-- Castlevania: Lament of Innocence(US) Secret Character FAQ -- -- By Taladryel (Gene Ostrovsky, Taladryel@yahoo.com) -- -- Version 1.05, 11/27/03 -- LEGAL DISCLAIMER - This FAQ is intended for personal use only and is copyrighted to me (Gene Ostrovsky). - Do _not_ put this FAQ up on a website or link directly to it or reproduce it in whole or parts for other than personal use (e.g. for a magazine) unless you either have my express written permission. - If/when such permission is granted you must give me authorship credit and may _not_ change a single word without my express consent. If posting this FAQ on a website it becomes _your_ responsibility to keep up with any updates that I make to the original FAQ. - Websites authorized to host this FAQ and exempt from responsibility for FAQ updates: www.gamefaqs.com, www.neoseeker.com, faqs.ign.com. EMAIL POLICY - DO feel free to drop me an email if: - I've made a glaring mistake/omission/etc. in something I've posted up on GameFAQs. - I've forgotten to credit someone/something (or if I'm unwittingly violating some copyright). - You've got information/ideas/sugesstions/questions etc. pertaining to the specific guide in question. - You want to use my FAQ on a website/elsewhere and need my permission (please be as specific as possible). - You're a superbly wealthy octogenarian looking for an heir to his colossal fortune. - Please DO NOT email me for any other reason. Nothing personal, I just don't want to clog up my Inbox with either Love or Hate mail. VERSION HISTORY -- v0.7 (10/28/03) - started the FAQ. -- v0.85 (10/31/03) - made a few editing corrections, added content to Sections 2.9 and 2.10, inserted several contributions, corrected certain parts of the FAQ; Joachim's guide now complete (will add the second Secret Character in the next update). -- v1.00 (11/08/03) - finished Pumpkin's section, added a few more contributions. The FAQ is now COMPLETE, finished, over and done with, unless someone sends me more insights/contributions/things I missed/etc. -- v1.05 (11/27/03) - added a few more user contributions. Thanks lads. CONTENTS -- Introduction -- Section 1 - playing with Joachim -- 1.1 - Unlocking Joachim -- 1.2 - Control Scheme -- 1.3 - Differences between Joachim and Leon -- 1.4 - General Gameplay Tips -- Section 2 - Bosses -- 2.1 - House of Sacred Remains (Caspar the Friendly Tapeworm) -- 2.2 - Anti-Soul Mysteries Lab (Jolly Giant Golem) -- 2.3 - Garden Forgotten by Time (A Medusa Scorned) -- 2.4 - Dark Palace of Waterfalls 1 (Prelude to a Battle) -- 2.4.1 - Doppelganger 1 (Whipping Up Trouble) -- 2.5 - Ghostly Theater (Poison Flower Power) -- 2.6 - Guardians of the Magical Whips -- 2.6.1 - Ice Demon (Cold, Naked Shoulder) -- 2.6.2 - Fire Demon (Hot Tempers) -- 2.6.3 - Thunder Demon (From a Save Point Miles Away) -- 2.7 - Dark Palace of Waterfalls 2 (Joachim Must Die!) -- 2.8 - Pagoda of the Misty Moon 1 (A Kingdom for the Unlock Jewel!) -- 2.8.1 - Doppelganger 2 (Spare the Sword, Spoil the Monster) -- 2.9 - Prison of Eternal Torture (I Think I Need a Bath) -- 2.10 - Pagoda of the Misty Moon 2 (Is It Over? Is It?!) -- 2.10.1 - Walter (This Ain't Your Daddy's Dracula) -- 2.10.2 - Death (When Will the Hurting Stop?) -- Section 3 - playing with Pumpkin -- 3.1 - Unlocking Pumpkin -- 3.2 - Differences between Pumpkin and Leon INTRODUCTION The inspiration behind this guide was to provide a few helpful tips for playing through Castlevania: Lament of Innocence (LoI) with the unlockable secret characters. Sections 1 and 2 of the guide cover the vampire Joachim (who arguably has a tougher time getting through the game), while Section 3 expounds upon the phenom that is Pumpkin. SECTION 1 - PLAYING WITH JOACHIM 1.1 - UNLOCKING JOACHIM Beat the game once with Leon, then start a new game. At the name prompt enter @JOACHIM as your name. You will then be able to play as the vampire Joachim (Dark Palace of Waterfalls stage boss). 1.2 - CONTROL SCHEME When you first start a game with Joachim, you are presented with a couple of screens listing the controls for the character (somewhat different from those used for Leon). For convenience, I've decided to summarize them below in no particular order. Note that if I do not list a particular control (e.g. Right Analog Stick), than that button/stick/whatever is not used. Left Analog Stick --------- Move Character R1 ------------------------ Lock Character Facing (note that this does NOT block enemy attacks, unlike with Leon); Also, while locked, if you get close enough to the enemy you will lock on to it (a green sphere will appear near its center mass), making targeting easier R1(hold)+Left Stick ------- Move with locked facing (useful for getting past Dragonskull Laser traps) R1(hold)+Left Stick+X ----- Dash in the direction of the analog stick X ------------------------- Jump X+X ----------------------- Double Jump (note that double-jumping IS possible, despite the in-game controls description claiming otherwise, at least in my copy) SQUARE -------------------- Attack SQUARE(Hold) -------------- Charge Attack (sword does increasing damage based on how long you hold down SQUARE); letting go of the button releases the charged sword; I believe that the extra damage is limited to +100% though, so no point in holding it down TOO long TRIANGLE ------------------ Change Sword Stance (I'll go into more details on this below) CIRCLE -------------------- Perform Special Attack (costs Mana, changes with Sword Stance) START --------------------- Bring up the Options Menu 1.3 - DIFFERENCES BETWEEN JOACHIM AND LEON While there are some gameplay similarities between Leon and Joachim, the two have some fundamental differences which directly affect the gaming experience. - Joachim cannot use orbs/items/relics - that's right. He doesn't even have an inventory. The only exception is is he finds a potion/food item, in which case he can pick it up for an instant health boost. But other than that, no curative items (which affects boss strategies immensely), no Magic or Memorial Tickets (which means you have to walk everywhere), and the Relics aren't even in the game (so no Wolf-jumping to circumvent a few of the jumping puzzles). Moreover, Joachim cannot change his equipment, and as such relies on Health, MP, Attack and Defense upgrades found throughout the castle to keep himself on even footing with the increasingly powerful monsters. This means that while with Leon you could conceivably blow through the game without bothering to find all the secret rooms and upgrades (relying on newer Equipment and Health Potions to stay alive), with Joachim you'll pretty much be best served by getting close to 100% coverage. As a final nail in that coffin, Rinaldo is not present in Joachim's game, so either finding/carrying money or purchasing things is entirely out of the question. - Joachim's attacks are quite different - where Leon was an in-your-face brawler, Joachim's attacks work best at medium range. This means that your battle strategy will have to change from "run up to and smack" to playing keep-away while occasionally loosing off a sword salvo or performing quick "strafing" runs. One thing to keep in mind is that Joachim only has 5 "shots" (5 swords); once those are used up, he has to wait a few seconds for the swords to ready themselves for a new attack. You can also charge one of the swords by holding down the SQUARE button; as I'd said before, there is a limit to the extra damage thus received (you should hear a chime when the sword is charged to that limit). Letting go of the button sends the charged sword flying at the enemy. Remember that only ONE sword may be charged at a time. In addition, where Leon had the multitude of Combos to work with, Joachim's attacks come in just two flavors, each associated with one of his Sword Stances. In the default stance (swords circling around Joachim), the swords will slice at the enemy from above, causing less damage but potentially hitting the enemy more often. Attacking while in the second stance (swords at the ready just behind Joachim) gets you much more damage (approximately 2 times more than in the first stance, in fact), but you'll need to be actually facing your prey to score a hit. - Joachim's Special Attack is also quite different - first, the attack varies with the Sword Stance. In the basic stance (swords circling), a Special Attack will produce 3 big sword blades that will slash all around you a few times (think - helicopter blades). In the second stance (swords at the ready), Joachim will fire off a huge beam of light, potentially scoring up to 9-10 hits on the enemy over several seconds. As with regular attacks, the "Helicopter" is easier to hit with but does less damage than the Beam. Both of Joachim's Special Attacks are fueled with MP. Unlike with Leon, Joachim's MP is quite easily recharged - in fact, it recovers with every damaging hit. The more damage you do, the faster your MP goes up (all the more reason to go after Attack upgrades). To be fair, each use of the Special Attack burns off a large amount of MP - all of it when you start the game, and about 40% towards the game's end (assuming you get all the MP upgrades). Nonetheless, it's fairly easy to recharge your blue gauge, even during a nasty boss fight. - Joachim can't use Leon's Special Weapons (Axe, Cross, etc.) or Hearts - fairly obvious, but thought I'd add it for completeness. In fact, neither are even present in the game - smashing torches yields absolutely nothing. [Correction - Erik Storla reports that smashing torches does boost your MP gauge, so I guess you do get something out of it - other than the satisfaction of smashing up the furniture.] - Joachim can't Whip-jump - due to his lack of a whip (har har). To be fair, most of the "Whip-jump" areas can still be accessed