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Castlevania: Symphony of the Night Equipment Guide
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Version: 2.0
Author: Mark Quaintance, a.k.a. Marak
e-mail: nematocyst@hotmail.com OR mquaintance@sbcglobal.net

Table of Contents:
 1. Legal Text
 2. Revision History
 3. The Basics (or what this guide is and is not)
 4. Shields
 5. Weapons
 6. Head Gear
 7. Body Armor
 8. Cloaks
 9. Accessories
 10. Wrap up and things to come
 11. Credit where credit is due

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1. Legal Text
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This FAQ is copyrighted material.

 LIMITED REPRODUCTION LICENSE: This FAQ may be posted, emailed, or saved to a
 disk without express permission, provided that the FAQ remains unaltered, and
 the full copyright notice is in place. Removing the copyright notice and
 rights disclaimer voids any rights assigned.

 Exclusions: This FAQ may not be used for promotional purposes, nor may it be
 incorporated in guides, magazines, secured websites, or in any state or place
 where a fee is charged in order to obtain the information contained within.
 All professional use rights are retained by the author.

 Future revisions of this FAQ may be found at http://www.gamefaqs.com.

Contact me!

 If you have anything to add, if you know something I don't know, or if you
 have CONSTRUCTIVE criticism/feedback, or heck, even if you just have a
 question about the game or a certain item, PLEASE e-mail me at:

   nematocyst@hotmail.com

   OR

   mquaintance@sbcglobal.net

 and tell me!  You could also post on the GameFAQs Castlevania:SOTN Message
 Board (http://boards.gamefaqs.com/gfaqs/gentopic.php?board=19969), but I
 don't get the chance to hang around there as much as I would like.  You'd get
 a faster reply by e-mailing me, trust me on this one.

This FAQ should be found in only one of two possible places:
 http://www.gamefaqs.com
and
 http://faqs.ign.com

The latest revision will normally be found on GameFAQs first, as their update
system is quick(er) and (more) painless.

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2. Revision History
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Version 2.0 - Completed 6/14/04
 After a bit of a break from the guide, a post on the GameFAQs message board
 got me interested again, and I added sections 6-9, detailing Alucard's Helms,
 Armor, Cloaks, and Accessories.  Fixed a few typos and spacing issues.  Added
 the alucart Luck bonus information to all the Alucart equipment, and adjusted
 their Overall Ratings accordingly.  Added to and clarified a majority of the
 infromation in Section 3.  I now consider this guide mostly complete, but I'm
 still missing some info about the Walk Armor and the Muramasa, and a couple of
 Accessories, so if you have any detailed info about these items, share the
 wealth, eh?  I'll even put you in the credits...

Version 1.2 - Completed 11/13/03
 Mostly little stuff.  Added Holbein Dagger as the third Swing While Moving
 weapon.  Added elemental defenses found on certain shields.  Added additional
 commentary and/or clarification to most item descriptions.  Added numerous 
 text additions and clarifications throughout the guide.  Expanded the credits
 section a bit.  Realized that I kept using the terms "special properties" and
 "special abilites" interchangably, so I went through and defined both terms
 early on in Section 3 and then made sure they were used correctly.  Added more
 spacing to make parts of the guide easier to read.  I'm SUCH a nit-picker.
 Made one BIG addition: A 0 to 5 Star Rating system.  Gave each Shield and
 Weapon a Rating and added a summary of how useful the weapon fares in combat.

Version 1.1 - Completed 6/29/03
 Added the dual-Heaven Sword C3 Property, and an explanation of the Shield
 Rod's C2 Property.  Added the Muramasa's Power-Up Ablitiy.  Various typo
 corrections and minor text revisions and additions.  Removed disclaimer
 section (Thank you, Zach Keene), as I figured out what was causing my weapons'
 Attack Power to fluctuate.  Removed damage figures, as I now understand how
 they work - and all my figures were wrong.  I will add more accurate figures
 to a later revision once I find a comprehensive way to do so.  Added Revision
 History section :p

Version 1.0 - Completed 4/8/03
 My first posting to GameFAQs.  A mostly complete listing of the Special
 Properties of the game's weaponry.  Also, a full listing of each Shield and
 how each Shield interacts with the Shield Rod.

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3. The Basics (or what this guide is and is not)
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So, what is this guide, exactly?
--------------------------------

Well, I recently picked up my old copy of Symphony of the Night, dusted it off
(literally), and decided to continue my Ultimate Item Hunt.  My original intent
was to collect one of EVERY SINGLE ITEM in the game, thus elimating all those
irritating gaps in the equipment menus.  A rather thankless task, but as it
turns out, it paid off by giving me some excellent new equipment to play with.

Once I had at least one of every: Weapon, Sheild, Use Item, Healing Item, Helm,
Armor, Cloak, and Accessory, I set a new goal for myself: fill both of the
"Item Slots" on every "Monster Card" in the Master Librarian's Monster Listing.
Even with my Ring(s) of Arcana, Lapis Lazuli(s), Luck Potions, Luck boosting
equipment, and massive Luck (being Level 99 has its perks), it was a massive,
tedious CHORE.  That memory card better not go bad on me...

Anyway, once I did THAT, I starting really playing around with all my
equipment, and it was then that I discovered that a lot of Alucard's stuff
had special abilities and/or properties.  I mean, I knew about some of it -
like the Rapier's Slice and Dice and the Alucard Sword's Shadow Warp - but
after some experimentation, I found that a LOT of my weapons did something: it
wasn't limited to just a couple of "special" weapons, as had been my belief
before I started this guide.

Once I made this realization, I went and eqipped every weapon and shield in the
game, one by one, and tested each one to see if it could do anything...extra.

It was about this time that I noticed that GameFAQs did not yet have a
comprehensive guide to all the special properties of Alucard's equipment,
only a couple of Equiment Lists in various walkthroughs.

And thus, my Equipment Guide was born!

What this guide is not:
-----------------------

 -A walkthrough.  There's enough of those on GameFAQs already.
 -A "how to get every item" guide.  Again, 2 of those already.
 -I also don't deal in Boss Strategies, game tips, spell lists, etc.  I've
  written this guide assuming you've beaten the game at least once and are
  looking for a guide/teaser for some the stuff you may have missed on previous
  trips through the game.
 -Teaser-free.  There ARE teasers in here, because (again) I'm assuming that
  you've played the game through at least once.  You've been warned.

Now I'd best take the time to describe two terms you'll be seeing repeatedly in
this guide: Special Abilities and Special Properties.

-----------------
Special Abilities
-----------------

This refers to anything a weapon can do actively.  If a weapon has a special
ability, you must first input a command to activate it (as discussed a little
bit later).  Most - but NOT all - special abilities will cosume MP when
activated.

------------------
Special Properties
------------------

This refers to a weapon or shield's innate abilities.  These properties are
passive: they never consume any MP, nor do require any activation commands.
They are simply "always on".  So don't worry about them, and just be aware
that they're there.

Anywho, I'll begin with an overview of how to activate special abilities and
what you can expect from special properties.  Let's start with...

-------
Weapons
-------

There are 2 different commands that you use to activate a weapon's special
ability/abilities.  I will call them Command 1 and Command 2, or C1 and C2
for short:

Command 1: Roll Down/Down-forward/Forward, then press the attack button for the
hand the weapon is equipped to.  The default buttons are Square (for Alucard's
left hand) or Circle (for his right).  In the case of a two-handed weapon,
either button will work.

Command 2: Back, Forward, attack button appropriate to the hand the weapon is
equipped in (again, the defaults are Square or Circle).  In the case of a
two-handed weapon, either button will work.

Please note that many weapons do not have either a C1 or a C2 ability - in
which case, attempting to input either command (C1 or C2) with these weapons
equipped is a complete waste of time.

A rare few weapons have BOTH C1 AND C2 abilities.  These weapons are typically
very powerful (like the Yatsutsuna Katana), or have a great deal of utility
(like the Rune Sword).

However, most weapons fall into the "one shot" category: they either have a C1,
but not a C2; or they have a C2, but not a C1.  It's important not to forget
which Command you need to use with which weapon, lest you wind up in a bad
situation.

It is important to remember that certain special abilites will consume MP when
used, while others will not.  So, if you suddenly can't get a special ability
to work, it may be because you ran your MP dry and no longer have enough MP
left to use it.

Some weapons also have special properties, such as doubling in power when used
in conjunction with Dark Metamorphosis, or bestowing status ailments on your
foes.  These special properties do NOT have a command to activate them, other
than pressing the attack button and making sure you hit something with said
weapon.  Some weapons (like the Short Sword and all its numerous, NUMEROUS
clones, for instance) have neither special properties nor special abilities.
Weapons like this are only good for physically smiting your foes, and will do
nothing else for you.

Read each weapon entry for details on which (if any) special properties or
abilities a particular weapon has.

-------
Shields
-------

This can get kind of complicated...

Most shields, when the button is held down, will block incoming projectiles.
However, there are 2 shields (the Dark Shield and Medusa Shield) that will
actually cause damage to anything that touches them - be it monsters, candles,
jars/urns, or breakable wall sections.

In addition, there is actually a Command 3 (abbreviation: C3) ability, which is
usable ONLY with Shields (and the Heaven Sword, but we'll cross that bridge
when we come to it):

Command 3: Equip either the Shield Rod or the Mablung Sword in one hand and a
Shield in the other.  Now press both "hand" buttons (the default buttons would
be Square and Circle) at the same time.

The effects of C3 vary greatly, depending on which shield you have equipped.
Using C3 will also consume between 10 and 50 MP, determined by the shield you
are using at the time.

C3 properties can be divided into 2 types: Offensive and Boost.  All Boost
effects last for roughly 75 seconds, while the duration of Offensive effects
vary greatly.  The 2 classes can be generalized as follows:

Offensive: When C3 is activated, a monster or creature of some sort is
"summoned" and attacks onscreen enemies in some manner.  The attack can be an
instantaneous burst, 1 or more fired projectiles, or some type of physical
attack.  These attacks will typically deal more damage than Alucard's standard
attack would.  The damage actually dealt is based on Alucard's current Attack
Power and Alucard's current Base (read: unmodified) Strength score.

Boost: When C3 is activated, a creature appears and either boosts one of
Alucard's statistics (Defense, Attack, Intelligence) or one of his elemental
defenses (Fire, Lightning, Dark).

With all this in mind, I'm going to start with the properties of Shields.

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4. Shields
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Here we go, the first "meat and potatoes" section.  I'm going to list all of
the shields in the game, in ascending order of Defensive Power.  If two or more
shields have the same Defensive Power (many do), they are then listed
alphbetically.  Each entry will contain the following information:

 --Name of the shield as it appears in the game.
 --The game's poorly transrated description of said shield.
 --How many points the shield increases Alucard's Defense, listed as Def+x.
 --The Dark and Medusa Shields also have an entry for how much they increase
Alucard's Attack Power.  This number, added to Alucard's Base Attack Power, is
how much damage the Shield will deal to your foes; listed as Atk+xx.

There is also a Shield Rod (abbreviated SR) entry which details what happens
when you use the C3 command with this shield (see C3, above).  This entry
contains the following information:

 --How much MP is consumed when you enter the C3 command to "activate" the
shield; listed as xx MP.
 --Offensive or Boost type is listed.
 --A description of what is summoned, and what the effects of the C3 activation
are.

Finally, I give each Shield an overall rating of 0 to 5 stars (*).  A (/) is a
half-star.  Thus, 3 1/2 stars would be ***/  The rating is based on a number of
factors, including the Shield's Defensive strength, whether or not it's an
Attack Shield, if it gives you protection beyond raising your defense, and how
useful its C3 command is.

Got all that?  Good!  Here we go:
----------------------------------

Alucart Shield - Resembles family shield.  Def+0.
 SR: 10 MP; Boost (technically); The Alucart Shield appears near Alucard's
 shoulder.  A "?" then appears over Alucard's head.  What does this do?
 Nothing, other than waste 10 MP.  Just like all the other "Alucart" items,
 this Shield is totally worthless on its own.  However, if you have all 3
 Alucart items (the Sword, the Shield, and the Mail) equipped, Alucard's STATUS
 will change to "alucart", and you'll receive a +30 bonus to your Luck stat.
 Overall Rating: * - This shield provides NO benefit and is quite frankly not
 worth equipping for ANY reason - unless you're item hunting, in which case
 the +30 alucart Luck bonus might come in handy.

Leather Shield - Leather shield - low DEF.  Def+1.
 SR: 10 MP; Boost; A cow is summoned (get it?  Cow... leather... its funny.
 Ha ha).  For whatever reason, this boosts Alucard's Defense by 20 for 75
 seconds.  Not a bad idea, since 20 more defense will cut the damage Alucard
 takes from physical attacks considerably, especially earlier in the game.
 Overall Rating: * - Fairly useful early on, but nothing special.

Medusa Shield - Gorgon headed shield.  Def+1, Atk+13.
 SR: 30 MP; Offensive; Summons a floating Medusa head which shoots snaking
 eye beams around the screen. The beams have limited homing ability and will
 seek out foes to a limited extent.  And yes, it really is a decapitated Medusa
 Head that you're carrying around and shoving in your foes' faces.
 Overall Rating: ***/ - Low Defense, but a powerful C3 AND it's the stronger of
 the two Attack Shields.

Iron Shield - Hard iron shield.  Def+1.
 SR: 20 MP; Offensive; Summons an armored knight who throws two very large,
 spinning swords horizontally across about 1/3 of the screen's height.  The
 Swords will tend to miss anything lower than the height of Alucard's
 shoulders, so keep this mind when "aiming" and activating it.
 Overall Rating: */ - It's technically better than the Leather Shield, but only
 by the slimmest of margins.  Its C3 can't hit anything, making it not worth
 casting.

