforms (such
as the axeman).  Enemies are slowed down somewhat and are rapidly attacked.
Not very good against many of the bosses.

Watch (5 heart points)- The most useless weapon in my view.  Temporarily 
freezes some enemies.  Not only does it consume five heart points when used,
it is ineffective against all bosses.  Frozen enemies will still inflict
damage when come into contact with.  Only good when you get it by mistake and
have nothing else to count on.


6) Item Crash (special attack): 

The Item Crash is a powerful attack that can inflict damage on most of the 
enemies on screen.  The potency of the attack and the amount of heart points 
that must be sacrificed depends of the special weapon that is currently being 
possessed.  Richter is also invincible during this attack.  Here's a rundown 
of the Item Crash attacks for each special weapon:

Boomerang- Eight boomerangs are scattered across the screen inflicting damage
on all enemies that come into contact.  Costs 15 heart points.

Axe- Eight axes form a circle that rotates and widens off the screen.  Very
powerful.  Costs 10 heart points.

Holy Water- Forms a powerful shower attack that will damage all enemies on
screen.  Costs 20 heart points.

Watch- For a limited time a shield of eight spheres surrounds Richter.  
Enemies that come into contact are damaged.  The spheres also shield out
enemy projectiles.  Costs 15 heart points.

Dagger- A flurry of daggers are thrown successively by Richter.  Devastates
all enemies in the same horizontal position.  Costs 10 heart points.

No special weapon- This Item Crash/special attack will turn the standard whip 
into a very long flame whip.  Automatically toasts all enemies in front of
Richter once.  Costs 15 heart points.

Key- Try it and see what happens!
<center><img src="rich2.jpg"></center><p>            


7) The stages and bosses:

Stage 1:  Burning Town

This level is pretty straight forward enough.  Here you'll meet the usual
skeletons and bats but nothing necessarily threatening.  Beware of the steps
that flip over when you leap onto them.  The giant beast that pursues Richter
cannot be defeated with weapons.  Keep ahead of it and at the end of this
section it will automatically destroy itself.  There is some food hidden in
the stairs right before you encounter the first boss.

Boss: Keruberosu

The best weapon against this boss is the axe.  The stage 1 boss attacks with
flames that travel along the ground.  Keruberosu also attacks by leaping 
quickly and pouncing on Richter.  Be careful when it fires a flame (you'll
hear it even when not on the screen) as the boss will soon afterwards pounce.
Leap over the flame while attacking with the axe.  Keep launching the axes
even when Keruberosu is not on the screen and whip it when is moves on in.
You will likely take some hits, but you should have no problem outlasting it.

Stage 2: Gate and Entrance to Evil Castle

The first part of this stage can be tricky.  Be careful of two areas on the
walkway to the castle (both shaped like a horizontally reversed number seven)
as both will collapse when Richter sets foot.  Leap off immediately.  The
next part is a bridge suspended by pillars.  As soon as you leap on, the
bridge will start to crumble.  Make haste as fast as you possibly can.  You
may even have to leap to keep ahead of the destruction.  While sounding
simple enough, the fishmen leap from below to hinder your progress.  If you
take a single hit, you will be unable to recover and will be knocked below to
your death.  When two fishmen appear, try to kill them both with a single
attack of the whip.  Keep walking and ONLY leap when you have to.  Collecting
the items from the candles is risky and will more likely result in being
knocked below.  The rest of this stage is less chaotic.  Beware of the purple
colored knights that wield spears; they are quite troublesome.  They can
block some projectiles such as the dagger and boomerang.  These enemies also
have an attack that inflicts such great force that Richter will be thrown way
back.  To avoid this attack, immediately perform a backwards leap (jump 
button twice) when they start to raise the spear above them and then towards 
their back.  Note that they can attack Richter above and below whatever 
platform he is standing on by raising or lowering their spears.  Again there 
is some food hidden in the stairs leading toward the boss.