via the mysterious blue floating blocks that have been placed by some well-wisher in strategic locations. In fact, the only 3 areas I haven't been able to access thus far are the ledges in the two Spike Rooms (in Ghostly Theater), and the second door in the Dark Room (also in Ghostly Theater - with Leon I just Wolf-jumped over the gap). After the first version of the fact, several people emailed me about how to get to these areas (thanks ladz!!). First off, Eric Renard sent the following about getting to the 3 secret areas I've mentioned above: "To get to the hidden doors in the spike rooms you merely have to wait for the blocks to appear. In the first one, wait in the corner or on the space where you jumped with Leon (I can't remember which). The second, just wait where you would have jumped with Leon. In both cases a blue elevator block will appear under you in about 10 seconds. As for the dark rooms you need to figure out the path." More on these areas from Arein Doomrose: "1. The dark rooms in both the Theatre and Pagoda have a "regular exit" and a "secret exit". If you go through the regular exit (marked on the map) and then return to try and cross the dark room and fall, you restart at the regular exit door, where you just entered the room through. If you go to the secret exit (not marked on the map) and fall, you will be returned to the platform leading into the dark room that you ORIGINALLY entered from (it will now be your exit door back into the rest of the level). 2. The theatre spike rooms. In the room on the first floor, stand in the corner of the room, on the safe strip, under the opening for the ledge (there is a pole on one end of the ledge, at the other, the railing extends to the wall but the ledge doesn't, stand under this "hole") and a blue block will eventually rise to lift you to the ledge. In the second floor spike room, stand in the safe spot and wait, and again, a blue block will rise and lift you to the ledge." Having gone back and checked it out for myself, the Spiked Room areas are indeed accessible (I had to wait for about 15-20 seconds in the respective "squares" for the blue blocks to show up). I especially suggest hitting the Spiked Room on the second floor as that's the location of one of the 5 Attack upgrades (and you'll want all 5...). As for the second (right-hand) door in the Theater's Dark Room (on the second floor), to get to it jump to the big center platform, then keep the same alignment/facing and make a single jump forward. You should see a platform - after a few adjustments, you should hit it with no problems. From there, double jump forward again (to a platform at the wall) and then double jump to the right to get to the door. Easier done than said, actually... - Joachim CAN hurt "Magical" creatures (e.g. the lone Golden Knight in the Tutorial area of the game) with his regular attacks. I suppose that this was put in to offset his inability to use Relics. Red Horrors (red skeletons with maces) are still immortal though. In similar vein, Joachim is apparently immune to Poison and Curse (I've confirmed this by repeatedly getting hit by Poison/Curse causing monsters, e.g. the first form of the boss in the Prison of Eternal Torture stage). I haven't tested him against Petrify though, so can't speak to that quite yet. - In Joachim's game, most "secret" doors are unlocked - that's right. Since he can't carry keys/tablets/etc., all of the "Animal" doors (White Tiger, Black Turtle, etc.), the door to Walter/Death, the Iced Over door and the doors blocked/guarded by statues (one in Ghostly Theater - the one with falling meteors - and another in Anti-Soul Lab) are unlocked. The "lightning wall" trap in House of Sacred Remains has also been disabled, and both the Golem and Succubus bosses have been pre-activated (so you don't have to look for the "E" rune or the theater bell - though it's still worth hitting those rooms for some stat upgrades). You'll still have to open all the "light the torch" doors, "three-light" doors, waterfall-blocked doors and Prison of Eternal Torture in the usual manner (push statutes/switches, find the Unlock Stone). However, on the whole it's much easier to complete an entire level in one go, without having to shuffle back and forth looking for keys/doors. - Joachim doesn't get cutscenes. Well. He DOES get the "Boss Entry" scenes (e.g. the Golem assembling itself), and a literally 5-second FMV after you beat Walter/Death, but otherwise no dialogue or FMVs whatsoever. The game also assumes that you remember this guy's back-story for when you had met him as Leon - that is, there is no intro detailing just why exactly you're tearing up this particular castle. [Revenge!!!] - In Joachim's game, instead of a Rosary item (the thing with a cross on it that clears all on-screen enemies when you pick it up) the enemies drop Red Skulls. Same function, just a different look (mayhaps having something to do with Joachim being a Vampire and, evidently, not a servant of the Church like Leon...). [Thanks to Dustin Woodward for reminding me of this.] - One more "cosmetic" difference sent in by Jerid Cossette: "Just a little somethin extra I noticed: In the Pagoda you do not see Jaochim's reflection on the floor (the reflective one where you fight the Mirage skeletons and the doppleganger). When playing through as Leon you CAN see his on the floor. Just thought it was a pretty nifty vampire related tidbit." My compliments to Konami for paying attention to detail. - Joachim cannot block. Ever. So don't try to. 1.4 - GENERAL GAMEPLAY TIPS - The biggest change in gameplay is that now you can't blow through bosses by quaffing a few Health Potions now and again. In other words, you have to have actual STRATEGIES (shudder). Like memorizing the bosses' attack patterns (which, thankfully, is a very easy task), spending more time evading than attacking, etc. In fact, the inspiration for this guide came after I've dispatched several of the beasties and thought to myself: "Well, wouldn't it be nice if someone had told me about this or that from the beginning?" To wit, the entire Section 2 of this guide is dedicated to providing a guide for dealing with _all_ of the game's boss monsters while using Joachim the Vampire. - Conversely, you should generally be able to blow through "regular" monsters with contemptuous ease, particularly if you take the time to upgrade your stats. - On which stance to use - I actually prefer to rely almost exclusively on the "strong" stance (swords directly behind Joachim). First, this gives me double-damage, which is a big thing when you can't use healing potions. Second, the targeting is actually not very difficult - very intuitive, in fact (point character - push button). The only time when I used the default stance (swords circling Joachim) was when I was beset by Fleamen (those little jumping blighters) and didn't want to use my Special Attack to clear the area. - On weapon use in general - since you only get 5 swords at a time, you're best served saving your shots until you're sure of getting 3-5 hits, then letting loose with a volley, then darting away and evading enemy attacks while your swords "recharge". Lather, rinse, repeat. I almost never use charged swords - true, they do more damage, but you have to be absolutely sure that the first "shot" will hit the enemy. I prefer quick volleys with 3+ hits, but mind you, this is purely personal; I'm sure that charged shots can be used to a great advantage by some. To wit, Arein Doomrose sent this in about using the charged attack in the "strong" Sword Stance: "Using the strong stance to perform "hit and run" style attacks on the bosses, if you take the time to charge up the first sword to full power and get close enough to ensure a hit, launching the fully charged sword first followed by the remaining 4 swords can tack an extra 30 to 40 points of damage onto an attack if all 5 attacks hit." - On which Special Attack to use - the "Helicopter" is great at crowd clearance, so if you're ever surrounded by multiple nasties just use that. In most boss-type situations I prefer to use the Beam, since it does more damage and pushes the boss back a bit. - More on Special Attacks - generally I would suggest you save them for boss fights. In any case, make sure your MP bar is full before going into any boss fight - and not just for the sake of having a couple of high-damage attacks in your arsenal. When performing a Special Attack Joachim is INVULNERABLE - which means that doing a Special at a crucial moment can save you from taking damage from a particularly nasty combination of attacks. Since boss fights become essentially a matter of minimizing the damage done to Joachim relative to the damage he does to a given boss, the ability to gain temporary invulnerability is an important part of Joachim's arsenal. - Looking for powerups becomes a major thing - again, in part due to Joachim's lack of inventory, but also since finding all of the powerups increases the character's stats considerably. There are enough HP/MP upgrades to increase those stats by 50% and 140% respectively (I'm roughly estimating here). [If you ask me, I'd trade half the MP upgrades for a few more Defense/Attack powerups any day...] On top of that, there are something like half a dozen Defense upgrades (at least doubling your defense rating), and exactly 5 Attack upgrades (increasing Joachim's damage from around 20 to around 45 per hit when in "strong" Sword Stance). I cannot reiterate this enough, you really need these to finish the game with any degree of ease. As for where would one find these things - most of the upgrades are found in "Secret" or "Bonus" rooms - e.g. places where you would find a Heart UP or a Relic. So check all of those, get the maximum coverage you're able to