Knight Shield - Armored Knight's shield.  Def+2.
 SR: 10 MP; Boost; Summons an armored warhorse.  This boosts Alucard's
 Attack Power by 20 for 75 seconds.  Basically, while this is in effect,
 Alucard will deal 20 more damage to anything he hits.
 Overall Rating: **/ - The extra Attack Power is great to whip out against foes
 like Axe Knights and Bosses.  Mediocre defense.

Axelord Shield - Favorite shield of Axe Lords.  Def+3.
 SR: 20 MP; Offensive (technically); Summons a blue Axe Lord (like the one
 that Alucard transforms into when he equips the Axelord Armor) that runs
 forward and hacks a single enemy with his axe.  Will disappear without
 attacking if he is hit by any sort of attack before swinging his axe.
 There are MUCH better ways to blow 20 MP (Tetra Spirit comes to mind).
 Overall Rating: ** - +3 Defense is pretty good for a shield, but its C3 is a
 joke.

Dark Shield - Unholy dark shield.  Def+3, Atk+10.
 SR: 30 MP; Offensive; Summons a leering Zombie head which summons great
 boulders out of the ground to attack everything on screen.  All monsters on
 screen are dealt damage once per second for roughly 5 seconds. Note that the
 shield itself crackles with blue electrical energy when held out; very cool.
 Overall Rating: **** - While its Attack Power is not as high as that of the
 Medusa Shield, its C3 hits everything on screen, making this shield better
 overall.  Gets a bonus half-star for being really wicked looking.

Fire Shield - Shield with fire properties.  Def+4.
 SR: 50 MP; Offensive; Summons a Lava Ball which then shoots out 3 long, snaky,
 flaming tendrils.  Similar to the Medusa Shield's attack, but with wider
 projectiles, and thus, a larger affected area.  Has the strongest attack
 (read: deals the most damage) of any shield.  
 IMPORTANT: As long as you have the Fire Shield equipped (it doesn't even have
 to be held out), Alucard will Guard against Fire attacks and take 0 damage.
 Note that the shield itself leaves behind a trail of glowing heat in its wake,
 but despite this it is not an "attack shield" like the Dark and Medusa shields
 are.  Go figure.
 Overall Rating: **** - This should have been an Attack Shield, darn it all!
 Oh well, it makes up for it with the most powerful C3 of any shield and +4
 Defense.

Goddess Shield - Engraved with goddess image.  Def+4.
 SR: 40 MP; Boost; Summons a strange, green skinned, goddess (?) creature.
 Looks like a cross between Buddha and Dhalsim from Street Fighter. 
 He/she/it gives Alucard Resist Dark for 75 seconds.
 Overall Rating: **/ - Good Defense, but Resist Dark?  Come on!

Herald Shield - Shield with heart crest.  Def+4.
 SR: 10 MP; Boost; Summons a semi-nude woman, who grants Alucard Protection
 From Fire and Protection from Lightning for 75 seconds.  Also, any time you
 successfully block an incoming projetile with the Herald Shield, you gain 1
 Heart (thus the Heart emblem on the Shield itself).  This Shield is why the
 Alucard Super Cheese Shield gives you Hearts when you "block" with it.
 Overall Rating: ***/ - Gaining Hearts while blocking is nice, while Resist
 Fire and Resist Ice - at the same time, no less - is a real boon against some
 of the game's more annoying foes.  Good Defense rounds this shield out.

Shaman Shield - Shield used in magic ritual.  Def+4.
 SR: 10 MP; Boost; Summons a goat-like creature with stars that spin about its
 legs.  This bizarre ritual boosts Alucard's Intelligence by 20 for 75 seconds.
 Overall Rating: *** - Good Defense, and the extra Intelligence is great if you
 focus on Alucard's spell casting abilities.

Skull Shield - Shield with Knight's crest.  Def+4.
 SR: 40 MP; Offensive; Summons a creature comprised of a mass of red-glowing
 skulls of various types.  After a couple of seconds, the skull beast shoots a
 narrow horizontal laser beam across the screen.  However, the beam is always
 positioned about 5 feet above Alucard's head and thus will only hit monsters
 that are above the level that Alucard is currently standing on.  This attack
 is actually very hard to aim, and takes forever to go off.  Fun to look at,
 but you probably won't ever use it in combat.
 Overall Rating: **/ - While this shield has good Defense, and its C3 LOOKS
 impressive, it really isn't all that great.

Alucard Shield - Strong vs. all attacks.  Def+5.
 SR: 20 MP; Special; The grand daddy of all shield combos, but also very
 cheap and far too easy to exploit.  If you abuse this, the game suddenly
 becomes a cakewalk (not that its terribly difficult in the first place).  It
 has the following effects:
 -Drains 5 MP per second while you hold the shield button down.
 -Has a duration of 75 seconds of total shield button depression.  By tapping
 the shield button, you can extend the duration considerably.  The 75 second
 duration is consumed ONLY while you hold the shield button down, and thus by
 tapping the button you can use fractions of a second at a time.
 -During the active duration, the Alucard Shield gains 255 Attack Power and
 becomes an "attack shield" like the Dark and Medusa shields.
 -During the listed duration, any creature, candle, jar, or breakable wall
 section struck by the Alucard Shield takes 255 damage.  In addition, 8 HP are
 restored to Alucard as though he were Soul Stealing from the touched item, his 
 current Hearts increase by 1, and he becomes invincible for 3 seconds after
 contact is made!

-----Warning!!!-----
Abuse of the C3 Alucard Shield Cheese Spectacular at your own risk, as it tends
to slowly suck ALL the fun out of the game once the novelty wears off.

 Overall Rating: ***** - But only because of its C3, which is basically like
 turning on a God Mode cheat.

That's it.  Not much else you can do with shields.  Uh, well, besides that
whole "blocking incoming projectiles" thing.  But with Alucard's mobility, who
uses them to block?
Right, anyway, now onto the FUN part: Weapons!

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5. Weapons
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This is going to be one BIG section, as there are a TON of weapons in this
game.  I'm going to start out by giving the statistics, special properties, and
special abilities of the Two Handed Weapons, and then I'll move on to the One
Handed Weapons.

Now, as with the Shields, I'm going to list all of the weapons in ascending
order of Attack Power.  If two or more weapons have the same Attack Power, I'll
list them alphabetically.  Each entry will contain the following information:

 --Name of the weapon as it appears in the game.
 --The game's poorly transrated description of said weapon.
 --How many points the weapon increases (or decreases) Alucard's Attack Power,
listed as Atk+/-xx.
 --Some weapons also affect Alucard's Defense.  Those that do will have an
entry, immediately after the Atk+/-xx entry, that shows how many points of
Defense Alucard gains/loses when equipping said weapon, listed as Def+/-x.
 --Weapons with the "Bloody" descriptor after the damage listing will draw
blood from monsters - at least, those that have blood to shed.  Thus, Bloody
weapons can be used with Alucard's Blood Healing ability (Dark Metamorphosis).
 --The last item in the top line of a Weapon Entry is the Weapons' speed
rating, from Very Slow to Very Fast.  See below for a description of the
various weapon speeds:

 Very Slow.  Example: Red Rust.  Can only be swung every 3 seconds or so.

 Slow.  Example: Muramasa.  Can be swung once about every 1.5 seconds.

 Fast.  Example: Katana.  Can be swung roughly once per second.

 Very Fast.  Example: Yasutsuna Katana.  Attacks multiple times per second.

There is also a Special Ability (abbreviated C1 or C2) entry which details
what happens when you use either the C1 or C2 command with this weapon.  This
entry contains the following information:

 --How much MP is consumed when you enter the C1/2 command to "activate" the
weapon; listed as xx MP.  Some C1/2 commands do not consume MP; such commands
will be listed as using 0 MP.
 --A description of what occurs, and what the effects of the C1/2
activation are.  May contain tips for using some of the more useful C1/2
abilities.
 --The Other entry will list any special advantages, limitations, or properties
that the weapon might have.  Also contains my sarcastic comments about the
weapons, and perhaps a description of the weapon, if it warrants one.

Finally, I give each Weapon an Overall Rating of 0 to 5 stars (*).  A (/) is a
half-star.  Thus, 3 1/2 stars would be ***/  The rating is based on a number of
factors, including the Weapon's Attack strength, its Attack Speed, the
usefulness of its C1 and/or C2 abilities (if applicable), and any other
special properties.

-----Don't Forget!!-----
C1 is Down-roll-forward, Attack.
C2 is Back, Forward, Attack.

-------------------
Two Handed Weapons:
-------------------

Before I list all the weapons, I'm going to give an overview of some of the
C1/2 Special Abilities that occur on more than one weapon:

Sliding Charge Thrust
---------------------
Found on: Claymore, Flamberge, Zwei hander, Estoc, and Obsidian Sword.
Always a C2 ability.  Alucard slides forward a few steps while fully extending
the weapon in front of himself.  A good distance attack, usually with boosted
Attack Power.

Whirl of Blades
---------------
Found on: Katana, Osafune Katana, Yasutsuna Katana, and Masamune Katana.
Instead of a static sword slash, these weapons instead fill the air in front of
Alucard with whirling blades.  Basically, it's like swinging high and low at
the same time - with boosted Attack Power, no less - even while jumping.

Shadow Warp
-----------
Found on: Osafune Katana, Masamune Katana.
Always a C1 ability, this will cause Alucard to fade out and glide forward in
midair a few feet, let loose with a Whirl of Blades attack, then reappear from
whence he came.  Alucard is generally invincible whilst this is going on.
The Masamune Katana's Dual Shadow Warp adds a Whirl of Blades attack before
Alucard begins gliding forward.  Very wicked looking, and the extra Attack
Power doesn't hurt, either.

And now, the Two Handed Weapons List:

Namakura - Poorly made sword.  Atk-5; Bloody; Very Slow
C1/2: None
Other: Probably the 2nd most useless weapon in the game, after Red Rust.  Has
 good reach and that's about it.  I mean, really, why would you equip a Very
 Slow Attack Speed sword that LOWERS your Attack Power??
 Overall Rating: No Stars - Its not worth equipping.  At all.

Red Rust - Rusty red sword.  Atk-2; Bloody; Very Slow
C1/2: None
Other: Occasionally, Alucard will grunt and stall instead of swinging this
 already beyond useless weapon.  Which makes it even more useless.  Whee!
 Overall Rating: No Stars - Just like the Namakura before it, this sword is
 not worth equipping.

Takemitsu - Bamboo sword.  Atk+1; Very Slow
C1/2: None
Other: Well, it least it doesn't have a negative attack power.  However, it
 doesn't draw blood, either, so it's still useless.
 Overall Rating: 1/2 Star - It raises your Attack Power, but its still not
 worth equipping when you can get the same +1 Attack Power from your one handed
 Short Sword and still have an arm free to slap a Shield on.

Nunchaku - Strikes enemy twice.  Atk+10; Fast
C1/2: None
Other: A unique weapon, Alucard will swing it in a one-two combination whenever
 you tap the button.  Does not draw blood, but is reasonably fast and has
 decent Attack Power.
 Overall Rating: ** - Decent damage, good speed, crummy range.  Useful when you
 first get it, but not for much longer after that.

Muramasa - Bloodthirsty sword.  Atk+5(starting; see below); Bloody(duh); Slow
C1/2: None
Other: First off, Alucard has permanent Blood Healing for as long as this
 weapon is equipped.  But that's only the beginning!  This sword will power
 itself up, provided you continue to soak up your foes' blood.  In order to get
 the Attack Power of the Muramasa to PERMANENTLY increase by one, you have to
 absorb blood (Muramasa's Current Attack Power x 2)+12 times.  Once its Attack
 Power increases to +45, the Muramasa gains a deep red 0 MP Automatic Whirl of
 Blades attack.  With a LOT of work (it only takes 8500 kills or so until it
 surpasses the Masamune in terms of Attack Power), this weapon can become the
 most powerful weapon in the game (Attack Power-wise, anyway).
 Overall Rating: ****/ -  Permanent Blood Healing plus permanent Attack Power
 growth plus Automatic Whirl of Blades = one hell of a weapon, provided you're
 willing to take some time and "power it up".

Claymore - Scotch two-handed sword.  Atk+26; Bloody; Slow
C1: None; C2: Sliding Charge Thrust, 4 MP.
Other: See above for a description of Sliding Charge Thrust.  Otherwise an
 unremarkable weapon.
 Overall Rating: ** - Good Attack Power, and that's about it.

Sword of Dawn - Summons Dawn Warriors.  Atk+27; Bloody; Slow
C1: Summons undead Dawn Warrior, 4 MP, see Other for details.
C2: None
Other: Now THIS is a strange one.  By using C1, the sword will fly into the air
 and emit a beam of light that strikes the ground, which creates a puff of
 smoke.  Out of the smoke comes an undead Warrior who immediately attacks!  Up
 to ten of the following Dawn Warriors may be summoned at once:
 Skeleton Knight: They simply walk forward in a straight line, spear in hand.
 Group of 3 Skeleton Archers: Shoot a flurry of low arrows straight ahead.
 Skeleton Archer: Shoots a couple of high arrows straight ahead.
 Spirit Mage: Creates a Dracula "Here's true Power!" ball above her head (this
  takes about 5 seconds) and releases it straight ahead.
 Skeletal Archer-Mage: Shoots a few spinning arrows in the direction of the
  nearest enemies.  The arrows have limited homing ability.
 Overall Rating: *** - Good Attack Power, and a really fun C1.  Pales in
 comparison to the high-end 2-Handers, however.

