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Video Game / Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon

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On the night of the full moon, demons called forth by evil alchemists emerge from a land beyond ours and ravage the earth, becoming a threat that spells the end of mankind as we know it. On this night, one man, a warrior from the east, arrives to exterminate the demon threat for the sake of both his friends and the survival of the human race. However, to destroy the demons once and for all, he must find solace and support in unusual allies...

Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon is a Retraux 2D action-platforming game released for the Nintendo Switch, Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox One, and PC in 2018 by Inti Creates, one of the former developers of Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. Curse of the Moon came to fruition as a stretch goal from the Kickstarter campaign that crowdfunded the original Bloodstained project, whereupon the stretch goal promised to release an 8-bit style spinoff title to the core Bloodstained game.


The game draws heavy inspiration from the original Castlevania titles on the NES, especially Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse. As the warrior Zangetsu, you must travel across multiple stages to reach the heart of the demon threat, slaying monsters and enormous bosses alike in your quest. As you defeat massive bosses, you will encounter other adventurers who can be recruited on your quest, and their abilities will support you and give you access to paths and options that are not available to other characters. Choices made during the game will also decide which one of Multiple Endings you will receive.

The four playable characters include:

  • Zangetsu: A warrior from the East with a magically animated arm. Wields the Zangetsuto, a short blade with minimal reach and high swing speed. By acquiring sub-weapons, Zangetsu can consume WEAPON Points to use special attacks, and he can additionally learn new attacks and moves over the course of the game.
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  • Miriam: A youth under the effect of a crystallizing curse. Wields a Whip, which is relatively slow but gives her great range. Miriam can use four exclusive sub-weapons, and has access to a High Jump and Slide abilities that allow her to access areas too high or low for other characters to reach.
  • Alfred: An Alchemist searching for the Liber Logaeth. Alfred is a Squishy Wizard who has a variety of magic spells at his disposal that can be cast with WEAPON Points, but has low health to compensate. His magic spells allow him to cover a wide range of combat and platforming situations.
  • Gebel: The progenitor of the crystallizing curse who harbors deep hatred for both humans and alchemists. Gebel possess a ranged projectile attack that can easily hit airborne enemies, and has the ability to transform into a bat using WEAPON Points. Transforming gives him access to unique attack and mobility options that sets him apart from his allies.

Inti Creates has set-up an official website for the game, which you can read here.

A sequel was announced at the New Game Plus Expo which was later released on July 10th, 2020. Zangetsu, Miriam, Alfred, and Gebel all return from the last game (due to Time Travel), but they are joined by a brand new cast (of sorts, one of them already appeared in Ritual of the Night) and a second playable Zangetsu:

  • Dominique: A mysterious exorcist from the Church who seems to be seeking a special demon. Wields a spear that grants her slower but longer range attacks as well as granting her vertical reach and the ability to Goomba Stomp foes. Her subweapons grant her access to support magic and are comparatively cheap to cast.
  • Robert: An old acquaintance of Zangetsu who hates both demons and the Church. Uses a weak but extremely long-ranged firearm to pick off foes from a distance, and can lie prone to dodge enemy attacks. His subweapons cost high amounts of WEAPON Points but allow him to use extraordinarily powerful ranged attacks.
  • Hachi: A corgi (dog) who rides a Powered Armor. The armor itself is a weapon of its own, being able to punch and crush demons with its sheer power alone. Hachi is also able to traverse and even destroy certain hazards. His special subweapon allows him to consume WEAPON Points to gain temporary invincibility.

    Curse of the Moon 1 tropes 

Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon contains examples of:

  • After Boss Recovery: Defeating a stage boss revives any incapacitated characters and restores all characters to full health. If your LIFE stock is less than 3 lives, the game will also restock you back to 3 lives.
  • Alternate Continuity: Originally meant to be a prequel, when Inti Creates left development on Ritual of the Night, Curse of the Moon was reworked into a standalone entry that is incompatible with Ritual's story.
  • And Then John Was a Zombie: If playing with all allied characters, after slaying the initial final boss, Zangetsu gets corrupted and becomes the new dark emperor while trying to protect his allies. Miriam, Alfred, and Gebel must embark on a quest of their own in a new playthrough to try and save his soul.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • Much like the previous game, getting to the final checkpoint in Stage 8 gives you effectively unlimited lives, either through a respawning 1-UP or a respawning Anthem Subweapon for Dominique.
    • If you have recruited any allies, all of your characters have to die before you lose a life, effectively giving you anywhere from double to quadruple the number of lives the game actually says you have.
    • There is an extra life immediately before the final boss room, ensuring that you won't get a game over if you've gotten that far unless you deliberately avoid picking it up each time you die.
    • The last level has a lot of Trial-and-Error Gameplay with instakills all over, in an unforgiving torrent of abuse. Extra lives are everywhere.
  • Ascended Extra: Zangetsu, who is a supporting character in Ritual of the Night, is bumped into the starring role in Curse of the Moon. Miriam, the heroine of Ritual of the Night, is instead relegated to a party member Zangetsu can recruit. Though she is the playable character for the final battle in Nightmare mode.
  • Background Boss: Valefor and Gremory's second form stay in the background with their weak points (heads) high above, meaning that you'll have to do some climbing to take them down.
