Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia was released for the Nintendo DS in 2008.Dracula has been sealed but evil is still afoot. With no Belmont in sight, the church has been desperately trying to find a way to destroy Dracula once and for all that doesn't involve a whip.Enter the Order of Ecclesia, whose glyph-based magic system has made great progress. They have discovered a spell, Dominus, that has the power to destroy Dracula once and for all. Shanoa, under her master Barlowe's order, plans to absorb the glyph and destroy Dracula.Unfortunately, Albus, a member of Ecclesia and a close friend of Shanoa, chooses then to interrupt the ceremony; he attacks Barlowe and runs off with Dominus. Shanoa recovers a few weeks later, with her memories gone, and learns Albus attacked Wygol Village and kidnapped all the villagers. Barlowe sends her off to rescue the villagers, recover Dominus, and fulfill Mankind's Greatest Wish.Compared to the otherDS games, Order of Ecclesia is much harder. Shanoa cannot take many hits, her ability to attack is limited by her MP (granted, it fills up much more quickly than it has in previous games, but it's still a major limiting factor,) and leveling up doesn't make hard enemies suddenly trivial. Shanoa can absorb glyphs from fallen foes and can combine them for stronger attacks. Still, many fans were complaining the other games were too easy, so here we are.
Order Of Ecclesia provides examples of:
Absurdly High Level Cap: Unlockable by beating the game on Hard Mode lv1, which increases it to 255, when normally you'd be somewhere around 60-70 at most at the end of the game.
Awesome but Impractical: Surprisingly enough, the potions (at least, in normal mode, after you rescue Aeon). While they're useful for healing damage (and, of course, the more expensive potions heal more), they're less cost-effective than Aeon's food items.
Ax-Crazy: Barlowe upon the reveal. It's also heavily implied that he was like this all along, and that his betraying Shanoa was due to his insanity, as, during his Teleport Spam attack, he says, with each punch, "HOW DARE YOU...! EVEN FORGETTING... WHO RAISED YOU...! YOU... STUPID DISCIPLE!!"
Battle Ballgown: Shanoa's dress has armor on the gauntlets, leggings, bodice, and down the sides of her skirt.
BFS: Taken to ridiculous extremes with glyph unions, in which the weapon can be at least twice as wide as Shanoa, and 3 times as tall.
Benevolent Architecture: The entire boss fight against Brachyura. It involves climbing up a shaft in a long platforming sequence, luring the boss into breaking three stone barriers in the way up, and then boarding an extremely quick elevator with spikes on the underside to finish the boss off. This makes no sense the more you think about it.
Big Eater: As usual for a Castlevania character, Shanoa can refill her health by eating impossible amounts of food during combat. However, she goes beyond the usual series staples like whole turkeys and pot roasts in that she is able to eat an entire barbecued fish which is significantly larger than she is...or several said fish depending on how much HP she needs. She's actually able to keep the chef Aeon in business despite being his only customer.
"Blind Idiot" Translation: The returning Leap Stone relic somehow became the Ordinary Rock. Either someone left in a placeholder joke while they looked up the canon translation and forgot, or believed double jumping needed to make less sense in all directions.
Bittersweet Ending: Shanoa defeats Dracula and saves the world, but Albus is dead, Barlowe, the man who raised both of them, was revealed to be a batshit insane Dracula worshipper, and the ending states flatout that the only people who will even remember the events of the game are Shanoa herself and the villagers she rescued. On the plus side, even if Shanoa won't be remembered, she still saved the world, Albus retrieves her memories, and it's implied that the villagers, who are actually descendants of the Belmont line that have lost their way, have begun training themselves in the ways of the Vampire Hunter.
Boisterous Bruiser: Death, more so than ever before. "HERE IT COMES! TAKE THIS! BURN! GO! DIE! Thy time to die IS NOW!!! I SHALL CUT YOU DOWN!!!" The candle of your soul has burned itself out. GAME. OVER. Hahahahahahahahaha..." Also, to a slightly lesser degree, Albus. "POW!!! BANG!!! Like you can hit me...USELESS! HOW DO YOU LIKE THAT, YOU PUNY HUMAN? THINK YOU CAN DODGE THIS!?!?!?"
Boss Banter: HOW DARE YOU..! EVEN FORGETTING..! WHO RAISED YOU! YOU..! STUPID DISCIPLE!!!
Bribing Your Way to Victory: If you want to get the best helmet in the game, Queen of Hearts, you have to play through Hard Mode with a level cap (Lvl 1 or Lvl 50 are your initial options). If you want to unlock the ability to set the level cap to 255, you have to play though Hard Mode with level cap set at 1... or you can just buy Castlevania: Judgment for the Wii and sync the two games together to get both rewards.