Boss: Myotia

The best weapon here is definitely the boomerang.  Myotia first appears in
the form of a giant bat.  Hitting it will turn it into its second form, a
mass of several small bats.  The safest places to be is on either 
platform located on each side of the playfield.  Continually launch
boomerangs at the mass of bats.  When they move toward Richter, move to the
highest platform of the two you are on, leap over the bats, and make your way
to the other pair of platforms on the opposite side.  When the mass of bats
again form the giant bat, try to attack it as quickly as possible to keep it
from charging at Richter.  Take special care not to let the bats corner
Richter on either side of the screen as he will immediately suffer several
hits and likely parish.  If you continue this process, you will likely take
some hits but should have no problems as long as you continually attack with
the boomerangs.

Stage 3: Great Hall

The goal of the first part of level 3 is to simply reach the top.  Plan your
jumps carefully here as the Medusa heads are plentiful and often appear
without notice.  You'll again encounter those bothersome spear wielding
knights and move on to an area that has several moving platforms with a
potential watery grave below.  Again, be aware of being knocked into the
water by low flying bats and the fishmen that unexpectedly pop up from
below.  You'll first encounter the axeman in the next section.  On the right
wall horizontal to the axeman you will find a hidden 1-up.  The axeman can
block projectiles most of the time with his shield, so the whip is the most
effect against it.  Note that when the axeman throws an axe it comes back, so
be prepared to whip, duck, or jump.  Keep moving right until you come to an
area with several white pillars.  THIS AREA HAS SPECIAL SIGNIFICANCE AND
DETERMINES HOW THE GAME WILL END.  If you are knocked below, you will be sent
to the alternative level 4.  If this is the case, you will not be able to 
save Annet or Maria.  Be VERY careful in this section, the Medusa heads are 
unrelenting.  Take the axe in one of the candles as it will be very useful in
clearing the long vertical line of enemies that attack with flames.  If you 
keep moving right without being knocked below, you will eventually find a key
in one of the candles just before the boss.  Be warned that if you acquire a 
special weapon, you will lose the key.

Boss: Dyurahan

Dyurahan would be much easier to defeat if you are equipped with a
special weapon such as the axe.  If you chose to keep the key, this battle
is tougher than one may want it to be.  The problem is that Dyurahan keeps
its sword lowered most of the time.  You cannot get too close to it or you
will be damaged by the lowered sword.  One of the boss's attacks is to slash
his sword forward, then leap with it lowered.  It's very difficult to
anticipate this attack.  A second to attack to look for is when the boss
lowers its sword to the ground and spikes appear that move toward Richter.
These spikes cannot be leaped over, so the only choice is to outrun them or
leap onto the highest platforms.  Another attack Dyurahan uses is a very
quick forward stab of the sword.  Again, preparing for this is very tough.
The best advice I can give is not to get too greedy when it comes to
attacking the boss.  Move in, attack it a few times, then back off.  This, of
course, doesn't apply if you are using a special weapon where getting in
close isn't necessary in the first place.  The boss also has two more attacks
that involves its head.  Dyurahan will occasionally throw it's head in the
air.  The head will rotate and hover midair as objects fall from above that
can damage Richter.  Simply standing under one of the platforms will provide
full protection against this attack.  The second attack of the head is to fly
around and attack Richter.  It is easy to avoid but it's possible to lose
track of it as it can leave the screen and appear right below Richter without
any time to react.  The result is some damage and the player will be
temporarily slowed down.  Keep in mind that the best time to ALWAYS attack
Dyurahan is when he is performing one of his own attacks, such as when the
object are falling from above.  In these situations the boss is left
vulnerable and is unable to attack with his sword.  Save the food located in
the candle for when you really need it.  Patience and choosing the right time
to attack definitely will pay off here.

Stage 4: Dungeon

The first part of level 4 isn't that difficult to get through.  Just be aware
of the rocky overhanging above that can hide enemies, projectiles, and even
some items in candles.  It's easiest to leap on and over the spiked platforms
that drop below rather than run under them.  Keep moving left until you reach
a section with platforms suspended on a rope that is driven around by a gear.
Ride these platforms until you see a door on the left side.  You can unlock
the door by using the key like you would use any special weapon (up and
attack).  You now have saved Maria.  However, you will still need the key to
unlock another door. The red skulls that fly around this area are unrelenting
in their attacks, so be prepared for a lot of maneuvering.  It's best to
kill them as soon as possible or you will be overwhelmed when three or more
of them attack.  When you reach the top, keep proceeding left. The small Igor
-like enemies that leap around a lot are very quick and difficult to hit
with the whip.  Once you make it to the next section you will see a door
located on a platform above.  This will take you to the alternative level 5
where you can rescue Annet.  If you did not rescue Maria earlier, you will 
not be able to unlock this door even if you still have the key.