get. Genearlly speaking I don't plan on including power-up locations at this stage (in part due to my laziness), but I will note that 3 of the 5 Attack upgrades are guarded by the Whip Bosses (Fire, Ice and Thunder), the fourth is in the Ghostly Theater (secret area in the spike room on the second floor) and the fifth is on the second floor of the Pagoda (go down the right-hand corridor into the room in the center of the ring of rooms near the bottom). This factors quite a bit into the sequence of tackling bosses as described in Section 2 of this FAQ. - Dash - almost never used it, and you don't really need to (not the least due to the pause of several seconds at the end of a double-dash...which can cost you). About 95% of all enemy attacks (boss or regular) can be avoided by either moving around or by double-jumping (or sometimes just jumping). - General combat tip - keep moving. Standing still and firing off shots, while viable in some situations, is generally not something you want to try. Use double-jump to dodge attacks on the move. In terms of actual movement patterns, against regular guys you can just make strafing runs (move towards an enemy, fire off some swords, keep moving past and behind the enemy then turn around and come back for more). Against bosses, it's combination strafing runs and opportunistic sniping whilst running away. - Combat tip 2 - attacks in the "strong" stance (swords thrown directly forward) have a range of half to two-thirds of an average room. So you'll have to be careful not to run so far away from the enemy that your swords can't hit it. - Just so that you know, it IS possible for Joachim to cross the infamous Crumbling Bridge (I managed it on about the 10th try). Start of by dashing forward a couple of times, then run/dash/double-jump and hope for the best. However, if memory serves the "reward" was a mere Potion, not exactly worth the effort. Update - seems I was wrong about crossing the bridge not being worth the effort (or it being especially difficult). From Kevin Yanta: "There is actually an HP upgrade (at least that's what my game gave me, maybe it's different if you are playing a Japanese version or something). At any rate, there is a real easy way to get there. All you have to do is start from the door you entered through and hold down R1 or R2 and keep double dashing (I just kept mashing the X button), and the crumbling bridge will never catch you (although you might drop at the very end at catch the edge of the cliff, but you will still get there very easily)." Confirmed by Robert Pollock: "all you need to do is just dash repeatedly. worked for me. might need a jump at the end depending on your timing. the room at the end has a hp max up." Slightly different info from Douglass Kern: "The room beyond the crumbling bridge actually has something really great as a reward. When I was playing, I got a defense upgrade there." So there you have it. Not very difficult and probably worth trying for. SECTION 2 - BOSSES As I'd said before numerous times, the devil of playing through with Joachim is getting through the various bosses, primarily since you can't heal during fights. With this in mind, I've decided to devote an entire section to the strategies of killing each particular boss. Bear in mind that I went through this particular boss sequence for my own reasons (explained in the relevant subsections) - you are free to go through the sequence in any way you want. Any boss attacks that I mention are the ones that I've seen and, as such, had to deal with. If I'm leaving something out it's because I either didn't run into it or didn't run into it enough to remember. Also note that I'm assuming that you've already beaten the game once, and so are aware of things like "to hit the boss in the Waterfalls stage you need to attack the 3 flame thingies in the corners of the room first..." So I may or may not repeat them. 2.1 - HOUSE OF SACRED REMAINS (Caspar the Friendly Tapeworm) DIFFICULTY - 3/5 Ahhh, the first stage, Actually it's the third stage (Map #3), but it's easy enough to be the first... In any case, make your way down to the boss room collecting any upgrades that you may find. You'll meet some unsanitary looking characters. Boss Attacks: - go from one of the openings in the walls to another, smashing you aside (high damage); - pop out of either the upper- right or upper-left openings and do a close-range flamethrower attack; - send zombies bursting out of the ground and grabbing for you (medium damage but lots of zombies). Basically your aim here is to take as few hits as possible. The Worm and its cohorts are fairly easily avoided, so long as you actually focus on avoiding them and slowly chipping away at the eyes/sphere. The biggest problem is, in fact, in that you're constantly hounded by zombies. With this in mind I suggest keeping your eyes on the ground rather than on anything else, looking for the tell-tale moving circles (be careful not to begin a volley attack when one of those circles draws near - you'll likely get hit). The best way of dodging them is to move over them (to trigger the zombies), then to double-jump back out of their reach. The best spots from which to take out the 4 yellow eyes are just behind them in their respective corners of the room. So the "sweet spot" for the upper-right eye is to the "NorthEast" of the eye itself. Just stand there and blast with your swords, taking care to dodge any incoming zombies. The advantage of these "sweet spots" is that they are optimal for avoiding the worm's "body slam" attack - at least in my opinion. In any case, I suggest you take out the two lower eyes first, since there is more room to maneuver against zombies/worm. Also, I would save the Special Attack (Beam) for the Orb that appears after you take out the eyes. After you take out both eyes, things get a little more complicated - the new zombies aren't "one-shot", so you may have to actually attack them once in a while after they pop up. Otherwise your tactics should stay the same. I suggest staying in the lower half of the room (more room to maneuver) and waiting for the Orb to come to you. Your priority is still dodging zombies (something I tend to forget in the heat of the battle) and only occasionally chipping away at the Orb. Eventually you'll kill it and move on. 2.2 - ANTI-SOUL MYSTERIES LAB (Jolly Giant Golem) DIFFICULTY - 1/5 After taking care of the House of Sacred Remains, you may as well hit the Lab as it is also a very easy stage. Note that the Golem will auto-activate (no need to look for the "E" room) - you may have to approach the stone tablet in the top-center of the room to trigger the cutscene though. In any case, proceed to the Golem as normal, hitting any secret rooms on the way in your eternal quest for upgrades. Note that the rooms on the bottom where you had foung the Ancient Texts as Leon are now devoid of any items, so you may want to skip these if you're not into unnecessary fights. More importantly, I suggest you skip the Fire Demon (Fire Whip Boss) for now as Joachim's Attack/HP/Defense are not yet high enough to comfortably take him on. Boss Attacks: - First Form - swipes with arms/club (easily avoided by double-jumping); - Second Form - hurl his rock-and-chain weapon at you (a la Kill Bill) (high damage). For his first form, just run around the rim of the room, occasionally turning around and firing off a salvo into the Golem. If he gets too close, just double jump out of the way. The first form should probably cause minimal (if any) damage. When he changes into his second form, try to position yourself at a wall so that the Golem is in full view of the camera. Wait until you see the purple "Special Move" light then start double-jumping to either side. If you time it right, the mace should comfortably miss you and embed itself in a wall. At this point, "shoot" the glowing red spot on his torso - my preferred method is to float up to him, double-jump and fire a volley, but I suppose you can hit it from across the room. After a bit, the Golem will go down and his orb will be yours. 2.3 - GARDEN FORGOTTEN BY TIME (A Medusa Scorned) DIFFICULTY - 2/5 After a brief sojourn in the Lab, why not go in sequence to Stage 2 of the game - the Garden Forgotten By Time. As usual, make your way to the boss picking up any upgrades you can find and AVOIDING the Thunder Demon mini-boss. Unless you're one of those "no guts - no glory" types...I WOULD suggest that you clear the secret rooms right up to the one containing the Thunder Demon, as there is at least one stat upgrade in that area that I can remember. Boss Attacks: - Close Range Attack Pattern - if you stay close, attempt to swipe at you with one or both arms (medium damage, easily dodged); - Eye Beam (high damage); - Roll into a ball and bounce around the room (high damage); - Vomit snakes in your general direction (easily dodged); - Use telekinesis to chuck rocks at you (high damage). In the first stage of the battle (until you knock off the blue part of its health bar), stick close to Medusa. In 90% of the cases it'll force her (it?) into the Close Range Attack Pattern, which is basically dashing towards you (or not) and swiping once or twice with her "arms". This is easily dodged by double-jumping (even if you stay close to her while she swipes - you can jump over the arms), and her slow recovery time will allow you to pump one or two volleys into her at point blank range. After that, run away a bit, then turn around and unload another volley into her as she approaches - hopefully triggering the Close Range Attack Pattern all over again. As for her other attacks (in case you luck out), if she makes like a bowling ball and rolls around, evade as best you can and keep an eye on where she stops - her recover time is horrendous (time