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    Leather Whip Challenge Guide by johnny42strom

    Version: 1.0 | Updated: 08/05/05 | Search Guide | Bookmark Guide

                                   For the Nintendo NES
                                  Leather Whip Challenge
                                       Version 1.0
                                Copyright 2005 John Nieft
                             Email: johnny42strom@yahoo.com
    Table of Contents
    I. Version History
    II. Legal Information
    III. Preface
    IV. The Challenge
    V. Walkthrough
    VI. Final Notes
    VII. FAQ
    VIII. Closing and Thanks
    I. Version History
    August 5th, 2005
    Version 1.0 is submitted
    II. Legal Information
    Copyright 2005 John Nieft
    This may be not be reproduced under any circumstances except for personal, 
    private use. It may not be placed on any web site or otherwise distributed
    publicly without advance written permission. Use of this guide on any other 
    web site or as a part of any public display is strictly prohibited, and a 
    violation of copyright.
    If you would use my guide, please contact me and we may discuss it.
    All trademarks and copyrights contained in this document are owned by their
    respective trademark and copyright holders.
    III. Preface
    Castlevania is the beginning of a great franchise for Konami.  The general 
    premise is that you are a vampire slayer, Simon Belmont in the first 
    installment, that must take down Dracula in his castle, named Castlevania.
    This franchise that began on the NES has spread from Arcade, SNES, Playstation,
    Saturn, N64, Gameboy, Gameboy Advanced, Playstation 2, and many more.  This is
    one of Konami's longest running franchises and it all began with this simple 
    Castlevania set the template for all the later games.  While the controls are
    difficult to use, it just adds another layer of challange to this piece of 
    While indulging myself in Castlevania recently, I quickly became disillusioned
    with the difficulty level.  I beat the game several times, each passing game 
    upping the difficulty, and still I had no trouble.  Thus, between my friend and
    I, the Leather Whip Challenge was born.
    IV. The Challenge
    Yes, another challenge to add on to the many, many action/adventure game 
    challenges here.  The premise:
    Complete the game using only the leather whip.
    That is it.  Why is that hard?  You may wonder.  Well, the leather whip is the
    shortest possible whip.  Second, the leather whip does half the damage of the
    chain whip (the whip you get after the upgrade).  Thus, enemies that normally
    take four hits now take eight.  This makes Bone Towers a real treat.  More 
    importantly, bosses now take double the hits, which means it takes two hits per
    bar of health for most bosses, and four hits per bar for Dracula's second form.
    Are items or sub-weapons allowed?  No, none at all.  While you are free to whip
    every candle to get money, meat, and hearts, you may not use the hearts.  Also,
    since you must avoid every whip upgrade, every candle with a small heart in it
    will try and give you one.  So, if you really want to search every candle for
    money, whip and check that it is not an upgrade first.  If you get a 
    sub-weapon, do not despair, just do not use it.  If you get a whip upgrade,
    however, you must die and not continue on.
    The castle is divided into 6 sections, as indicated on the map that appears 
    after boss fights, spanning 18 stages.  Each stage begins and ends by passing 
    through a closed door, indicating where Simon will reappear if he dies.  Each 
    section ends with a boss battle.  After each boss, Simon will be healed fully, 
    a much-needed boon in this challenge.
    Why would anyone do this?  It adds challenge to an enjoyable game.  And, to see
    if it is possible; which it is.
    Finally, while using the leather whip, I found that I occasionally took about
    four bars from a boss in one hit.  I dub this "criticalling" and it rarely 
    occurs.  By rarely, I mean once a game.  But when you "critical" Dracula, boy
    does it feel good.
    V. Walkthrough
    ---Section 1---
    Stage 1:
    This is the opening to a great adventure.  You approach the castle rearing for
    battle, but remember, no whip upgrades.  So, avoid the candles as you enter the
    castle.  If you must whip them, at least check what they are before grabbing
    the few (useless) hearts.  If you jump past the door, you will be rewarded with
    a sack of money that you can jump back and get.  Now enter Dracula's castle.
    This area is quite simple.  Now is the time to get used to "hugging" enemies;
    the art of staying close enough to enemies to defeat them without being hit
    yourself.  This will be crucial for boss battles later.  When you enter the
    castle you will be met by a constant stream of Zombies.  All enemies here take
    a single hit.  You can spend time here gathering points if you would like, but
    the Zombies are not worth many, so I would move on.  When stairs come up you 
    will see Black Panthers waiting to pounce.  You should bait them by approaching
    then stepping back and whipping them.  The first one on the level above you may
    prove to be a challenge, but otherwise they are easy to avoid.  This is their
    only appearance in the game.  Enter the door at the far right of this hall and
    move on to the next stage.