Calling Your Attacks: Albus, CLEARLY, calls out the name of nearly every single thing he fires from his gun. "VERTICAL SHOT! OPTICAL SHOT! GLYPH AND BULLET! GLYPH BULLET! STINGER SHOT! LETHAL SHOT! GASPAR SHOT! BLAST CANNON! MAX SHOT!" And let's not forget Dracula himself. "FATAL RAIN!! DESTRUCTION RAIN!!! DEMONIC MEGIDDO! GIGA DEMONIC MEGIDDO!!! DARK METAMORPHOSIS! SOUL STEAL! LIFE STEAL! SOUL BLAST! DARK INFERNO!"
This little girl you rescue mentions, after you complete her third quest, that she dreams of a man fighting with a whip.
Anyone who played Gradius may have this strange feeling when listening to Sorrow's Distortion Albus's boss theme.
Cast from Hit Points: The Dominus glyphs. The two attack glyphs (Dominus Hatred/Anger) decrease your HP by 1/6 its maximum per use, and Dominus Agony costs 66 HP every second it's active (and also increases your Strength, Constitution, Intelligence, and Mind stats by 66 each while it's active).
Cat Girl: Shanoa can transform into one with the right glyph. Aside from granting her different attacks, it also enables her to talk to the cats in Wygol Village and enemy catwomen will become friendly and even aid her in battle.
Church Militant: A portion of the Church has been looking for a way to defeat Dracula without relying on a Belmont. Of course, it's soon realized that they only wanted to defeat the seal.
Then again, they could have been looking for a way to destroy Dracula when they started, but his seal drove them insane. Dracula has a knack for doing that kind of stuff to people.
Climax Boss: Barlowe. He's the last boss before you go to Dracula's Castle, you fight him after you find out about Albus' motives and the true nature of Dominus, and he has his own battle theme music.
Colossus Climb: The battle with Eligor. Albus can kind of cheat with his teleporting though, and if Shanoa takes time to get the Redire glyph from Training Hall before fighting him, she can use it to quickly get to his weakpoint as well. Both characters might have some trouble actually taking him down without destroying the crossbows on his flanks, though.
Continuity Nod: Shanoa's dialogue just before she enters Dracula's castle references Simon's Quest: "I am the morning sun, come to vanquish this horrible night!"
The names of the boss battle themes reference other Castlevania games in order of release date. See Theme Naming below.
Copy And Paste Environments: Despite the visuals being genuinely very beautiful, there are many times when you'll see relatively distinctively complex map formations repeated verbatim in a conspicuously unlikely way. This is especially apparent in the caverns of the mountain area maps.
Cute Monster Girl: While all modern Castlevanias have these, this game is notable for its sheer proliferation. New enemies that fit this include Ladycats, Draculinas, Black Panthers(unrelated to actual black panthers in other games), and the boss of Somnus Reef, Rusalka.
Death or Glory Attack: The Death Ring and Dominus Agony significantly increase your raw damage-dealing ability at the expense of your own survivability. Ideal in boss fights as long as you don't end up making a mistake.
Debate and Switch: "Is the complete destruction of an innocent individual justified if it could destroy the ultimate evil?" When the game starts, Barlowe certainly agrees and Albus violently doesn't. We're not sure what Shanoa's position was before she lost her memories, and it isn't until the Climax Boss that we learn of the price. Instead, just before the Climax Boss fight, we promptly learn that the sacrifice would have freed Dracula instead of destroying him, and Barlowe is insane, rendering his position as obviously wrong.
Revisited later, when Shanoa uses Dominus to finish off Dracula after all, and Albus sacrifices his soul in her place. There is an important distinction, however: Barlowe tried to sacrifice another's life without their knowledge or consent, while Albus sacrificed his own, knowing full well what he was doing, and Shanoa tried to do the same as Albus.
On the other hand, we have Albus, who is possessed by Dracula after being consumed by Dominus. He briefly regains control to tell Shanoa to run, before Dracula takes over and launches into his Boss Banter and the battle itself.
Early Game Hell: Present in all modes, but especially so in Hard mode. The tutorial, of al things, plays more like a Boss Fight in this mode, teaching you that you don't have to expect any form of mercy from the game on this difficulty setting. It's only after a few levels, when you've been able to collect stronger glyphs, better armor and more health/mana, that the game becomes a bit easier.
Easy Amnesia: Averted (mostly) with Shanoa: she loses her memories at the beginning of the game, doesn't get them back until Albus wrestles them back from Dominus at the end, and it changes her personality considerably. The last one does have a bit of Take Our Word for It, though, since we don't see much of her before the incident.
Escape Rope: The Magical Tickets that can be found as Random Drops inside regular chests or just bought from the village store. They immediately take you back to Wygol Village and can be used anywhere, anytime with the obvious exception of boss battles.