enough for 2-3 volleys). If she uses the Eye Beam, double-jump to the side and retaliate accordingly. In general, be aggressive (for once!) at this stage of the battle. After the blue health bar is knocked off, her attacks will become a bit more varied, The Close Range Attack Pattern will still show up once in a while, but generally your job is to dodge her snakes/rocks then hit her while she is recovering or following you around the room. For added laughs, use your Beam Special Attack (you HAVE been saving your MP, right?) just as she lifts the rocks in the air - they'll still hit you, but you'll be invulnerable (!) and she'll be staying in one place (too busy throwing the rocks) taking unwholesome damage from your beam. In theory, it's almost as easy to get a "perfect" on her as it is on the Golem from the Anti-Soul Mysteries Lab. 2.4 - DARK PALACE OF WATERFALLS 1 (Prelude to a Battle) The aim of your first visit to the Dark Palace is actually to clear out everything EXCEPT the Boss and the Ice Demon. The reason being that I personally like to have the stat upgrades from Ghostly Theater before taking out the Ice Demon, and you really need the 3 attack powerups from the Ice/Fire/Thunder Demons to effectively beat the Dark Palace Boss. Or at least, that's my somewhat informed opinion. So make your way around the place pulling all the levers and getting all the upgrades that can be found - then leave. But not before facing Doppelganger 1 (in retrospect, I don't think you HAVE to, but it's good practice for the Ice/Fire/Thunder Demons). 2.4.1 - DOPPELGANGER 1 (Whipping Up Trouble) DIFFICULTY - 3/5 Ahh, Leon. How I've missed thee. Obviously the feeling is not reciprocated. Boss Attacks: - Whip Combo 1 (Weak-Weak-Strong) - quite damaging if the third strike connects; - Whip Combo 2 (toss-the-enemy-up combo) - never hit me; - Throw Holy Water at you which then "splashes" into several smaller drops (moderately damaging if connects); - Throw Holy Water directly at his own feet (damaging only if you're close); - Dash forward like a fireball (moderately damaging, difficult to dodge consistently); - Cross pattern on the ground (never hit me). Ok, this guy can dish out some damage if he wants to. So your best strategy is...that's right...running away! [Brave, brave Sir Robin...] His most damaging attacks/combos take place if you're close to him. I personally suggest running around the big rectangular hole in the middle of the room in a clockwise fashion (better camera positioning), occasionally stopping to fire off a volley and letting him catch up to you a bit and then resuming your flight. Specifically, the best locations for sniping are "North" (him running at you left-to-right across the top of the screen) and "NorthEast" (right after "North", him running directly at you top-to-bottom of the screen). Those are the two with the best camera views, in my opinion, which makes for good targeting. That's basically it - this battle is a long slog (chase) with you chipping away at his health and striving not to get hit. If he does get close, double-jump away a few times and resume running around the room. Eventually he'll go down. Now clear out the rest of the place (except the two other bosses) and get back to the Warp Room. Next stop - the Ghostly Theater! 2.5 - GHOSTLY THEATER (Poison Flower Power) DIFFICULTY - 2/5 Cool decorations. I expected better-dressed enemies though. In any case, make your way around the first floor collecting upgrades, then hit both entrances to the second floor. I highly suggest picking up your first attack upgrade in the second Spiked Room. From the bigger section of the second floor drop back down to get to the Boss room and meet the lovely Succubus. Boss Attacks: - Split into 3 then chain-lightning (moderate damage); - Glow yellow then kick you away (occurs only if you keep coming in close); - Chuck streams of green triangles at you (usually a 3-way stream, easy to dodge); - Glow purple then chuck a stream of purple projectiles at you (moderate damage); - Cause flowers to grow out of the ground (presumably damaging in some fasion); - Cause a thorny vine to burst out of the ground and follow you around the room (high damage). Here your aim is to keep the Succubus at a moderate distance (fortunately she happily obliges - given that most of her attacks are ranged), dodge her attacks then pound her with sword volleys. Among other things, this negates her "kick" attack (since you're never close enough to trigger it). Of note, if you manage to back her into a corner she seems to resort to using Green/Purple projectiles repeatedly; all you have to do is double-jump, volley, double-jump, volley, again and again and she'll take damage like a newborn. Her most annoying attack is when she splits into 3 - try to put hits on all 3 images as fast as possible, and be ware of the yellow lightning attack. Towards the battle's end she may summon some thorny vines - just run around the room and let them chase you for a while (do NOT double-jump as they can get under you very easily). Considering that your character should be pretty built up by this point in the game, the Succubus should go down rather quickly. 2.6 - GUARDIANS OF THE MAGICAL WHIPS Now that you've cleared the bulk of the first five stages, you should be ready to take on the Elemental Demons. [I'm assuming that you've gathered all the Health/Defense/Mana powerups you could get your greedy hands on.] The Ice Demon is easiest, so she (it?) is our first stop. Get the Knight to break down the cemented wall in the Dark Palace of Waterfalls stage, then use the funky blue platforms to reach the upper-left door. 2.6.1 - ICE DEMON (Cold, Naked Shoulder) DIFFICULTY - 3/5 Does anyone besides myself notice that the little tramp isn't wearing any bottoms? [Well, at least the ESRB guys rated the game Mature...] Boss Attacks: - One or two slashes with her armblade (light damage, easy to dodge); - Circular area attack centered on herself (never got close enough to see what she does); - Presumably she chucks something at you - but her AI script is very easily steered away from this (see below). The key to this boss - and to all the Elemental Demon bosses (and in fact to all the bosses in the game!) - is that at the end of every attack/recovery the AI apparently checks your location relative to the Demon to see what attack it should do next. This gives you, the player, a chance to lock the boss into an attack pattern that's advantageous to you. For example, if you're standing next to it, 9 out of 10 it'll go for the close-range attack(s), and in the case of the case of the Ice Demon, it's just the one or two ineffectual slashes. Jump or double-jump over each of them, then turn around and let her have it. Occasionally outrun her a little bit, wait until she does her area attack then turn around and unload into her. Do note that trying to hit her - or any of the three demons - while she's actively chasing you (i.e. moving rather than attacking/recovering) is very hard since she (they) always has a block on. So bide your time, and she should go down fairly quickly. Pick up the Attack upgrade and go visit the Fire Demon down in the Lab... 2.6.2 - FIRE DEMON (Flaring Tempers) DIFFICULTY - 4/5 This guy was the first boss that really gave me problems. Until I went and built up my character. Off to the second floor of the Anti-Soul Mysteries Lab we go. Boss Attacks: - Close Range Attack Pattern (triple slash, or sometimes just 2 slashes) - high damage if connects; - Circular area attack centered on self (easy to dodge); - Midrange line attack (easy to dodge but can sometimes come off-camera taking you by surprise); - Some missile attack. I forget. Again, you're probably better off tempting him to unleash his Close Range Attack Pattern, hoping to catch him during his recovery. Do keep in mind that he usually does three slashes, so you'll need to time your jumps to go over all three of them. [Although at this point of the game you should have a high enough defense rating to cope with a few miscalculations.] Ideally you'll be doing something like run-jump-double jump-double jump-counter-run. As an alternative, you can try to run around the wall trying to lock him into a ranged attack, then counter, but he's usually fast enough to get into melee range. Use of Special Attacks as often as possible is highly recommended (the Beam is very good to use at the battle's start, as he's coming at you head on). In any case, your upgraded attack should break him down before he breaks you down (I finished him with 25% of my HP bar remaining). Douglass Kern sent in the following strategy to use against this guy if you want to tackle him earlier in the game: "Fire Demon. I was able to beat this guy on my first time through the lab, without any attack or defense power-ups. Once you get the pattern down it actually is quiet easy to take him down when you are still super weak. The key is his triple slashing attack. When he does it, just follow these steps. First slash, jump. Then for the second one jump and then double jump (usually over him if possible). While in the air lock on him and rain swords down on him. You should be able to get in at least three hits. Since he really enjoys coming right after you to do this slashing attack, the battle can be quickly won. Also remember to use the special attack to push him away if you get backed against the wall." An alternative strategy for the Elemental Demons from Jordan Jackson: "You recommend that you jump away from the attacks, but if you're not careful, you can get hit by the second of three attacks that they all seem to have. But, if you dash out of the way (you dash about 1.5 times further than Leon) you stay out of the way and can get behind the elementals. I killed the fire one after only beating the House of Sacred Remains. I hadn't even gotten all the upgrades from the lab yet. I think he hit me twice and it was only my second try. Some of your readers might prefer this method." So, valid approaches both. In any case, once both Fire and Ice Demons bit the proverbial dust, we can move on to that king of fiends, the master of disaster, the...oh, who am I kidding, he's just a Thunder Demon. 