  • Bag of Spilling: Despite ostensibly taking place right after the main game, in Nightmare Mode, all the characters have lost any power-ups obtained in the first run and must re-collect them on the second run.
  • Big Bad: For all intents, Gremory is one. She serves as the Final Boss except in one mode, and said mode also happens because of her actions anyway.
  • Bittersweet Ending: In Nightmare Mode, Miriam, Alfred, and Gebel fight the possessed Zangetsu in an attempt to free him from the curse, but are ultimately forced to kill him. This does, however, free Zangetsu's soul, and peace returns to the land.
  • Bling-Bling-BANG!: Valefor is a demon composed of gold coins and attacks you with mountains of coins, his fists, and gold-plated mooks.
  • Bloody Murder: While not as extensively shown as in Ritual of the Night, Bloodless is still the same blood mistress that she is, including wearing a blood dress, dropping a blood bomb, and even causing Rain of Blood.
  • Boring, but Practical: It's possible to get an infinite number of lives by killing the endlessly respawning enemies, since they keep giving you points no matter how much you kill them. The only issue is that you get 100 points per kill, and you need 20,000 points for an extra life, making it a waste of time unless you're really bad (but refuse to play on casual) or are score attacking.
  • Boss Remix: The True Final Boss battle theme against possessed Zangetsu is a remix of his character theme.
  • Breath Weapon: Valac can breathe fire, as well as fire visceral orbs that will explode if you attack them.
  • Charged Attack: In Ultimate mode, Zangetsu can charge his basic strike to perform an overhead swing with extended range. It does around 3 times the damage of his basic swing and takes around 2 seconds to charge up.
  • Color-Coded Characters: Zangetsu is orange, Miriam is blue, Alfred is yellow, and Gebel is dark red.
  • Creator Cameo: The painting miniboss in Stage 7 depicts a stylized 8-bit portrait of Koji Igarashi, donning his signature cowboy hat.
  • Cultural Translation: An interesting case in-game. When going into the 8th Stage in Nightmare Mode, you find that it's gone from the Western-styled gothic cathedrals and stained glass that one would expect to find in such a castle, and see that it's been replaced with an oriental-eseque hell, complete with the demons looking like oriental counterparts to the western demons seen until now. Furthermore, upon reaching the throne room, Zangetsu is seen sipping from a dish before shattering it. This is most likely a sake dish, which thematically fits with Dracula's smashing of his wine glass before beginning the fight.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max:
    • In-game, Alfred can only create one clone of himself and cast three thunderbolts at most, and he can only perform whichever he has equipped. In the Nightmare final boss fight, he finishes off the possessed Zangetsu by creating half a dozen different clones and having them all hit him with a thunderbolt at the same time, albeit after taking a good half minute to cast the spell.
    • If Zangetsu fights Gremory alone, he performs a far larger and stronger version of his Ultimate mode Charged Attack by charging it for far longer than normal while Gremory is busy doing her own attack. "Cleave the Moon" indeed.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Zangetsu is the first playable character, but he's forced to become a demon himself at the end of the "recruit all allies" ending, and, when facing the final boss of Nightmare Mode, Miriam's the only playable character.
  • Denial of Diagonal Attack: Being a Retraux game, this is a given. Having said that, the game is nice enough to provide a few ways to overcome this, such as Anti-Air attacks (Gebel's basic attack, Miriam's triple knife, Zangetsu's chain whip) and Homing Projectiles (Alfred's Voltaic Rays).
  • Desperation Attack: Almost all of the bosses will try to pull something off when their HP is depleted. These attacks tend to kill their users in the process, though. With one exception, they also can't actually kill you.
  • Developers' Foresight: Since it's possible to arrive at Stage 8 without recruiting any allies, the stage's name changes from "Curse the Moon" to "Cleave the Moon" and Zangetsu finishes Gremory by doing just that.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: Miriam's Axe sub-weapon. It costs six WEAPON points for a slow, yet powerful swing; it has a very short range, a second-long delay before striking, and can be interrupted. However, it is the most damaging sub-weapon; in fact, it's so strong that it can One-Hit Kill most non-boss enemies. With enough practice, it can defeat most bosses in a few hits.
  • Double Jump: The "Blood Moon" Soul Art, obtained if Zangetsu kills Alfred instead of recruiting or just ignoring him. In Ultimate Mode, Zangetsu has it from the start, allowing you to have your cake (recruiting Alfred) and eating it too (having "Blood Moon")
  • Duel Boss: As the final boss fight of Nightmare Mode begins, Zangetsu wounds Alfred and Gebel, forcing them to sit most of the fight out and leaving only Miriam to play as. That said, Alfred and Gebel do help at points in the battle, but you can't switch to them, not even to Gebel in the Finish Him! phase.
  • Early Game Hell: The early game is rather punishing due to Zangetsu having short range and not much in terms of special abilities. While largely depending on what ending you want to get (with Zangetsu not killing Miriam, Alfred, and Gebel, but also not recruiting them, leading to easily the most difficult playthrough), doing a playthrough with allies or killing them to get their powers tips things more into the player's favor.
  • Easy Levels, Hard Bosses: While the levels and bosses are more or less balanced normally, Ultimate and Nightmare difficulties qualify as this. Since you're going through the same levels you did before (with extra abilities in the former) and have a grasp of the level layout already, it shouldn't pose much of a challenge. The bosses, on the other hand, hit harder, have more HP, and sometimes modify their attacks, making them harder to dodge, meaning you'll struggle with ones that you couldn't already effortlessly clear.