Flamberge - Flame-edged sword.  Atk+31; Bloody; Slow
C1: None; C2: Sliding Charge Thrust, 5 MP.
Other: More powerful then the Claymore, making it somewhat more useful.
 Overall Rating: **/ - Just a bit better than the Claymore.

Katana - Unsigned katana.  Atk+32; Bloody; Fast
C1: Whirl of Blades, 0 MP.
C2: None
Other: The first and weakest in the line of potent Katana swords.  Much faster
 then the previous swords in this listing, and has the highly useful Whirl of
 Blades (see description above) ability.  It also does not apply a Defense
 penalty to Alucard's defense, as the more powerful, signed Katanas do.
 Overall Rating: *** - Good Attack Power and speed, but becomes obsolete rather
 quickly.

Zwei hander - German two-handed sword.  Atk+38; Bloody; Slow
C1: None; C2: Sliding Charge Thrust, 4 MP.
Other: Exactly like the Flamberge but with higher Attack Power.
 Overall Rating: **/ - Meh.  Another one of these things.

Estoc - German thrust sword.  Atk+39; Bloody; Special (see below)
C1/2: None
Other: This sword contains the dubiously useful Automatic Thrust ability.  When
 you press either sword button, Alucard will perform a miniature Charge Thrust,
 moving forward about half the normal distance.  This works even in midair.
 The primary drawback is that you can ONLY use Automatic Thrust; the weapon
 cannot be swung.
 Overall Rating: ** - I'll level with you: Automatic Thrust is pretty useless,
 and therefore, so is this sword.

Obsidian Sword - Two-handed obsidian sword.  Atk+42; Bloody; Slow
C1: None; C2: Sliding Charge Thrust, 4 MP.
Other: Exactly like the Zwei hander, but with higher Attack Power.  The most
 powerful of the "Charge Thrust" Swords, not that that's saying much.
 Overall Rating: **/ - Ooh, Zwei Hander with 4 more Attack Power.  Be still
 my beating heart.

Osafune Katana - Osafune-made katana.  Atk+50, Def-10; Bloody; Fast
C1: Shadow Warp, 0 MP (see description above).
C2: Whirl of Blades, 0 MP.
Other: Much more powerful than the standard Katana, as you have access to the
 Shadow Warp ability as well as Whirl of Blades.  It's important to note that
 neither of these Special Properties consume any MP and can thus be used as
 often as you like.  A very useful weapon if you're willing to sacrifice having
 a shield or item in your 2nd hand, and are willing to accept the -10 Def
 penalty.
 Overall Rating: ***/ - One of the best found-not-dropped weapons.  Two
 powerful Special Abilities for no mana makes this one a winner.

Yasutsuna Katana - Yasutsuna-make katana.  Atk+60, Def-20; Bloody; Very Fast
C1/2: None
Other: Arguably the most powerful Two Handed Weapon of all.  This weapon has
 the Automatic Whirl of Blades property, which means that it performs a 0 MP
 Whirl of Blades attack whenever you swing it!  It ALSO has the Swing While
 Moving property, which means that Alucard can run while swinging this weapon,
 instead of stopping to swing as he would with other weapons.  These two
 automatic abilities make this one deadly (and useful) weapon!  This weapon
 DOES have one major drawback: it gives Alucard a -20 Def penalty.
 Overall Rating: ***** - Swing While Moving plus Automatic Whirl of Blades =
 Alucard the Walking Slice-o-matic.  Seek this weapon out!

Masamune Katana - Legendary Masamune katana.  Atk+55, Def-30; Bloody, Fast
C1: Dual Shadow Warp, 0 MP, Atk+110 (!) (see description above)
C2: None
Other: Despite being the "Legendary Masamune katana", I find that the Yasutsuna
 Katana fares better in combat.  The Masamune does have the wicked Dual Shadow
 Warp, which deals considerably more damage than its Automatic Whirl of Blades,
 but it does NOT have the Swing While Moving ability, which is why it ends up
 being not quite as useful as the Yasutsuna Katana.  The -30 Def penalty (10
 MORE than the Yasutsuna's, no less) doesn't help, either.
 Overall Rating: **** - Incredable Attack Power, but it still doesn't match the
 sheer wickedness of the Yatsutsuna Katana.

Great Sword - Greatsword of Aubec.  Atk+65; Bloody; Slow
C1/2: None
Other: Has a higher Attack Power than any of the Katanas, but its utter lack of
 Special Properties and Slow Attack Speed severely limits its usefulness.
 Stick to your Katanas or the Sword of Dawn.
 Overall Rating: *** - Good Attack Power, but it has too many limitations to be
 of much use by the time you can get ahold of one.

-------------------
One Handed Weapons:
-------------------
Before I list all the weapons, I'm going to give an overview of some of the
C1/2 Special Abilities that occur on more than one weapon:

Long Throw
----------
Found on: Chakram, Heaven Sword, Rune Sword
As its name implies, Long Throw is a C1 & 2 command that increases how far
Alucard throws a Thrown weapon.  It costs no MP, but neither does it increase
the damage that the weapon deals.

Swing While Moving
------------------
Found on: Vorpal Sword, Crissaegrim, Holbein Dagger
One of the best special properties a weapon can have.  Weapons with the Swing
While Moving property allow Alucard to walk while swinging this weapon.
Normally, Alucard will stop to swing his weapon (unless he's jumping at the
time).  Thus, this property will turn Alucard into a walking whirlwind of
death.  Enjoy!

Rapid-Fire Weapons
------------------
Found on: Vorpal Sword, Crissaegrim, Holbein Dagger
These weapons, in addition to having the massively powerful Swing While
Moving property, can be swung with outrageous speed.  The Vorpal Sword and the
Holbein Dagger swing once per button press. In effect, they can be swung as
fast as you can wail on the button.  The Crissaegrim takes this one step
further, swinging 4 TIMES per button press, allowing you to hit a monster
literally dozens of times PER SECOND.  For obvious reasons, this makes the
Crissaegrim the literal best weapon, period.  And also the cheesiest.

Strong Swing
------------
Found on: Holy Rod, Star Flail, Gurthang
This Special Ability increases the Attack Power of the weapon when you perform
a C2. It's usually found on Flails and other blunt weapons in the game.  It
costs no MP, the "cost" instead being the time invested in the C2 required to
activate it.

Elemental Burst
---------------
Found on: Firebrand, Icebrand, Thunderbrand, Holy Sword, Marsil
Very similar to Strong Swing, but it costs MP and normally gives off a burst
of elemental energy that damages nearby foes.  What type of elemental energy
given off relies, of course, on the elemental type of the weapon.  Marsil takes
this to the next level by creating a large burst of flame about the size of
two Alucards.

Fists of Fury
-------------
Found on: Iron Fist, Fist of Tulkas
Usually a C2, this Special Ability causes Alucard to release a flurry of
punches with such speed that they begin to blur together.  This can hit nearby
foes up to about a dozen time per second, but if Alucard takes damage the Fury
ends.  Like Strong Swing, the "cost" in time to input C2, not MP.

Slice and Dice
--------------
Found on: Rapier, Were Bane
Very similar to Fists of Fury, but done with the blade of the weapon rather
than with Alucard's fists, giving it much longer reach.  It is activated with
C2 and deals additional damage.  Again, the "cost" is in Command input time
rather than in MP.

In addition, One Handed Weapons will have a Weapon Class entry, listed just
before the Attack Power Entry.  The Weapon Classes are:

 Sword: The mainstay of Alucard's arsenal.  Most weapons fall into this Class.
  Almost all swords draw blood.

 Dagger: Since these weapons have shorter blades than Swords, they have less
  reach than Swords but tend to be faster.  All Daggers draw blood.

 Fist: Includes Knuckles.  Most of these weapons merely increase the Attack
  Power of Alucard's punch and kick attacks, but some have other properties.
  They do NOT draw blood.

 Mace/Flail/Rod (abbreviated M/C/R): This weapon Class consists entirely of
  Blunt weapons, none of which draw Blood.  Most have the Strong Swing Special
  Property.  Many Blunt weapons have a fast attack speed, which gives them a
  bit of a speed advantage over the majority of Alucard's swords.

 Thrown: These weapons are thrown across the screen in an arc.  Most are bladed
  weapons that draw blood.  Most can be thrown further than normal using C1/2.
  All Thrown weapons must be caught before re-throwing, with the exception of
  the Chakram, which supplies you with two disks to throw at once.

Please note the speed of One Handed Weapons is different from the speeds given
to the Two Handed Weapons.  The One Handed Weapon speeds are:

 Slow.  Example: Jewel Sword.  You must wait about 2 seconds in between swings.

 Average.  Example: Short Sword.  Can be swung roughly once per second.

 Fast.  Example: Alucard Sword.  Can be swung roughly twice per second.

 Very Fast.  Example: Crissaegrim.  Can be swung multiple times per second.

Finally, I give each Weapon an Overall Rating of 0 to 5 stars (*).  A (/) is a
half-star.  Thus, 3 1/2 stars would be ***/  The rating is based on a number of
factors, including the Weapon's Attack strength, its Attack Speed, the
usefulness of its C1 and/or C2 abilities (if applicable), and any other
special properties.


-----Don't Forget!!-----
C1 is Down-roll-forward, Attack.
C2 is Back, Forward, Attack.
C3 is both weapon buttons simultaneously (default: Square and Circle).

And now, the One Handed Weapons List:

Tyrfing - Cursed dark sword.  Sword; Atk-30; Bloody; Average
C1/2: None
Other: It's possible to lower your Attack Power below 0 with this Weapon.  If
 this happens, the Tryfing will simply pass through enemies, inflicting no
 damage. A great way to handicap yourself, if you're into that sort of thing.
 Utterly worthless otherwise.
 Overall Rating: No Stars - Only useful if you're handicapping yourself.

Basilard - Basic short sword.  Dagger; Atk+1; Bloody; Fast
C1: None; C2:Swing instead of stabbing, 0 MP.
Other: Despite the description, this weapon is more a dagger than a sword.
 When you press the weapon button, Alucard will stab with this weapon.  If you
 use C2, he will swing the Basilard (Fast speed) with increased Attack Power.
 Overall Rating: / - Somewhat better than going barehanded.  But not by much.

Knuckle Duster - Iron studded brass knuckles.  Fist; Atk+1; Fast
C1/2: None
Other: All this does is add 1 point of damage to Alucard's punch and kick
 attacks.  In other words, a great example of a "why bother?" weapon.
 Overall Rating: / - As I just said, why bother?

Stone Sword - May "petrify" enemies.  Sword; Atk+1; Average
C1/2: None
Other: While this sword doesn't draw blood, it WILL paralyze any foe struck
 with it (provided you don't kill them outright) for about 1.5 seconds.  This
 works quite well with a familiar, who can beat the paralyzed foe down.  Bear
 in mind that not all foes can be paralyzed in this manner.
 Overall Rating: * - Paralyzation is fun and all, but no Attack Power to speak
 of and pretty slow to boot.  One of many novelty swords.

Alucart Sword - Resembles family sword.  Sword; Atk+1; Bloody; Fast
C1/2: None
Other: Looks just like the Alucard Sword and has its Fast attack speed, but has
 none of said sword's special abilities - and nowhere near its attack power!
 However, if you have all 3 Alucart items (the Sword, the Shield, and the Mail)
 equipped, Alucard's STATUS will change to "alucart", and you'll receive a +30
 bonus to your Luck stat.
 Overall Rating: */ - It may not offer much Attack Power, but it sure is
 FAST.  Also, if you're item hunting, the +30 alucart Luck bonus might come in
 handy.

Short Sword - Common short sword.  Sword; Atk+2; Bloody; Average
C1/2: None
Other: The first weapon you get after Death absconds with your starting gear.
 This weapons exemplifies the Sword class, but has almost no Attack Power.
 Overall Rating: * - What's to say?  Better range then fighting with
 fisticuffs, but very low Attack Power.

Gladius - Sword of ancient Rome.  Sword; Atk+3; Bloody; Average
C1/2: None
Other: Identical to the Short Sword but deals 1 more damage.  Woo hoo.
 Overall Rating: * - See Short Sword.

Scimitar - Single edged curved sword.  Sword; Atk+5; Bloody; Average
C1/2: None
Other: Identical to the Short Sword but deals 3 more damage.  Whoopie.
 Overall Rating: */ - More respectable damage than previous Short Sword Clones.

Holbein Dagger - Swift upper diagonal attack.  Dagger; Atk+6; Bloody; Very Fast
C1/2: None
Other: The weakest of the three Swing While Moving weapons, and the only one
 that isn't horribly broken.  When the weapon button is pressed, this weapon
 performs an uppercut-shaped Whirl of Blades attack (see its description in the
 Two Handed Weapons section).  Unlike a standard Whirl of Blades, this uppercut
 version has very limited range and only hits once per "swing".  Not terribly
 useful but kind of nifty looking nonetheless.
 Overall Rating: */ - Another novelty weapon.  Very, very fast but weak and
 suffers from poor reach.

Cutlass - Sword of the English Navy.  Sword; Atk+7; Bloody; Average
C1/2: None
Other: Identical to the Short Sword but deals 5 more damage.  Wow.
 Overall Rating: */ - You know the drill.

Rapier - Long bladed sword.  Sword; Atk+7; Bloody; Fast
C1: None; C2: Slice and Dice (see description above), 0 MP.
Other: Slice and Dice is a good way to dish out damage in a hurry, at least in
 the early parts of the game.  Other than that, it's a pretty unremarkable (and
 weak) weapon, although the green "sword trails" are a nice effect.
 Overall Rating: ** - Slice and Dice can be useful, and its a quick sword.
 Not a bad choice early on.

