Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (Dracula X: Nocturne in the Moonlight in Japan), a PlayStation game released in 1997 (and later re-released in Japan with extra content on the Sega Saturn), has since become regarded by critics and fans alike as one of the highpoints of the Castlevania series. Symphony helped coin the term "Metroidvania", provided the earliest known entry in the series to avert the Excuse Plot trope (well, first released outside of Japan), and contained a number of oft-repeated lines about the nature of mankind that helped seal its place in gaming history.The game begins in 1792 with Richter Belmont banishing Dracula back to Hell. Four years later, Richter disappears — and a year after that, he summons Castlevania in an attempt to resurrect the Dark Lord. The reappearance of Dracula's home causes Alucard, Dracula's half-vampire son, to awaken from a three-hundred-year slumber and enter Castlevania to figure out what drove Richter's actions. During his exploration of Castlevania, Alucard finds Maria Renard, Richter's sister-in-law, who joins up with Alucard to figure out what the hell happened to Richter.Since Metroid was on hiatus at the time, Symphony introduced a generation of new gamers to an innovative gameplay style: Alucard could wander to any point on the map that he wished, but he had to find specific relics to explore new areas. Most of these relics had bosses guarding them, which forced players to level up to increase Alucard's stats. Alucard could also find equipment to change his attacks or cast spells. Anyone who's played any Castlevania game after this one will likely find this formula familiar — back in 1997, however, this game became a Killer App for the PlayStation (whether Sony liked it or not).Symphony of the Night had two major Updated Rereleases:
The Sega Saturn version (released only in Japan) added a number of exclusive areas, new music, and two new bosses — but fans typically consider it inferior to the original PlayStation version due to horrible load times and downgraded graphics.
The PSP game Castlevania: The Dracula X ChroniclesincludedSymphony to round out the Rondo saga. The Chronicles version included additions from both the Saturn and Japanese PS1 versions, including Maria as a Secret Character (although her moveset wasn't as close to her Rondo self in the Saturn version) and the ability to have the Fairy sing to you in the Library. A number of fans didn't like the new voice acting and updated script, though.
What is a trope? A miserable little pile of secrets! But enough descriptions, have some examples!
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100% Completion: The game allows you to explore 100% of the map. This score can then be increased to 200.6% in a "mirror" version of the castle; if you exploit a couple of wall bugs, you can increase this to ~240%.
After Boss Recovery: Alucard receives an item that raises his max HP whenever a boss is defeated, which consequently heals him completely upon collection.
Alas, Poor Villain: Dracula's defeat in the ending of the game pretty much reeks of this. When Alucard basically defeats Dracula, he expresses shock, and upon learning the reason for his defeat, he seems to have an epiphany about the cost of his soul (quoting the book of Matthew), and then asks Alucard what Lisa's (Dracula's second wife and Alucard's mother) last words were, and upon learning them, develops regret that his attempts at avenging her ended up meaning that he didn't fulfill her last wish.
All Swords Are the Same: Averted. Of the approximately 60 bladed weapons in the game at least half of them have significant differences in animations, reach or status effects than any other weapon in the game.
All Your Powers Combined: The animation for the Alucard Shield's special move shows all the shields joining forces, even if you don't have them.
Alucard: His given name is Adrian, but he took the alias Alucard to express that he opposes Dracula, his father.
American Kirby Is Hardcore: The American cover uses a simple picture of the castle, probably because the publishers thought that the image of the Bishonen Alucard that appears on the Japanese and European covers would be a turn off to macho American gamers.
Anachronism Stew: A lot of the food items are stuff that didn't exist in 1797. And Dracula quotes from Anti-Memoirs, a book by Andre Malraux ("What is a man? A miserable little pile of secrets.") that wasn't published until 1967.
And I Must Scream: The fate of the Succubus upon Alucard killing her. "Death in the dream world will set your soul wandering for eternity, demon."
Another Side, Another Story: Richter Mode and the additional Maria Mode in the PSP version let you play through castle as the side characters.
Anti-Grinding: The experience you gain depends on the result of [Enemy's Level] minus [Your Level]. Therefore, grinding against the same types of enemies for extended periods of time will yield diminishing returns, forcing you to seek out stronger enemies. However, this can make grinding ridiculously easy, depending on the order you go through certain areas.
Art Shift: Maria asks Alucard if he has seen Richter Belmont. Maria has a thought bubble depicting the previously seen Richter sprite. Alucard responds with a remembering of when he fought alongside Trevor Belmont in Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse, whom he remembers in the form of the NES sprite.
Attractive Bent Species: If the Bat familliar is active, a cartoon heart flies out of it and it starts to follow Alucard upon turning himself into one: at higher levels, more bats will join in and they all shoot out a fireball whenever Alucard does in bat form. When Alucard turns back into human form, a prominent "?" appears over the head of each bat.
Audio Adaptation: The radio drama: Nocturne of Recollection is meant to be the sequel to Symphony of the Night. The is a drama cd available in Japanese. note which has been fully translated by fans. In case you're wondering.
Auto-Revive: The fairy familiar will automatically use a Life Apple to resurrect you if you have one in your inventory.
Badass Baritone: Alucard in the original version, Dracula in the PSP version.
Battle Theme Music: There is "Festival of Servants" for Normal boss battles, "Death Ballad" for Major boss battles like Death or Shaft, "Enchanted Banquet" for Medusa and Succubus, "Dance of Illusions" for Dracula in the intro, "Blood Relations" for Richter, and "Black Banquet" for the Final Boss fight against Dracula again.
Berserk Button: Unless you want Alucard to give you a Fate Worse than Death, trying to lure him over to the dark side by playing with his memories of his mother is a terrible idea.
