Putting the "Joy" back in joystick

UPDATE: Added link to the English version of the game — Castle of Succubus.

Somewhere, in a perfect world rife with good video games and bags of unbroken potato chips, the Castlevania series is still going strong. In this perfect world, the series undoubtedly saw numerous iterations hit current-gen platforms, and perhaps the series even entered the 3D dimension gracefully without sacrificing its unique identity. Unfortunately, we live in a world where the series is practically dead and unopened bags of potato chips are consistently full of potato dust. In these dark times, we must look to games inspired by the series’ legacy, which includes an official spiritual successor that won’t be available for years, and the subject of today’s LewdLook, Akumajou Succubus.

Akumajou Succubus is a 2015 release by Libra Heart, and is only the second release from the company after the less imaginatively titled Succubus. The far more creative title of Akumajou Succubus is derived from Akumajou Dracula, the Japanese title for the Castlevania series. Akumajou Succubus wears its title with as much pride as an ecchi game can, and it’s undoubtedly an experience hearkening back to its namesake’s very first game. You take control of Simone Belmonte, a nubile heroine on a quest to travel to the realm of Castle Succubus and defeat the titular succubus for unknown reasons. It may have something to do with the army of ghouls raping women everywhere. It should be noted that the titular succubus in both games happens to be completely nude, save for some sleeves and leggings, as well as sporting a very lush, pink motif. Considering how Succubus ends, assuming Akumajou Succubus to be a sequel might not be that large a stretch.

As mentioned, the gameplay and style are unmistakable at first glance: The HUD, enemies, subweapons, spritework, and even certain bosses absolutely evoke memories of the classic games. However, the differences between the actual series and Akumajou Succubus are made apparent the instant you try jumping as Simone. Whereas Simon Belmont gracefully leaps into the air, committed to the direction of his jump as though it were his wife of 10 years, Simone Belmonte can change her midair direction during the 0.50 seconds she’s in the air. The instant Simone reaches the apex of her jump, she snaps back to the earth as though she was magnetized to it. It may sound like a nitpick, but it’s particularly glaring considering what Akumajou Succubus imitate and to what extent it does so. The game successfully nails the style, but it lacks the core essence and design of the original NES classic.

Akumajou Succubus is about the length of an early NES platformer, clocking in at a solid six levels. That being said, those levels are very bipolar in difficulty. The first three are firmly on the lenient side, whereas later stages either spike hard in difficulty, drag on far too long for their own good, put up no challenge at all, or any combination of the three at sporadic intervals. For instance, one later boss takes longer than any other boss in the game, but is also the easiest due to the formulaic pattern she presents. The final stage could even be compared to a smooth road trip that begins and ends with spending 30 minutes of pushing your car out of a ditch.

Akumajou Succubus’ namesake restricted the player’s movement, coupled platforming with aggressive enemies and severely limited healing items in stages. In this game, however, dying doesn’t even reset your subweapon and its ammunition. While game overs cause exactly that, they also start you in the same room you died in, rather than the beginning of the level. This makes the concept of death more of an irritating pothole instead of a true incentive to hone your abilities. That isn’t to say every obstacle can be tackled recklessly, but competence and planning cripples the game at times, whereas it was how you would level the playing field in the original games. Moreover, Akumajou Succubus’ level design is also quite lenient. There are definitely instances towards the end where the game adopts level design and enemy placement not unlike what one would see in the NES installments. However, these instances are often sandwiched between stages with either a slew of meandering enemies on flat terrain or platforming with no enemies to challenge you. Perhaps most damning thing is that Akumajou Succubus doesn’t have a single Medusa head or flight of stairs.

Perhaps one person can only compare a clone from a new developer for so long. After all, even if the game constantly evokes the classic sidescroller in every pixel, it simply isn’t the real deal. Moreover, this is a website devoted to lewd games, and this article wouldn’t exist if Akumajou Succubus wasn’t one. Levels will generally contain a screen that ends with a “Help!” word bubble just before the transition to the next screen. This denotes a sex scene up ahead. Entering the next screen greets you with a lush (albeit static) image of a woman being raped by a monster of some variety. The game then asks if you want to help her or not. Helping her by vanquishing the monsters does bless you with a password for that section in the level, but only white knights and casuals would take such a route! Neglecting the woman in need displays another lush (and also static) image of her being defiled further, accompanied by the distinct sounds of moaning in ecstasy until the monster climaxes. The pleasure of cumming inside is apparently so intense that none of the monsters in these scenes survive, and promptly burst into flames.

Levels also sport a second sex scene, but they’re all behind closed doors that require a key to unlock. Only by combing through the level for the key can you witness even more poon. Mysteriously, the key does not occupy a subweapon slot as it would in games such as Rondo of Blood. Additionally, the key also remains in your inventory even after a game over. Speaking of game overs, the game features level-specific game over scenes that portray Simone submitting to various forms of erotic situations. In fact, the majority of your game overs will probably stem from constantly getting game overs to see the new ways Simone is sexually violated. Perhaps it would ease your ego to learn that all scenes are added into the gallery once viewed. It’s a game that definitely wants you to keep coming back for all the right reasons.

To the sex-craved Castlevania fan thirsty for a new game in the iconic franchise, I personally recommend The Adventure ReBirth over on Nintendo’s WiiWare service instead. However, I also encourage trying out Akumajou Succubus once you’ve had your fill and would rather empty your balls instead of having them busted. It may suffer from a lack of polish and doesn’t nail the gameplay style flawlessly, but the sheer novelty and lewd content more than make up for it. Unfortunately, bags of potato chips worldwide will continue to be pulverized into dust during the shipping process.

Akumajou Succubus can be acquired on DLsite, with the newest 1.02 version adding an easy mode option and removing the game’s knockback mechanic.

The English version, titled Castle of Succubus, can be found on DLsite here.

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