Everything's Cuter with Kittens: There are cats you can rescue and take back to the village. When you meet them at the village, you can attack them, play with them using the stylus, or use the catgirl transformation glyph to talk to them. You even have to save one as part of a villager quest.
Evil All Along: Barlowe. The leader of the Order that's supposed to be trying to destroy Dracula is actually trying to resurrect him.
Fetch Quest: Nearly every single quest given by the villagers- nine of the twelve quest givers give quests of this type. The other three are a very small Amateur Photographer sidequest, a monster slaying sidequest, and two games of hide and seek.
Glass Cannon: Shanoa is a pretty good example of this as far as Castlevania protagonists go: she can take far less punishment than most Metroidvania heroes and most bosses can kill her in 5 hits or less even if you're sufficiently leveled, but she has far higher damage potential than most other characters, thanks to her rapidly regenerating MP she can use to spam spells at a safe distance and the ability to level up much higher than any other Castlevania hero.
Good All Along: Albus. The early scenes make it look like he'd stolen Dominus out of jealousy, when he'd actually been trying to protect Shanoa. He found out that Dominus would kill the one who used it, which is why he was insisting that it should be him instead of her.
Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: Shanoa is mostly spell-based compared to the mostly warrior-styled Castlevania heroes. She starts off with horrible attack power and what might be the least useful (if cool looking) backdash in the series. By the end, she can be so brokenly loaded, the game expects you to take down the final boss as part of the timed boss rush mode.
It probably has more to do with the diminished physical weapon choice, and a lot of the physical weapons aren't as useful as in previous games.
In a sense, the game pretty much forces you to actively use spells, because the physical stats are only two of the many that cover attack damage. You can still get them stronger by maxing out their attributes, but it is much easier to spam Nitesco to max out light damage than it is to run up close to the enemy to whack them in the face.
Ultimately, the main reason you'd want to use spells is that they generally have much longer range than melee weapons, and since Shanoa's MP regenerates at rapid speed and using melee weapons consumes it as well, there's no real restrictions to using spells over weapons.
Female werecats don't appear to be wearing anything when they die, but they collapse in such a way their arms and legs cover anything too explicit.
Mana Shield: An item allows you to take damage to your heart supply rather than your health bar.
Metroid Vania: Obviously, but it really comes to a head when you play this game on Hard with a cap set at Level 1. It becomes almost like The Legend of Zelda with how desperate you become for Health and Mana upgrades.
The Metroidvania aspect is also relatively diminished in this game compared to previous entries, as a lot of the areas are smaller and more linear, and upgrades are of somewhat less focus.
More Dakka: Albus fires that gun of his REALLY fast in Albus Mode. Made even more awesome by the fact that this game takes place in the early 1800s and that the first semi-automatic firearm wasn't introduced until 1885.
Nintendo Hard: This game on Hard mode. Enemies deal absolutely INSANE amounts of damage and some of them are faster, demanding you to use everything you've got and come up with some new strategies.
No Damage Run: Get through a boss fight with no damage, and you get a medal. Hey, another use for the Death Ring!
Not Completely Useless: The Scutum glyph will let you ignore Goliath's "punch debris from the ceiling attack." More importantly, this will nullify Dracula's destruction ray. Even more importantly, this glyph and another Scutum glyph is the easiest way to avoid Dracula's wave of bats...as well as Eligor's arrows.
Volaticus, the flying glyph, is given to you very late in the game. Useless? Not if you want to get through the Large Cavern.
Number of the Beast: The Final Knights have 666 EXP, and the HP costs, attack strengths, MP costs, and stat boosts of the Dominus Glyphs are full of 6s and are obviously meant to invoke this. (See the Cast from Hit Points entry above.)
Cannot Spit It Out: Albus, just tell Shanoa that Barlowe is tricking you into freeing Dracula with Dominus and be done with it.
It's never implied that he knew that Barlowe was planning to revive Dracula. He only wanted to warn Shanoa that using Dominus would kill her.
Power Copying: That's how Shanoa learns many of her abilities. You want to summon Zombies? Steal the ability from an enemy summoner. Fireballs? From a fire demon. As a bonus, in many of these cases, you literally have to absorb the Glyph as the enemy is casting the spell, preventing it from going off successfully in the process.
Press X to Die: Equip Dominus Anger, Dominus Hatred, and Dominus Agonynote Yes, you need to equip the back glyph as well, even though no other combo in the game includes one.. Press Up + X to die.
Except at the very end, where you need it to finish Dracula off and trigger the final cutscene. You better be quick about it too - if you aren't, Dracula will cast Demonic Megiddo, aka a giant explosion that will instantly kill you. It can be avoided by flying into the corner of the boss room, but it goes on forever and since you can't use the glyph union in midair and it doesn't work after he casts the spell even if you use cheats to make yourself invincible, you have no choice except give up and die regardless.