Big "WHAT?!": Alucard has this reaction if he's poisoned, cursed or turned into stone. And when he wears the Axe Armor. And in some cutscenes as well...
All of the four endings, two of which are particularly depressing. The two bad ones have the legendary Richter killed off tragically, without letting Alucard be able to see the true mastermind behind all the madness. The other two endings, which are good ones, have Alucard break the curse from Richter successfully, thus saving his life, and they also have Alucard confront the true mastermind, Shaft, as well as Dracula. However, even after preventing the disaster from further poisoning the rest of Europe, Alucard chooses to seal himself again, knowing his blood is cursed with darkness. The Golden Ending is retconned into a Happy Ending by other games, though there are hints in the original that Maria might be able to keep Alucard up at night, she chases after him rather shamelessly.
Blackout Basement: The Spikes Of Doom-lined tunnel that must be crossed with the bat form. Said bat form needs to be upgraded with a sonar ability that will allow you to see in this dark passageway. Once you cross it and step on a lit-up platform at the end, the entire room lights up permanently.
Blade Spam: The Spam Attack from the Crissaegrim sword, which unleashes a flurry of around five strikes every time you swing it. It's not Split-Second as individual slashes are clearly animated and visible, and it's not fast enough to quite be Simultaneous. It is however fast enough to be the most damaging weapon in the game despite having nowhere near the highest attack power.
Blown Across the Room: Some attacks will cause intense knockback to Alucard, especially if his defense is too low. This is required to skip the cutscene in which Death steals Alucard's equipment. Knockback strength based on the % of your maximum health lost per attack. The skip glitch works because Luck-Mode Alucard has a tiny amount of hp, and the enemy used deals enough damage to wipe out all but a 1-4 hp, which results in a MASSIVE knockback (If done in the opposite direction, it'll carry you all the way back out to the castle gate).
Boisterous Bruiser: The Sword familiar, believe it or not. SLICE! And The Demon Familiar. DIE!
Bonus Boss: Galamoth, who is so powerful that in the bestiary, the game doesn't show his HP. Defeating him nets you the Gas Cloud relic, which makes your mist form harm enemies.
Bonus Dungeon: The Floating Catacombs, which is home to the above-mentioned Galamoth. Its completely optional, since there are no Vlad relics up there.
Bookcase Passage: A room is hidden behind a rotating bookcase in The Long Library. It identifiable by the fact that it is the only bookcase directly on your way (and made with 3D graphics), whereas the others reside in the background.
Books That Bite: There are two varieties in The Long Library. The first type merely flies at you and tries to slam into you. The second type opens up and tries to skewer you with an array of magically summoned weapons.
Boss in Mook Clothing: Some of the armors until you level up enough. And Cthulhu when you first encounter it at Marble Gallery, depending on your level.
Burn the Witch!: It is revealed that Alucard's mother Lisa was burnt at the stake, which inspired Dracula to destroy humanity.
But Now I Must Go: After saving the day, Alucard bids farewell and simply leaves in the good endings.
Cherubic Choir: The theme of the Royal Chapel, "Requiem of the Gods," consists of this trope, bells and organ music.
Chest Monster: The fake Save Point. In one room is a real save point and, just across the hall, is another room that looks like a different-colored save point, but will in fact trigger a battle with a succubus.
The Computer Is A Lying Bastard: The original PS1 translation tells that you must use Gold and Silver Rings at the Clock Tower, but the right room to use them is the central clock room in the Marble Gallery.
Confessional: There's a confessional in the Royal Chapel, where Alucard take a seat on either side.
Sitting in the chair on the left side causes the ghost of a priest to appear; he will nod his head as though listening to confession, cross himself, and disappear, dropping the grape juice item. Alternately, he'll laugh, pull the curtain closed, and try to impale Alucard with a half-dozen pointy objects through the screen.
Sitting on the right makes a ghostly woman appear and sit on the left. She will mime a tearful confession and disappear when Alucard gets up. Or laugh, pull the curtain closed, and try to impale Alucard with a spear through the screen. Confessional ghosts are weird like that.
Cute Witch: The cat-slinging Salomes in the Floating Catacombs.
Cycle of Hurting: The Spikes Of Doom are not immediately lethal, but some spike pits are arranged so that you can end up bouncing from one spike to another until reduced to Ludicrous Gibs. This becomes less of a problem later in the game, as you can simply turn to mist, or pause the game and equip the Spike Breaker Armor.
The Peeping Eye is one of the few enemies from Rondo who does not appear during the game as a fightable enemy, but it sometimes appears as a icon in the File Select screen. However, it does appear in the background, watching you as you trek through the hallway between the Marble Gallery and Outer Wall.
Also, the Behemoth which chased Richter in Castlevania X is now laying dead in the background in the coliseum.
Dhampyr: Alucard, son to a vampire lord and a human mother.
Diabolus ex Machina: In Rondo of Blood, Richter killed Shaft twice - once in his human form, and once as a ghost. And yet, five years later he's alive and well, and easily takes control of a Belmont (which raises the question of why he didn't do so the first time), something not even Dracula seemed capable of doing! All because they wanted to have Alucard as the hero of the game. Then again, he may still be a ghost. If you look closely during the dialogue before you fight him, you can see that he's translucent.
Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Yup, and he gave me a Bat Pentagram! FUN FACT: The "Cthulhu" monster was supposed to be the tentacle-faced thing in the inverted castle, but his name got switched around with the demon in the Marble Gallery, which was supposed to be called "Malachi."