Boss: Minotaurusu

If you chose not to rescue Annet, you will face Minotaurusu.  This boss is a
piece of cake if you equip yourself with an axe.  You can find an axe in a
candle just before you face the boss.  Simply stand at left edge of the lower
platform and leap in the air while firing away with the axes.  If you are
consistent with making contact (hitting the boss and not his axe),
Minotaurusu will never even come close to Richter.  Really, it's that simple.

Alternative Stage 4: Underground Caverns/Tomb

This is not a particularly tough stage to get through.  You will mostly walk
in or above the muddy boiling water.  Mudmen and flying bats are the most 
common enemies here.  When you leap or fall into the boiling liquid, be 
careful not to stay idle for too long.  Jump periodically to keep from 
sinking below.  The mudmen will rise unexpectedly from below, so keep on 
your to toes to avoid cheap hits.  Later in the stage you will encounter a
large red skeleton.  This skeleton is quite a formidable opponent and takes
many hits to kill off.  Keep at a distance and attack it with whatever special
weapon you are equipped with.  Beware of when he leaps as you will have to
be at a far distance to avoid being lunged at.  You will next face a 
skeledragon.  As with all the skeledragons in the game, you can tell when it
will launch a fireball as it will first appear in its back part and move 
towards the head.  Axes always work best on these creatures.  Keep moving 
left and when you reach the area where you can finally leap out of the 
boiling liquid, there is a raised step on the floor that contains some food.

Boss: Cloaked Sorcerer

This boss initially appears intimidating due to its multiple attacks.  The 
key is stay put on the ground and resist the temptation of leaping on one of
the platforms to attack the boss with brute force.  The dagger works very 
well here and can found in one of the candles just before you encounter this
boss.  The first priority is to take out the red flames that the sorcerer 
sends out.  Not only do theses flames inflict damage on Richter, but they 
inhibit his movements and slow him down significantly as well.  Next take 
out the skeletons that are formed by the falling bones.  When it appears 
safe, leap up from the ground and attack the boss with the dagger.  This must 
be done when it's flying low and from a safe distance.  The sorcerer will 
then fly to the opposite side of the playfield that it was before.  Continue 
the same process as before by taking out the skeletons and flames before 
launching an attack on the boss.  When his energy is completely depleted, he 
will take on his second form.  In his second form, the boss will first attack 
by launching several headstones at Richter.  Duck, whip, or leap over them.  
Also in this form, the sorcerer will fly aggressively at Richter.  This is 
why it is especially important to keep at a safe distance.  Mudmen will walk 
the floor and make the battle all the more difficult.  With some skillful 
maneuvering and letting the daggers do most of the work, you should be able 
to make it through the battle.  One of the tougher bosses in the game.

Stage 5: Courtyard

The first part of this stage consists of ravens and Igors.  While neither are
particularly powerful, both are very quick attackers and are tough to hit
with just the whip.  The axe works extremely well here.  When you get to the
section where there are platforms moving up and down, some of the stone
blocks on the walls that must be climbed to reach the platforms will crumble
when leaped on.  To buy some time, you can leap from block to block until you
are ready to jump on one of the platforms.  You will encounter similar
collapsing blocks later in the level.  When you reach the section with the
tall green knights will huge swords, clear away from them when they stop
moving.  These powerful enemies will lunge forward and knock Richter back.
The rest of this stage is reasonably challenging, but offers no real
surprises.

Boss: Lypuston

Lypuston is the level 5 boss.  While very quick on its feet, its attacks are
very predictable.  The key is to resist the urge to move on in and use
brute force to attack it.  Instead, it's best to keep your distance and let
whatever special weapon you are equipped with do the work.  His ground
attacks include a slide attack and a fireball that he throws.  Again, if you
keep your distance these attacks should be avoidable.  His aerial attacks are
more formidable.  Whenever Lypuston leaps onto the ceiling or wall, it will
dive down toward Richter.  The key is to move toward the wall opposite the
one the boss is closest to.  For example, if the boss is on or near the left 
side wall, start moving toward the right wall.  Don't make the mistake of 
moving too close and cornering yourself against either side.  After all, the 
object here is to move away from his dive attacks.  Once Lypuston's energy is
down to 1/4th, he will form into a ball and start bouncing quickly off the 
walls.  It's very likely that he will only touch down to the ground once at 
each pass, so this attack is more avoidable than it looks.  With continual 
attacks with the boomerang or axe at safe distances, this boss is weak 
compared to what lies ahead.

