Castlevania
                               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 
game.

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 
americana.

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.

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 
johnny42strom@yahoo.com.

__________________________________________
------------------------------------------

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.