Difficulty Spike: The Inverted Castle has one when you first get there, which sticks for most of it. New enemies suddenly do significantly more damage and are more annoying placed, as well as the level design being a bit against you at times.
The combat knife, which is basically one of those modern, vicious looking knives like the kind you can get at pretty much any weapon shop (At least in the US). At the cost of slightly shorter range, it has an attack power of almost twice what you would probably have at that point in the game, and you can attack with it much more rapidly than with most of the other weapons. It stays a viable weapon well into the inverted castle.
Also the jewel knuckles, which you can pick up early in the game with the aid of a hidden elevator.
The Holy Sword is also really good, because of its decent power and more importantly the holy elemental which so many enemies are owned by.
Many people overlook the Holy Rod. It is found fairly early in the first castle, does Holy-Type damage that most monsters in the evil castle are weak to, but it also does blunt damage that most skeletons are weak against. Only a handful of enemies are strong against blunt. Also, the rod itself has a small area of effect around the rod tip itself, especially if you do a turn attack, which makes sure that you will almost always hit your target, which is a lot more forgiving than most swords tend to be. It is a very nice weapon until/unless you get the Sword of Dawn, Terminus Est, Crissaegrim, or perhaps Alucard's sword back. Not to mention, Richter is immune to it, and it is very easy to hit Shaft's sphere with it, so you don't have to worry about accidentally killing Richter, or wounding him, causing him to Turn Red.
The Shield Rod/Iron Shield combo is one of the most powerful in the game. It summons a pair of swords that go forth in a straight line and destroy just about anything in the first castle, even bosses, in one shot. The Shield Rod is available early on, and the Iron Shield can be bought from the librarian for an easty to obtain amount of cash.
Door To Before: One room blocks your path with a wall, and has a conveniently placed cannon on the other side. Obvisouly, you get to destroy the wall and return to the previous area when you get there.
Doppelgänger Spin: The Succubus does this as part of her attack chain, filling up the top of the screen with duplicates.
Down the Drain: The underground caverns, being filled with deep water pits and rushing waterfalls and all.
The Dragon: Shaft, who is pulling the strings behind the scenes is the second-to-last boss in the game.
Dramatic Shattering: After Dracula rhetorically asks about the nature of a man and before answering his own question, he throws his goblet dramatically on the floor.
Dream Weaver: The circumstances of the Succubus fight. She tries to mess up Alucard's memories through dreams.
Dual Boss: Three of them. Slogra and Gaibon from Super Castlevania IV team up early, and Werewolf and Minotaur from Rondo of Blood try it again later. And then there's the Dracula's Curse impersonators, which up the ante into a TRIO Boss.
Dual Tonfas: Shows up as a findable weapon, although it's misnamed as "nunchaku". It hits twice.
Dual Wielding: Alucard can equip any weapon in either hand (save two handed weapons, obviously). Though his swing speed doesn't pick up any, it can be convenient to not have to go into the sub menu if you're using elementally aligned weapons.
Dummied Out: In the PS1 version, a glitch allows you to drop into a normally-inaccessible area that in the Saturn port serves as the entrance to a Saturn-exclusive area. There's even a save point down there. And Richter once had a taunt, a low kick, and a spinning kick that was eventually broughtback.
Dungeon Shop: The shopkeeper is Dracula's librarian and an old friend to Alucard. Note that he won't help Richter and Maria at all.
Dying as Yourself: The Werewolf boss in the Colloseum, and the mook version in the Reverce Colloseum both revert to a more human form before fading when defeated.
Dynamic Loading: Different areas of the castle are connected by dark hallways that are exactly one screen long. By the time the player walks from one side of the hall to the other, the next level has finished loading.
Easter Egg: Try returning to the room where Death stole Alucard's equipment right after you enter the first room of the Alchemy Laboratory. You will meet Slogra and Gaibon. There are many other little secrets as well.
Eldritch Abomination: Alucard specifically says the castle is a creature of chaos and may take many forms. There's also some of the bosses, like Granfaloon (Legion).
Eldritch Location: The inverted castle which turns the laws of physics on it's head. There's a reason why all the outdoor levels have ceilings to walk on.
Empty Room Psych: It is a disapointment to find that the Lesser Demon and the Succubus have no counterparts in the Inverted Castle.
Escape Rope: The Library Card warps Alucard back to the Master Librarian's room even if he's just struck the final hit on Dracula, which is actually needed for the game to record you've visited the final boss room and fought it.(though you can actually use a card as soon as the Shaft fight starts)
Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Dracula loved Lisa dearly, and he expresses remorse upon finding out that his actions go against her last words. He is also implied to have some feelings towards his son Alucard, even though Alucard is his enemy.
Evil Elevator: The elevator in the Outer Wall wasn't made with OSHA in mind. Alucard sounds terrified while riding it.
The Muramasa becomes stronger as Alucard absorbs blood from his enemies. It takes a lot of time, but its attack power can reach the 999 value.
The Sword Familiar levels up as Alucard kills enemies. At level 50, it will change form and lets Alucard wield it. On level 70, it changes its attack pattern, and at 90-99, it starts glowing and is able to do the Sword Brothers spell on its own.
While not a weapon, the Walk Armor's defense power increases as you explore more map regions. It eventually becomes more powerful than any other armor.
Extended Gameplay: Most of the areas in the endgame, since only five bosses are required to be beaten to reach Dracula.
Flaming Sword: There's a pair of flaming swords, the Firebrand and Marsil. Not only does both swords have a fire aura, but with a command input both can generate a wave of flame, with Marsil's long enough to hit something a 1/5 of the screen away.