2.6.3 - THUNDER DEMON (Hand Me My Rubber Gloves) DIFFICULTY - 4/5 This guy's bad news. As damaging as the Fire Demon and a little faster. The fact that the Save Point is relatively far away isn't helping matters. Pretty much the reason I decided to kill him only after getting the attack upgrades from his two brethren. Boss Attacks: - Close Range Attack Pattern (triple slash, or sometimes just 2 slashes) - high damage if connects; - Spins his weapon and bounces around the room after you (very damaging); - Circular area attack centered on self (easy to dodge); - Midrange line attack (easy to dodge but can sometimes come off-camera taking you by surprise); - Pattern of lightning bolts sprouting from the ground - usually done when you're half a screen (or more) away, and is his key weakness. Don't even try to lock this guy into his Close Range Pattern - it's difficult to dodge all of his attacks consistently, and there's a chance he'll do his spinning attack (which is a pain). Instead, try to keep half of the screen between the two of you at all times (if he gets in closer, dodge away). Stick to running around the room's perimeter. Eventually his attack selector will go to "lightning bolts coming out of the ground", which is your cue to turn around and let him have it. It's slower than the Fire/Ice Demon battles, but better safe than having to reload and trek back all the way from the Save Point downstairs. Fortunately you've got 2 attack upgrades under your belt. On top of that, if you see him coming at you with a combo/spinning attack you can hit him with a Beam and then dodge away while he recovers. Eventually you should triumph (though I only had a little more than 25% of my HP left when I was done...on the bright side, I got him on my first try, which is more than I can say for my record against the Fire Demon). 2.7 - DARK PALACE OF WATERFALLS 2 (Joachim Must Die!) DIFFICULTY - 3/5 (4/5 if you didn't get the 3 Attack upgrades) Now you'll see why we haven't tackled the boss when we were here last. Proceed to Joachim...the OTHER Joachim. Boss Attacks: - Golden swords coming out of the ground (low damage, easy to dodge); - Swords coming out of a circular rune that follows you around on the ground (high damage, easy to dodge by double-jumping forward when the rune is under you); - Swords gathering in mid-air then going at you (high damage, hard to dodge); - Lightning-based ranged attack (never hit); - Flames coming out of the ground near his "shield orbs" (I'm assuming this is an attack) - never noticed them hitting me. The trouble with this particular Tribble is that he lives in a rather small cave; as such, he is not especially easy to avoid even if you try. The Elemental Demons' arenas will seem like spacious vistas in comparison. The fact that half of the time he is invulnerable and you must hit little glowing orbs while he's free to attack you doesn't help either. As such, it's best you go after this boss after you've upgraded your stats with the powerups located in the Ghostly Theater and obtained from the three Elemental Demons. Your basic strategy here is - keep moving while his shield is active, don't bother when it's knocked down. When his shield is active, move along the room's "diagonals" - start from the center towards a target "shield orb", then halfway to the orb double jump and hit attack a few times. If using the "strong" Sword Stance, at least one of your swords should hit the orb (and that's all you need). When you've downed all 3 orbs, turn to face him and just blast. Don't even bother with Special Attacks much (unless you need invulnerability), just blast. Most likely he'll use the Golden Swords attack on you, which was only doing 8 damage to me by the time I faced him. I, on the other hand, was doing around 150-170 damage to him per volley. The moment he starts putting his shield back on, break contact and go after a shield orb. Your biggest concern will be dodging all of his attacks while going after the shield orbs; in particular, towards the end he was doing a lot of Swords-From-Mid-Air and Swords-From-Ground-Rune attacks on me. Still, if you're quick enough about taking out the shield orbs and if you move primarily by double-jumping, you should eventually put him down. Another battle I finished with about 25% health remaining. An insight on dealing with this boss sent in by John McLean: "Against the Joachim doppleganger, I've found that double-jumping plus locking on will allow you to kill his protective orbs rather quickly. I suggest going directly from orb to orb- I've found that destroying one disrupts his current attack." In any case, now that your nefarious alter ego is food for the Fishmen, the door to the Pagoda will be unsealed...and the next stage of your psychotic killing spree will begin. 2.8 - PAGODA OF THE MISTY MOON 1 (A Kingdom for the Unlock Jewel) The only reason why I split the Pagoda stage into two parts is because on my first trip I just cleared out all of the pre-Walter rooms and obtained the Unlock Jewel (which unlocked the Prison of Eternal Torture bonus stage). Then I went back "downstairs" to deal with Beelzebub (at least that's what the big bleeding corpse was called in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night). So, two parts. [Note - for the exact unlocking procedure see subsection 2.9 below.] One thing to do here before going back down to Beelzebub - run down the right-hand path on the second floor of the Pagoda to the room in the center of the lower "circle" to pick up the 4th Attack upgrade. Your "strong stance" attacks will now be doing around 40 damage each. Knock yourself out. 2.8.1 - DOPPELGANGER 2 (Spare The Sword, Spoil The Monster) DIFFICULTY - 1/5 So you're wandering along the first floor of the Pagoda and run into...Leon. Again. Will this insolent human never leave you in peace? Boss Attacks: - Close Range Attack Pattern - fire punch (or two) - truly laughable damage; - Chuck Holy Water at you (quite weak and easy to dodge); - Throw an axe in your general direction (I think it was an axe...); - Light up a Cross pattern on the floor (ineffectual). As you can tell, I have nothing but contempt for this boss. In fact, this is the only time when I'm going to suggest that you use your Joachim like you did your Leon - run up to the guy and attack mercilessly. His "fire punch" is ridiculously weak (assuming you've been building up), doing only 5 damage to my Joachim. He's marginally annoying (damage-wise) if he switches to axes/holy water, but you should be able to trigger his Close Range stuff rather easily. 2.9 - PRISON OF ETERNAL TORTURE (I Think I Need a Bath) DIFFICULTY - 4/5 (in part due to the length of the fight) To get the Unlock Jewel, head down the left-hand path on the Pagoda's second floor to the Dark Room that's in the center of the lower "circle". First, complete the path to the doorway shown on the map as normal (there might be an upgrade there - I forget). Then from THERE jump to the large center square, then double-jump from the "SouthWest" edge (the one facing the lower-left corner of the screen). Make sure to line yourself up with the edge. It may take a few tries to get the angle/distance just right, but there is a rectangular platform there. From that platform, double-jump to the upper-left corner of the room (again, a few tries to hit THAT platform). Finally, the door you're looking for requires a jump along the wall to the right (careful on your landing). Walk through, get the jewel, grin in satisfaction. Curiously, after you get the jewel and go back to the Dark Room, rather than jump all the way to the exit you can just fall off a ledge and you'll materialize AT the exit. Weird. Maybe it's just my copy. In any case, Beelzebub is now unlocked and eagerly awaiting your tender mercies. So go ALL the way back downstairs and oblige him, won't you? [And for the love of God, SAVE first...] Boss Attacks (First Form): - Toss legions of giant maggots onto the platform (moderate damage, but there's a lot of maggots to deal with...); - Spew blood at a circular area of the platform (the area expands over time; as damaging as the maggots). When I say that it took me exactly 1 hour and 28 minutes of furious battling to finally kill this guy, I am SO not kidding. And I like to think that my arcade/platformer skills aren't that abysmal...Well, to be honest I got him on only my 5th or 6th try, it's just that each fight lasted a very long time... By the way, I was still using the "strong" stance (stabbing swords); it IS possible to incorporate the "weak" stance into the fight (especially when facing his First Form), but I found that this makes the fight even longer. And the longer a given fight, the higher the chances of me making a stupid mistake some 15 minutes into it and taking damage that I shouldn't have taken. In any case, for his first form, your primary objective is to take as little damage as possible. Ideally you want to take no more than 4-5 hits (on my last try I took 3), as you want to have your HP at its maximum for the highly damaging Second Form. Now, the only real way you can take damage at this stage of the fight is if you are jumped by maggots, so avoiding them becomes a very high priority. The other thing to keep in mind is that there are 4 "sweet spots" for unloading volleys into this particular boss. The ones you want to use the most in the first half of