Blue Knuckles - Knuckles for uppercut-use.  Fist; Atk+8; Fast
C1/2: None
Other: When the weapon button is pressed, Alucard performs an wicked uppercut
 that leaves a blue trail in its wake.  While impressive looking - and fast -
 this weapon is very weak and has such ludicrously short range (by the time
 Alucard gets within range, he might as well just give his foe a big sloppy
 kiss instead) that hitting anything with it is next to impossible.  Pass.
 Overall Rating: */ - Very similar to the Holbein Dagger.  Looks cool and all,
 but its a real chore to actually fight with it.

Mace - Iron cudgel.  M/F/R; Atk+9; Slow
C1/2: None
Other: Wow, the first Blunt weapon.  How does it stack up to the mass of swords
 and daggers you already have?  Well, not very well, I'm afraid.  It's slow,
 weak, doesn't draw blood, and has no Special Properties.  Stick to your
 blades.
 Overall Rating: * - Very unimpressive compared to all the Short Sword Clones
 they've been throwing at you.

Saber - Light cavalry sword.  Sword; Atk+9; Bloody; Average
C1/2: None
Other: Identical to the Short Sword but deals 7 more damage.  Neat-o.
 Overall Rating: */ - Getting very slightly better.

Falchion - Norman curved sword.  Sword; Atk+10; Bloody; Average
C1/2: None
Other: Identical to the Short Sword but deals 8 more damage.  How many Short
 Sword clones do you really need, anyway?  Good grief!
 Overall Rating: */ - What, do we need one Clone for each number between +2 and
 +9?  I mean really...

Morningstar - Spiked iron club.  M/F/R; Atk+11; Slow
C1/2: None
Other: Marginally better than the Mace, due to its slightly higher Attack
 Power, but it's still not really worth using.
 Overall Rating: * - Since it lacks Strong Swing to boost its damage, this is
 another weapon that you'll really never want to equip.

Broadsword - Simple Mercenary's sword.  Sword; Atk+12; Bloody; Average
C1/2: None
Other: Identical to the Short Sword but deals 10 more damage.  Yay.
 Overall Rating: */ - Clone #6.

Holy Rod - Anointed rod.  M/F/R; Atk+12; Fast
C1: None; C2: Strong Swing (see description above), 0 MP, Atk+15
Other: Finally, a useful Blunt weapon.  It's quick and Strong Swing makes it
 worth whipping out now and again.  It also does extra damage to Dark Element
 foes.
 Overall Rating: **/ - Now THIS is a Blunt weapon!  Whip this beastie out
 whenever you encounter undead foes, you won't be sorry.

Bekatowa - Plain, easy-to-use war sword.  Sword; Atk+14; Bloody; Average
C1/2: None
Other: Identical to the Short Sword but deals 12 more damage.  Attack of the
 Clones!
 Overall Rating: */ - 7 Clones and counting...

Chakram - Sikh steel throwing ring.  Thrown; Atk+15; Bloody; Average
C1 & 2: Long Throw: throws it about 1.5 times as far as normal, 0 MP.
Other: This rare Thrown weapon is a mixed bag.  Unlike most Thrown weapons, you
 can have two of them on screen at once (Well, okay, you CAN have four at once,
 but only if you bother to get 2 Chakram and equip them in both hands) but
 they're slow and have only moderate range.  The Long Throw increases the range
 to something more respectable, but it can be difficult to do it twice
 consecutively.  Verdict: fun to play with, but not very practical in combat.
 Overall Rating: ** - Being able to throw two Chakram at once is nice, but its
 still a difficult weapon to use effectively.

Jewel Sword - Transforms enemies into jewels.  Sword; Atk+15; Bloody; Slow
C1: Create Gold Coins: 1-4 $1 Coins fall to the ground in front of Alucard.
C2: None
Other: This sword is weak and SLOW, but it does have one major redeeming
 special property: it causes defeated enemies to drop salable gemstones at an
 alarming rate.  The most common dropped gemstone is the $150 Zircon, followed
 by the much more rare $500 Aquamarine and the almost-never-seen $1500
 Turquoise.  In theory, you could get any variety of gemstone from a defeated
 foe.  However, the odds of getting anything better than an Turquoise are
 rougly equal to winning a lottery jackpot.  Seriously.  Don't hold your breath
 for anything better than an Onyx, which itself is just outrageously,
 incredibly rare. Using this sword on the infinitely-spawning Mermen or Zombies
 in the Entry Hall is a great way to rack up large amounts of $$$: simply sell
 the gemstones they drop en masse (you can hold up to 99 of each gemstone) to
 the Master Librarian.
 Overall Rating: *** - Only worth equipping if you're trying to buy something
 from the Master Librarian.  Which will happen quite a bit, actually.

Star Flail - Flail with spiked balls.  M/F/R; Atk+15; Fast
C1: None; C2: Strong Swing, 0 MP.
Other: Basically just an upgrade to the Holy Rod, sans the extra damage vs.
 Dark.
 Overall Rating: **/ - I prefer the Holy Rod, but to each his own.

Shield Rod - Extra effective with shield.  M/F/R; Atk+11, Def+2; Slow
C1: None; C2: Gradius Shields, 0 MP, see Other.
Other: The shield is a very mediocre weapon, but if you've read the Shields
 section, you've probably figured out its real purpose.  If you haven't read
 the Shields section, go do it now.  It's rather important.
 As for the C2 ability: each time you execute it, the Shield Rod spits out a
 Shield (from Konami's old side-scrolling Gradius series).  The Shields (you
 can "cast" up to 4 at once) will block exactly one projectile each.  Of
 course, given Alucard's mobility and the much, MUCH bigger shield that you
 already have equipped, they're pretty silly.  And by silly I mean worthless.
 Overall Rating: **** - But only because it allows you to use all those C3
 Special Abilities.  Its actually a terrible weapon in all other aspects.

Damascus Sword - Fine sword honed to razor edge. Sword; Atk+17; Bloody; Average
C1/2: None
Other: Identical to the Short Sword but deals 15 more damage.  How exciting.
 Overall Rating: */ - Up to 8 Clones now; at least this one has something
 resembling decent Attack Power.

Moon Rod - Rod with Lunar markings.  M/F/R; Atk+17; Average
C1: Lunar Blades, 4 MP (see below).
C2: None
Other: Now this is more like it!  Not as fast as other Rods, but Lunar Blades
 more than makes up for it.  When you activate Lunar Blades, four crescent-moon
 shaped blue blades fan out behind Alucard.  A second later, the rush forward,
 slicing through anything in their path.  The blades will seek out enemies to a
 small degree, and travel the entire length of the screen.  A powerful attack,
 indeed.  Don't be afraid to use it, as it only costs 4 MP.
 Overall Rating: *** - Not as fast as the Holy Rod, but its Lunar Blades makes
 this a better weapon overall.

Were Bane - Effective against werebeasts.  Sword; Atk+18; Bloody; Fast
C1: Slice and Dice, 0 MP.
C2: None
Other: It's basically a more powerful version of the Rapier, except with purple
 "sword trails" instead of green ones.  It also deals double damage to any
 were creatures - all 2 of them!  Oh boy, how useful!
 Overall Rating: ** - Just a Rapier Clone with a next to worthless Special
 Property.  Don't get too excited.

Hunter Sword - Ivory handled hunting sword. Sword;Atk+20,Def-1; Bloody; Average
C1/2: None
Other: It's just a sword, no Special Properties.  The real puzzler here is WHY
 it lowers your Defense by 1.
 I guess it must be that Ivory handle...
 Overall Rating: */ - The 9th Clone.  That -1 Def still baffles me.  Why,
 Konami, WHY?!!

Bastard Sword - Standard sword.  Sword; Atk+20; Bloody; Average
C1/2: None
Other: Identical to the Short Sword but deals 18 more damage.  I think they're
 improving.
 Overall Rating: */ - Clone #10 features the Attack Power of the Hunter Sword
 without the mysterious Defense penalty.  Go Short Sword Clones!

Shotel - Abyssinian curved sword.  Sword; Atk+20; Bloody; Slow
C1: Throw it instead of swinging it, 0 MP.
C2: None
Other: Sort of a hybrid weapon.  It's normally a fairly weak, very slow sword,
 but you can throw it with C1.  It has range equal to the Chakram (see above),
 the thrown speed is average, and you can only throw one at a time.  Another
 novelty weapon that isn't very practical to use in combat.
 Overall Rating: */ - If it had a faster Attack Speed, it might be somewhat
 useful.

Heaven Sword - Enchanted floating sword.  Thrown; Atk+21, Def-2; Bloody; Slow
C1 & 2: Long Throw: throws it about 1.2 times further than normal, 0 MP, Atk+0
C3: SPECIAL: If you equip a Heaven Sword in both hands, and then press both
 weapon buttons at the same time, it activates a new special ability!  The
 Heaven Sword flies in an arc behind Alucard, then it shoots a multitude of
 blades across the screen before vanishing.  The blades taper to a point
 directly in front of Alucard, so don't expect to hit anything above or below
 him; 5 MP.
Other: Better range than the Chakram or Shotel, but you can only throw one at a
 time.  It also has horrible, terrible speed.  It looks neat when you first use
 it, but the speed issue makes it a less than stellar weapon overall.  However,
 if you were to equip two in order to enable their special C3 ability, I
 wouldn't blame you.
 Overall Rating: **/ - If it wasn't so difficult to get, and if you didn't need
 to get TWO of them in order to activate its "hidden" C3 ability, and if it
 wasn't such a slow weapon, this sword might have gotten more stars.

Jewel Knuckles - Jewel reinforced knuckles.  Fist; Atk+21; Fast
C1/2: None
Other: A respectable increase to Alucard's punch and kick attacks.  Also seems
 to have a very high Critical Hit rate, but maybe that's just me getting lucky.
 Overall Rating: **/ - Since Alucard's unarmed attacks are so quick, this
 weapon isn't a terrible idea.  I just prefer weapons with a bit more reach.

Talwar - Curved Indian sword.  Sword; Atk+22; Bloody; Average
C1/2: None
Other: Identical to the Short Sword but deals 20 more damage.  Best.  Weapon.
 Ever.
 Overall Rating: ** - 11 Clones.  I don't see why you need so many Short Sword
 knock-offs...

Combat Knife - Flat combat dagger.  Dagger; Atk+24; Bloody; Very Fast
C1: None; C2: Swing instead of stabbing, 0 MP.
Other: If you press the weapon button twice rapidly while standing still,
 Alucard will perform a one-two stab-slash combo.  If you press it rapidly
 while moving, he will simply stab repeatedly.  If you feel like doing
 something useless, try C2.  Not only does C2 take longer to do than the normal
 stab-slash combo that requires no command input, it also provides NO range
 benefit and actually lowers your attack power!  Talk about incentive!
 Overall Rating: ** - Good Attack Power and speed, but almost no reach.  There
 are better alternatives.

Sword of Hador - House of Hador heirloom.  Sword; Atk+24; Bloody; Average
C1/2: None
Other: A new generation of "just like the Short Sword, but more powerful"
 Weapons is here!  These "new" swords add a flaming effect to the sword swing
 but have no Special Properties.  Great.
 Overall Rating: ** - The very first Neo Clone!  Aren't you excited?  I am!

Firebrand - Fire sword of Oberon.  Sword; Atk+25; Bloody; Average
C1: Fire Burst, 4 MP.
C2: None
Other: A Fire-element sword.  Deals double damage to monsters that are weak
 against fire.  Fire Burst gives a respectable Attack Power boost for a low
 MP cost and has a rather nice graphic effect, as well.
 Overall Rating: *** - Ahh, here we go.  All these Elemental Swords are very
 useful.  Fire Burst is very similar to Strong Swing but it looks much more
 impressive.

Icebrand - Ice sword of Mim.  Sword; Atk+25; Bloody; Average
C1: Ice Burst, 4 MP.
C2: None
Other: An Ice-element sword.  Deals double damage to monsters that are weak
 against ice.  Ice Burst gives a respectable Attack Power boost for a low
 MP cost and has a rather nice graphic effect, as well.
 Overall Rating: *** - Ahh, here we go.  All these Elemental Swords are very
 useful.  Ice Burst is very similar to Strong Swing but it looks much more
 impressive.

Mormegil - Black sword - strong vs. holy.  Sword; Atk+25; Bloody; Average
C1/2: None
Other: Would be just another sword except that it does double damage to Holy
 monsters.  Most of these are found in the Royal Chapel, if you were wondering
 where you would find "holy" monsters in Castlevania, a decidedly UNholy place.
 Overall Rating: **/ - I'm sorry, but Stong vs. Holy is NOT a good replacement
 for an Elemental Burst Ability.

Thunderbrand - Lightning sword of Indra.  Sword; Atk+25; Bloody; Average
C1: Lightning Burst, 4 MP, Atk+25
C2: None
Other: A Lightning-element sword.  Deals double damage to monsters that are
 weak against lightning.  Lightning Burst gives a respectable Attack Power
 boost for a low MP cost and has a rather nice graphic effect, as well.
 Overall Rating: *** - Ahh, here we go.  All these Elemental Swords are very
 useful.  Lightning Burst is very similar to Strong Swing but it looks much
 more impressive.

Gurthang - Gets stronger when bloodied.  Sword; Atk+25, Def+1; Bloody; Average
C1: Strong Swing, 0 MP, Atk+15, randomly deals double damage.
C2: None
Other: What more could a half-vampire need than a sword that drips blood?  If
 all this sword had was dripping blood and Strong Swing, it would be a pretty
 good sword.  However, it one property that makes it a really good sword: it
 deals double damage for the entire duration of every Dark Metamorphosis spell
 you cast!  This double damage applies to ALL your foes, not just the ones that
 bleed.  It also gives you momentary Blood Healing whenever you swing it,
 regardless of whether or not you have Dark Metamorphosis cast.
 Overall Rating: ***/ - Not quite on the level of the Muramasa, but the whole
 "double damage for only 5 MP" thing makes this a quite useful weapon in its
 own right.  Automatic Blood Healing tacks on another 1/2 Star.