  • Every 10,000 Points: The game awards an extra life at 20,000-point thresholds, signified by a unique jingle when you reach said threshold.
  • Expy: The four playable characters almost completely match the given roles of the playable characters from Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse. Zangetsu has Grant Danasty's abilities (minus wall climbing), Miriam has Trevor Belmont's abilities and Grant's jump height, Alfred is basically Sypha Belnades, and Gebel is essentially Alucard. Zangetsu also draws inspiration from Getsu Fuma, as he is a red-clothed man wielding a short-ranged sword and in the sequel, gains his jumping rolling slash (though it also draws parallel to Ryu Hayabusa).
  • Falling Chandelier of Doom: No chandelier is safe in the game; once you walk under one, expect it to fall.
  • Finish Him!: The two final bosses get this, both in needing you to manually finish them off, and the opportunity comes when they decide to stop screwing around and use their respective One-Hit Kill attacks. However, specific conditions must be met: Gremory requires you to come alone while Zangetsu requires you to play Nightmare Mode. The latter has a failure requirement (let Alfred get hit even once) while the former is a glorified cutscene that nonetheless lets you deal the final blow yourself instead of just watching it happen.
  • Fisher King: Turns out being a demon lord gives you some leeway on how you mold the castle. Gremory fashions her castle keep based on a corrupted church, complete with stained-glass windows, whereas Zangetsu turns his castle core into something akin to Shinto-style hell, complete with youkai — a locale reminiscent of Getsu Fuma Den.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Once you hit the final checkpoint before the initial final boss, you're essentially rewarded with being unable to get a Game Over. On the way up to the boss room, you see a 1-up in the middle of a cluster of lanterns/candles. Whenever you lose all your party members (the only way you actually lose lives) and are sent back to the checkpoint, it's back again, essentially negating the life you lost and allowing you to keep trying until you win.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In the first four Stages, you can find shortcuts that can't be accessed at that point in the game, since you don't have the requisite party members and you can't take allies back in time with you with Curse of the Moon. This hints at Nightmare Mode, where you play the game again with all of the ally characters already in your possession.
    • In the last room before you face Zangetsu in Nightmare mode, you only find subweapons for Miriam; breaking the subweapon lanterns with Alfred will make them drop large weapon jugs instead of his scrolls. This is because you don't get to control Alfred and Gebel in the ensuing fight.
    • In addition to being a Shout-Out to Castlevania: Rondo of Blood, stage five on the ship foreshadows the opening scenes of Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, which also takes place on a ship during a deluge, and it also uses a chiptune version of that area's music.
    • The game hints at some of Ritual of the Night's major plot twists, primarily Gebel not being evil of his own free will and Gremory's role as a major villain.
    • Crosses with Developers' Foresight if you enter Stage 8 without any allies, regardless of whether you killed them, ignored them, or some variation between the two. The stage's name changes from "Curse the Moon" to "Cleave the Moon" and as shown under Cutscene Power to the Max, that's exactly what Zangetsu does.
  • Four Is Death: The train cart right before the first boss has 4 4 4 4 on it.
  • Fragile Speedster: Andrealphus is very fast and most of his attacks limit your own mobility, making landing hits on him hard. He is one of the bosses with the least health, though.
  • Gangplank Galleon: Stage 5 is a haunted ship on the coast constantly under the deluge of a rainstorm. Once Andrealphus is defeated, the weather clears up and reveals the demon lord's castle in the background, implying you were sailing toward it throughout the stage.
  • Genius Bruiser: Although a relatively subtle example, Bathin, the demon with a brutal combat style, descends upon the party while reading a book, and is fought in a library.
  • Genius Loci: Valefor is not the gentleman-in-tophat demon made of coins, but rather the entire treasure vault itself.
  • Glass Cannon: Zangetsu as the True Final Boss. He has several fast and tricky-to-dodge attacks that can rapidly wear you down, but his health isn't that high.
  • Guide Dang It!: The only hint in-game about the charged slash attack Zangetsu has in Ultimate mode is the final attack he performs on Gremory in the solo ending. Most players find out from remarks on YouTube videos.
  • Have a Nice Death: In Nightmare Mode, if you fail to protect Alfred while he's completing his spell, then the death screen will be Zangetsu slicing through Miriam, Alfred, and Gebel with his massive scythe and then transforming into a non-humanoid skull-like horned demon, all within a blood-red background and every other sprite in black silhouette.
  • Heart Container: In most stages, you can find special items that increase your health or weapon point capacity. However, you need the help of Miriam or Gebel's unique abilities to get most of them easily. Zangetsu on the "kill all allies" path can get two with creative use of abilities and a little luck, and Ultimate Zangetsu can dash double jump to get stage 3's.
  • An Ice Person: Alfred's Frostcalibur is an ice sword that he fires forward, freezing any enemy it hits.
  • Interface Spoiler: The save screen has spaces for all 4 characters. Averted for the collectable equipment; the amount is short for the size of the space, even with the extra health heart in Nightmare mode.
  • Invisible Block: If you ignore the crystal stairs in the final stage and jump off to the right, you can land on an invisible platformnote . Walking to the right leads you to a visible platform where you'll find some health hearts and, better yet, a Voltaic Ray scroll for Alfred.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: Zangetsu, aside from having the largest health pool, meets this. While he's not as good as other characters in certain areas and he doesn't have any unique abilities that let him use shortcuts or get easily get powerups like the other three, he's also not weak in any areas.