the battle (when his blue health bar is still up) are the "upper" corners of the metal platform (by "upper" I mean those closest to the boss). These spots allow you to, most of the time, fire off volleys without resorting to jumping (i.e. just stand, point and fire), with 3-5 swords hitting per volley. [Note, however, that the "ideal" areas are pretty small, so in the later stages of the fight when there are fewer body parts to hit it's pretty easy to miss.] Angling towards the enemy's center mass from those two points should get your swords to slice through multiple "parts" of the boss, inflicting vastly more damage than the game displays. [I.e. the highest number that the game would display for me would be in the low 100's, but that was the damage done to ONE of Beelzebub's parts; and I was hitting 3-5 parts with each volley, effectively doing 300-500 damage every time!] By the way, for some reason the upper-right corner (furthest from the door to the room) was better to shoot from (more hits) than the upper-left, possibly because of better camera positioning. The other two "sweet spots" are in the upper-center and mid-center of the platform. These are particularly useful for starting the fight and taking out the last few body parts. [In fact, I suggest you start the fight by floating to upper-center and firing off volleys until a maggot comes near enough to hit you - you can usually get 3 or even more in like that.] In any case, if you can't get to the "sweet spots" you can always double-jump towards the boss and fire off a few shots in mid-air (which will almost always hit if you're pointed in the right direction), but that slows down the fight considerably (and you want to be done with it ASAP). Also note that I don't think you can reliably hit the boss from outside of the platform's boundaries, or from its "lower" corners, but then again my mind wasn't terribly occupied with mapping out every sector of the platform... Now, while you're getting into these firing spots you also have to contend with the myriads of maggots trying to kill you. Well. There are two things that you need to know to reliably avoid them. Well, three things. First, maggots always try to home in on you, but are terribly slow turners. Second, right before a maggot launches its attack, it sort of bends itself a little (so you can tell when it's about to strike, basically). Third, maggots attack in a straight line and in only one direction. Unless you manage to touch it at any time during its "leap" (e.g. run into its side or tail-end), standing anywhere NOT directly in front of the maggot guarantees your safety. So what does this all mean? Well. Rather than relying on your Beam Special Attack to clear away the little blighters (the Beam seems to be the only thing that hit hordes of them reliably - the Helicopter also works, but kills fewer of them), you can basically make like the Pied Piper and lead them straight to their master's doom! Now, you should still use the beam now and again - my rule of thumb was that any time my MP bar was 75%-100% full I had 1 "shot" with the Beam, which I promptly used up by floating to the side of the platform, turning around and hosing the maggots with pretty white light. [On a side note, SAVE as much MP for the Second Form as you can...] But in-between "hosings" you should basically go to the sweet spot on one side, try to get as many of the little blighters as possible to focus on your position, then run/jump to somewhere BEHIND the mass of them and unload volleys with hardly any worry. When a few maggots get back into position to strike at you, repeat the whole thing. Now, it's not an exact science, mind you, but if you've your wits about you it should be relatively simple to keep in the side and rear arcs of most maggots long enough for you to recharge the Beam, which you could then use to sweep the platform clean once again and buy yourself time for 2-3 more volleys. If no "sweet spots" or MP are available, you can just double-jump around, playing keep-away with maggots and occasionally unloading in mid-air. Lather, rinse, repeat. It takes practice (and patience), and you must NEVER get lost in stabbing Beelzebub (i.e. always know where most of the maggots are and which way they're facing - easier than you'd think, actually), but after a bit you should be good enough to almost never get hit while dispatching Beelzebub's First Form. One last thing to keep in mind, even when you reduce the guy's health bars to zero, there is a pause of a few seconds before he dies during which the maggots can keep attacking. So be extra paranoid... Boss Attacks (Second Form): - Position the arm over the platform then slam it down (very damaging but easily avoided); - Position the arm over the platform, spew blood for a while while tracking the character then slam the arm down (just as damaging, but can be avoided); - Position the arm at either side of the platform, then do a horizontal sweep (high damage, difficult to dodge). If you thought getting through the First Form was an irritating experience - you were probably right. But now that's over, and this becomes a more typical boss fight...except that this particular form of Beelzebub can hit you for some truly heinous damage (48 dam per hit to my fully-upgraded character - ouchie...). On the bright side, you don't need more than 15%-20% of your health left for the Third Form, so you can afford a couple of mistakes... Most of the time, he'll go after you with either his "slam" or his "sweep" attack (the "blood-then-slam" attack seems to only come out when he's nearly dead, at least for me, and even then pretty rarely). Now, what you want to do is stay near the center of the platform. If he does a slam, dodge/float to the side (I liked to use the right side, better camera view) about 1 second after his arm is "locked" above Joachim's head. If your timing is good, he should miss you by a comfortable margin. If you see him drag the arm to either side, wait until not more than half a second after it "locks" in the extreme left or right position then double jump as high as you can. With any luck, he'll miss you and have his arm exposed to more misery from you. Alternatively, if you see him set up for the sweep, launch your Beam attack (this is why you've been saving MP...) - you'll be invulnerable, while he'll be taking pretty bad damage...in any case, after dodging anything make sure to get back to about the platform's center while he is recovering. If he pulls out his "blood-slam" attack, wait for the blood to stop then dodge to the side like your life depended on it. 'Cause it does (sorta). His arm will make one extra move before slamming down, so make sure you aren't backed into a corner or anything...on the whole though, I've only seen him pull this attack twice in all my 5-6 attempts at this boss. As far as actually attacking him goes, for some bizarre reason the heavily armoured arm takes double the damage that his naked torso does. I can just imagine him screaming "ow ow ow, my pinky..." In any case, this means that at any time his arm slams down onto the platform, you would do well to unload everything you have at it. Of course, to speed things up you should still attack the torso during his recovery (my attack pattern went like this - 5 shots to the torso, dodge, 5 shots to the arm, center platform, 5 shots to the torso...). On the whole, his defense/HP don't seem to be very high so as long as you can reliably avoid his attacks (in particular his side-swipe), you should easily be able to reach his Third Form after, say, 3-5 minutes or so. Boss Attacks (Third Form): - Summon both large and small rocks onto the platform by yelling (medium-to-high damage); - Have its mouth cavity glow orange then spew orangish-yellow flame for one or two sweeps of the entire platform (instantly kills Joachim, can only be avoided by hiding behind an uncracked large rock or by timing a Special Attack). Just when you thought you were out of the woods...well, you've made it this far, might as well finish off this nuisance of a boss. Start off by pumping this guy's head full of cold steel - his first attack will ALWAYS be to summon a few rocks. Speaking of which, the best way of dodging this is to move towards the ledge closest to the boss, fire off a volley or two then just as he stops yelling, move to one side or the other (apparently the smaller rocks lock on to Joachim's approximate position at the end of Beelzebub's shout). Stay at the "northern" ledge (the one closest to the boss) to avoid getting hit by the bigger rocks. Once the attack is over, the boss will either repeat it (more shouting), giving you time for a few more volleys into his head, OR you'll see an orange glow in his (its?) mouth. When you do, IMMEDIATELY hide behind the nearest large rock, as a single hit from this "flame" attack WILL kill you. If in dire straights (no rocks to hide behind, or the one you're hiding behind is cracked and he's doing the attack again), fire off a Beam Special Attack directly at his head. [There's a reason why I'm big on saving MP...] Not only will this do considerable damage (is it just me or is his Third Form's defense/HP particularly low?), it will keep you invulnerable for a few seconds and, hence, alive. Lather, rinse, repeat. So long as you can keep away from the Yellow Beam of Death, at worst you'll finish him off after getting hit by one or two rocks; at best, you won't get hit at all. It does help that he goes down pretty quickly compared to the first two forms. Of course, that's how I managed to kill the little blighter. Here is one alternative strategy, courtesy of Garamis: "On the Forgotten boss, I actually beat him pretty easily, the main part I had trouble with was his maggots, after that it was cake. On his lower