Super Castlevania IV (known in Japan as Akumajou Dracula, which loosely translates to "Devil's Castle Dracula") is a 2D horror-fantasy action platformer developed and published by Konami for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in Japan (on October 31, 1991), North America (on December 4, 1991), and Europe (on November 23, 1992).
The first game in the Castlevania series to be released for the SNES, Super Castlevania IV is an enhanced retelling of the original Castlevania adventure, improving the protagonist's attack and movement capabilities (including multi-directional whip attacks, a dedicated sub-weapon button, and the ability to grapple onto specific objects with his whip) while rebuilding all levels from scratch (with a good portion of it taking place before reaching the main castle).
The plot and premise for Super Castlevania IV remains the same as the game it's based on. 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.
The game was later digitally re-released as a Virtual Console title for the Wii (in 2006), the Wii U (in 2013-2016) and the New Nintendo 3DS (in 2016). It was also included in the North American and European versions of the 2017 Super NES Classic Edition micro-console and was included in the 2019 digital compilation Castlevania Anniversary Collection for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC.
Super Castlevania IV introduced many key features that were unique to this entry in the series. Simon can now whip in eight directions, where he couldn't in the original games. Holding down the attack button allows Simon to 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, which can be upgraded twice through pickups, each increasing length and damage (returning to the short leather whip, should Simon die). Sub-weapons can also be upgraded, up to level three, though these are much rarer than whip upgrades. The sub-weapon upgrades allow Simon to use the equipped item 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 or 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, such as walls and candles.
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.