Flash Step: Alucard Sword has a special attack that allows Alucard to teleport across the screen, turn around, slash twice, and return, all in about a second or less. There's also atleast one katana that allows similar attacks.
Fog of Doom: Alucard can actually change into a playable Fog of Doom once you've found the right items: with the "Form of Mist" and "Gas Cloud" relics, his mist form is invincible and causes damage to any enemies within it, while constantly draining a small amount of MP.
Food Porn: The game includes dozens of different healing food items to find on top of the standard Pot Roast, ranging from fresh fruit all the way up to modern dishes that shouldn't even exist in the depicted time period, each one with a well-drawn sprite and a brief description.
Foreshadowing: Way before you reach the core area of the castle, you might notice that some things in certain rooms' backgrounds are clearly upside-down... Also, the Cat-Eye Circlet. It gives you a huge HP recharge...if you get hit by a cat, of which there are none to be found in the castle...
Fragile Speedster: Richter has special moves that allow him to move extremely fast and Sequence Break like a mofo; a dextrous Richter player can beat the game in less than ten minutes, and this is without glitches. However, he has as much health and defense as a classical Castlevania character (i.e. Simon, Trevor, and his Rondo of Blood self).
Frothy Mugs of Water: In the Royal Chapel you can go to the Confession Room and sit at a chair, and at one time a blue-robed ghostly figure will hear your confession and give you... sparkling grape juice! Grape juice in a confession booth? That may have been the result of the drink being modified from wine in the Japanese version. Hmmm... Does This Remind You of Anything?? Also, the Green Tea was originally sake, and the Barley Tea was beer.
Full-Frontal Assault: The succubus. The official art for her has exposed breasts with defined nipples.
Game-Breaking Bug: By using the Sword Brothers spell in a save room to enable them to open the menu mid-save and rapidly change their equipment around, the player is able to completely screw up the game's save file. Depending on your timing, you might end up screwing up your map and end up with random squares explored and unexplored, respawning items you find lying around and thus being able to collect them twice, or just corrupt your save.
Gemstone Assault: One of the morningstar weapons ends on a gemstone, and then there is the Jewel Knuckles.
Guide Dang It: Getting to the second castle (thanks to an inexcusably misleading clue), or obtaining the beryl circlet, or using the Gravity Boots.
Guns Are Worthless: Subverted with the skeletal Bone Musket enemy. They appear in groups of three and stagger while they're reloading to lay down about one shot every two seconds, but they send you reeling back like any other attack. About the only advantage you have is that most of the time you're above or below them, and they can only shoot straight ahead.
Have a Nice Death: "Let us go out this evening for pleasure. The night is still young."
A Head at Each End: Diplocephalus is a crocodile-like beast with the upper body of a fireball-slinging human woman attached to its tail.
Healing Potion: Poitons are introduced into the series with this game, and they're the most common healing items.
In the Dracula X Chronicles version of the opening, Dracula refers to Richter as "Belmont, son of Belmont".
He has another line in Castlevania The Adventure Rebirth: "As ever, the ally of worthless humans." This implies that he really doesn't care which Belmont it is; they're all interchangeable to him, making his Dracula X Chronicles line make a bit more sense.
Idle Animation: Alucard's idle animation is him standing in a relaxed, yet regal pose. It works with his fairy familiar: she lands on his shoulder and if he moves even an inch, she falls off, complete with "Oof!"
Impossible Item Drop: One sword is dropped by Shmoo monster, which is basically just a bloody, flying burlap sack with a face.
In-Universe Game Clock: The game clock in the menu and the Marble Gallery is actually a 24-hour clock; the game starts at midnight and continues from there. Relevant in that the status buffs of the Moonstone and Sunstone are affected by the time on the clock. In the Saturn version, the current time is instead taken from its system clock, since it has one while the PS1 doesn't.
The Crissaegrim. This obscene weapon makes pretty much everything else in the game obsolete, due to:
Being able to attack while moving.
Doing 4 slashes in quick succession.
High damage output.
Sweeps a large arc in front of you, unlike other swords which only execute a narrow and miss-prone "stabbing" attack.
Being able to attack as fast as you can press the button, with little lag.
Once you get it, you can pretty much button mash through most enemies. Especially if you equip two.
The Shield Rod (or Mablung Sword). Use it and a shield at the same time and you will gain various buffs. With the Alucard Shield, you can shield bash enemies for a ludicrous amount of damage while healing yourself and turning invincible. You can literally walk through any boss if his weakpoint is exposed.
The Muramasa starts off weak, but becomes more powerful every time you hit an enemy and draw blood with it equipped. Through grinding, it can become obscenely powerful.
Alucard's namesake sword is a 'weaker' infinity plus one weapon, but has a fast attack speed, is relatively easy to find, and has a special attack that lets you teleport behind an enemy and strike twice rapidly while invulnerable before moving back to your previous position.
The Badelaire ges stronger the more time you play, one attack point per hour. Leave the game running overnight a couple times and when the clock maxes out at 99 hours, you'll have a very strong sword with high single hit power with very little effort involved.
Many overlook it, but the Dainslef sword has a rather high attack power. However, inputting down, down-forward and forward before attacking gives an even stronger blow...and its attack strength is doubled with Dark Metamorphosis active. Get ready to see some huge numbers!
Sweet Jesus, the Sword Familiar. It's one of the strongest familiars at any rate, but at level 50, you can wield it with its attack power equal to its level, making it deadly at level 99. At level 75, it gets a new, more accurate attack animation.
The Ring of Varda, a very powerful stat-boosting ring that won't drop unless your memory card has a completed save on it.