section I just continually used the faster strike (circles) and didn't move too much except for to dash back some to dodge the maggots. I do agree that it does take a while to kill him here using that method. On the middle however I still used the fast attack and I could kill him 30 seconds-1 minute tops. I just swung at him constantly in rhythm, and if he tried his arm sweep, I used a special, cause you can't be hurt when you use it, and if you do it when you stand next to his chest you are assured to hit his chest (if it doesn't move you) or his arm if it does. Then on the head I continued the fast attack when he was open, and if there was a boulder in the middle, I stood behind it and used the stronger attack. I killed the head in under a minute as well...the longest part on the whole thing was the base." However you choose to kill him, bear in mind the following warning sent in by Jonathan Seymour: "Well, this isn't exactly a strategy... more of a warning... But, following your guide I got to Beezlebub's head with Jaochim on my second try with about 25% life left. After about a minute or so ol' B had one hit left, as did I. He powered up for a boulder attack so I got right in his face and blasted him with a sword that killed him. To my extreme dismay, I noticed that when he dies and his head falls forward, it can hit you... and in my case, it killed me..." And of course, after he is dead are you rewarded for all your efforts? Compensated for the aggravation? Reassured that somehow your time had been well spent?! Of course not!! Instead you just get a useless black orb to add to your collection...well, that plus the fact that taking down Beelzebub makes good practice (at dodging) for the last two bosses of the game. Onwards to Walter. 'Bout time he found out that impersonating Old Drac is a capital offense. 2.10 - PAGODA OF THE MISTY MOON 2 (Is It Over? Is It?!) Assuming you've picked everything up on your prior visit, there really isn't anything to do other than hit the 2nd floor Save Point and face the last two bosses of the game. Which is no picnic without them health potions, believe you me... 2.10.1 - WALTER (This Ain't Your Daddy's Dracula) DIFFICULTY - 2/5 As far back as I can remember, every Castlevania game featured a fight with a vampire in a dark suit who liked to teleport around the room and toss fireballs in your general direction. Well...this is it for Castlevania: Lament of Innocence. And much as I miss having Old Drac to kick around, Walter is as credible a stand-in as any. Well. They could have given him a more sinister name...I mean, come on, Walter? How am I supposed to be terrified of someone named Walter? Boss Attacks: - Glow purple and shoot out a large purplish sphere that explodes (extremely short-ranged and so easily avoidable); - Send a bunch of small white orbs at you (high damage, easy to avoid once you figure out how...); - Glow orange then send out 3 fireballs at you that explode (relatively short-ranged); - Cause 3 circular runes to appear on the ground, with energy exploding upwards (very high damage); - Teleport to the throne area of the room, tells you to "Behold His True Strength" [thanks to Greg Berning for giving me the full quote] and cause what I can only describe as a very small thermonuclear blast (avoided by standing near the door to the room). The thing with this boss is that on the one hand his Defense/HP are pretty pathetic, but on the other hand his attacks can be extremely damaging. We're talking 1/6 (roughly speaking) of your health bar with a single hit, and that's with all the HP and Defense upgrades available in the game...never mind the fact that you'll probably want as much HP as possible to face the next boss (Dracula's second form...the formula never changes, does it). So the main objective here is not so much to send Walter to an early retirement, but, as with Beelzebub's first form, to take as little damage as possible. With that in mind, the optimal strategy is to wait until the guy teleports to somewhere, then close the distance to about half a screen length and let rip. If he uses his short ranged attacks, you should be far enough away from them to just continue unloading swords into the unfortunate vamp. If he sends out the small white orbs, move to the side and jump once - you have to be fairly quick about it, but if you don't jump they'll just follow you around the room and hit you eventually. If you do jump (sideways), they'll angle towards the ceiling and leave you alone. Finally, if Walter does next to nothing and you see white circles appear on the ground - run. Literally. Do NOT jump (as you might get caught under one of the circular runes on your landing), just run in a roughly square path. Be careful - the first two runes follow your path (so if you keep moving they'll appear just behind you), but the third one has a tendency to appear right in front of you - hence you'll be running in a square, not in a straight line. In any case, these aren't that hard to avoid if you keep your eyes open and your "stick finger" primed. His last attack is somewhat of a joke, simply because it's so easy to dodge - given that he rather courteously warns you that it's coming. So at any time you see him teleport to the raised area near his throne (or hear him speak "Behold..."), leg it for the door at the other end of the room and enjoy the light show. If you run far enough, you may not even SEE the blast wave. That's basically it for this boss - with your Attack stat powered up (you DID power it up, right?) and this guy's weak Defense/HP, you should kill him off in no time flat. Just remember NOT to get hit if you can help it. To confirm the ease of this particular boss, here's Ryan Boyer: "He is extremely easy. Just circle around him, constantly firing. The only thing he can hit you with is his shoulder dash, and that can be avoided by quick step--er, floating anywhere. To the side, toward him, away from him. They all work. But be careful if you dash away from him. He may still be in range. As for his orb attack, it is easily nullified by this strategy. It narrowly misses me, but I've yet to be hit by it. I can easily go without getting touched using this strategy." 2.10.2 - DEATH (Can't We All Just Get Along?) DIFFICULTY - 3/5 Boss Attacks: - Close Range Attack Pattern 1 - slice with his sickle in front of him (high damage, rare, comes out only if you're literally in his face and even then only some of the time); - Close Range Attack Pattern 2 - spin his sickle and toss it towards you (high damage, easily avoided); - Shout "Minion" and summon a few skulls that chase you around the room and blow up, usually does this when you're fairly close to him but for some reason not close enough to trigger any of the sickle attacks (moderate damage, VERY easy to avoid); - Shout "Die" and throw out a pattern of white spheres that close on you very quickly (very high damage, haven't fought him enough times to find a way to avoid them other than to keep triggering the Close Range Attack patterns); - Shout "Hell" something and toss 2 fireballs in your direction (not as damaging as one would think, but best avoided nonetheless). Now, when I say that this boss does a lot of damage, I mean this boss does a LOT of damage. Anywhere from 1/10 to 1/3 of your health bar (depending on what you get hit by). Moreover, his preferred ranged attack (the white spheres) is not only high damaging but also very difficult to avoid. Let me rephrase that - in the 3 times I fought him, I haven't found a way to avoid it (though, to my credit, he only used it on me 3 times). Then again, Jordan Jackson did: "Oh, and one more thing that quickstepping is useful for. It allows you to dodge the white spheres that Death shoots. When they get somewhat close (about 2/3 of a quick step's worth) you simple quick step to the side. The spheres go right by you and you can charge Death and unload a volley. I think it's the easiest attack to dodge, although it DID take a bit of practice to learn. Once you learn the timing, that move's cake." So did Ryan Boyer: "...the way to dodge his annoying converging orb attack that is so very hard to dodge. Stand ready to quick float until RIGHT BEFORE the orbs converge on you. Then step to the side. Or, of course, you can just unleash the Special Beam attack." And Kishin no Gokataku: "You mentioned in there that you have had a difficult time dodging Death's ranged attack consisting of about six small white orbs that almost home in on you when he says, "Die." I actually found it easiest to dodge this attack with Joachim. With Leon and the Pumpkin I got hit nearly every time, because they move at a slower rate than Joachim, and they use a very physical means of evasion. Joachim has the dash function (R1+X+left analog stick), which makes him move incredibly fast. When you see these orbs forming, start moving in on general direction- it's best if it is not towards Death, but to the side. Then, as soon as they start moving toward you, about the time he says, "Die," use Joachim's dash diagonally towards Death and they should miss you every time." And Sean McDaniel: "his little white projectile attack or whatever....you said you couldnt figure out how to dodge it right? that attack gave me no problems...just use the dash/dodge feature and if you can learn to time it right u can dash infinitly with little lag time..just dont do the double dash...anyway that attack hasnt hit me. ever." [Boy did I ever get hit with contributions for ignoring the Dash function in this boss fight...] So what do we do with this great big incarnation of human-kind's most terrifying nightmares? Simple. We run right up to its face and feed it some swords. Logical? Why yes! Remember what I said about triggering Close Range Attack Patterns? Well, the