The Succubus is a recurring foe in the Castlevania series, most often appearing as a boss but sometimes seen as a regular enemy. It must be noted that each game features a different succubus, and that each boss battle against a succubus provides an emotional challenge for the hero.
In folklore, succubi are female demons who magically seduce men, most often in their dreams, to drain their life-force. Their portrayal in the Castlevania games is very faithful to the legends, but it insists on the deadly seduction and makes them somehow linked to vampires. Although a different creature, the games feature a regular enemy called the Lesser Vampire which presents similarities with succubi, looking like a female bat-like monster.
Succubi are very powerful, sadistic, cunning and deceptive. They use shape-shifting or illusions to bait the heroes, either to corrupt them or to catch them off-guard. They act in a falsely polite, flirtatious way, enjoying to play with their preys' emotions and delighting in their torment. They usually plan to make the hero their slave. Also, each significant succubus seems to hold a high rank among her liege's vassals.
As regular enemies
Succubi appear as regular enemies in some games, being nearly indentical to the monster called Lilith (which is also based on a deadly temptress from legends). In Aria of Sorrow, Dawn of Sorrow and the medley game Harmony of Despair, they appear under the aspect of a female character, even feigning injury to catch them off-guard in Aria, and the heroes must strike them to reveal their true form. They fly at close range to absorb the heroes' life-force. In Portrait of Ruin, the succubi fight in the same way but do not transform, instead taunting the heroes as they come close.
In Circle of the Moon, they are part of the Lady Bats family, Lilith being the mightiest.
In Aria of Sorrow, the main hero Soma Cruz (who is the good reincarnation of Dracula) must equip the souls of the Succubus, the Flame Demon and the Giant Bat when fighting Graham Jones to unlock the real ending. The Succubus Soul always enable Soma to drain his foes’ life to heal himself. She represents Dracula's power to drain life-force, the Giant Bat represents his demonic transformation, and the Flame Demon represents his power over Hellfire.
Symphony of the Night
The most memorable succubus featured in a Castlevania game, and a big fan favourite, appears in Symphony of the Night. She is one of the four most powerful bosses found in the regular Castle, along with Olrox, the somehow optional Granfaloon, and Richter Belmont who is controlled by Shaft to serve as the puppet-king of the Castlevania.
She awaits the main hero Alucard in what seems to be a strange saving point, but is in fact an entry towards the nightmare she created. There, she traps Alucard in his memories of his mother's execution and distorts them to convert him to the side of Evil, by making his mother tell him to hate humans.
However, Alucard sees through her deceit and battles the Succubus to the death. When defeated, the Succubus understands that her foe is the son of Count Dracula and begs for mercy. However, she learns the hard way that Alucard treasures his memories of his mother more than anything. Outraged, he kills her and traps her soul forever within her own dream world.
The Succubus is at level 25. She is very powerful and can put up a serious challenge, so it is advised to confront her at a matching level or higher. She divides herself in twelve succubi who shoot energy balls that fly around. Alucard must target the real Succubus: the only one who does not shoot energy balls. The Succubus will also expand the claws on her wings like spears, shower Alucard with cursed flower petals (needing an anti-curse), and fly at close range to drain his life at contact.
It must be noted that the Succubus in among the fallen bosses that Dracula summons during the final battle, before crushing them and draining their blood to heal himself.
Lament of Innocence
Another Succubus appears before Dracula's rise as the King of the Night, under the orders of his predecessor the Vampire Lord Walter Bernhard. This blonde Succubus rules over the Ghostly Theatre and is one of the five guardians that the main hero Leon Belmont must defeat to reach Walter and save his betrothed Sara Trantoul, who has been abducted.
She appears to Leon under Sara's aspect, trying to stab him from behind when he least suspects. She almost succeeds but he dodges at the last second. The Succubus then taunts him, saying that she finds him attractive in misery and that she wants to see him harbour that look forever. Enraged Leon slays the Succubus, who reveals that Rinaldo Gandolfi, the alchemist aiding Leon, was also victim of Walter's sick game. She used the aspect of his daughter whom Walter turned to a vampire, to defeat him.
The Succubus is powerful but not that hard to defeat. She flies fast, can drain Leon’s life with a kiss, wrap herself in her wings to charge like a drill, by surround herself with a tornado to charge, conjure poisonous plants from the ground (needing a cure), fire three green energy spikes or a pointed pink beam, and conjure five yellow lightning bolts from above. Leon must keep moving and strike repeatedly, but she can dodge and spawn two doubles that must be destroyed. Striking the doubles can paralyse Leon (needing a cure) and the real one sheds rose petals on her wake. When her life-points run low, the Succubus will conjure spiked vines from the ground to track down Leon.
A similar looking Succubus appears in the Castlevania Pachislot games set during Curse of Darkness, featuring mini-games of symbols sequences. She holds Trevor Belmont with doubles, drains his life with a kiss and attacks with lightning, but ends up beaten. When defeated, she merely grudgingly submits instead of dying.
Castlevania The Adventure: ReBirth
The remake of Castlevania The Adventure features a boss of undetermined species who could be either a succubus or a lesser vampire; as she uses magic like the succubi and conjures bats like lesser vampires. She attacks by conjuring a swarm of bats infused with purple energy, or five similar swarms of bats counter clockwise around her; by summoning living shadows that move along the ground; and by shooting four blue fireballs on each side which make fire to erupt where they land, leaving little place to dodge.
Lords of Shadow: Mirror of Fate
A succubus is fought as a boss in the second game of the reboot series Lords of Shadows. She is a maidservant of Dracula who seduces and captures men to bring them to her lord. She drags the main hero Simon Belmont in her illusionary world made from men's fantasies, and tries to seduce him to drain his soul, but he resists and destroys her.
The Succubus flies over the room and attacks with spinning charges, blue fireballs in quick succession, or powerful blue shockwaves all around her; forcing Simon to jump and strike her. After a while, she surrounds herself with a force-field and starts firing blue energy waves along the ground. Simon must strike the force-field until it breaks then attack the Succubus. Simon must also use his whip to pry away the Succubus' female slave from her when she drains her life-force. When she divides into three succubi surrounded with force-fields, Simon must break them like he did until he finds the real one.
An incubus called Magnus serves as the main villain of the radio drama Castlevania: Nocturne of Recollection, a sequel to Symphony of the Night whose place in canon is hard to define. Contrary to his female counterpart, he does not appear as a seducer, being more malevolent and ambitious. Also, his power is linked to his claws and breaking them renders him powerless.
Like the Succubus of Symphony of the Night, to whom he might be related, Magnus tempts Alucard to the side of Evil and uses elements of his past to torment him. However, he fully knows who Alucard is and he is much better prepared. He seeks to make Alucard into the successor of Dracula and new ruler of the Castlevania.
Magnus enslaves Lyudmil, a powerful vampire who was Alucard's friend and servant during his human life, and sends him in a killing spree; while he tries to separates Alucard from his love interest Maria Renard. He also abducts a young vampire hunter named Alexis, who created a potion able to kill demons.
In the end, Magnus and Lyudmil confront Alucard, Maria, Richter Belmont, Alexis and his friend Cyril. Alucard manages to free Lyudmil from Magnus' control, who in turn reveals the incubus' weakness, leading to his defeat.