  • Jump Physics: Much like the original Castlevania games, you can't change direction in midair once you've jumped. That said, Miriam can still jump over her own body height with ease, and everyone else doesn't have much problem leaping over the horrors that they find.
  • Last Ditch Move: Every boss, with the exception of the Stage 4 boss and the final boss in Normal Mode, has an attack they use when their health is reduced to zero. In the normal game, this can't kill you, but you'll get a 1-up if you dodge it. However it can kill you in the boss rush or reduce your life bar for the next battle. Even Gremory, said Normal Mode final boss, technically has one, but it only plays as a cutscene.
  • Lightning Bruiser
    • Bathin, both metaphorically and literally. Half of its attacks are electricity-based, while the other half involves it blitzing across the room at speeds too fast to see, smashing platforms that are the only safe haven when the floor is being electrocuted.
    • Ultimate Zangetsu can dash and double jump and his Charged Attack deals massive damage in a large radius in front of and above him as well as having the largest health of the playable characters.
  • Literally Shattered Lives: Alfred's Frostcalibur freezes any enemy or destructible object on contact. Striking any frozen object as any character causes it to break and die immediately. The only non-boss enemy immune to this is the ice golem.
  • Locomotive Level: The second half of Stage 1 takes place in and on a moving train, and the boss is the engine.
  • Making a Splash: Focalor. His boss lair is also littered with ice stalactites that will also feature in his attacks.
  • More Teeth than the Osmond Family: Valac. In addition to having three heads, each with massive jaws and an underlayer of teeth on their "chins", its midsection is revealed to be a strung-together series of mouths, all of them with teeth the size of the player characters.
  • Multiple Endings:
    • If you let all three party members join, Zangetsu takes the bullet from the final boss and gets possessed. This unlocks Nightmare Mode.
    • In Nightmare Mode, you play the game again and kill the possessed Zangetsu. This frees his soul, but the afterlife does not look like what anyone expects.
    • If you kill the three party members to absorb their powers, Zangetsu becomes the Dark Emperor and nobody is there to stop or save him. This unlocks Ultimate Mode.
    • If you free the party members but leave them behind instead of recruiting OR killing them, they'll jump in and sacrifice themselves against the final boss, apparently dying, although the text implies they might have survived. Zangetsu survives and is moved to reconsider his priorities in life. Despite being the hardest ending to get, there are no unlocks for this.
    • Recruit one or two characters, killing and/or ignoring the other(s), and nobody is apparently possessed. They go their separate ways, but Zangetsu feels it isn't over.
    • As a variation of the above, if you vary between ignoring and killing the party members,note  you get an ending where Zangetsu feels like it isn't over, with no mention of his potential allies.
    • Ultimate Mode does not have a unique story. Zangetsu has all three Soul Arts from the start, in addition to the aforementioned Charged Attack, but he can still choose to recruit/kill/ignore the party members exactly as in Normal Mode. There are achievements for these ending variations.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The title theme is an 8-bit version of the music used in the original Kickstarter pitch for Ritual of the Night.
    • The hall leading to Bloodless is designed similarly to the hall leading to Death in Castlevania (hammer-throwing knights and flying heads that move up and down in comparison with the Axe Knight and Medusa Heads).
    • You fight two living paintings as bosses, as a homage to Rondo of Blood's Captain's Painting mini boss. And it has the same instant kill where it sucks the victim into itself.
    • Nightmare Mode is a dead ringer to Dawn of Sorrow's Julius Mode: The initial protagonist of the game becomes possessed by dark powers (Zangetsu/Soma), so his friends, a whip-wielder (Miriam/Julius), a staff-carrying wizard (Alfred/Yoko), and an otherworldly person who can shape-shift into a bat (Gebel/Alucard) go and try to save him, culminating in facing the corrupted protagonist as the final boss.
    • Before the boss fight with him in Nightmare Mode, Zangetsu throws down a bowl of sake and shatters it, mirroring Dracula doing the same with his glass in several Castlevania games, such as in the prologue fight with Richter in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.
    • The approach into the True Final Boss' lair is, oddly enough, the inverse of entering Dracula's keep. Rather than taking the stairs into the tallest tower, you take stairs to enter the lowest room.
    • Related to the Invisible Block example, said hidden platform late in the normal mode's final stage is one to similar hidden things in a couple of Castlevania games' final stages, chiefly Super Castlevania IV.
  • Nintendo Hard: It's a Retraux game hearkening back to the king of Nintendo Hard, Castlevania. What did you expect?
  • Noblewoman's Laugh: Bloodless gives one off before the fight with her.
  • New Game+: Nightmare and Ultimate modes somewhat function as this in different ways:
    • Nightmare mode has you start out with all 3 allies on their quest to stop corrupted Zangetsu, but bosses have more difficult patterns and enemies from the later half will find their way into earlier levels, particularly in paths not accessible in other modes. But on the upside, you are able to get an otherwise unavailable life-up in Stage 1.
    • Ultimate mode starts you off as Zangetsu with not only all the Soul Arts obtained from killing the allies, but also a powerful charged slash. And you're able to play it normally, including the opportunity to recruit/ignore allies instead of killing them; however, the story remains unchanged. Boss Difficulty is the same as Nightmare.