    Stage 2:
    There is meat in the wall on the right.  Then, continue down the stairs to meet
    Mermen.  These are not too tough as each still takes a single hit.  The tend to
    pop up from beneath candles.  Continue to the right and up the stairs again.
    Now on the other side of the wall, continue into the door.
    Stage 3:
    Another straight hallway with a few staircases.  Any path is fine, but the
    upper path avoids Zombies better.  At the end of this hall is the first boss.
    Boss 1: Giant Vampire Bat
    This boss generally just flies high and swoops down at you.  Since you cannot
    use the axe, or the stopwatch, you should wait until he swoops and whip him
    like mad.  Of course, you must play close to him, since you are using only the
    leather whip.  You can also use the area to the right to try and jump and hit
    him, but he seems to always get you first there.
    ---Section 2---
    Stage 4:
    You have now entered the Clocktower of the castle.  A couple of Knights will
    attempt to take you out.  They pace back and forth, so stay close and whip them
    when you can.  Continue up this stairwell until the screen shifts up with you.
    You will notice a lone knight in something of a pit to your left.  Without
    sub-weapons, he will be tricky to fight, so attack if you dare.  Ultimately,
    you will proceeding to your left along a high corridor.  On your way is one
    more knight.  He should fall easily to your leather whip skills.  Proceed into
    the next stage.
    Stage 5:
    This is a straight walk left.  Avoid the candles as they will mostly try to
    replace your precious leather whip.  There is one knight in your way, but he is
    easily dispatched.  Up the stairs you will find some tricky jumps while
    avoiding Medusa Heads.  The key is to jump in a rhythm, avoiding the Medusa
    Heads while crossing the pits.  On the right side there is meat in the upper
    set of twin blocks in the middle.  After refreshing yourself with the meat, go
    to the upper level and go back left from whence you came.  Again, the Medusa
    Heads will harass you on the tricky jumps.  Dodging effectively, you will
    arrive at the door to the next stage.
    Stage 6:
    Right when you enter, there is meat in the first step.  Continue left, being
    careful to avoid the falling spiked ceilings.  You can rest between each one,
    so take your time.  At the end, watch out for Spookster, which will slowly
    chase you.  Whip him many times and end his afterlife.  Proceed up the landings
    and fight your first Bone Tower.  These will take many hits, as they take about
    eight hits with the chain whip.  You can stay on the platform below the first
    one to land some free hits.  Enjoy this now, since Bone Towers will never again
    be so easy.  Like the one above, for example.  You must fight this one on level
    ground.  Position yourself so the tip of the whip just strikes the Bone Tower.
    This gives you the most time to hit or avoid its fireballs.  Its eyes flash
    before it spits out two fireballs, so be aware.  Continue right and then
    upwards.  This hall has Medusa Heads again.  They are simple to avoid, just get
    in the groove with them and go left.  You will reach a room with a statue of a
    giant Medusa Head, which is consequently the boss.
    Boss 2: Medusa
    Medusa stays low to the ground and is temporarily stunned when she is hit.
    She releases snakes randomly while moving back and forth.  While holy water is
    ideal here, that is not an option available to you. Play defensively and whip
    her while she moves away from you.  Watch out for her snakes and in time you
    will pull victory from her jaws.
    ---Section 3---
    Stage 7:
    Now you are outside for a change of scenery.  The Fleamen will wait on the
    ledges to jump at you.  Approach them quickly and they will jump off in a slow
    arc over Simon; this is your best chance to hit them.  If not, their quick
    movement is something Simon cannot match.  While they can be fast, they only
    take one hit.  Go left, fighting a few Fleaman and one Spookster.  At the far
    left is a Skeleton.  These evasive enemies will be a horror in the Leather Whip
    Challenge.  They keep themselves far from Simon while chucking bones at him
    like a Hammer Brother.  You can whip the projectiles, but I suggest avoiding
    them.  Killing the Skeleton will be problematic as he stays out of range of
    even the extended chain whip.  Thus, you must either avoid him, as he will
    jump over you, or trap him against a wall and move in quickly for the kill.
    Climb the stairs into the next screen and up to the top of the wall.  Another
    Spookster may appear; kill him, as he will be trouble if you try to avoid him.
    Proceed right over the pits killing Falcons along the way.  The Falcons are
    fairly simple.  They swoop and then glide at one level and then swoop again.
    Luckily, they die easily, like many enemies.  But avoiding them is also a
    viable option.  You will find a door on the far right, enter to advance.
