Dracula Defanged: Empowering the Player in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
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The Castlevania games are not designed to scare the player, but they resort to elements from horror literature and film, including references to Bram Stoker’s novel and using characters from monster movies as level bosses. Horror conventions are used as cues to build the gameworld and to understand the game design, and how the player appropriates some of those conventions to empower herself in the process. The article focuses on the figure of the vampire in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, and how the conventions set in previous media are integrated in the design of the game. Dracula has been divested of his vampiric powers; rather, he acquires typical videogame boss powers, launching fireballs and teleporting himself within the screen. The powers lost by Dracula as a videogame boss are picked up and amplified by the player character, the half-vampire Alucard. This shift is the result of a process started in other media. The powers of the vampire have now been appropriated by the player as a means to empower their interaction in the gameworld, making the vampire a desirable character to the player.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Comparative Media Studies
Simon Fraser University
Fernandez-Vara, Clara. "Dracula Defanged: Empowering the Player in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night." Loading..., Vol. 4, No. 6 (2010).
Author's final manuscript