Alternative Stage 5: Waterway

The first part of this stage simply involves moving to the right and avoiding
being knocked to your death by the blue skulls that rise up from the water 
below.  Also be on your guard against the fishmen that unexpectedly leap up
and dive towards Richter.  You'll encounter the same enemies in the next
section as make your way below, to the right, and up again.  Wait for each
platform to reach jumping position and be aware of the spikes that protrude
from some of the walls and platforms.  In the next section you will have to
make haste to outrun the rising water.  If you wait too long to move up to
the next platform, Richter will suffer some damage from the water.  The blue
skulls, skeledragons, and a red skeleton will attempt to slow your progress.
In one of the candles there is an invincibility potion.  Take it and keep 
moving immediately to the right.  If you're fast enough, you can simply jump
towards the skeledragon while invincible and instantly kill it.  Once you 
reach the top, go to the left.  In the next section there is a flow of water
that drains into the pool of water below.  Use you whip to hit the flow of
water.  The flowage will eventually stop and the pool will drop below.  Make
your way below onto the lowest platform on the left.  On this platform keep
moving left and you will find Annet.  Make your way back up and to the left.  
Keep moving until you encounter the first raven; there is a some hidden food
on the step that it was sitting on.  

Boss: Serpent

The battle with this boss is pretty straight forward.  On the platform that
Richter is standing on, the serpent will periodically wrap its body around
one end and move towards the other end.  The way in which it does this
varies.  The key is to avoid the parts of its body that coil in FRONT of the
platform, not the rear.  This is easier said then done since the serpent 
moves at such a great speed.  Also note that in the areas where it is safe to 
stand when the serpent is coiled around the platform, you may have to move 
in the same direction as the serpent to stay within that safe area.  Another 
attack of the serpent is to rise straight up vertically and launch flames at 
Richter.  The axe and dagger work well as counterattack weapons.  Only the 
head of the serpent is vulnerable to damage, so plan your attacks quickly 
and carefully as the time to actually get in a hit or two is very limited. 

Stage 6: Clock Tower

The first part of level 6 is frustrating due to the unrelenting dives of the
ravens.  Again, while these creature are relatively weak, it's tough to
attack them while climbing the stairs.  Also don't forget to hold up on the
control pad when leaping on the stairs.  In too many situations did I forget
to hold up on the pad after leaping in the air and attacking an enemy.  This
unfortunately lead to many unnecessary deaths.  Next you will come to an area
with rock platforms that are scrolling downward.  You can simply leap up each
platform and make your way towards the left where you will reach the next
section.  If you choose to go right you can collect some hearts and food.
The third part of this level serves up the familiar Castlevania scenario of
leaping from gear to gear.  This is further hindered by the spear wielding
knights and constant bats flying from the edges of the screen that make
this all the more difficult.  If possible, you are better off avoiding a
confrontation with the knights with the spears.  In some cases however, this
is unavoidable.  Continue to make your way up and to the right.  You will
soon reach an area where you will have the make big leaps of faith.  Be
careful of the Medusa heads that are flying around.  Whenever jumping from
gear to gear, keep in mind that your leaps are exaggerated.  In some cases
it's not even necessary to leap at all but to merely walk off the gear to
reach the next one.  You will next have to travel upwards from gear to gear.
Medusa heads are very plentiful here.  Once you make your way to the top,
go to the right.  In the section just before the boss, there is a 1-up hidden
in the upper right wall.

Boss: Giant Skull or Grim Reaper

Depending on whether or not you successfully rescued Annet, the level 6 boss
will change!  If you did not rescue her, you will fight a giant skull.  If
Annet was saved, the Grim Reaper will appear instead.  Neither boss is easily
defeated, although the Grim Reaper does seem somewhat easier.