  • One-Hit Kill:
    • Like in Castlevania: Rondo of Blood, there's a possessed painting as a miniboss, whose only attack is swooping down on you while it's wreathed in energy. Let it connect, and your character becomes trapped in the painting for an instant death.
    • Since Frostcalibur induces Literally Shattered Lives on any frozen non-boss enemy you hit, it can be used to one-shot anything in the game short of a boss. This also includes the aforementioned painting mini-boss.
    • Gremory is implied to be charging an extreme version of her New Moon attack as her Last Ditch Move if you don't recruit any allies, but Zangetsu cleaves her in two before she can finish. You can't let her finish even if you want to, she just charges it for eternity until you either turn off the game, reset, or finally finish her.
    • During the final part of the battle with Dark Emperor Zangetsu where he readies his giant scythe, if you fail to protect Alfred from the blue flames coming out of the skulls, Zangetsu will swing that scythe so hard that it kills your entire party. Luckily, you only lose a life instead of a full game over.
  • One-Winged Angel: Subverted. The second phase of the final boss battle only sees her upgrade her lunar tiara and unfurl her wings instead of transforming into something else entirely. Dark Emperor Zangetsu also only transforms into a skeletal demon if he kills the heroes with his final scythe attack, meaning you never get to fight it.
  • Playboy Bunny: Strangely enough, some of the enemies in the level "Tragedy of Slaughter" are playboy bunny girls. They attack by high jumping and kicking up miniature shock-waves made of hearts as they land. They even have their own death animation where instead of exploding into a burst of blood, they explode into a small burst of pink hearts. It's possible that they are Lilis, a type of Playboy Bunny-themed Succubus from Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night.
  • The Power of Friendship: During the final battle against the True Final Boss, you're limited to controlling one character, but the others will occasionally stand up and help you to get the chance to attack the boss. At the end of the final battle, Gebel and Miriam (you) will help Alfred to stave off the hungry souls attacking him, allowing him to complete the spell to defeat Zangetsu.
  • Power-Up: In addition to the standard life or weapon-restoring one and subweapons, there's two permament items late in the game: The Gauntlet (increases normal attack damage) in Stage 6 and Armor (take a bit less damage) in early Stage 7. The Gauntlet can be gotten through a mix of methods while the Armor requires better than normal jumping ability. This makes them the only items you can easily get on a "kill all allies" run.
  • Real-Time Weapon Change: The four playable characters can be swapped between on the fly, allowing the player to near-instantly adapt to new gameplay situations.
  • Retraux: It almost practically emulates the NES style word-for-word. The character sprites match the Castlevania style closely enough that one could mistake them for actual NES Castlevania characters.
  • Sequel Hook: After being killed as the final boss in Nightmare Mode, Zangetsu's soul wakes up at the top of a building in a Cyberpunk-esque city. Cue the words "The End...?"
  • Shock and Awe: Andrealphus and Bathin both utilize electricity, albeit differently (Andrealphus uses atmospheric lightning, while Bathin generates his own electricity). Alfred also can utilize an electric spell that shoots towards enemies like a homing missile, which can be found in green lanterns.
  • Short-Range Shotgun: Gebel's bats act like this. They fly upward in an arc, and their range is extremely short for a ranged attack, but he can hit with up to three hits per attack.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Alfred's Frostcalibur and Voltaic Ray are named after Gunvolt's Luxcalibur and Voltaic Chains attacks. Frostcalibur even behaves somewhat similarly and has a similar design to its namesake.
    • The iron maiden room in Stage 6 is reminiscent of the iron maidens found in Gibril's mansion in Azure Striker Gunvolt 2. Incidentally, Gibril and Bloodless both use blood as their main form of attack.
    • During the Nightmare Mode ending, Zangetsu wakes up on top of a building and the camera moves downwards, like an inversion of the opening of Mega Man 2. Furthermore, they seem to wake up in the world of Azure Striker Gunvolt.
    • Stage 5 is one big Shout-Out to stage 5 of Castlevania: Rondo of Blood, right down to having the same mini-boss and same boss arena.
    • Andrealphus, the boss of stage 5, fights extremely similarly to Pegasolta Eclair from Mega Man Zero 4, another game Inticreates made. You even fight the both of them in a windy, rainy scene that's constantly pushing you towards the right.
  • Sinister Scythe: Dark Emperor Zangetsu wields one. You can see it either when you achieve the Bad End, or when you fight him as the final boss of Nightmare Mode, including the end of the fight where he makes an enormous scythe to mow you down.
  • Stationary Boss: Aside from the aforementioned Valefor and Gremory in Background Boss above, there's also Glutton Train and Valac, who stay on one end of the screen instead of moving around like the rest of the bosses.
  • Stealth Pun: Gremory has one. During each of her attacks, the phase of the moon will change in its halo-looking thing. On a New Moon, she'll create an oversized red moon and throw it at you. She's creating a new moon.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Gebel and Alfred both die in Ritual of the Night, while they live in this game.
  • Spiritual Successor: This game has been referred to by fans as "the Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse remake that never was". What makes it funny is that graphics-wise, it's pretty much an 8-bit game, unlike Super Castlevania IV or Castlevania Chronicles, which were indeed remakes.