Another item available only on a 'cleared' file is the Duplicator, an accessory which slightly drains your stats but lets you use items without losing them. Combining it with a Power of Sire will result in you just casually strolling around the castle, killing everything without lifting a finger by using a painting to summon a hologram of Vlad the Impaler shooting exploding stars from his eyes.
Richter's item crashes, particularly Thousand Daggers and Hydro Storm, can take out bosses with no effort at all - also qualify as a disk one nuke.
Informed Equipment: Played straight with most equipment that isn't a weapon or shield (which appear when you use them), but averted with capes, which actually change the color of the cape on Alucard's sprite, and the Secret Boots, which make his sprite a bit taller.
Inn Security: One of the save points is a trap, and triggers a boss fight against a succubus posing as Alucard's dead human mother, Lisa. This is glaringly obvious, because this save point is not the same color as the others in the game, and yet you have to use it to proceed through the game... at least if you want to get the good ending.
Joke Character: One of the armors Alucard can equip turns him into a Axe Armor from Rondo. Sadly, he can't jump in this form and thus can't explore much. Oddly, he can't even throw his axe as you'd expect. What's amusing about it is his idle animation, in which he raises the axe and shouts "Hah! Hah! Hah! Ho!".
Joke Item: The Alucart equipment, not to be confused with the Alucard equipment. Even the shield has the "honor" of being the only shield in the game to have absolutely no effect when equipped with the Shield Rod. A complete set of Alucart equipment does have a use, though: it dramatically increases your LCK. It's still not enough to make it qualify as a Lethal Joke Item, though. There's also Tyrfing, a cursed sword that passes through enemies and does no damage due to reducing your attack to 0 unless you equip enough stat-boosting items and level up enough to compensate for it, and the Saturn version has Sain Irishitajiki, a useless, goofy picture of Alucard, which the game (for some reason) treats as a medicine.
Alucart shield special is likely to be a nod to the Key Item Crash in Vampire Kiss/Rondo of Blood, which hilariously made the character act as if they were going to use a powerful Item Crash, only to drop back down to the ground with a "?" text balloon on their head.
Justified Save Point: It's a coffin because Alucard is a Dhampyr, and he needs to sleep in those too.
K - O
Kamehame Hadoken: The Fist Of Tulkas, a rare drop weapon in the Reverse Library, has two special moves, one a flurry of blows that is activated by a fighting game type combo. The other is a blue fireball that is utilized the same way as entering a Hadoken.
Kukris Are Kool: There's an enemy called Gurkha, who wields what is supposed to be a very stylized giant kukri.
Lag Cancel: Slow attacks and such can be cancelled with the backdash.
Alucard gets a Luck boost when he wears all Alucart equipment at once — this effect is often used to up the chances of obtaining the rarely-dropped Crissaegrim. Also, the "effect" of the Alucart Shield is a nod to the Key Subweapon from Rondo, which was the strongest, yet almost useless subweapon from that game.
The Cat's-Eye Circlet, which protects you from... cat damage. Even so, it comes in surprisingly handy in one of the game's hardest areas.
The Red Rust, a two-handed sword which deals less damage than the first shortsword you pick up at the same time that randomly causes Alucard to freeze in place when he tries to swing it but which can be invaluable against both Doppelganger bosses since it curses them on hit, basically making them helpless and unable to attack.
Using the Alucart equipment while playing in Luck Mode (gives 99 Luck but sets all other stats to 1 or 0, with 35 HP and 5 MP - far below usual starting stats) will allow him to attack extremely fast and do crit damage high enough to kill many bosses in a few hits.
Lethal Lava Land: The Catacombs area takes you so below the ground that at one point you go through a lava cavern. However, the lava is just part of the scenery. And then, in the Inverted Catacombs, there's a part with molten ice in the background.
Level In Reverse: The Inverted Castle, naturally. In both direction travelled, and the flipped geometry.
Light Is Not Good: The divine-looking Amalaric (or Goth Sniper), a minor enemy that looks like a white torso with wings and a bow and is described as a fallen angel.
Lightning Gun: One of the sub-weapons, which has a super attack that causes a full-blown thunderstorm.
Loading Screen: The game lets you play with the loading text, making it swirl and spin all over, or see if you can get it perfectly still before the game finishes loading.
Long Song, Short Scene: The most notable example is Prologue, only played during the intro stage, which has no enemies aside from Dracula and consists of a walk up a staircase and down a hallway, and when you fight Dracula, his own theme plays. Another example could be The Door to the Abyss, arguably the most scary song in the soundtrack, which only plays in the centre of the castle which again, features no enemies except for Shaft and Dracula in the inverted castle version (and Maria, on Sega Saturn's first castle) and is extremely short.
Lost Forever: The bestiary entry for the Mudman, if you kill the Lesser Demon (boss) without waiting for him to summon a Mudman; and Richter's entry, if you save him without hitting him at least once.
Luck Stat: It determines the item drops and critical hits.
Luckily My Shield Will Protect Me: Alucard can use various shields—activating them blocks missile attacks, and some of them can be used for magic attacks with the Shield Rod or Mablung Sword weapons
Magikarp Power: Familiars are, at first, completely useless and watch idly as you get smacked around by monsters. However, if you suffer them long enough, they will eventually level up and become able to kill most enemies before you can (this is especially true of the Sword familiar which you can even wield as a weapon once its level gets high enough).
Monster Compendium: You can check the info on the monsters you defeated in the shop at the library.
Morphic Resonance: When Alucard transforms (except to mist), he still keeps a number of features, including a sword tied at his waist. The bat form goes one step further, and keeps the color of the currently equipped cloak as the color of its wings. The former becomes increasingly odd if you're completing a "naked" challenge run, where equipping things like swords are not allowed...
