As seen in: Kid Dracula (Game Boy)
Also in: Boku! Dracula-Kun (Famicom)
Distinguishing feature: Constantly narrowed eyes owed to an albinism-related ocular condition.
Strengths: An upbeat boy hero who'll bite his way into your heart.
Weaknesses: The Siren-like rattle of the roulette wheel.

Profile by Nicola Nomali | January 27, 2011

Count Dracula is despised as the Lord of the Night, the Demon King, the Prince of Darkness, Vlad the Impaler... Let's just say the extent to which he's reviled is roughly equivalent to the volume of his nicknames. He did, after all, habitually plunge Europe into a hellscape of death and evil, and even when the latest Belmont put him under, he usually found some loophole in the "but once a century" rule to resurrect whenever he felt like it. However, as easy as it is to assume that he was simply born with a black heart, are we all not the products of our upbringing? Dracula, sad to say, is no different.

In youth, Dracula had no mother to raise him, and his father was perpetually absent on occult business (assuredly, the better to write off getting stoned with Medusa). He was therefore left in the care of Death -- that is, the Grim Reaper -- whom most people would peg as one of the worst possible candidates for "nursemaid" unless they really needed their kid dead. Not being versed in non-fatal forms of discipline, Death was usually at a loss but to let the headstrong young master do whatever he pleased. On two different occasions, a surly kaiju named Galamoth descended on Wallachia to seize the Demon King's throne, and both times, Kid Dracula set out in his overalls on a one-boy crusade to put the lizard in his place—ultimately confining him to Castlevania's deepest, most inverted catacombs. Then, with the help of his father's trusted umbrella, he beat any and all defectors back into ranks. When they begged forgiveness, he answered with scorn, intimidation, and, in one case, reducing a trio of vampire bats to reusable ammunition.

For every ghoul set ablaze with hellfire, he made sure to nab whatever glittering tokens were left amidst its ashes. Thus was revealed the sordid motivation behind his bullying: Just as a mature vampire craves warm blood, the juvenile Dracula was beset by a hopeless gambling addiction. After an excursion doing the devil's work, he literally could not progress without ducking into the nearest parlor and emptying his entire supply of coins into games of chance -- "games" as lurid as thrusting swords into barrels occupied by live skeletons, or lining up burlesque dancers to guess the color of their knickers. No one had the candor to say no to the Demon King's only son, and so his every whim was appeased, all of Romania his personal Pleasure Island.

A celebrity childhood with no supervision, of limitless entitlement and decadence, naturally wouldn't yield a well-balanced adult. Once Dracula officially inherited dominion over the night, he wasted no time setting hordes upon humans in a blind grab for world conquest; the Belmont family stepped in to demonstrate just how out of touch he was, and he soon became locked in the same obstinate loop of futility in which we found him in the twentieth century. It had lasted more than half a millennium by then, yet aside from the rare apology to his own son for being such a deadbeat, he didn't show an inkling of introspection or remorse -- all the way to the bitter end. Given his history, though, could it really have gone any other way? Perhaps now we can acknowledge, while his actions were beyond deplorable, Dracula wasn't lacking a soul: The dude was simply from circumstances.

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