  • Tactical Suicide Boss: Bloodless, the Evil Is Sexy red lady from the trailers who controls blood, appears as the level 6 boss. She would be almost unbeatable were it not for the fact that, for some weird reason, she summons floating umbrellas that you can use as platforms to reach her, and you can also use them as coverage from her bloody rain attack (it is the only way to avoid it, by the way). To add insult to the injury, the umbrellas can't even hurt you!
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Zangetsu clearly has reservations about his new allies, and only lets any of them live (if recruited) because they share a common goal. Depending on how you interacted with the other party members, either they or Zangetsu may end up sacrificing themselves at the end to save one another, despite Zangetsu's initial animosity.
  • Title Drop: The titular Curse of the Moon, which is both the name of the curse that Zangetsu is afflicted with and a time travel function that allows you to go back to a previous stage. Using the Curse of the Moon doesn't let you take allies or power-ups back with you, but allows you to change the fate of your allies if you want to see a different ending.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Gebel, the curse-progenitor, and the Big Bad of Ritual Of The Night, is a Villain Protagonist here.
  • Took a Level in Kindness:
    • When recruiting his allies, Zangetsu was especially distrusting about their status as Shardbinder (Miriam), Alchemist (Alfred), and curse-progenitor (Gebel) and he even had the option to just kill them on the spot. However, in the end of the playthrough, he apparently grows fond enough to cover them from Gremory's final assault by his own instinct, getting himself possessed and inspiring the three to save his soul. On the other hand, even if he doesn't recruit anyone, sparing them all also results in them doing the same for him instead, and the ending text implies that Zangetsu attempts to learn to trust others more because of that.
    • Gebel as well. His dialogue when recruited by Zangetsu makes him look more bitter and spiteful to mankind than the rest of the party members, not unlike his Ritual self. That said, in the Nightmare Mode, he ends up fighting with all his strength in order to put the corrupted Zangetsu to rest and bring peace to mankind.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: To gain special abilities for Zangetsu, you must kill your party members instead of letting them join. If you do it at the first opportunity (killing Miriam), the next stage will have a warning sign that you shouldn't be such a loner and allows you to go back in time to undo your action. Ignore it in favor of making Zangetsu a super-powerful One-Man Army, and... enjoy the worst ending, you bastard! And even with his new abilities, he cannot get most life and weapon point extensions. Although Cruelty Is the Only Option if you want to unlock the Ultimate Mode.
  • Weird Moon:
    • The moon waxes from crescent to full over the course of the game, despite it taking place over a single night. In Nightmare Mode, it similarly wanes from full to new.
    • In the final battle, Gremory somehow weaponizes the moon, with its phase changing throughout the battle to indicate the attack that's about to come at you.
  • Whip It Good: Miriam uses a whip as her primary weapon. Much like the Vampire Killer of Castlevania, there's a slight delay before it actually attacks.
  • Your Soul Is Mine: If you attack and kill the freed party members instead, you gain special abilities, called Soul Arts. Naturally, how often you do this affects the ending.
    Curse of the Moon 2 tropes 

Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon 2 contains examples of:
  • 1-Up: CotM 2 does away with the score counter from the original game and instead displays a score meter that fills up, granting you an extra life when completely full.
  • Aborted Arc: The Sequel Hook from the previous game is ignored completely.
  • Advancing Boss of Doom: Stage 8 of Episode 1 prominently features Mephisto constantly pursuing the heroes throughout the stage in a ball of deadly flies. You can push the ball back with attacks, but if it catches up and consumes you it's instant death.
  • All Your Powers Combined:
    • The Flying Armor uses all the Subweapons of Zangetsu and his allies as power-ups, such as firing talismans, triple knives, Dragun Blasts, scythes, whirlwinds, and electric orbs, gaining Gebel's bats as options, and using Alfred's spells as temporary enhancements.
    • Zangetsu absorbs the power of his allies to cleave Sariel into half.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • In multiplayer, both players have access to a special ability called Mascotify, which transforms them into an invincible box that hovers around the other player. You can use this to have the other player carry you through a difficult room without taking damage or worrying about losing a life, but if the player carrying you dies you die as well.
    • Much like the previous game, getting to the final checkpoint in Stage 8 gives you effectively unlimited lives, either through a respawning 1-UP or a respawning Anthem Subweapon for Dominique.
    • The Unexpected Shmup Level gives you a more powerful normal shot to compensate for having less lives if you leave for The Very Definitely Final Dungeon with less party members.
  • Astral Finale: In a surprise departure from its predecessor series the final confrontation takes place on the moon.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Speed upgrades in the Unexpected Shmup Level are useful... to a point. Speed goes up to 10, and after collecting multiple upgrades you'll start going a bit too fast. This can make the Flying Armor incredibly difficult to steer, since certain segments require precision movement and having too many speed upgrades will likely make you crash into a wall/moon rock and die.
  • Bag of Spilling: Despite the Episodes taking place in chronological order, the heroes always lose every single power-up obtained in an Episode and start fresh at the beginning of the next Episode. The only exceptions are special Key Items that Zangetsu gets, namely his Sword upgrades.
  • Balance Buff:
    • Alfred's otherwise-unimpressive rod smack has gained a notable bonus effect of now having a chance to recover a WEAPON Point when it hits an enemy.
    • Miriam's Scythe Subweapon recovers a WEAPON Point if she catches it on the way back.
    • Gebel's Dash Attack in bat form now has the ability to Life Drain an enemy it hits.