Musical Gag: If you put the PS1 disc on a CD-player, Alucard would inform you that this disc only has game data. It would then play some music before going into the game data and being annoying static.
"Track one contains computer data, so please don't play it. But you probably won't listen to me anyway, will you?"
Musical Spoiler: You know you've walked into a boss room when the music stops.
New World Tease: The game teases you with the Clock Tower, Colosseum and Olrox's Quarters should you choose to enter them, but you need abilities to get through them fully.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Two of the four possible endings involve an underinformed Alucard eliminating the Belmont bloodline by beating the stuffing out of one extremely possessed Richter. Seeing as the Belmonts are humanity's best and perhaps only hope in the fight against Alucard's infamous father... Oops.
No-Gear Level: Death appears early on to take away every one of Alucard's items, including weapons.
No Hero Discount: Justified. The Librarian is actually in the employ of Dracula, and only helps Alucard at all as he's a greedy bastard. And if you use any of the extra characters, he'll refuse to deal with them at all; Alucard is permissible because he's the Master's son, estranged or not, but dealing with the Belmonts would be outright treason.
Nostalgia Level: The Clock Tower and Castle Keep areas are pretty much the same as they were in Rondo of Blood, with new graphics and some new rooms.
Nothing but Skulls: There are two rooms in in which the floor is made entirely of skulls, and there are huge piles of them in the background. The boss fought in this room is a giant floating ball of corpses that was hiding in said skulls before you entered, and the alternate version of that room, you face Galamoth.
Notice This: The Imp familiar suddenly takes interest in two breakable walls/pushable levers. The hundreds of other secrets in the castle don't seem to catch his interest.
Number of the Beast: Death is level 66, the vampire Olrox and the Succubus have 666 HP, and the Malachi and the Fire Demon give 666 experience points.
Of Corsets Sexy: The succubus wears a corset, albeit one that only covers her waist and leaves her breasts exposed.
Offscreen Start Bonus: It isn't intentional, but if you immediately slide left when the game starts with Alucard, you can access a secret deleted area and increase your map percentage.
Our Werewolves Are Different: One of the enemies is a traditional bipedal wolf-man, and Alucard can turn himself into a regular wolf (as per old vampire myths).
Out-of-Character Alert: Someone Alucard thinks is his mother appears to be executed and attempts to trick him into committing murder against some humans via his mom's supposed final wish. Alucard remembers the event of Lisa's death far too well for him to fall for it, realizing that was something she would never tell him to do, and immediately deduces that "Lisa" was an imposter.
P - T
Player Tic: Constant backdashing, especially by speedrunners.
Polite Villains, Rude Heroes: The opening has Richter barging into Dracula's castle and interrupting the Count's relaxed wine drinking, greeting him with "Die, monster!" He then insults Dracula, to which Dracula replies very calmly and philosophically. Richter continues insulting Dracula until he provokes a fight.
Poltergeist: The Spectral Sword causes this phenomenon, as well as the Ouija board. Once you get the perk that lets you see the enemy's name, you'll occasionally find an actual Poltergeist in the game.
Post-End Game Content: The Duplicator Item and various cheats become available in a new game if you have a Clear or Replay save.
Retcon: In the prologue, Richter and Dracula's conversation occurs before their battle, unlike in Rondo where it happened after Dracula is defeated. The Dracula X Chronicles remake maintains this while adding new post-battle dialogue.
Reflecting Laser: The Crystal subweapon, which bounces around angularly before disappearing.
Remixed Level: The inverted castle has not only levels upside down and new enemies, the backgrounds on some of them are different.
Retraux: In the prologue, the HUD looks like Rondo of Blood's. It also appears when you play as Richter or Maria.
Reverse Shrapnel: Spectral Sword is this trope, as it is an evil sword ghost/spirit that possesses nearby weapons into a circle around itself to attack you.
Rings of Death: The chakram item, which can be thrown to damage enemies.
RPG Elements: The game features stats, meters for HP and MP, experience points, and equipment coupled with 2D platforming.
Run Don't Walk: With a powerup, Richter Belmont can start running by pressing left or right buttons twice. Alucard can get it too, but only in the Saturn version.
Scenery Porn: The game combines 3D graphics and 2D graphics for this effect.
Schmuck Bait: Putting the game disc in a cd player will play a hidden track that starts with Alucard warning the listener that "cut number one contains computer data, so please do not play it" and notes that he doubts you'll listen to him anyways. CD players at the time of the game's release were already smart enough to skip the data track, so it was safe to take the bait. The joke is that back when CD players weren't smart enough, there was often a REAL audio warning at the start of track 1 explaining not to try to play it back.
Richter Belmont: Count Dracula rises but once every century, and my role is over. If I can resurrect him, then the battle will last for eternity!
Secret Character: Richter (and Maria in the PSP version) can be unlocked after beating the game at least once with enough percentage of the map completed, and then starting a new game. In the Saturn version, they are playable from the start.
Self-Imposed Challenge: The 1-kill playthrough, which requires you to kill only ONE enemy throughout the entire game. You're still beating it at 200.6%; you're just limited to killing a puny Blademaster. This is quite difficult, as the mandatory boss fights count as kills. Once you become extremely adept at glitching through walls, it's not terribly difficult, but it will give you a run for your money if you aren't mentally prepared.
Sequence Breaking: Once you get the Soul of Wolf in the Outer Wall, you can use it to get across the crumbling platforms in the Clock Tower and and then traverse it normally, albeit in reverse, to get to what would normally be the final area of the castle. The timing is VERY strict, however, and likely takes multiple tries. You still, however, need to explore the rest of the castle to actually fight the boss, as the stairs are out.