Vorpal Blade - Slices cleanly through enemies. Sword; Atk+25; Bloody; Very Fast
C1/2: None
Other: This is the middle of the three Rapid-Fire Weapons in the game, but it's
 no slouch.  This weapon can be swung as quickly as you're able to mash the
 weapon button, enabling you to hit things several times per second, at the
 cost of your right thumb.  It also has the ever-powerful Walk While Swinging
 property, making it even more deadly.  A great all-around weapon until your
 thumb starts to get sore.
 Overall Rating: **** - If you've got fast thumbs, this weapon will take you
 far.  Not QUITE as broken as the Crissaegrim, but its close.

Holy Sword - Cross Hilt - strong vs. undead.  Sword; Atk+26; Bloody; Average
C1: Holy Burst, 5 MP, Atk+19
C2: None
Other: A Holy-element sword.  Deals double damage to undead creatures.  Holy
 Burst gives a respectable Attack Power boost for a low MP cost and has a
 rather nice graphic effect, as well.
 Overall Rating: *** - Oh look, its Mormegil's big brother!  Holy Burst is a
 real boon versus the undead.  This weapon pretty much renders your trusty
 Holy Rod worthless.

Iron Fist - Owned by Karate master.  Fist; Atk+26; Fast
C1: Fists of Fury (see description above), 0 MP, Atk+25
C2: None
Other: Blows previous Fist weapons right out of the water by adding the Fists
 of Fury Property, which can hit multiple times per second with increased
 Attack Power, albeit only at close range.
 Overall Rating: **/ - Fist of Fury deals excellent damage, but its hard to use
 because it leaves Alucard quite vulnerable.

Luminous - Sword forged by elves.  Sword; Atk+26; Bloody; Average
C1/2: None
Other: An "upgrade" to the Sword of Hador.  No Special Properties.  Keen.
 Overall Rating: ** - Neo Clone #2.  More and more!

Harper - The sword named Harper.  Sword; Atk+28; Bloody; Average
C1/2: None
Other: An "upgrade" to the Luminous Sword.  No Special Properties.  Swell.
 Overall Rating: ** - Neo Clone #3.  Must... make... more... Clones...

Gram - The sword named Gram.  Sword; Atk+30; Bloody; Average
C1/2: None
Other: Harper's big brother.  No Special Properties.  Oh boy.
 Overall Rating: ** - Neo Clone #4.  These things are now beyond redundant.

Terminus Est - Poisoned executioner's sword. Sword;Atk+32,Def+1;Bloody;Average
C1/2: None
Other: Being a poisoned blade, it will Poison any enemy struck with it,
 provided you don't kill them outright.  While poison doesn't seem to have any
 adverse effects on most monsters you fight, it does excel against 2 foes in
 particular: the Guardians near the Inverted Clock room, and the 2 Doppleganger
 bosses.  Go ahead, try it out!
 Overall Rating: *** - Good Attack Power, and Poison cripples a couple of
 bosses, so not too shabby.  Too bad it lacks any special abilities.

Marsil - Powerful sword of flame.  Sword; Atk+33, Def+1; Bloody; Average
C1: Flaming Burst, 5 MP, similar to Fire Burst with a Radius (see below).
Other: Basically an upgraded version of the Firebrand, but it's quite the
 upgrade!  The weapon leaves flames in its wake for about 1.5 seconds after
 Alucard swings it.  These residual flames deal full damage to any creature
 foolish enough to touch them.  Flaming Burst is similar to Fire Burst, but
 adds a radial burst of flame that damages anything near Alucard.  A very
 powerful attack for only 5 MP.
 Overall Rating: ****/ - Surpassed by few other weapons.  Flaming Burst is just
 an incredible Ability for only 5 MP.  Toss in the residual flames and its
 respectable Attack Power, and you've got a weapon you can use for the vast
 majority of the game.

Dark Blade - Sword forged by elves.  Sword; Atk+35, Def+2; Bloody; Average
C1/2: None
Other: The LAST (finally!  Good lord!) and most powerful of the Short Sword
 knock-offs.  Adds 2 Defense as well.  Has respectable attack power but the
 lack of special abilities really limits its usefulness when compared to other
 high-end weaponry.
 Overall Rating: **/ - Make them stop!  For the love of God, MAKE THEM STOP!!!
 ...Oh wait, they have.  Uh, nevermind then.

Crissaegrim - Countless blades dice enemy. Sword;Atk+36,Def+1;Bloody;Very Fast
C1/2: None
Other: The upgraded version of the Vorpal Blade, and hands-down the most
 powerful weapon in the game.  With its improved Rapid-Fire Property, this
 weapon is capable of striking a foe over a dozen times PER SECOND.  Now factor
 in the ever-potent Swing While Moving property, and you'll find that good old
 'Grim turns Alucard into a Walking Death Machine.  Be warned, this weapon is
 much like the C3 Alucard Shield in that it makes the game a complete and total
 cakewalk, so do try to limit your use of it lest you suck all the fun out of
 the game.  Finally, I don't think I need to mention how sick Alucard's damage
 output gets when he equips one in each hand...
 Overall Rating: ***** - Even if it IS horrendously overpowered, broken, and
 all around quite sick.  Very abusable and cheap, but its hard to deny the
 sheer power this weapon grants you.  The best weapon.

Mourneblade - Feeds upon enemy's souls.  Sword; Atk+36, Def+1; Bloody; Average
C1/2: None
Other: Another really nasty high-end weapon.  The Mourneblade will suck the
 Soul out of any monster, candle, jar, or breakable wall section (I never
 realized that inanimate objects had souls to steal) you swing it at.  Each
 stolen Soul restores 8 HP to Alucard.  For added fun, slap on your Bloodstone
 and cast Dark Metamorphosis, then laugh manically as each (bloody) enemy you
 slaughter restores 24 of Alucard's HP.  Who needs healing items?
 Overall Rating: **** - Single-target Soul Steal for free!  The real kicker
 with this weapon is the aforementioned Bloodstone/Dark Metamorphosis combo.

Fist of Tulkas - Blessed by Tulkas the Valar.  Fist; Atk+38, Def+5; Fast
C1: Fireball, 0 MP, Fire-element (see below).
C2: Fists of Fury, 0 MP, Atk+32
Other: The ultimate Fist weapon, period.  Besides having Fists of Fury, this
 beast of a weapon also allows you to toss literal Fireballs clear across the
 screen.  These Fireballs are Fire-element and will deal double damage to
 monsters that are weak against fire.  You can shoot Fireballs as fast as
 you're able to input C1; there's no limit to how many you can have on-screen
 at once.  Oh yeah, it boosts your Defense by 5 as well.  An excellent weapon.
 Highly recommended.
 P.S. Fists of Fury + Guardians not Strong vs. Blunt = dead Guardians.  Bear
 this in mind if you want to raise Alucard's Level above 45.
 Overall Rating: **** - Adds to Defense, shoots Fireballs, and slaughters
 Guardians with relative ease.  What more do you want?  Oh yeah... reach.
 Bad Fist!  You lose a 1/2 Star!

Mablung Sword - Spirit sword - improved DEF. Sword;Atk+39,Def+2;Bloody;Average
C1/2: None
Other: This weapon would be nothing spectacular if it weren't for the fact that
 its a faster, stronger Shield Rod!  That's right, the Attack Power of a high-
 end sword coupled with the ability to use C3 with Shields, all rolled into
 one!  Once you get this, there's no longer any excuse to equip that slow,
 non-blood-producing, poor-excuse-for-a-weapon Shield Rod ever again!
 Overall Rating: ****/ - All the insane C3 powers of the Shield Rod coupled
 with a Defense boost, reasonable Attack Power, and improved Attack Speed.

Rune Sword - Flying rune-inscribed sword.  Thrown;Atk+40,Def-4, Bloody; Average
C1 & 2: Long Throw: throws it about 1.2 times further than normal, 0 MP.
Other: Easily the best Thrown weapon.  While it's not the fastest weapon in the
 world, and you can only throw one at once, it can do something that no other
 Thrown weapon can do: it can hit once on the way out and once more on the way
 back in.  Combine that with its very high Attack Power, and you've got quite
 the nasty non-MP-burning, long-range attack.  For added fun, try equipping
 two at once.
 Overall Rating: ***/ - Nice Attack Power and long Range.  The ability to hit
 coming AND going makes this weapon quite useful against stationary (or just
 very large) foes.

Alucard Sword - Mother's family heirloom.  Sword; Atk+42; Bloody; Fast
C1: Shadow Warp (see description in Two Handed Weapons), 5 MP.
C2: None
Other: Probably the best found-not-dropped Sword in the game.  Shadow Warp is
 a very useful way to attack at range in relative safety, while the +42 Attack
 Power is the highest of any standard weapon.  You'll probably use this weapon
 exclusively once you get it, unless you're like me and decide to go and get
 all those rare, over-powered, exotic weapons from the various creatures in the
 Castle.
 Overall Rating: ***/ - The best standard weapon.  You'll probably wind up
 using this extensively if you don't go weapon hunting.

Badelaire - Power increases with gameplay.
Sword; Atk+1-99 (see other); Bloody; Average
C1/2: None
Other: One of Two "variable Attack Power" Weapons in the game (the other being
 the Sword Familiar; see below).  The Badelaire gains +1 Attack Power for each
 hour on the Game Clock, located in the bottom right of the Menu Screen.  Since
 the Game Clock stops at 99:59:59, the Badelaire's Attack Power tops out at
 +99.  Other than the fact that you can get its Attack Power outrageously high,
 the Badelaire is a very average weapon, with no Special Properties.
 Overall Rating: *** - Can become quite powerful, but is overall not that
 useful of a weapon.

Sword Familiar - Sentient sword familiar.
Sword; Atk+50-99 (see other); Bloody; Average
C1/2: None
Other: This will only appear in Alucard's inventory once you get his Sword
 Familiar up to Level 50.  Once that happens, it starts out as an Atk+50 Sword
 that gains Atk+1 for each Level beyond 50 that the Sword Familiar reaches.
 Since the Sword Familiar tops out at Level 99, the Sword Familiar's maximum
 Attack Power is +99.  Other than the fact that you can get its Attack Power
 outrageously high, the Sword Familiar is a very average weapon, with no
 Special Properties.  It's important to note that you cannot be equipped with
 the Sword Familiar weapon and have the Sword Familiar flying around helping
 you at the same time: if you equip the Sword while the Familiar is out, the
 Familiar disappears.  If you summon the Familiar with the Sword equipped, you
 will suddenly find yourself fighting bare-fisted.
 Overall Rating: ***/ - Can become quite powerful, but is overall not that
 useful of a weapon.  At least its faster than the Badelaire.


...Whew!

Okay.  Now, onto Alucard's protective gear.  Unlike his weaponry, Alucard's
defensive equipment has no Special Abilities, only Special Properties.  So, you
can't really "play" with his Armor like you can his Swords and such.  However,
due to popular demand (and my anal desire for completeness) I'm including
sections for Head Gear, Armor, Cloaks, and Accessories.  And I'm starting
with...

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
6. Head Gear
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Alucard's Head Gear serves mainly as a way to boost your Int stat, although
some Head Gear has other effects.

As with my previous lists, I'm going to list all pieces of Head Gear in
ascending order of Defense Power.  If two or more Helms have the same Defense
Power, I'll list them alphabetically.  Each entry will contain the following
information:

 --Name of the Head Gear as it appears in the game.
 --The game's poorly transrated description of said Head Gear.
 --What Class of Head Gear it is (Circlet, Helmet, etc.)
 --The Defense Power of the Head Gear, listed as Def+/-xx.
 --If the Head Gear increases any other stat (like Int), I list that as well,
   as (stat name)+/-xx.
 --What (if any) Special Properties the Head Gear has.

Finally, I give each Head Gear an Overall Rating of 0 to 5 stars (*).  A (/) is
a half-star.  Thus, 3 1/2 stars would be ***/  The rating is based on a number
of factors, including the Head Gear's Defensive strength, how it affects
Alucard's Intelligence, and the usefulness of its Special Properties (if
applicable).

You know the drill.  Here we go:

Beryl circlet - Heals HP by lightning damage
Circlet; Def+0; Int+10
Special Properties: The Beryl Circlet does just what it says: any time Alucard
 is hit by a Lightning-element attack, he will be healed instead of harmed.
 If you have this Circlet, beating Galamoth suddenly becomes much, MUCH easier.
 Other: This Circlet - like ALL Circlets - doesn't increase your Defense Power
 AT ALL, but the +10 Int and Lightning-healing more than make up for a few
 lousy points of Defense, at least in MY book.  And anything that makes
 Galamoth more managable geta a big gold star in my sticker book.
 Overall Rating: ***/ - A nice Int boost plus Immunity to Galamoth.  This
 Circlet is topped only by a couple other pieces of Head Gear.

Cat-eye circl. - Big HP restore by cat damage
Circlet; Def+0; Int+8
Special Properties: Ok, this is bizarre.  The Cat-eye Circlet will give you
 MASSIVE healing when... a cat touches you.  There is only ONE cat in the game
 that I'm aware of: when you "kill" the Witches in the Reverse Catacombs, they
 will transform into black cats and try to run off-screen.  If they run over
 you, and you have this Circlet equipped, you will have a ton of HP restored.
 Other: Well, the Special Property is a joke unless you're fighting the
 aforementioned Witches for the Wizard Hat, but +8 to Int is nothing to scoff
 at, at least until you can pick up a better Circlet.
 Overall Rating: *** - Good Int boost, but the Special Property is so limited
 that it might as well not even be there.  Sigh.