  • Bait-and-Switch: For the first three levels of Episode 1, the bosses would prepare to do a Last Ditch Move like the bosses from the first game... only for your new party members (Dominique, Robert and Hachi) to pull a Big Damn Heroes and annul the attack.
  • Belated Happy Ending: None of the player characters died (or stayed dead) from the first game, despite there not being an ending where this happens.
  • Big Damn Heroes: If you get the normal ending to episode 2, at the start of episode EX, The original trio of allies from the first game teleport in, find out what's going on and join you giving you the Zanmatou, making what looked to be a bleak journey more hopeful.
  • Cliffhanger Copout: There is no mention of the city that Zangetsu was sent to in the Nightmare mode ending of the first game.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Normal lamps that drop WP and money are orange, Subweapon lamps are purple, Heart lamps are red, Voltaic Ray lamps are green, and Resurrection Anthem lamps are golden.
  • Continuing is Painful: Much like any classic arcade shooter, dying in the Flying Armor cause you to lose all of your power-ups and leaves you with just the standard normal shot. You do spit out one upgrade and a Speed boost on death, but you better hope you can pick those up in time. Not helping matters is that the enemies quickly get tougher the farther you get in the stage.
  • Cutting the Knot: Discussed in the Final Episode, where Zangetsu asks Dominique why they didn't just get the Zanmatou from the outset instead of going through the adventure with the Soul Eraser before realizing that they needed the Zanmatou to keep Dominique alive. Dominique insists that they couldn't rely on finding the Zanmatou that easily, but Zangetsu points out that the Zanmatou was Hidden in Plain Sight in a very obvious side room. Dominique blames her bad eyesight.
  • Deflector Shields: Like the previous game, Alfred's Burning Sphere destroys most projectiles on contact. This also applies to the Flying Armor, as picking it up grants the ability to absorb a limited number of enemy bullets.
  • Denser and Wackier: The fourth hero to join the demon hunters is a dog driving a steam engine mecha. And in the final episode, a spaceship is built to travel to the moon that also has oxygen!
  • Detonation Moon: The Final Episode's secret ending has Zangetsu literally slash the entire moon into halves with a single stroke.
  • Derivative Differentiation: The new playable characters, Dominique, Robert, and Hachi, all have unique playstyles rather than being explicitly inspired by characters from Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse, to set the game apart from its inspiration. The game also has co-op, something that Dracula's Curse didn't have.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: Rapid changing characters to use their respective jumping abilities, such as jumping off a wall as Robert then using Hachi's hovering, can open up shortcuts much earlier than expected. Doing so requires very precise button pressing.
  • Downer Ending: The normal ending of Episode 2 ends with Zangetsu wounding, but not killing the Final Boss, as he feared the Soul Eraser would take Dominique's life as well. This results in the boss using its Last Ditch Move, and while Zangetsu, Robert, and Hachi escape alive, Robert and Hachi are too injured to keep going, forcing Zangetsu to continue alone.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Unlike either of its predecessors in the series, Curse ends on an unambiguously positive note. No characters are killed, the demons are vanquished and the world is saved, and Zangetsu finally ends his curse. To earn this ending, however, the player will need to play through the entire game three times with various challenges and sacrifices to make on each playthrough.
  • Eenie, Meenie, Miny Moai: Stage 6 has several large moai statues in the background, has several as rising platforms, and also introduces leaping moai heads as enemies.
  • Fake Longevity: In order to unlock every scenario in Curse of the Moon 2, you need to play the entire game from start to finish no less than five times. The only things that change in each playthrough are your starting equipment, potential ally characters, and in certain cases stage access and difficulty, although each stage has a large bevvy of branching paths that can be accessed with different combinations of characters to make each playthrough feel different.
  • Gainax Ending: The secret ending when you finish Ultimate Mode without recruiting anyone. With the help of his friends, Zangetsu cleaved Sariel just like he did to Gremory in 1. By doing that, he cleaved the whole moon, the place where they're fighting. And that's it, cue credit roll, no need to worry about how the rest of the group are gonna survive getting cleaved with the moon or how long Zangetsu is going to stay in space without air.
  • Hard Levels, Easy Bosses: Episode EX. The routes that are now accessible thanks to having the prequel allies are actually more difficult than the shortcuts used by Dominique, Robert, and Hachi, oftentimes featuring much tougher enemies and very tricky platforming rooms. On the other hand, you can cheese the hell out of multiple bosses thanks to gaining access to the infamously broken Subweapon combos that the prequel allies have.
  • Hard Mode Filler: Episode 2 is all of the stages from Episode 1, but with tougher enemy placement and harder boss battles. And you're not allowed to use Dominique and her useful utilities. On the bright side, Robert and Hachi are available from the get-go.
    • Episode EX, very similar is unlocked by failing to get the Zanmatou in Episode 2 is a similar go around but with just the original bunch of allies from the first game and the Zanmatou given to you from the get-go.
  • Human Ladder: In multiplayer, you can stand on the back of the other player and ride around on them while still being free to attack and dismount whenever desired. Since the game is balanced around single-player, you can exploit this heavily with certain combinations of characters. This is also how Zangetsu fights the True Final Boss on a solo run: by using the other characters to get to the boss, then jumping on Dominique's back as she uses her Spring Jump Subweapon to ascend to its weak point.