Set Bonus: Equpping all Alucart items (not to be confused with them Alucard items); the Alucart Sword, Shield, and Mail. On their own, they have pitiful stats and no special properties. Put them together and they grant you +30 LCK, greatly increasing the chances of critical hits and rare drops.
Shaped Like Itself: The game features a sword named Gram, the description of which reads "The sword named Gram." It also features a sword named Harper. The description for it reads "The sword named Harper."
The morphing Black Panthers are a reference to Lodem from Babel II. More people probably remember its cameo in Giant Robo. The actual panther sprite is ripped directly from this old Konami game, which featured a cyborg panther that moved at high speeds.
Trevor Belmont is remembered in NES graphic form, and later as an imitation boss along with Sypha and Grant, the other two partners you could meet besides Alucard in Castlevania III.
Galamoth was originally a boss in Kid Dracula.
The sword Mourneblade, which heals Alucard everytime he strikes something with it, is a reference to Mournblade, the sister-sword to Elric's runesword Stormbringer, in Michael Moorcock's Elric saga. Stormbringer, as well as Mournblade, stole their victim's souls, strengthening their wielders in the process.
The Sword of the Dawn, a hidden sword with a special ability to summon minions that attack Alucard's foes, is also a reference to Michael Moorcock's work. His character Hawkmoon wielded The Sword of Dawn, a weapon that summoned warriors to aid Hawkmoon.
The monster Cthulhu is obviously a shout out to H.P Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos
The Shield Rod can create the Shield powerups from Gradius.
The Bat Familiar, when leveled up enough, can summon more bats when you take bat form. These bats move much like Options.
So What Do We Do Now?: Why did the titular castle reappear a mere five years after Richter Belmont banished Dracula? It seems like Richter couldn't go back to a normal life after saving the world from the Prince of Darkness and he wants Dracula back so he can be the hero again. Luckily he's just been brainwashed into thinking this, although you can get a Non-Standard Game Over by killing him.
Space-Filling Path: Zigzagging corridors, long vertical shafts... generally a case of size for the sake of size.
Special Attack: Several weapons have alternate attacks, either activated with back-forward-attack or down-down/forward-forward attack, such as the Shield Rod's powers and the Fist of Tulkas' special moves. Sometimes they're simply more powerful, other times they have interesting or useful side effects.
Speed Echoes: Whatever the vampiric Alucard does, afterimages follow.
Speed Run: It's quite possible to finish Richter mode in less than ten minutes. After the game is beaten once with Alucard, a Time Attack section appears in his menu, allowing the player to see how long it took them to reach the final save room and clear the game.
Spell My Name with an S: the game can't quite decide between American 's' and British 'c' spellings in some areas, leading to the spelling "Reverce" in some cases.
Spikes Of Doom: But with the Spike Breaker armor, you can render them harmless by destroying any spikes you touch. This is necessary to complete the entire game. With some glitches, it is possible to skip the spike breaker entirely.
Sprite/Polygon Mix: Few polygon backgrounds or objects, notably the clock tower before Dracula, and the save points.
Standard Status Effects: Poison (gradual damage), curse (character is unable to attack or defend, they just stagger) and stone (character is petrified, and must wriggle free).
Start X to Stop X: This is essentially Shaft's plan all along. Being tired of Vampire Hunters continuously hunting Dracula, he figured the best way to stop them is to mind control the strongest one ever, IE Richter, and use his own Holy power against other hunters, therby making sure Dracula would never be defeated again.
Stationary Boss: Beelzebub, a stationary, giant rotting corpse on hooks that attacks with flies and maggots.
Summon Magic: The Power of Sire -item summons an image of Vlad Tepes Dracula (the real Dracula) to damage enemies.
Super Drowning Skills: Alucard, being half-vampire and all, until he obtains the Holy Symbol. After which, in a series' first, the player character can freely explore water without sustaining any damage. Note that in this particular game water doesn't kill you outright, even if you don't have the symbol - you will take a lot of damage but it's still possible to jump out. One of the lesser used tropes of vampire weaknesses is their inability to cross running water under their own power, which this weakness is a reference to, though the Holy Symbol being a snorkel is a fun sight gag.
Super Smoke: A relic grants Alucard a skill to momentarily to turn into smoke, which can be used to get through bars and avoid attacks. This is a nod to old legends which state that vampires can turn into mist.
Sword Lines: Featured. One sword's line even has the word "verboten" (German for "forbidden") written on it.
Talking Weapon: Sword Familiar, hwn not equipped, shouts victoriously and taunts enemies (and Alucard himself, at lower levels).
A Taste of Power: At the beginning of the game, you have a ridiculously powerful suit of armor and a sword that makes short work of every enemy. However, when you run into Death, he uses his magic to make all of it go away...unless you deliberately glitch the cutscene to keep your equipment (which is possible on some platforms). This is almost universally considered a Good Bad Bug by the player community.
Teleporters and Transporters: Five of them in each castle. You can 'port to the second on finding the first (per castle), but the rest can only be accessed after you've reached them normally. There is one more in Sega Saturn version, at additional area.
This Is Unforgivable: Alucard confronts a succubus who has been imitating his dead mother just to mess with his head, and conveys his intentions rather stoically before an inevitable boss fight:
Alucard: Demon. Death is too good for you.
Throwing Down the Gauntlet: In the introductory battle, Richter throws down a challenge to Dracula, shouting out all the reasons why the vampire lord is unfit to rule the world. Dracula responds by throwing down his wine glass and a hearty "Have at you!" and the battle begins.