Circlet - Circlet (no really, that's the description.  Circlet.)
Circlet (gah! enough!); Def+0; Int+5
Special Properties: None.  Whee.
 Other: The basic Circlet.  Increases your Defense by 0 and your Intelligence
 by 5.  And that's it.
 Overall Rating: */ - +5 to Int is nice if you use Alucard's Spells often, but
 you'll find better Head Gear to don not too long after you find this.

Coral circlet - Immune to Curses
Circlet; Def+0; Int+7
Special Properties: Believe it or not, Alucard is immune to attacks that would
 otherwise Curse him whilst this is on his head.
 Other: There's not that many attacks that can Curse you, but I'm not going to
 knock Curse immunity, since being Cursed is so friggin' annoying.  +7 to Int
 is very respectable, as well.
 Overall Rating: *** - Honestly, I doubt you'll ever use this much, but at
 least it's good to have until you can find an Elemental Defense Circlet.

Gold circlet - Restores HP by holy damage
Circlet; Def+0; Int+6
Special Properties: Like the Beryl Circlet before it, the Gold Circlet will
 restore Alucard's HP when he's hit with an elemental attack - in this case,
 Holy elemental attacks.
 Other: A nice thing to have in the Chapel/Reverse Chapel, but there are
 certainly more useful pieces of Head Gear you could be wearing.
 Overall Rating: ** - Meh.  Nothing special.

Opal circlet - Restores HP by ice damage
Circlet; Def+0; Int+10
Special Properties: Seeing a pattern yet?  The Opal Circlet will heal Alucard
 whenever he is struck by an Ice element attack.
 Other: Again, not too many dangerous Ice attacks that would make you think of
 whipping this thing out, but the +10 Int is nice if you're doing a lot of
 spell casting.
 Overall Rating: ***/ - But only because of the insane +10 to Int, the second
 best of any Circlet.

Ruby circlet - Restores HP by fire damage
Circlet; Def+0; Int+10
Special Properties: The 3rd in the set of 4 Elemental Healing Circlets, the
 Ruby Circlet will heal Alucard whenever he is hit by a Fire element attack.
 Other: Well, Fire is more common than Ice, making this marginally more useful
 than the Opal Circlet.
 Overall Rating: ***/ - Again, only because of the Caster-friendly +10 to Int.

Silver crown - Increases Intelligence
Circlet; Def+0; Int+12(!)
Special Properties: None.
 Other: A Caster's dream, the Silver Crown boasts the best Int boost of any
 piece of Head Gear: +12.  Still no Defense boost, however.
 Overall Rating: **** - I use this thing ALL THE TIME, but I like abusing
 Soul Steal and Tetra Spirit.  Your milage may vary.

Topaz circlet - Restores HP by poison damage
Circlet; Def+0; Int+10
Special Properties: The final Elemental Defense Circlet.  If Alucard is struck
 by a Poison element attack (of which there are few) while wearing this, he
 will be healed and not harmed.
 Other: Eh, the Beryl and Ruby Circlets have much more useful Elemental
 Defense.
 Overall Rating: ***/ - As with the other Elemental Defense Circlets, the high
 rating comes from the impressive +10 to Int.

Felt hat - Felt hat (Whoa, it's a Felt hat?  Never woulda guessed.)
Helm; Def+1; Int+1 (why?)
Special Properties: none.
 Other: What's to say?  It sucks.  If you get lucky and get one to drop right
 away, you may find a use for it; otherwise, it's going to languish in your
 inventory.
 Overall Rating: * - not the worst Helm, but it's close.

Goggles - Comfortable eye protection
Eyewear; Def+1; Int+4 (??)
Special Properties: none.
 Other: The goggles - they do nothing!
 Overall Rating: */ - gets a / for the +4 Int, but if Int is your thing, you're
 better off with a Circlet of some kind.  Or the Holy Glasses.  Or...

Holy glasses - Sees beyond magical curses
Eyewear; Def+1; Int+5
Special Properties: Allows you to see Shaft's spell that is controlling
 Richter, thus allowing you to break the hold Shaft has on him.  Beating
 Richter in this manner allows you to access the Inverted Castle and see the
 game's better ending(s).
 Other: Well, other than the fact that you NEED THIS ITEM TO TRULY BEAT THE
 GAME, it's not that great of a helm: it's just like the basic Circlet, only
 with +1 Defense instead of +0.
 Overall Rating: ** - Yeah, you need it to defeat Richter, but when compared to
 other Head Gear it's just not very good.

Sunglasses - Cool looking sunglasses
Eyewear; Def+1; Int-1
Special Properties: none.
 Other: These things get my vote for Game's Worst Head Gear.  Trading +1
 Defense for -1 Int is just... not a good idea.
 Overall Rating: No stars - When equipping something lowers your Int, take that
 as a not-so-subtle hint.

Velvet hat - Velvet hat (Okay, enough with the repetetive descriptors!)
Helm; Def+1; Int+2
Special Properties: none.
 Other: An ever-so-slight upgrade to the Felt hat.  Big whoop-de-do.
 Overall Rating: * - Once again, these things blow.  Move along.

Ballroom mask - Mask used at a ball (No!  Really?)
Helm; Def+2
Special Properties: none.
 Other: Yet another useless Helm.  Sure, it has +2 Defense, but that is IT.
 Overall Rating: ** - But only because it gives +2 Defense, which is good for
 a Helm.

Bandanna - Protects sensitive head parts (Head parts?  Transration!)
Helm; Def+2; Int+1
Special Properties: none.
 Other: Whee.  It's a Ballroom Mask with +1 Int.
 Overall Rating: **/ - See above.  With +1 Int.

Leather hat - Tanned leather hat
Helm; Def+2
Special Properties: none.
 Other: Yet another useless Helm.  Sure, it has +2 Defense, but that is IT.
 Overall Rating: ** - Identical to the Ballroom mask in every way (except for
 name and graphic, of course).

Stone mask - Ancient ceremonial sone mask
Helm; Def+2; Int+4
Special Properties: none.
 Other: This isn't too bad: +2 Def and +4 Int, which makes it a nice, mid-game
 hybrid Helm: good Defense with a decent Int boost.
 Overall Rating: *** - If you can't decide on Defense over Int, this is the
 Helm for you.

Dragon helm - Frightens enemy, lowers DEF
Helm; Def+3; Str+4
Special Properties: While Alucard has this helm equipped, the Defense Power of
 all his foes is lowered, and he will (in a nutshell) deal more damage to
 EVERYTHING with his physical attacks.  VERY useful.
 Other: You should have this thing equipped at all times, unless you're like me
 and prefer high Int to everything else.  But I'm crazy that way.
 Overall Rating: ***** - It's really the best helm in the game. I'm sure that
 some will argue a case for the Silver Circlet or Wizard Hat, but the fact that
 this Helm gives you the 2nd best Defense AND lets you deal more damage to
 EVERYTHING makes it - the best.

Steel helm - Standard adventurer's helm
Helm; Def+3; Int+1
Special Properties: none.
 Other: This is a good Helm to use until you recover your stolen Dragon Helm,
 or if you want high Defense instead of high Int.
 Overall Rating: *** - Just a poor half-vampire/half-man's Dragon Helm.

Wizard hat - Wide-brimmed for protection
Helm; Def+5(!); Str+1, Con+1, Int+7 (wow...)
Special Properties: none.
 Other: If you're going for an Alucard that doubles as a lean, mean, spell
 castin' machine, you're going to have to decide between this and the Silver
 Circlet.
 Overall Rating: **** - Not as versatile as the Dragon Helm.  Doesn't have the
 high Int boost of the Silver Circlet.  But it's still a damn good hybrid Helm,
 and worth a look if you are into Spells, or having the highest possible
 Defense (+5 vs. +3 or less for any other Helm).

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
7. Body Armor
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Alucard's Armor is designed primarily to give you a big boost to your Defense
Power, although some Armors have very useful Special Properties.

As before, I'm going to list all the game's Body Armor in ascending order of
Defense Power.  If two or more Armors have the same Defense Power, I'll list
them alphabetically.  Each entry will contain the following information:

 --Name of the Body Armor as it appears in the game.
 --The game's poorly transrated description of said Armor.
 --What Class of Body Armor it is (Tunic, Breastplate, Mail)
 --The Defense Power of the Armor, listed as Def+/-xx.
 --If the Body Armor increases any other stat, I list that as well, as (stat
   name)+/-xx.
 --What (if any) Special Properties the Armor has.

Finally, I give each Armor an Overall Rating of 0 to 5 stars (*).  A (/) is
a half-star.  Thus, 3 1/2 stars would be ***/  The rating is based on a number
of factors, including the Body Armor's Defensive strength, how it affects
Alucard's other stats, and the usefulness of its Special Properties (if
applicable).

Survey SAYS:

Cloth Tunic - Simple cloth tunic
Tunic; Def+1
Special Properties: none.
 Other: After Death strips you all nekkid, you'll get this almost immediately
 afterwords.  You'll put it on because you have nothing better.
 Overall Rating: / - You'll only use it because it's (technically) better than
 nothing.

Alucart Mail - Resists fire, lightning, ice?
Mail; Def+2
Special Properties: none.
 Other: Well, by the time you can get it, you'll have Armors that give you a
 lot more than a measly +2 to Defense, making this item essentially useless.
 And no, it does NOT resist fire, lightning, OR ice.  However, if you have all
 3 Alucart items (the Sword, the Shield, and the Mail) equipped, Alucard's
 STATUS will change to "alucart", and you'll receive a +30 bonus to your Luck
 stat. 
 Overall Rating: * - But only because of the +30 alucart Luck bonus, which can
 make item hunting much more fruitful.

Hide cuirass - Tanned leather cuirass
Breastplate; Def+2
Special Properties: none.
 Other: A very slight upgrade to the Cloth Tunic, this Armor will come in handy
 for a little while, at least.
 Overall Rating: / - Well, it's better than the Cloth Tunic.

Bronze cuirass - Bronze cuirass (Again with the repetition!)
Breastplate; Def+3
Special Properties: none.
 Other: The Bronzeness of this Cuirass is better than the Leatherness of the
 one you've been wearing.
 Overall Rating: * - What can I say?  I know: meh.

Mirror cuirass - Polished to resist stoning
Breastplate; Def+3
Special Properties: When Alucard is equipped with this Cuirass, nothing can
 turn him to stone: not medusa heads, not gorgon's breath... nothing.
 Other: Immunity to Stone is very helpful if you're fighting medusa heads to
 power up a familiar or trying for a Medusa Shield, and it really SHINES (ba
 bum BUM) when you're navigating the clock tower.
 Overall Rating: ** - Yeah, the Defense is terrible, but Immunity to Stone is
 more useful than you might realize at first.

Fire mail - Strong vs. fire-based attacks
Mail; Def+4
Special Properties: Reduces the damage Alucard takes from Fire-based attacks.
 Other: One of 4 Elemental Defense Armors.  None of them are anything more
 than average, although if some firey foe is giving you trouble, it may come in
 handy.
 Overall Rating: ** - Mid-range defense and fire resistance.  It's okay.

Healing mail - Restores HP while walking
Mail; Def+4
Special Properties: It does what it says, but there's a catch: it only restores
 1 HP every 3 seconds of continuous walking.  Wow, be still my heart.
 Other: The description makes this Armor sound all useful and stuff, but it
 really isn't.
 Overall Rating: */ - You're better off just walking to the nearest Save Screen
 rather than trying to heal with this thing.

Iron cuirass - Iron cuirass (I hear an echo, echo, echo...)
Breastplate; Def+4
Special Properties: none.
 Other: Well, it's the Fire Mail sans fire resistance, and the Healing Mail
 with no healing.  If you get this before either of those, then I guess it
 might come in handy.
 Overall Rating: */ - Now that you're getting armor with Special Properties,
 there's no real reason to ever use this.

Steel cuirass - Steel cuirass
Breastplate; Def+5
Special Properties: none.
 Other: Oooohhh, 5 Defense!  Let me equip it right away! /sarcasm
 Overall Rating: */ - See Iron cuirass for details.

Silver plate - Silver breastplate
Breastplate; Def+6
Special Properties: none.
 Other: Third time's the charm?
 Overall Rating: */ - Okay, enough already.  We demand Special Properties!

Dark armor - Impervious to evil attacks
Mail; Def+8
Special Properties: Near as I can tell, it gives Alucard resistance to Dark
 element attacks when it's equipped.
 Other: This is one of those Armors that would be great if you could get it a
 whole lot earlier than you do.  As it stands, by the time you get your grubby
 mitts on it, it's obsolete.
 Overall Rating: **/ - Resist Dark is only marginally useful, but at least it's
 Defense is pretty good.

Gold plate - Gold breastplate
Breastplate; Def+8
Special Properties: none.
 Other: Well, if you're hurtin' for Defense, this will help you more than
 previous breastplates in this "series".
 Overall Rating: ** - Better Defense, better rating.

Ice mail - Strong vs. ice-based attacks
Mail; Def+8
Special Properties: Reduces the damage Alucard takes from ice-based attacks.
 Other: Fire Mail's big brother, now with new and improved defense!
 Overall Rating: **/ - Resist Ice can come in handy, and it has pretty good
 Defense, too.

Lightning mail - Strong vs. lightning attacks
Mail; Def+8
Special Properties: Reduces the damage Alucard takes from lightning attacks.
 Other: Just an alternate version of the Ice Mail.  Same Defense, different
 element.
 Overall Rating: **/ - If you don't have the Beryl Circlet, this is a good 
 thing to have when fighting Galamoth.

