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Castlevania 3: Improved Controls

Hack of Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse


This hack modernizes the control scheme of Castlevania 3 to make it less frustrating to people used to tighter controls, including giving the player more control while jumping.

Complete list of changes:

  • Enables all characters to control their x-velocity in mid-air while jumping (including while jump attacking); Grant’s jumping controls remain unchanged.
  • When releasing the jump button, one immediately starts falling again; this allows the player to make smaller hops if desired. (Does not apply to Grant.)
  • After being knocked back, the player regains control after a split second and can angle their fall.
  • When walking off an edge, the player retains control instead of dropping straight down.
  • All characters can jump off of stairs at any point in the climb (however, it is still impossible to land on stairs, so be careful jumping from long flights of stairs over pits)

Compatible with the English translation of Akumajou Densetsu located here.

Similar to the Castlevania Improved Controls hack here.

Use Lunar IPS to apply the hack to your Castlevania 3 ROM file.

ROM / ISO Information:

  • No-Intro Name: Akumajou Densetsu (Japan)
  • Country: JAP
  • ROM size: 393.216 kb
  • ROM SHA-1: BEB7E005BCBAC031CE61613FA47DF24AD151E9AB
  • ROM CRC32: E349AF38
  • ROM MD5: 75DBDF8D0DE9B472EED5065BC0FE4129




ContributorType of contributionListed credit

User Review Information

Improves the game balance rather than damages it.

Reviewed By: Haz on 26 Feb 2021

When I (and no doubt other, more purist players) first saw this hack, I opted not to use it, because I thought it would break the difficulty balance of the game in a bad way. Castlevania 1 and 3 require careful planning, caution and timing, rather than speed and reflexes like most platformers. The combat and enemy design is there to stop you ploughing through the levels, no matter your skill level. You have to manoeuvre through complex attack and movement patterns, and the restricted attack options challenge you to find the narrow hole in the enemies’ defences. This process is like a puzzle and is fun to figure out and execute. This is why many classic fans don’t like 4; having complete control over your character fundamentally changes the flow of the game.

On paper, I thought that this should apply to the game’s movement and platforming too. With a fixed jump arc, you had to plan out platforming sequences just like you would with a combat encounter. It seemed like a natural part of the game. Yet after playing with this hack, I don’t think that this line of thinking is really valid. Restricting player control can indeed lead to better game design. It’s harder to design interesting enemies when the player could attack them at any angle with an omni-directional whip. With classic Castlevania’s restricted moveset, each player will always tackle each level the same way. Because of this, the devs could fine-tune each encounter knowing there would only be one “solution” to each enemy’s “puzzle”. The enemies and levels are all interesting and engaging, and is what makes the games fun.

The strategy and observation you need to face enemies don’t apply to platforming. Platforming intrinsically only has one “solution”, and finding the path across doesn’t really need much observation, it’s obvious from just looking at the platforms. Nerfing a player’s ability to platform without promoting any other skill isn’t a fun challenge, it’s just frustrating. The danger of being knocked back into a pit doesn’t change how you play or think, it just punishes mistakes more, which isn’t fun design. In fact, nothing about fixed jump arcs and excessive knockback actually affects combat. Since combat is the meat of the gameplay (with platforming only serving the purpose of complicating encounters), I can safely say that none of the game’s fun is diminished by this hack; it merely removes the frustration.

In conclusion, if you were like me and worried that this hack might make the game ‘too easy’, I would ask you to reconsider and try this out. As for new players, this is an essential way of making the game playable. I’ve seen a few hacks that try to lessen the difficulty by removing bottomless pits and increasing player health. Yet this hack transcends these other efforts by giving players appropriate means to avoid pits and damage on their own. It truly is the definitive way to play.

Version 1.4 Recommended - Yes

User Reviews
Improves the game balance rather than damages it.Haz26 Feb 20211.4Yes
WARNING: This hack almost ruined a certain levelmariosmentor29 Apr 20191.4Yes
The Stairs are No Longer a Cursechuckingdice15 Feb 20191.4Yes
So nicetelmo13 Feb 20181.4Yes
What we needed!WebSlinger09 Aug 20171.4Yes
Character Control feels great!bogaabogaa28 Jul 20171.2Yes
A MInor Improvement That Makes All The DifferencePROTOBlues28 Jul 20171.2Yes