    Stage 8:
    This part is a long walk to the right.  Along the way you must again avoid
    Medusa Heads and fight a Skeleton.  Falcons also show up and a Bone Tower is at
    the end.  Very straightforward.
    Stage 9:
    Go right.  More Falcons will harrass you around pits, but this is no more
    difficult than the Medusa Heads of the Clocktower.  A Bone Tower is the last
    guardian before the bosses.  Beat him and enter the Mummies' Tomb.
    Boss 3: Mummies
    A pair of mummies will move about throwing bandages at you.  The way you move
    seems to guide their movement somewhat, but it does not help much.  Again, holy
    water would be great, but that is for a whimpier player.  This battle is
    actually still a breeze.  Move to the center of the screen to commence the
    battle, then quickly run back to the ledge on the left.  From there you can
    duck and whip the mummies.  Watch out, since they must be close for the awesome
    leaher whip to hit them and from there they can run into you.  If you want an
    extra challenge, stay on the ground with the mummies.  Good luck on that, there
    is meat in the ledge you just came from if you do.
    ---Section 4---
    Stage 10:
    You have been dropped into the Catacombs.  This is the hardest section of the
    game.  Mermen will jump from beneath candles while bats assail you from the
    right -- all while you are doing tricky platform hopping.  Practice is the best
    way to master this section.  You must learn to time the bats and avoid the
    Mermen while making the jumps.  Continue right, paying close attention to all
    jumps and hazards.  At the far right is a staircase saving you from the
    subterranean nightmare.
    Stage 11:
    Sweet sunlight will kiss Simon's grimy face as he emerges from that grotesque.
    Eagles will bomb you with Fleamen as you move right.  Whip the Fleamen as they
    land for an easy kill.  Otherwise, things may get out of hand.  Stay extra
    vigilant as these Fleamen are very generous and will likely drop many whip
    extensions.  To end this stage you must face your first Bone Dragon.  These
    serpentine guardians will be extrememly difficult with your short and weak
    leather whip.  Bone Dragons flail erratically while spitting fireballs.  You
    must grit your teeth and jump into the fight whipping. Be cautious, but you
    must also stay close to score hits.  In time you should emerge victorious.
    Stage 12:
    Now into a claustrophobic tunnel.  Here you must face two more Bone Dragons
    before the boss.  Luckily, each will be tethered lower to your level.  Since
    they are stunned when you hit them, if you can get a Bone Dragon locked in
    front of you with continuous whipping, it should be infinitely easier.  The
    block the first Bone Dragon is tethered to holds delicious meat.  After the
    second Bone Dragon, Simon finds himself at the boss.
    Boss 4: Frankenstein and Igor
    This battle is the first real challenge I found.  Frankenstein walks back and
    forth, which is easy enough.  Igor is the trouble for this fight.  Igor jumps
    randomly back and forth while throwing fireballs at you.  You can stun Igor
    by whipping him, but Frankenstein is the one you must kill.  Sometimes Igor
    gets into a pattern and then you can avoid his actions while hugging
    Frankenstein to whip him.  Otherwise, it just seems like luck.  If you can
    dodge Igor long enough, you should be able to get Frankenstein.
    ---Section 5---
    Stage 13:
    Follow this pathway along.  You will meet two Fleamen and a few Skeletons.
    After a few halls and some stairs, you will find yourself at the end of this
    Stage 14:
    This section introduces two new enemies.  You will soon encounter Axe Knights.
    Axe Knights will keep their distance while throwing an axe either high or low.
    The axe will move slowly like a boomerang.  The axe can be felled with one hit;
    the Axe Knight however takes many hits before he falls.  Learning his pattern
    of when he throws will allow you to jump over his axes while you keep whipping
    him.  I suggest an aggressive attack that requires you jumping in and landing
    between him and his axe after he throws it, whipping the whole way.  While a
    tough technique to master, it is the most effective method.  Continue up the
    stairs and left, through a few Skeletons and two more Axe Knights.  The
    Skeletons above you will throw some bones too high, making them leave the
    screen.  Use this to defeat them easier.  A new type of Skeleton, the Blood
    Skeleton, will appear in this section also.  He walks slowly from left to right
    and is quite easy to whip.  His gimmick is he cannot die, but only collapses to
    rise again after a few seconds.  Whip them then move on before they can come up
    again.  Continue left to the next door.