Time Keeps On Ticking: Alucard's initial stats depend on, among other things, how fast you beat the opening battle with Richter. However, the timer keeps going while Richter and Dracula are talking, and you cannot skip this conversation unless you have already beaten the game once. Hence, it is impossible to get the best initial stats unless you are doing a replay.
Time Skip: It has been four years since Rondo of Blood. It has mostly has affected Maria Renard, who has become more mature.
Time Stands Still: The Stopwatch subweapon. It's oddly selective, though — some enemies will be frozen, some will merely slow down and some (including most bosses) are entirely unaffected.
Too Awesome to Use: The game has many number of powerful, one-shot items that most players will hang onto "until the right time". But as the game is relatively easy compared to later Metroidvania-style games (and possesses what many consider the easiest Dracula fight in the series), that time will never come. On the second or later playthrough of the game, it is possible to obtain an item called the Duplicator, making those single-use items infinitely reusable.
Took a Shortcut: Most of the conversations with Maria take place in rooms she really should not have been able to access before you.
Do not hate the humans. If you cannot live with them, at least do them no harm. For theirs is already a hard lot.
Transsexual: An example of the term "newhalf" appearing in videogames is the Frozen Half, an ice magician described as such.
Trick Boss: In one room in the Underground Caverns, you fight a single snake-like creature. It goes down rather easily. In the next couple of rooms, you realise it is just one of several, all attached to Scylla, the actual boss.
Turns Red: The zombiedoppelgängers imitating Trevor, Grant, and Sypha from Dracula's Curse all gain new or stronger attacks when one of their allies fall in battle. Sypha even gains the ability to re-revive Trevor, albeit as a shambling, mostly-dead shell.
U - Z
Underground Level: Underground Caverns, Abandoned Mines, and Catacombs. The Sega Saturn version also has the Underground Garden.
Unique Enemy: Absolutely loads. Often more than one of them appear, just that they only ever appear in a single room in the entire game. There's the dodo that runs when you go into the room, the discus lord that only appears in a single room in the Catacombs, the giant blue hammer enemy (his kin appear again, he doesn't), the mudmen only appearing in the Lesser Demon boss fight, the Alura Une, the slimes (particularly the giant one), Yorick... you get the point. Some enemies appear to be this, but then later in the game they become more numerous as you become stronger to deal with them (notably the demon who is accidentally called "Cthulu"). According to Yahtzee, the philosophy behind the enemy designs seems to be, "Every time you palette swap, A BABY DIES".
Useless Item: The game has plenty of weapons with obscure bonuses, one of which (the Were-Bane) gives bonuses against Were-Beasts. Unfortunately there's only one Were-creature in the game (the Werewolf) and although a mini-boss originally, by the time you get this weapon is encountered as just as a random grunt in one specific area and is not much of a challenge as you're now a much higher level, and there's plenty of weapons with much higher base damage that eclipse the bonus you'd get anyway. On top of this, though, the sword is glitched, in that it does absolutely zero extra damage to them anyway! Mind you, the sword isn't /completely/ useless, as it's QCF+Attack move is a flurry of thrusts in the same vein as the Rapier's, and Were-Bane is stronger than the Rapier. It makes for a good off-hand weapon if you decide to forgo two-handed weapons and shields.
Dark Metamorphosis, which allows our hero to heal with the blood shed by enemies... of course, most things, exploding into flames on death and dying in one hit, or being animated armor or skeletons or whatever else, don't bleed; the most powerful early-game weapons (Jewel Knuckles and spells) won't draw blood from any enemy.
Similarly, an early-acquired weapon, the Red Rust, will curse enemies (preventing them from attacking). Of course, it's slower and weaker than punching with fists, has a random chance of failing to swing on Alucard's part, and only affects the two Doppelganger boss enemies in the game.
Vendor Trash: There's an array of different jewels, which you could only sell to the Librarian for cash.
Video Game Flight: True to his vampire heritage, Alucard can fly by transforming into a bat. This slowly uses mana, and you can only attack if you've collected the Fire of Bat powerup. The mist form can also be upgraded to grant infinite, invincible flight, but it uses mana much more quickly than the bat.
We Will Meet Again: Death says this to Alucard at the end of their confrontation at the castle entrance. Indeed they do, but only if you unlock the second half of the game by freeing Richter from his Brainwashed and Crazy state.
Weird Moon: The moon appears crescent when viewed from the Clock Tower, full when viewed from the outer wall and Olrox's Quarters, and full with a blood red tint when viewed from the castle keep. In all but Olrox's quarters, the moon is also terrifyingly HUGE. And yet, all of these locations are a short walk from each other, with the outer wall, clock tower, and castle keep all being right next door.
What Does This Button Do?: In one area of the castle there's a room with a switch that's out of reach. Once you obtain the Demon familiar, head back to that room. The Demon is curious:
Demon: Hmmm...a switch! Why don't I press it and see...
With This Herring: Subverted. Your character starts out as a level 1 character, but is wearing some of the best equipment available in the game... until Death steals it all from you and scatters it around the game map. One wonders why he doesn't bother to do so again when they re-encounter one another later in the game...
Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Dracula is turned into one by this game, showing he wasn't always evil and even realizes how hopeless his life is.
You Shouldn't Know This Already: Averted. Even before you have officially learned any of Alucard's spells, inputing the button command will perform it and even add it to your technique menu for you instead of having to buy the respective spell scrolls from the Librarian.
Your Little Dismissive Diminutive: What is a man, rhetorically asks Dracula. His answer is not just a little pile of secrets, but a miserable little pile of secrets.