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File:Draculascursecover 1645.jpg

The third NES entry of the epically long Castlevania series, and a prequel to the original. This game chronicles the exploits of Trevor C. Belmont (Ralph C. Belmondo in Japan), grandfather of the original game's Simon Belmont. In 1476, Trevor, who has "a long history of fighting the forces of evil", is called forth by the citizens of Wallachia to defeat Dracula. The game chronicles his journey across the land to the titular Castlevania, and his subsequent infiltration of the castle and battle with Dracula.

Generally considered the best NES Castlevania, and rivaled only by Super Castlevania IV or Castlevania: Rondo of Blood as the best old-school Castlevania. Following the overambitious Castlevania II: Simon's Quest, Konami took a back-to-basics approach with this game, sticking to traditional platforming while improving the graphics and music. The result plays almost identically to the original Castlevania.

Nevertheless, there were some important innovations. The path to Dracula's castle frequently branches, and the player will wind up following one of three paths to the final levels, plus an early side-route that is entirely optional. Along the way, Trevor may also pick up one of three companions: Grant DaNasty, a wall-climbing pirate; Sypha Belnades, a sorceress with elemental powers; and Alucard, Dracula's rebellious son. In addition to deepening the gameplay, the latter two would become very important in the series' Myth Arc. Ironically, Grant is rarely seen or heard of today unless in a group-cameo with the other three.

Castlevania series producer Koji Igarashi said that Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse was his favorite Castlevania game.

Tropes used in Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse include:
  • Advancing Wall of Doom: Several, in the forms of a collapsing tower, a rising water line and a plain ol Auto-Scrolling Level in the last stage of the game.
  • And I Must Scream: Trevor rescues Sypha from this fate.
  • Awesome but Impractical: Many fans consider Alucard the weakest partner in this game.
  • Badass Normal: Grant.
  • Bowdlerized: Adramalech was renamed to Leviathan.
  • Broad Strokes: Trevor can only be accompanied by one partner at a time, and it is impossible for him to meet both Sypha and Alucard in the same run. Despite this, future games imply that all four characters faced Dracula together as a team during this story. Which actually would've been pretty cool.
  • Can't Drop the Belmont: The player can only use two characters in a level, whom he can switch between freely, but one of them must be Trevor.
  • Check Point Starvation: In the International versions of Castlevania III, dying against Dracula sends you back to the beginning of A-2 instead of A-3.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Alucard can turn into a bat. He also lacks strength or speed, is the largest target of all the playable characters, has no subweapons, and can't attack while on stairs.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Alucard.
  • Demoted to Extra: Dawn of Sorrow has an unlockable game mode where you control Alucard and descendants of Sypha and Trevor who play like their ancestors. Grant is nowhere to be seen, and nobody fills his gameplay role.
    • According to script buried within the game data, Hammer was originally intended to be playable. Though Hammer and Grant Da Nasty look similar, there is little to no indication Hammer would have played like him or is even related to him.

Julius: You. Why are you here?
Hammer: Why? I'm here for Soma! My man's in trouble, I tell ya!
Julius: But it's of no concern to you.
Hammer: Heck yeah, it is! Soma's my pal, after all. Laying his life on the line for a pal... That's what a man does.
Julius: Wrong. An ordinary human is no match for a foe like this. Being a man has nothing to do with it.
Hammer: Hey, bud, I served in the military! I know weapons a whole lot better than you! And I'd like to think I've got enough sense to retreat if it gets too crazy.
Julius: Fine, then. But if you ever fear for your life, get out immediately, understood?
Hammer: Loud and clear. You have my word.