Giant Skull- The giant skull flies around the screen with seemingly no 
boundaries.  The skull is difficult to attack in repeated succession since
each time it's damaged it will move to the other side of the screen. The real
threat here are the eyes that leave its head and attack in a variety of ways.
One attack of the eyeballs is to simply fly around the screen and dart at
Richter.  This is more challenging than it seems since the skull itself will
occasionally dart at the player.  If you do not keep at the opposite end of
the platform that the skull is on, some of the combined attacks of the
eyeballs and skull are unavoidable.  A simple rule is to stay away from each
platform edge to avoid being knocked below.  Another attack of the eyeballs
involves them becoming balls of flame and rotating in a circular motion.
Again, it's best to keep a distance from the edges since at times it is
impossible to jump around the eyes.  The last attack is the most difficult to
avoid of all.  Both eyeballs fly above and each sends down a lightning beam.
If you are between them, you will be damaged by both beams as they close in
on Richter.  The best advice I can give is to get as far away from them as
you can when they start hovering above.  If you're quick enough, you can run 
under the eyeballs before they start emitting the beams to prevent being 
trapped between the two eyes or the edges of the platform.  As with most of
the bosses, the boomerang works best here although the axe is also very 
effective.

Grim Reaper- He attacks in a very simplistic manner, but that doesn't 
necessarily make him easy to kill off.  He attacks by flying around the 
screen along with several indestructible sickles that chase Richter.  A
simple rule that should always be followed is: if the Grim Reaper is on the
left side of the platform, quickly make your way to the right side to avoid
being doubled teamed by both him and the sickles.  Continue to blast him with
boomerangs while leaping over his sickles and he will eventually take his
second form.  The Grim Reaper's second form is surprising weak.  Simply
launch several boomerangs and/or whip him quickly.  If you still had around
half of your energy just prior to his second form, you can simply attack with
brute force and you should have no problem outlasting him.

Stage 7: Count Dracula

This stage doesn't offer any real challenges before the final encounter with
Dracula.  This is a good place to collect hearts and equip the special
weapon of your choice.

Boss: Count Dracula

As in every Castlevania so far, Dracula is quite a piece of work.  There's
also really no surprise in the way he attacks.  Dracula will appear and
disappear above each pillar at random.  The pillars make for a difficult
battle ground as it is very easy to be knocked to your death below.
Dracula's weak spot appears to be just above his pendent but NOT directly at
his head.  What makes the encounter with Dracula so tedious is that it's
difficult to achieve multiple attacks at a single time.  The best way to
inflict the most damage is to attack Dracula when he is close to either side
of the screen with the boomerang.  As the boomerang is changing direction, it
hovers at the edge of the screen for a short time and can inflict multiple
hits on Dracula.  Of course, this is easier said than done.  Dracula appears
and disappears very quickly and in only a fraction of that time is he
vulnerable to damage.  He also seems to appear at the extreme edges of the
screen, making it even more difficult to launch an attack.  Dracula's own
attack comes in two different forms.  Most often he will launch three
fireballs that travel horizontally.  This attack is not a particular threat
as the fireballs can either be whipped or leaped over.  The second form of
attack is much more difficult to avoid.  Two large fireballs are launched at
a very fast speed.  These fireballs cannot be destroyed and are very
difficult to leap over given the speed they are traveling and how far apart
they are from each other.  If you are on the lowest pillar, it's best to
simply duck if Dracula was on one of the higher pillars when he launched the
fireballs.  Attacking and avoiding Dracula requires a lot of patience and time
depending on how lucky you are in getting in good attacks.  When his life bar
is completely diminished, the battle is not over.  Dracula takes his second
form as a HUGE winged demon.  Hopefully you still have many heart points at
this point as the boomerang can make quick work of his second form.  If you
do not have any heart points left, defeating his second form will be
extremely difficult (especially if you have already taken a few hits).  His
main attack is to fire flames at Richter.  These attacks are pretty scattered
and are difficult to dodge at close range.  The flames, however, can be
whipped.  When the demon lowers himself, he is preparing for his second form
of attack.  A blue projectile is launched horizontally.  It is difficult to
judge whether or not this projectile can be leaped over or simply ducked.
This is especially true if the demon has you cornered in one of the screen
edges.  This is why it is VERY important to plan you last attack on Dracula's
first form.  Wait until Dracula takes just one hit to finish off his first
form.  Destroy him when he appears at one extreme side of play field.  If
this is done, you will have plenty of room to attack the second form and
avoid his attacks.  If you follow this, you should be able to destroy
Dracula's second form quickly by pummeling him with boomerangs.