key to beating this guy while taking only minimal damage is to stay right up there next to him as much as possible. In fact, start the fight by running right up to him and unloading a volley or two. So long as you stay close, the chances of a White Sphere attack are fairly minimal, which is a very good thing indeed. Most of the time he'll try to either spin/throw his sickle at you (just wait until a few seconds after he starts spinning it, then double jump to the side to avoid it), or summon his Exploding Skulls. In the latter case, stand there and stab him until the skulls are very close to you, then run/jump in a circular path that keeps you near the guy and takes you right back to your firing position. The skulls should follow you and explode somewhere behind and to the side (some times you may have to "complete the circle" twice to get rid of all the skulls), and you should still be close enough to keep triggering his close range attacks. On the odd chance he does his Fireball attack (usually happens towards the end of the fight), double-jump away from the first fireball/wave and immediately jump back to avoid the second fireball/wave. Then keep firing. Above all else, keep firing, the aim is to kill this guy as quickly as possible to minimize the number of shots he takes at you. So that's it. Pretty simple, eh? Oh, keep in mind that his Minion (skull) attack sometimes overlaps with his Spinning Sickle Throw attack (in which case he's likely to take out a few of his own minions - pretty amusing if you ask me). And keep whacking away at him. If you ask me, Beelzebub was much more of a bother to kill... But, of course, that's how I managed to kill the guy. Here is an alternative strategy from Garamis: "On Walter I killed him and never even got touched...Death too, but that's further down. I used the lock button almost constantly, cause when he teleports, you can actually see the direction he heads by the dot for about a second, then I anticipated his location, and (always used fast attack) just constantly circled him as I did so, throwing in the occasional special. Death was fairly easy as well. (Once again using fast attack+lock) In the beginning I ran straight up to him and started beating him, and so for the entire blue section of his life (and some into the yellow) all he did was call his servants or whatever he calls them, which I easily either dashed out of the way, or use a special. Then I spent the remainder of his yellow life hitting, *he says living flame*, do dashes away...but not double dashes, run back up and hit...he died in no time. Oh and also, that move that Death launches with the spheres you couldn't figure out how to dodge, well depending on how close you are just dash forward into the middle of them them all, and they will all miss, however, you can't be too far or they'll still get ya. The center of the platform is about the limit." Once you finish off the Grim Reaper (I'm assuming that in real life terms you're just sending him off on a sabbatical or something), enjoy the 5-second FMV and the credits (the Vampire Killer refrain was a nice touch, I think). Congratulations - not only have you proven that you have the "mad skillz" to beat the game without using any of them wimpy health potions, you've also unlocked the loveable yet ultra-violent Secret Character #2 - the Infamous Pumpkin... SECTION 3 - PLAYING WITH PUMPKIN So you thought your Castlevania: Lament of Innocence experience ended with Joachim's triumph over Death itself. Well. Not quite. Seems that after all the bru-ha-ha caused by Leon and Joachim, yet another warrior of renown has decided to pay the cursed castle a visit...introducing...THE PUMPKIN. Also known as the fiercest vampire hunter of all times with a can-do attitude, an evil grin permanently carved on his grizzled visage, and a pair of particularly vicious-looking mittens! Yep, he's 3'2" of sheer trouble... This section of the FAQ will cover all the particulars of using Pumpkin in all his glory. The little guy plays very much like Leon, but with a couple of noticeable differences (particularly early on in the game). 3.1 - UNLOCKING PUMPKIN After beating the game with Joachim, start a new game. At the prompt, enter @PUMPKIN as your name to play as that infamous scourge of the Undead, Pumpkin. If you ask me, I think IGA just likes messing with us... 3.2 - DIFFERENCES BETWEEN PUMPKIN AND LEON Truth be told, Pumpkin plays almost exactly like Leon. Same whip action, same abundance of healing items to get you through boss fights, same same same...I mean, even Rinaldo is back, selling you stuff left and right!! So basically, except for a few key differences which I shall catalogue in excruciating detail below, just imagine you're going through the game with Leon (again). - Unlike Leon, Pumpkin starts the game with only 100 HP (upgradeable to 200). The only thing this means is that you can take fewer hits, which, earlier on in the game, may or may not mean something. On the other hand, healing potions restore a much greater percentage of your HP, which means that so long as you don't get careless you should romp through the game with Leon's Devil-may-care-if-I-get-hit attitude. - Also unlike Leon, Pumpkin starts the game with 110 MP, 130 Hearts, a natural Defense of 10 (before putting on any armour - so with Solar Plate your Defense goes to 40), and - drum roll, please - Vampire Killer. Which, combined with his natural prowess, gives Pumpkin an attack stat of 40 right from the get-go. This is probably the biggest gameplay change of all (and what makes Pumpkin so easy to play - perhaps contrary to the game designers' intent!). With an attack stat that high (and with Vampire Killer) you don't need any strategy at all. Just move forward, mash Triangle and on occasion jump/dash away (or just block) if you feel like you need some exercise. I mean, really, there are only a few enemies in the entire game that required anything but button-mashing, and even then not terribly much. [Maybe I'm exaggerating a bit after playing through with Joachim - but Ye Gods can Pumpkin dish out loads of damage with contemptuous ease...] - Pumpkin starts with all whip combos unlocked. Not like he needs any... - This is just a curiosity, actually - whenever Pumpkin pulls himself up on a ledge, he doesn't actually touch the ledge. I suspect it's because the game uses Leon's motion model for that (and Leon's graphical representation is big enough for the hands to actually be touching the ledge - while Pumpkin's is not). But it's just a curious thing to watch, I think. - Pumpkin gets no FMVs. Not even at the end of the game (he does get a few interesting background illustrations during the credits, but nothing beyond that). I suppose we shall never know his true identity or motivations... - Pumpkin is sooooooo much better looking than Leon. I mean, just look at that homicidal grin... - Pumpkin cannot use any special weapons (e.g. axe, cross) except the one that he comes "naturally" with. Which is, unsurprisingly, a pumpkin. This weapon can be upgraded with Orbs as normal, so there is some variety to his special attacks. I mean, not that he needs any special weapons (due to his natural damage potential), but one wonders how Pumpkin became so proficient with the whip yet can't handle a simple dagger/stone/etc. Oh well...in any case, for the sake of completeness here is a somewhat-detailed description of his Specials (to avoid confusion - Pumpkin with a capital "P" refers to the character, pumpkin with a small "p" refers to the weapon): 1. Default (no orb) - Pumpkin throws out a normal-sized pumpkin that either explodes on contact or slowly bounces around a few times before exploding. Costs 2 Hearts. 2. Shock Pumpkin (Blue Orb) - a huge pumpkin drops down somewhat in front of Pumpkin, doing damage to anything it lands on and then exploding (the ratio of drop to explosion damage is something like 5/1 by the way). Costs 8 Hearts. 3. Large Pumpkin (Red Orb) - same as his default attack (tosses a pumpkin bomb forward) except that it's a bigger...pumpkin. Costs 3 Hearts. 4. Pumpkin Missile (Purple Orb) - summons a bunch of small (fist-sized, in game terms) pumpkins that hover around for a second then launch themselves at nearby enemies. Has potential, but still can't compete with the Triangle x3 combo...Costs 8 Hearts. 5. Grand Pumpkin (Yellow Orb) - Pumpkin hovers in mid-air and summons 4 giant pumpkins that spiral upwards around him (kinda like that Cross Special). Costs 12 Hearts. 6. Rampage Pumpkin (Green Orb) - Pumpkin turns into a giant...yes, pumpkin, and blazes directly forward smashing anything in his way. Costs 5 Hearts. 7. Spread Pumpkin (White Orb) - launches a projectile directly forward that proceeds to explode. Costs 6 Hearts. 8. Pumpkin Serpent (Black Orb) - launches a giant floating serpent made of...you guessed it...pumpkins. Said serpent then floats around the room for some seconds smashing into multiple enemies. Looks pretty interesting, actually. Costs 12 Hearts. So that's it for our friendly Pumpkin. And, in fact, that's it for the FAQ - unless someone tells me that there is yet another special character buried in the game (the Succubus!!). THE END THANKS TO - GameFAQs, for maintaining an awesome information-sharing site and keeping it free. - Konami and IGA, for keeping the Castlevania franchise alive and kicking. - Eric Renard, Aerin Doomrose, Kevin Yanta, Douglass Kern, Robert Pollock, Garamis, Jordan Jackson, Ryan Boyer, Kishin no Gokataku, Sean McDaniel, Erik Storla, Greg Berning, Jonathan Seymour, Dustin Woodward, Jerid Cossette and John McLean for their contributions to this guide. - Grad School + Jobless Recovery for giving me some free time to do things like write this FAQ.
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