  • Lighter and Softer: None the playable characters end up dead, with the sub-plot being learning how to get along with people with different opinions. And the Big Bad of Ritual is re-imagined as the moral compass!
  • Marathon Boss: Fighting the True Final Boss as Zangetsu alone rewards you with a grueling multi-stage slugfest where you must destroy several skeletal wyrms in a row to get high enough to fight the actual boss.
  • Meaningful Background Event: A couple times the level boss can be seen in the background. You might be wondering why the moon keeps appearing even when Gremory has been defeated...
  • Multiple Endings: Although not quite as expansive as the previous game, certain Episodes have them.
    • In Episode 2:
      • Defeat Mephisto with the Soul Eraser. Zangetsu refuses to strike down Dominique, resulting in the entire party getting attacked. With Robert and Hachi out of commission, Zangetsu restarts his journey alone. This unlocks Episode EX.
      • Defeat Mephisto with the Zanmatsu. Mephisto is destroyed and Dominique is saved, but she discovers that demons from the moon are preparing to attack Earth. When Zangetsu's old allies from their previous adventure arrive, the seven of them team up to save the world. This unlocks the Final Episode.
    • In the Final Episode:
      • Recruit at least one ally and defeat the True Final Boss. With the power of his friends, Zangetsu defeats Sariel, destroys the demon threat, and is freed from the Curse of the Moon. Although no one else may know of their deeds, they can rest knowing that Earth is safe once and for all. This unlocks Zangetsu Select.
      • Defeat the True Final Boss alone. With all of his allies gathered, Zangetsu launches one final assault on Sariel, who is escaping into space. Hachi and Dominique launch Zangetsu into outer space to pursue Sariel, and with the help of his friends and a single slash of the Daizangetsutou, Zangetsu cleaves Sariel and the moon itself into two. This unlocks Single Mode.
  • Mythology Gag: The Final Boss of Episode 2 and Episode EX is quite literally the save room from Ritual of the Night.
  • One-Way Trip: The ride to the moon is implied to be one. The shuttle made to go there is damaged, but not totalled, in the landing and the ending naration never says that they return to Earth and explicitly notes no-one will ever know of their deeds. Either way they're all content to stay by the campfire looking up at the Earth on the moon.
  • Opening the Sandbox: Unlike the previous Episodes, which strictly railroad you through game progression, the Final Episode gives you absolute freedom in which stages you wish to tackle and what allies you want to pick up. It's also the first Episode where you can bring all allies into any stage as long as you've obtained them, allowing you to access special shortcuts that you saw but were unable to access in Episodes 1 and 2, including many of the Gebel and Hachi-exclusive routes.
  • Power-Up Letdown: In Episode 2, you can try to gather three different colored sword to get the Zanmatou, and you're given quite the fanfare for unlocking it. However, doing that means you just Nerfed Zangetsu into his vanilla form, no more 3 hit combo, no more vertical jumping slash, no more superpowered subweapons. It's what you need to unlock the good ending, as it's description is a weapon created to destroy evil without hurting what's good. Perfect for saving someone from the grip off a demon.
  • Recoil Boost: Robert's Dragun Blast Subweapon pushes him back quite a bit when used. The game recommends using it during a jump for a bit of extra distance, but you can also use it while standing on ice to quickly gain velocity.
  • Schizo Tech: Not only are Mini-Mecha somehow existing in the 16th century, the heroes are somehow able to use Alchemical knowledge to build their own starship.
  • Self-Destruct Mechanism: One of the parts for the Flying Armor is a self-destruct button. There's no explanation as to why it needs one.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Dominique's Resurrection Anthem sub-weapon is based on the signature ability of "The Muse" Septima.
    • A type of gargoyle enemy in Stage 7 fires bouncing fireballs and bears quite a bit of a resemblance to Ridley.
  • Taking the Bullet: Much like Zangetsu did at the end of the first game, it's Dominique who takes a dark magic shot to save her allies. Episode 2 is about Zangetsu, Robert and Hachi going to save her.
  • Time Travel: How the previous playable character return in this game. Also explains how you can switch between two Zangetsus.
  • Turns Red: The mech enemies in Stage 7 do not like it when you use Frostcalibur on them. They will stay frozen for a second before breaking free with Invincible Iron and go berserk.
  • Unexpected Shmup Level: In the Ultimate Mode, after gathering all the materials needed, Alfred constructs an alchemist-based battle plane that travels to the moon and fires weapons based on the playable characters' abilities. Cue a top-down plane shooter gameplay similar to Twinbee or Gradius / Life Force.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Despite quite explicitly dying at the end of the previous game's Nightmare Mode, Zangetsu is completely alive and well during this adventure with no mention of how he managed to cheat death.
  • Violation of Common Sense: Episode EX is locked behind the normal ending of Episode 2, not the good ending. You can't "un-obtain" the Zanmatou once you pick it up, so if you got the good ending first, better start a fresh save!
  • Up to Eleven: If Curse of the Moon 1 is an evolution of Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse then 2 is this trope with the inclusion of three new playable characters and a second playable Zangetsu bringing to playable character count to eight and the inclusion of two-player co-op.
  • Weird Weather: The first stage's background features a sea of clouds blowing past rather quickly. Word of God is that the team really likes moving stages but didn't want to repeat the Locomotive Level from CotM 1 so they added a moving parallax background to invoke the feeling of movement in an otherwise static level.


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