    Stage 15:
    Initially this is your basic, bi-level hallway.  Go left, killing two Bone
    Towers, up the stairs, then right, killing another Bone Tower and controlling
    two Blood Skeletons.  Up the stairs is the difficult part.  Here you will meet
    multiple Axe Knights as Medusa Heads lambast you from above.  Felling the Axe
    Knights while controlling Medusa Heads with only the leather whip takes pure
    skill.  After this frustrating hallway, You will come upon Death.
    Boss 5: Death
    Death is a very tough fight without sub-weapons.  Death will appear on the
    right and begin hopping from right to left.  While he does this, scythes will
    appear from all angles and converge on your position.  Each scythe will be
    destroyed when whipped, but more will appear.  Without an easy way to control
    the scythes, dodging is your best option.  The scythes will go to where you
    were when they started moving, so get into a groove of luring the scythes, then
    hitting Death, then tricking the scythes again.  If you are persistent, Simon's
    glorious leather whip will prevail.
    ---Section 6---
    Stage 16:
    You must cross a bridge with pits while avoiding Vampire Bats, reprises of the
    boss from Section One.  Do not fight the bats, but rather avoid their attacks.
    The best way to do this is to always move forward.  Each bat will swoop quickly
    and then pause.  If you have them leave the screen while they pause, they will
    never come back.  These guys are your only trouble here.
    Stage 17:
    Clocktower revisited, if you will.  Initially you will meet Skeletons as you
    climb upwards.  Avoiding them is not too difficult.  When the screen finally
    moves left, Eagles begin bombarding you with Fleamen again.  I know they are
    inside, but Dracula is a Vampire, so why question this?  Ignore the enemies and
    race left and down.  Do not stop for anything and use the stairs on the lower
    section, since you cannot jump the pits.  You will probably take a few hits,
    but survival means victory here.  Through the door on the left you will enter
    the last stage.
    Stage 18:
    This stage begins with a foreboding, dilapidated, eerie staircase that leads to
    the Throne Room of the lord of the castle.  Avoid the candles as all of them
    are whip extensions or sub-weapons.
    Boss 6: Dracula
    Finally, the lord of the castle.  Dracula will assault you by appearing,
    throwing open his cape, flinging three fireballs, and disappearing.  You must
    strike him in the head to damage him.  Dracula will attempt to appear inside of
    you, but if you wait in the middle of the coffin, he cannot quite do it.  This
    makes him easy to avoid as he appears.  This first part is tedious and slow.
    Dracula seems to be banking on the fact that Simon will tire from repetition
    and make a mistake.  Doing this part flawlessly is almost needed for the
    Leather Whip Challenge.  After 32 whips to the face, you will see Dracula's
    second and final form.
    Dracula now turns into a large, bat-gargoyle monster.  He now hops after you
    while occasionally spitting three fireballs.  Again, his head is his weak
    point.  Sometimes, but not really in a pattern, Dracula will do a high jump
    that you can run under.  You must utilize these so that Dracula does not corner
    you.  When you have whipped him many, many times, your quest will be over.
    VI.Final Notes
    As Dracula's castle is shown in the background, the credits for the enemies
    will roll by.  Revel in the fact that you, playing as the mighty Simon Belmondo
    (Check the ending credits for Simon Belmont's name) has slain Dracula with only
    the leather whip.  You have completed the challenge.  Good Work!  Now, can you
    do it on hard mode?
    VII. FAQ
    1. Why a leather whip challenge?
    A: Well, I was bored with the regular Castlevania and there is not much you can
    do to make it harder.  So, I removed what most people would consider an 
    essential item, the extended chainwhip.
    2.  Can I use a sub-weapon/ axe/ holy water/ etc.?
    A: No, not even a little bit.
    3.  This is too hard, is there any easier way to beat [boss name]?
    A: I gave as detailed a description as a could.  Most of these bosses will be
    beaten by persistence and a dash of luck.  Keep trying.
    4.  This is too easy, can you suggest any way to make this harder?
    A: Hard Mode aside, you can attempt to complete the game in a single continue.
    Still too easy?  Try completing the game with a single life.
    5.  This guide is great!  Have you written any more?
    A: No, I haven't.  This is my first guide for GameFAQs.
    6. Can I read your writing anywhere else?
    A: Honestly, no one is like this, but I like flattery.  The answer is also no.
    But, if you're that interested, email me.  That email again is 
    VIII. Closing and Thanks
    This guide has been great fun to write.  Thanks to Konami for this great game
    and Nintendo for beginning my still-strong obsession.  I would like to thank my
    friend Dan for playing with me and Evan for helping with this guide orally.
    Remember, All trademarks and copyrights contained in this document are owned by
    their respective trademark and copyright holders.
    Copyright 2005 John Nieft.

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