8) General hints and tips:

- Look where you leap.  One of the most annoying enemies in the game are 
those that appear suddenly from the edge of the screen.  This includes the
bats, ravens, and Medusa heads.  If you blindly leap to a platform or gear,
these enemies may suddenly appear and knock Richter below to his death.  On 
levels that are infested with flying Medusa heads, it's best to wait and
kill the next one that appears before making a jump.

- Master the backwards leap by quickly pressing the jump button twice.  
While this technique initially appears to be useless, it is essential for 
escaping certain enemy attacks.

- Conserve your heart points for the level's end boss.  Bosses that seem 
almost impossible to defeat are often made quick work of by rapidly attacking
them with a special weapon.  Using a special weapon on skeletons, bats, and
Medusa heads is extremely wasteful and could be better used in the most
desperate situations.

- Transverse the levels slowly when you are just playing through the game the
first time.  Remember, there is no time limit in Dracula X as in the past
Castlevania games.  Taking your time will allow you to learn the positions
and attacks of certain enemies and traps.  This will also allow you enough
time to react and conserve your energy for the end bosses.  So don't be in a
big hurry to get through a level!

- Take advantage of the unlimited continues and password functions of the 
game.  If you find yourself at the beginning of a level with no extra lives, 
very few heart points, and a special weapon that you don't like, it's best to kill
kill yourself off and restart the level.  You now at least have some extra
lives and the entire level to collect heart points and a special weapon
before you take on the boss.

- Playing the game over and over while failing to defeat a certain boss or 
complete a level can lead to frustration.  Copy down the level password and
take a break from the game.  Playing the game frustrated rarely ever results
in progress being made and the feeling of pulling out the cartridge and
throwing it out the window is the likely sentiment to be formed in this case.

- Richter can walk backwards.  Press and hold the attack button then pull in
the opposite direction that Richter is facing.  This technique allows the
player to move away from an enemy and then immediately launch an attack.

- Climb up and down stairs to enter/exit certain screens.  Items in candles 
can be retrieved again and again by doing this.  This is especially helpful 
when trying to regain full health and collect heart points just before a 
tough boss.

- Search everywhere!  Food and 1-ups are usually well hidden in walls, steps,
and blocks.


9) Passwords:

W= HOLY WATER
F= FLAME
A= AXE
B= BOOMERANG
H= HEART

Level 2  Level 3  *Level 4  *Level 5  Level 6  Level 7
F H A    F W W     A A A     H W H    W A A    W A F
A A A    F W H     F W W     W A H    W F W    F F W
A W W    F W W     A H H     H H H    A W F    W F A

*Note- This is the password for the regular stage, not for the alternative.
Passwords for the alternative stages are not provided for by the game.


10) Cheat codes (requires a Game Genie):

Infinite energy                                   C96D-17FF
After a single hit, player is invincible          C969-CD2D
Longer invincibility time after taking damage     EE6F-CFBF
Infinite lives                                    C9AF-47A7
Begin with 99 lives                               BB85-1D6F
Begin with 99 heart points                        6D81-170F
Begin with 99 heart points after player dies      BBA4-44D7
Small hearts worth 25 heart points                4929-1763
Item Crash attack uses no heart points            C9A6-3D94


11) Other Castlevania games to check out:

SNES:
Super Castlevania IV

Sega Genesis:
Castlevania: Bloodlines

GameBoy:
Castlevania Adventure
Castlevania Adventure II

NES:
Castlevania
Castlevania II: Simon's Quest
Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse

PC:
Castlevania

PC Engine Super CD:
Dracula X

Let's hope for an upcoming Castlevania V for the Nintendo 64, Playstation, 
and Saturn systems from Konami.


***************************************************************************

I hope you found this strategy guide useful.  If you have any comments or 
suggestions concerning this text or which game I should next construct a guide 
for, please feel free to e-mail me at 102447.632@compuserve.com.  Enjoy
the game!

Tim D. Calvillo