Platinum mail - Platinum breastplate (Well?  Is it Mail or Plate??)
Mail; Def+10
Special Properties: none.
 Other: Just an upgrade to the Gold plate.  It's good armor if all you're
 concerned with is Defense.
 Overall Rating: ** - Good defense, but nothing else.

Holy mail - Strong vs. holy attacks
Mail; Def+11
Special Properties: When you don this, Alucard takes reduced damage from Holy
 element attacks.
 Other: If you don't have the Gold Circlet, this isn't a bad thing to fall back
 on in places like the Chapel, where you encounter a fair amount of Holy-attack
 using foes.
 Overall Rating: **/ - Good defense, mediocre Special Property.

Brilliant mail - Increases sub-weapon strength
Mail; Def+12; Int+1
Special Properties: Ahh, here we go.  +12 Defense AND it makes your sub-weapon
 stronger!  For added fun, pump up Alucard's Int with a Circlet, get yerself as
 many Hearts as you can, and have a field day with Daggers or that Ring thing.
 If you have it, throw on the Heart Broach and you can REALLY go to town!
 Other: There are better Armors out there - defense wise - but this one's
 Special Property can be helpful throughout the game.
 Overall Rating: **** - Not the best armor, but darn useful nontheless.

Spike Breaker - Spike-breaking armor
Mail; Def+12
Special Properties: If you have this equipped, any Spikes that Alucard touches
 will shatter instead of dealing a % of his Max HP in damage.  You need this
 armor to get beyond certain portions of the castle.
 Other: Well, you need it in a few specific areas, and it's not bad Armor when
 you first find it, but you'll find better Armor not too long afterwards.
 Overall Rating: **/ - Like the Holy Glasses, you NEED it, but it's nothing
 special once its purpose has been served.

Fury plate - DEF goes up when damage taken (you a Engrish)
Breastplate; Def+13; Atk+1
Special Properties: Well, supposedly your Defense should improve when Alucard
 gets hit, but it doesn't seem to do that.  If YOU know how it works, by all
 means, let me know.
 Other: Well, until I figure out the Special Property...
 Overall Rating: **/ - Good Defense and +1 Attack.  I'll add more stars if
 someone explains the Special Property to me and it actually DOES something.

Dracula tunic - Embroidered mobleman's tunic
Tunic; Def+14; Str+1, Con+1, Int+1, Atk+3 (!)
Special Properties: none.
 Other: One of the most useful Armors in the game (and one of the hardest to
 get!), this beast will not only give you a very respectable Defense boost, but
 it gives you +1 to all stats (save Luck), and +3 Attack.  Only God's Garb and
 the Alucard Mail can contend with it.
 Overall Rating: **** - Great Defense and very useful stat bonuses, plus you
 get to harass the Librarian while you're trying to collect it.  Whee!!

Axe Lord armor - Wearer becomes an Axe Knight
Mail; Def+15; Atk+2
Special Properties: Quite possibly the most bizarre equipment in the game.  It
 turns Alucard into a small, blue Axe knight that can barely jump and swings a
 very short range axe.  Basically a novelty item, as most people use it to
 handicap themselves, or to say, "Well, I beat it as an Axe Knight, so there!"
 Other: Being an Axe Knight is a pain in the rear.
 Overall Rating: *** - Good Defense, but being an Axe Knight is just... funky.

Diamond plate - Diamond breastplate
Breastplate; Def+15
Special Properties: none.
 Other: Last of the "Defense and Defense ONLY" Armor.  Thank goodness.
 Overall Rating: **/ - Outclassed by pretty much any other high-end Armor.

Mojo mail - Increases magic attack power
Mail; Def+15; Int+1
Special Properties: Increases the damage that Alucard's spells deal.  Combine
 with high Int (from Circlets and such) for best results.
 Other: I like this Mail, but by now you guys know that I'm very pro-magic.
 Overall Rating: ***/ - Great Defense and Spell boosting.  One of the best
 armors out there.

Alucard mail - Resists fire, lightning, ice
Mail; Def+20
Special Properties: Combines the Special Properties of the Fire, Ice, and
 Lightning Mails, making Alucard nigh-on immune to most elemental attacks.
 Other: Once you recover this, you'll likely wear it for the rest of the game,
 unless you go item hunting for God's Garb or Dracula's tunic.  By far the
 best "not dropped by a monster" Armor in the game.
 Overall Rating: ***** - Only 2 types of Armor have better defense, and neither
 of those protect you as well as the Alcard mail can.

God's Garb - Strongest of all armor
Tunic; Def+25; Con+2
Special Properties: none.
 Other: Has the highest Defense of any armor in the game.
 Overall Rating: **** - But it has no Special Properties, making it less
 powerful overall than the Alucard Mail or Dracula's Tunic.

Walk Armor - DEF increases with map coverage
Mail; Def:VARIABLE
Special Properties: The Defense of this armor goes up as the "Rooms" on
 Alucard's Status Screen increase.  I don't have the exact numbers handy (look
 for those in a future revision), but with some very basic Sword Brothers
 Glitching, I'm up to 1955 rooms and +32 Defense.  If one of you glitchers with
 almost 375% on their saves would be so kind as to let me know how much THEIR
 Walk Armor boosts their Defense, that'd be great...
 Other: Well.  This armor can potentially top even the God's Garb for sheer
 Defensive strength, but not until after it matters.  You'd have to fill in the
 entire map, including Dracula's room, in order for it to be worth donning, and
 by that point you may as well just put on the Alucard Mail.
 Overall Rating: ***/ - Has the potential for hellacious Defense, but only if
 you're a Master Glitcher.  Stick with the Alucard Mail, God's Garb, or
 Dracula's Tunic.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
8. Cloaks
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Alucard's Cloaks are actually some of his neatest equipment.  They provide a
small bonus to Defense, and a boost to Alucard's Con stat, but mostly they are
there for 2 reasons:
1) To look cool, and
2) To provide a rather unique array of Special Properties (and Menu options).

Once again, I'm going to list all the game's Cloaks in ascending order of
Defense Power.  If two or more Cloaks have the same Defense Power, I'll list
them alphabetically.  Each entry will contain the following information:

 --Name of the Cloak as it appears in the game.
 --The game's poorly transrated description of said Cloak.
 --The Defense Power of the Cloak, listed as Def+/-xx.
 --If the Cloak increases any other stat (like Con), I list that as well, as
   (stat name)+/-xx.
 --What (if any) Special Properties the Cloak has.

Finally, I give each Cloak an Overall Rating of 0 to 5 stars (*).  A (/) is
a half-star.  Thus, 3 1/2 stars would be ***/  The rating is based on a number
of factors, including the Cloak's Defensive strength, how it affects
Alucard's other stats, and the usefulness of its Special Properties (if
applicable).

And awaaaaay we go:

Cloth cape - Well-made but shabby looking
Def+0; Con+1
Special Properties: none.
 Other: Urgh.  I prefer the "naked Alucard" Cloak color to the drab Leather
 tones that this Cloak so generously provides.  It's up to you if you want to
 equip it.
 Overall Rating: / - +1 Con and +0 Defense in exchange for a retarded leather-
 toned cape?  Blech!

Blood cloak - Converts damage to hearts
Def+1; Con+4, Luck-1
Special Properties: It should say, "Converts damage TAKEN to hearts", because
 that's exactly what it does, on a 1 to 1 basis: each point of damage you take
 while wearing this Cloak restores your current Hearts by 1.
 Other: While it's Def/Con bonuses are low, and it lowers your Luck by 1, this
 Cloak is nevertheless very useful: you can use it as part of the Dark Octupus/
 Muramasa Infinite Power Up Loop (ask around on the forums).  Also nice to have
 if you use your sub-weapons a lot, as it means that you don't need to pick up
 as many hearts.  Plus, it's a sweet Blood Red color.
 Overall Rating: **** - Very, very useful (and wicked looking) despite it's
 low Def and Luck penalty.

Reverse cloak - Dual colored reversible cape
Def+1; Con+3
Special Properties: When you equip this, it opens up a "Cloak lining" option
 in the Status Screen, under the "System" menu.  It's the second option, after
 "Button settings".  From there, you can select either "Normal" or "Reverse":
 Normal: Dark blue exterior with a greyish-purple interior.
 Reverse: Greyish-purple exterior with a dark blue interior.
 Other: Well, the reversible lining is kinda nifty and all, but just about any
 other Cloak will provide better defense.
 Overall Rating: * - Neat to look at, but it's not a good Cloak Def- and Con-
 wise.

Crystal cloak - Enchanted semi-invisible cape
Def+2; Con+6
Special Properties: They're not lying: parts of the Cloak are invisible, and
 you can see the background behind them.  The remainder of the Cloak - the
 visible part - is a strange purplish sort of color.
 Other: The half-invisible effect is actually very intruiging, and it's backed
 up by nice Def and Con bonuses.  A great Cloak for the earlier stages of the
 game.
 Overall Rating: *** - A very useful Cloak for a good long time.

Elven cloak - Perfect for forest camouflage
Def+2; Con+5
Special Properties: none.
 Other: Well, it's green on green.  If green is your thing, this Cloak is for
 you.  The rest of us will stick with the superior Crystal Cloak.
 Overall Rating: **/ - It's just simply not as good as the Crystal Cloak.

Joseph's cloak - Select color [System Menu]
Def+3; Con+9
Special Properties: When you don this Cloak, it opens up a "Cloak color" option
 in the Status Screen, under the "System" menu.  It's the third option, after
 "Button settings" and "Cloak lining".  From there, you can change the color
 of both the Inside AND Outside of the Cloak by adjusting the Red, Green, and
 Blue color bars.
 Other: This is, bar none, my favorite cloak.  I love making theme Cloaks and
 running around with "Green Bay Packer Alucard" or "Even more Bloody than the
 Blood Cloak Alucard" or even "Good Guy White Caped Alucard", just to name a
 few.  Go on, experiment!
 Overall Rating: ****/ - Even though this is my favorite Cloak, I must concede
 that the Twilight Cloak is better, and deserves the 5-star rating.  Sniff.

Royal cloak - Gorgeous blue cape
Def+3; Con+8
Special Properties: none.
 Other: Well, it is a nicely colored Cloak, but once you get either Joseph's
 Cloak or the Twilight Cloak, there's never any need to ever look at it again.
 Overall Rating: ***/ - It's better than the Crystal Cloak, but it's still just
 a placeholder Cloak until you find something better.

Twilight cloak - Black cape for vampires
Def+4; Con+10
Special Properties: none.
 Other: This is the cape you start with - the one that Death steals from you
 right away.  This grandpappy of all Cloaks is not only the best in terms of
 Defense Power and Con boosting, but it sports an always fashionable Black and
 Red color scheme - with the interior of the Cloak always shifting from black
 to blood red and back.  Very nice.
 Overall Rating - ***** - Excellent coloration plus the best defense equals...
 the best Cloak.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
9. Accessories
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Alucard's Accessories bestow a unique array of powers on him, ranging from
increasing his stats to boosting his blood healing.  Some even increase
Alucard's Attack and/or Defense, or only operate at certain times or under
certain conditions.

In the paragraphs ahead, I'm going to create 2 separate lists: one list for
Salable Gemstones, which will be in order of ascending value; and another list
for standard Accessories, in alphabetical order.  For both lists, each entry
will contain the following information:

 --Name of the Accessory as it appears in the game.
 --The game's poorly transrated description of said Accessory.
 --What type of Accessory it is - its Class (Gemstone, Broach, Pendant, etc.),
   if you will.
 --If the Accessory increases any of Alucard's stats, I list that as well, as
   (stat name)+/-xx.
 --What Special Properties the Accessory has, or what abilities it bestows.  If
   it's a Gemstone, I list its sale value here.
 --Finally, I list any items that work well with this Accessory, under the
   heading "Combos".  Not all Accessories have a Combos entry.

Finally, I give each Accessory an Overall Rating of 0 to 5 stars (*).  A (/) is
a half-star.  Thus, 3 1/2 stars would be ***/  The rating is based on a number
of factors, including how the Accessory affects Alucard's stats and the
usefulness of its Special Properties and/or conferred abilities.  Combo-ability
is also taken into consideration.

First, let's cover the Salable Gemstones:

Zircon - Sparkling ring [salable]
Gemstone; no equip effects or Special Properties
Value: 150 Gold
Overall Rating: * - It's easy enough to amass 99 of these by fighting Mermen
 or Spectral Swords with the Gem Sword, but that still only gets you 14,850
 Gold pieces.  Nothing too exciting, but it can add up.

Aquamarine - Fairly valuable ring [salable]
Gemstone; no equip effects or Special Properties
Value: 800 Gold
Overall Rating: ** - A nice jump in value, from 150 to 800.  These are still
 common enough that it's not too hard to collect 99 of them from respawning
 foes.  A batch of 99 Aquamarines nets you 79,200 Gold - not bad.

Turquoise - Fairly valuable ring [salable]
Gemstone; no equip effects or Special Properties
Value: 1500 Gold
Overall Rating: **/ - Almost double the value of the Aquamarine, but also much
 more rare.  You'll probably never be able to gather up 99 of these unless you
 fight a TON of Spectral Swords... but if you DID, somehow, you could rake in
 148,000 Gold.  Only 3 such trips for a Duplicator...

Onyx - Valuable ring [salable]
Gemstone; no equip effects or Special Properties
Value: 3000 Gold
Overall Rating: *** - Again, it's double the value of the previous Gemstone,
 but it's almost twice as rare.  You will almost never see these dropped, even
 if you're weilding the Jewel Sword, but you can find several scattered about
 the castle.