Random Drop: Enemies will drop money, usable items and objects for the various missions you'll go through. You can also get them from chests that replenish themselves.
Rare Random Drop: Of course, some drops won't be as easily gotten as others. Merman meat, only gettable with a 6 star chance from a merman-unrelated enemy (Lorelei), is quite the offender, as you need it for better potions. About chest drops, those only available in the brutal Large Cavern can be quite frustrating too.
Shoot the Dog / What Happened to the Mouse? / Left Hanging: At the end, Shanoa saved the world. But what happened to her after that? She lost everything at the end. The last shot of her is in the forest near Castlevania's ruins. The game itself says she was never heard from again.
Shout-Out: Goliath is basically a boss-monster-ified Raoh, even reenacting his dying pose. Which makes him another classic Jump villain like Zephyr to appear in the series.
The requisite Gradius shout out occurs three times:
One of the villagers hums the first few notes of "Challenger 1985", the BGM of the first stage of the original Gradius/
One endgame boss says, when defeated, "That was quite entertaining," eleven years after Gradius Gaiden, where an endgame boss said "I hope you can entertain me" before attacking.
Simple Yet Awesome: Meet the Fidelis Medusa glyph. If you take the time to get it to level 3 (which doesn't take long since the grey Medusa Heads have a 100% drop rate for it) it can shield you from most projectiles, ward off Goddamned Bats, petrify certain monsters rendering them weak and stationary, and break walls to find secret treasure or passages you might otherwise ignore.
Slasher Smile: The last expression you see on Barlowe's face if you choose to use Dominus on the seal after failing to save all the villagers. An obvious hint that he's not what he seems and that you should shoot for the good ending.
Stealth Pun / Bilingual Bonus: One enemy is a former human that was a victim of an Une attack. Its name? Chosen Une.note Une is French for "one".
Swiss Army Hero: Aside from the Cat Girl form mentioned above, Shanoa can also obtain glyphs that change her form into a bat-woman and an automaton (a slow, but sturdy little robot). The enemy bat-women keep attacking her, but enemy Automatons will promptly fall in love with Automaton!Shanoa when they spot her.
Tarot Motifs: Most Rings are named after Major Arcana cards.
The Stoic: Shanoa's emotions are repressed because of her amnesia.
Took a Level in Badass: The tinmen are MUCH harder than they were in Symphony of the Night, even despite having basically the same attack patterns. This is because they can whack you even if you jump over them (double jump works though), move faster than you, and can do a lot of damage VERY quickly.
Took a Shortcut: All the villagers are nothing more than normal, yet quirky NPC townsfolk. Which makes it all the more remarkable with the monster-infested locations you rescue them from, as they all note that they will trek all the way back to the village by themselves right after you save them, and they do. It's more ridiculous when you realize one's a frail old woman and two of them are children, with one being a girl you save from an underwater cave infested with evil creatures, yet they make it back a lot easier than you would. Then again, they are descendants of the Belmont family.
It's implied from one of the first villagers you save that they all have Magical Tickets on them, which warps the user straight to the village.
Dracula decides to ditch his One-Winged Angel routine for once and simply decides to start walking around the arena after you weaken him. Oh, and his attacks become much more brutal and difficult to dodge. Good luck - you'll probably need it.
Brachyura as well. Literally. You have to make him do that for him to knock the ceiling out so you can climb higher, and repeat 3 times.
Twenty Bear Asses: Nearly all of the side quests involve killing the living hell out of a certain enemy over and over until you get it to drop its rare item (Kiler Fish drops Raw Killer Fish, Altair drops Eagle Feather, Dark Octopus drops Black Ink, etc.) Only a few of the side quests actually do something different, such as the ones where you have to snap photos of rare enemies for the local paper.
Brachyura, the Giant Enemy Crab after that, fits better. The first two bosses hit hard, but have simple attack patterns. (In fact, the Giant Skeleton comes back as a mook in a later level.) Cue Brachyura, a four-stage boss that renders your best weapons useless (Except Ascis/Axe) because he's beneath you. You have to learn his patterns in order to get to the top and deliver the now-famous finishing blow.
It says a lot about this game that the first stumbling block is a Degraded Boss later.
Well-Intentioned Extremist: Albus did all of the things he did to reseal Dracula so his sister won't have to, and for a very good reason: Had his sister gone through with the attempt, she would have died.
Your Princess Is in Another Castle: Thought Barlowe would be the final boss, think again! You still have a whole castle to explore, along with a few more boss fights. Then again, you probably should have known that the game wouldn't have ended at that point, because the castle is shown on the menu screen.