Garnet - Valuable ring [salable]
Gemstone; no equip effects or Special Properties
Value: 5000 Gold
Overall Rating: ***/ - A slight improvement over the Onyx, but due to its
 rarity, you won't see many of these.  Maybe if you kill hundreds of Spectral
 Swords...

Opal - Valuable ring [salable]
Gemstone; no equip effects or Special Properties
Value: 8000 Gold
Overall Rating: **** - A nice chunk of change, but again, you will only find
 a handful of these laying about the castle, and getting them to drop is
 basically impossible.

Diamond - Highly valuable ring [salable]
Gemstone; no equip effects or Special Properties
Value: 20,000 Gold (!)
Overall Rating: ***** - The best and most valuable Gemstone.  These things are
 incredibly rare: you can only find 3.  I've heard tell of people getting them
 to drop from Spectral Swords, but I have yet to see this happen.

Alright, that's it for Gemstones.  Now for the real deal:

Ankh of Life - Improves heal item power
Pendant; no Stat changes
 Effects: While equipped, this item causes Potions and High Potions (the only
 2 "heal" items I can find) to recover 150% as much HP as normal.
 Overall Rating: * - Wow, it makes 2 items in the game more potent.  'Scuse me
 while I roll my eyes.

Bloodstone - Improves blood-healing ability
Pendant; no Stat changes
 Effects: This Accessory doesn't just improve your blood healing - it doubles
 it!  With this equipped, Alucard will recover 16 HP per splash of blood
 instead of 8.
 Combos: Try equipping the Mourneblade with this item, for 24 HP healed per
 swing; or, you can whip out the Gurthang or Muramasa, and not have to keep
 casting Dark Metamorphosis: Double Blood Healing, all the time, with no MP
 cost.  Nice.
 Overall Rating: **** - A very useful item, especially if you need some quick
 healing or if you're trying to power up the Muramasa.

Covenant stone - Gemstone buckle STR+15
Belt; Str and Atk+15
 Effects: Boots Alucard's Str by 15 and his Attack by 15.  That's it.
 Overall Rating: **/ - A nice item to have, at least until you get some of the
 "Increase All" Rings.

Duplicator - Duplicates [use] items
Broach; Con-10, Int-10, Luck-10, Def-28
 Effects: This insane item allows you to use as many [use] items as you like!
 Infinite Fire Boomerangs, Shuriken, Food items, Heart Refreshes, Mana Prisms -
 whatever!  A never ending stream of items...
 Overall Rating - ***** - Even with the rather outrageous Stat penalties, the
 sheer usefulness of this item is indisputable.  Possibly the most broken item
 in the game, but since you need to amass 500,000 Gold to get it, it's not so
 bad.  You can't even get it until your second play through, anyway, so it's
 not like it ruins anything for you (like the Alucard Shield Cheese Bonanza
 does).
 
Gauntlet - ATT+5
Accessory; Atk+5
 Effects: All it does is raise your Attack Power by 5.
 Overall Rating: * - Hardy even worth putting on.  All it does is allow you
 to deal 5 more damage per hit.

Gold Ring - Inscription "Wear...Clock..."
Ring; no Stat changes
 Effects: Only one effect: If you wear this Ring AND the Silver Ring both, and
 enter the Clock room in the center of the castle, it will open a new path for
 you.  It serves no other purpose.
 Overall Rating: No stars - It helps you not at all.  It serves only as one
 half of a "key" to unlock the final rooms of the castle.

Heart broach - Reduces heart consumption
Broach; no Stat changes
 Effects: Just like it says.  While Alucard wears this, the number of hearts
 his sub-weapon uses are halved (round up).  Nice for the Cross and the Ring,
 especially.
 Combos: For obvious reasons, this item is doubly helpful if you have the Blood
 Cloak equipped.  The trio of Duplicator, Heart Broach, and Heart Refresh will
 allow you to use your sub-weapons all day long.
 Overall Rating: **** - With the proper equipment combinations, this item can
 make you VERY powerful.

King's stone - Gemstone buckle STR+10
Belt; Str and Atk+10
 Effects: Boots Alucard's Str by 10 and his Attack by 10.  It's the Convenant
 Stone's little brother.
 Overall Rating - */ - Falls directly inbetween the Gauntlet and the Covenant
 Stone.  Nothing special.

Lapis Lazuli - Jewel which brings luck
Ring; Luck+20
 Effects: Boost Alucard's Luck by 20, which will greaty increase how often
 monsters drop items.  Invaluable when you're Item Hunting.
 Combos: When you're looking for Rare monster drops, try combining this with
 the Ring of Arcana and the alucart +30 Luck bonus.  It really helps to bring
 the tediousness of Item Hunting down to a more reasonable level.
 Overall Rating: ****/ - By itself, it won't help you that much in combat - but
 it WILL allow you to find all the really powerful equipment (that WILL make
 you more powerful) all the faster.

Medal - DEF+1 ATT +1
Ring; Def+1, Atk+1
 Effects: Raises Alucard's Defense by 1 and his Attack Power by 1.
 Overall Rating: * - It's sorta helpful when you first find it, but you'll want
 to replace it with better Accessories as soon as you get the chance.

Moonstone - Improves status after sunset
Pendant; Str+5, Con+5, Int+5, Luck+5, Atk+5, Def+2 (when applicable, see below)
 Effects: Near as I can tell, when the Minutes on the Game Clock are between
 :30 and :59, the listed stat bonuses are in effect.  If this is incorrect, and
 you know of a more accurate description, please let me know.
 Overall Rating: *** - Gives you great Stat bonuses - but only half of the
 time, so be diligant about swapping it for something else (like the Sunstone)
 when its effects expire.

Mystic Pendant - Increases MP restoration rate
Pendant; no Stat changes
 Effects: While this is worn, Alucard's MP regen will increase: from 1 MP every
 2 seconds to 1 MP every second (roughly).
 Overall Rating: ***/ - Very handy to have if you use the Soul Steal, Tetra
 Spirit, or Sword Brothers spells very often.  Also handy for recovering your
 MP after a lengthy form change.  Makes a great "fall-back" Accessory; if you
 can't think of anything to put on, equip this and it's always benefitting
 you.

Nauglamir - Dwarven necklace DEF+15
Pendant; Def+15
 Effects: Increases Alucard's Defense Power by 15, which reduces damage taken
 by a considerable amount.
 Overall Rating: **/ - 15 Defense is nothing to sneeze at, especially if you
 manage to procure (and equip) a pair of these things.  There are better
 Accessories out there, but these will still come in handy against powerful
 foes.

Necklace of J - DEF+5
Pendant; Def+5
 Effects: Increases Alucard's Defense Power by 5, which reduces damage taken
 by a small amount.
 Overall Rating: */ - Probably the least impressive item of Alucard's starting
 equipment.  By the time you recover it, it's obsolete.  Bleah.

Ring of Arcana - Increases rare item appearance
Ring; no Stat changes
 Effects: Ups the rate at which monsters are likely to drop their "rare item",
 which is the second item listed in the bottom left corner of their Monster
 Sheet in the Library.  This Rare item is almost always better than the
 monster's standard drop - in fact, many rare items are unique, thus making
 them very worthwhile to pursue in general.
 Combos: When you're looking for Rare monster drops, try combining this with
 a Lapis Lazuli and the alucart +30 Luck bonus.  It really helps to bring the
 tediousness of Item Hunting down to a more reasonable level.
 Overall Rating: ****/ - Like the Lapis Lazuli before it, thing Ring will not
 make you more powerful, but it allows you to more easily procure the items
 that WILL make you a force to be reckoned with.

Ring of Ares - Confers strength of 24 men
Ring; Str+24, Atk+24, Def-24
 Effects: Increases Alucard's Str by 24, his Atk by 24, and then lowers his
 Defense by 24.  Not the greatest of trades, if you ask me, but if you
 absolutely HAVE to have higher Attack Power...
 Overall Rating: ** - No.  Just... no.  It's not worth it.

Ring of Feanor - Increases overall strength
Ring; Str+7, Con+7, Int+7, Luck+2, Atk+8, Def+3
 Effects: Increases all of Alucard's Stats, and by a considerable amount, with
 NO drawbacks.  The catch?  They're a real pain to get ahold of.
 Overall Rating: ***/ - The 2nd of the 3 "Increase All" Rings.  Very nice to
 have, especially if you get one earlier rather than later. If you have the
 patience, try to get 2, and double your pleasure.

Ring of Pales - Ring with holy powers
Ring; Str+1, Con+1, Int+1, Luck+1, Atk+1
 Effects: Increases all of Alucard's Stats by 1.  Sounds great, and it has no
 real negatives, but in practice it really doesn't help you that much.
 Overall Rating: **/ - The weakest of the 3 "Increase All" Rings, and while it
 sounds great on paper, you'll find that it doesn't add up to much in combat.

Ring of Varda - Golden ring to rule over all!
Ring; Str+30, Con+10, Int+30, Luck+5, Atk+40, Def+14 (WHAT?!)
 Effects: Increases all of Alucard's Stats by an INSANE amount.  No drawbacks.
 Thing is, you can only get them on your second (and subsequent) play
 through(s).  True power is given only to those with persistance.
 Overall Rating: ***** - The greatest of the 3 "Increase All" rings (oh, and 
 nice Tolkein reference, guys).  All those Stat boosts make Alucard much, MUCH
 more powerful - and if you can get two, and a powerful weapon like the
 Crissaegrim, or the Yasutsuna Katana, well... things are going to get ugly for
 ol' Dracula and company.

Secret boots - Discreetly increases height!
Boots; no Stat changes
 Effects: At first glance, nothing.  But, if you look REAL close, you can see
 that these boots do, in fact, make Alucard taller - by stretching his sprite.
 I hate the effect, personally, but some like it.
 Overall Rating: * - Does nothing other than give you a rather novel graphic
 effect to look at.

Silver Ring - Inscription "...in...Tower"
Ring; no Stat changes
 Effects: Only one effect: If you wear this Ring AND the Gold Ring both, and
 enter the Clock room in the center of the castle, it will open a new path for
 you.  It serves no other purpose.
 Overall Rating: No stars - It helps you not at all.  It serves only as one
 half of a "key" to unlock the final rooms of the castle.

Staurolite - Strengthens power of cross
Ring; no Stat changes
 Effects: Does exactly what it says: when equipped, Alucard's Cross sub-weapon
 becomes dramatically stronger.
 Combos: Cross sub-weapon plus Staruolite plus Heart Broach plus a stockpile of
 hears equals mass devastation.
 Overall Rating: *** - While it is a very powerful catalyst, it only affects a
 single sub-weapon and nothing else, thereby limiting it's power (and rating).

Sunstone - Improves status after sunrise
Pendant; Str+5, Con+5, Int+5, Luck+5, Atk+5, Def+2 (when applicable, see below)
 Effects: Near as I can tell, when the Minutes on the Game Clock are between
 :00 and :29, the listed stat bonuses are in effect.  If this is incorrect, and
 you know of a more accurate description, please let me know.
 Overall Rating: *** - Gives you great Stat bonuses - but only half of the
 time, so be diligant about swapping it for something else (like the Moonstone)
 when its effects expire.

Talisman - May absorb damage when taken
Broach; no Stat changes
 Effects: Whenever Alucard is struck, this item has a very low chance of taking
 the brunt of said attack instead.  This destroys the Talisman.
 Overall Rating: ** - While this could, in theory, save your life, it's so
 unpredictable as to be worthless.  At least, I found it to be so.  Maybe you
 can find a use for it.


...That's all, folks!

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
10. Wrap up and things to come
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Well, that's about it for now.  If I get some more positive feedback, or if I
have some more spare time, I'll probably add sections for Alucard's Use Items
and Healing Items.

However, since neither of those Item classes are actual equipment, I'm not
really worried about them.  Yeah, the Use Items are kind of like equipment,
but without a Duplicator, they really aren't very much fun to play with, so I'm
going to leave them out for now.

I may even someday add some sort of Item Hunting mini-guide, and then there's
the time-sucking task of playing through the entire game again in order to list
what Castle Area each item is found in and/or which monster drops it.

If you really, really want me to add any of those previously mentioned
sections, or if you have any other ideas, or if you think I missed something,
or even if you just want to argue about how many Stars I gave your favorite
item, please contact me at:

     nematocyst@hotmail.com

     OR

     mquaintance@sbcglobal.net

and/or post a message for me on the Castlevania: SotN forums at GameFAQs and
let me know!  Your e-mail (or PM, or post) may be the one that kicks me in the
butt and coerces me to sit my lazy butt down and add to this guide.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
11. Credit where credit is due
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

-To Konami, for making this incredibly addicting game, and actually *gasp*
releasing it outside of Japan!  Now if only they had hired a better voice
actor for Trevor...

-To Brian Kern and his Castlevania: Symphony of the Night FAQ/Walkthrough (here
on GameFAQs), for his Legal Text - I borrowed quite a bit of it.  Sorry and/or
Thank You, Brian!

-To my best friend Luke for making half the discoveries I've gone over in this
FAQ.  We both played this game to DEATH when it first came out.

-To everyone who e-mailed me, from those who told me about the Shield Rod/
Gradius tie in and/or the Heaven Sword C3 Property, to those of you who just
wanted to pat me on the back.  I love hearing from you guys!  Keep the e-mails
coming, eh?

-To the Forum-goers on GameFAQ's SOTN Forum, who helped me figure out the
Librarian Trick and gave me tips on Leveling Up past Level 70, among other
things.

-Big Time Props to Zancig's Item Checklist, Skultera's enemy guide/item check-
list, and Erick Muņoz' Sword Brothers Glitch FAQ.  Those three guides helped me
to finish my Ultimate Item Hunt successfully, and to rekindle my interest in
the game.  Thanks guys!

Copyright 2004 Mark Quaintance (Marak)