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Video Game / Castlevania: Circle of the Moon

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His master captured, his friend turned against him, and worst of all, a dark ceremony to power up Dracula looms on the horizon. All in a night's work for a Belmont...except he's not a Belmont.

In 1830, a woman named Camilla holds a ceremony to resurrect Dracula. A trio of vampire hunters, the aging Morris Baldwin, his son and apprentice Hugh, and Hugh's fellow apprentice and rival Nathan Graves, go to her castle to stop her, but arrive too late. The reborn Dracula overcomes them all, captures Morris, and casts Hugh and Nathan into the catacombs. Lost within the castle and abandoned by Hugh, Nathan must find his way to Dracula's chamber to defeat him and save his captive master.

The second modern new-school Castlevania, following in the footsteps of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Circle of the Moon was the first game in the series on the Game Boy Advance, launching together with the system in 2001. It helped keep the series going after the more recent Nintendo 64 games had been critically panned.


Gameplay consists of exploring the castle in search of artifacts that will allow Nathan to overcome obstacles and push deeper inside, with the ultimate goal of confronting Dracula. Exploration and combat with enemies also yields items that will make Nathan more powerful. The most valuable are a series of tarot-like cards which allow the casting of spells. Although the plot is threadbare and predictable, it is played up for all it's worth, with major bosses that would just otherwise just be random monsters given purpose, if not exactly character.

The game caught some flak upon release for allegedly having graphics so dark and poorly-defined that it was nearly impossible to see what was going on on the screen. In fact, this was the fault of the non-backlit Game Boy Advance, for which Circle of the Moon was a launch title. Later improvements of the hardware have dispelled these criticisms, but it explains the uncharacteristically bright and colorful graphics in the later Harmony of Dissonance. Those critics who could play the game, however, had generally positive things to say.


As of January 2015, you can now pick up the game on the Wii U as a Virtual Console title in all regions.

Circle of the Moon provides examples of:

  • Animated Armor: Thirteen varieties; the Castlevania standby Axe armor, one armor for each of the ten elements, and two bonus armors (basically buffed versions of the Holy and Dark elemental armors) in the arena.
  • Armor of Invincibility: There's two, the first being the "Shinning Armor" which boosts all your stats in addition to its outstanding defense. Its counterpart, the Dark Armor, boosts defense even more, but actually cuts the rest of your stats (it's also simpler to acquire, being an item drop, albeit one from a somewhat rare enemy).
  • Arrange Mode:
    • Magician Mode, unlocked by beating the main game, has you start off with all 20 DSS cards, high magical ability, and reductions to health, strength, and defense.
    • Fighter Mode, unlocked by beating Magician Mode, removes all DSS cards from the game but increases the player's physical strength.
    • Shooter Mode emphasizes the Sub-weapons, giving the player a high maximum of hearts as well as decreasing their heart consumption, but decreases health, strength, and defense. This mode also introduces an exclusive Sub-weapon in the Homing Dagger.
    • Thief mode plays like the Luck mode from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, with an increase to luck in exchange for penalties for every other stat.
  • Artifact Title: The game takes place in Camilla's castle, making the game (along with Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow) one of the few Castlevania titles to not include the eponymous Castlevania / Demon Castle Dracula.
  • Back That Light Up: Basically, playing this on the original GBA is not recommended. Fortunately, just about any other system that plays GBA, from the SP (even the older frontlit SP is an improvement) to the DS Lite, solves this problem.
  • Baleful Polymorph: You can turn into a Ballistic Bone-flinging skeleton with a right DSS combination. There's also an item that you can equip with that same DSS combination that can turn you into a bear.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: While Camilla is a real name, it's generally an accepted fact that it's the traditional Castlevania villain Carmilla who's the primary bad guy.
  • Bonus Dungeon: The Arena; a Brutal Bonus Level filled with Elite Mooks and has the game's best armor waiting at the end.
  • Boring, but Practical: Once you reliably get the boomerang, it'll probably become your most used weapon since it takes high advantage of large enemy-hitboxes.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing:
    • The Devil enemy in the observation tower is probably one of this game's best examples. At least the experience matches. Worse yet, he also appears as the final enemy in the Battle Arena, with heavily buffed stats.
    • The hidden Lilith enemy counts as well, both for difficulty and experience points.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Hugh's increasingly Jerkass behavior is revealed to be manipulation on Camilla's part. Nathan has to Beat the Curse Out of Him in the penultimate boss battle.
  • Brand X: The Hunter's Whip, since only a Belmont can use the Vampire Killer to its potential.
  • Broad Strokes: It is debated whether the game is part of IGA's official timeline. IGA, in a 2008 interview with Nintendo Power magazine (covering Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia) considers this game a side story and not part of his timeline, as it's unmentioned on the Japanese timeline (updated as of 2007's The Dracula X Chronicles), though it was shown in the timeline that came with pre-ordered copies of Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin, minus the description.
  • Cap:
    • Unlike all the other Metroidvania games in the series, your default stats for STR, DEF, INT and LUCK start at 100, quickly go up to 4 digits and theoretically max out at 9999note . In gameplay terms, this doesn't make much of a difference, but due to the way enemy defense works, the damage done to various enemies varies to a ridiculous degree compared to the other games in the series: by the time you're strong enough to beat the game and can do about 100 damage to endgame enemies with a normal attack, you'll do close to 1000-2000 damage to the weakest enemies in the game, when in any other game in the series, it'd probably be closer to 200-300.
    • The experience levels max out at 99.
  • Cards of Power: Nathan casts magic by combining DSS cards dropped by enemies. One attribute card + one action card grants a specific ability.
  • Cartography Sidequest: A couple of the DSS card combinations increase your stats based on how much of the map you've uncovered.
  • Clipped-Wing Angel: Halfway through the fight, Death transforms from his typical robed form into something resembling a gigantic praying mantis. While significantly scarier looking and gaining a Ground Pound attack, this also brings him down to earth, putting him in range of Nathan's entire arsenal, dramatically increasing your damage output.
  • Clown-Car Grave: The floating Mummy-producing sarcophagi, as one holds an infinite amount of them, as well as supplying the page image.
  • Collapsing Ceiling Boss: In a variation to this, one of Iron Golem's attacks will make gears tumble down, since you're fighting him in a clock tower.
  • Copy-and-Paste Environments: Blatantly obvious, at least compared to Castlevania: Symphony of the Night that came before and Harmony of Dissonance that came after. Large stretches of the castle have precious few distinguishing features, giving it a far more repetitive feel more reminiscent of NES Metroidvanias like Metroid or Blaster Master.
  • Cranium Ride: You can turn flying eyeballs into stone or ice and use them as platforms.
  • Cursed With Awesome: The Cursed Ring. Grants +30 to both Strength and Defense, but a pretty massive penalty of -100 Luck. Under normal circumstances, this is rather significant given that item drops are very rare as it is and likely not really worth the excessive penalty to the one stat that increases it outside of boss battles. However, during Thief mode, by the time you're even able to get a Cursed Ring (first chance is from Beast Demons in Eternal Corridor), you're likely to have over 4000 Luck as it is and gain +160 additional Luck per level. As a result, the penalty is peanuts and worth the significant boost to BOTH Strength and Defense given Thief mode's lacking growth rates in those two stats. The only other items to give near that amount up to this point are the Hard Ring (+50 Defense, -10 to everything else) and the Strength Ring (+50 Strength, -10 to everything else).
  • Determinator: Nathan Graves is not part of a legendary clan — in fact, he's a vampire hunter still in training who gets bested by his rival time and time again during lessons — and yet still whups Dracula's ass. That's like a karate student who doesn't even have his black belt yet, going out and beating up Chuck Norris.
  • Disc-One Nuke:
    • You can get the extremely powerful cross subweapon as early as the third area if you explore enough.
    • Magician Mode makes this literal, since you can access late-game spells from the start.
  • Double Jump: Though as per Metroidvania rules, you must earn it.
  • Dual Boss: The Zombie Dragons.
  • Dual Tonfas: The combination of the Mars and Cockatrice cards allows Nathan to attack with these. They can turn enemies to stone.
  • Early Game Hell: At the beginning of the Thief mode, enemies can kill you in about 2 or 3 hits and your attacks are incredibly weak, but as your luck goes up you can easily collect equipable items that more than make up for your reduced stats and max out your healing items. By the end of the game, even the Battle Arena can be easiest to beat in this mode.
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • The first portable "Metroidvania" CV game, and one of the least friendly ones for playing on the go, due to having no Suspend Save of any sort coupled with save points being sparse and well-distanced, as if the developers thought the game would be played exclusively at home with the GBA plugged into an AC adapternote . Thankfully this lesson would be learned come the next game.
    • Circle is also the only portable CV title without an in-game enemy database, currency and shops to spend it at, and a second quest where you get to play as the main character's rival; these were all features of Symphony of the Night that became standardized starting with Harmony.
  • Elemental Powers: The DSS allows 10.
  • Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors: Some elements work better on some enemies and some don't. Since there is no Monster Compendium, this will take a while to learn.
  • Familiar: The Saturn action card allows Nathan to summon various creatures to fight alongside him. These include a medusa head, a fairy, and a fire-breathing bat.
  • Fiery Salamander: Salamander DSS card grants you the use of fire element.
  • Fighting Your Friend: This game has Nathan versus Hugh.
  • Fixed Damage Attack: The Diana card gives your whip projectiles, but the strength of their attack is unaffected by leveling up. meaning at first, they are one hit kills for early enemies and the first boss, but by the end of the game, your normal whip attack will inflict more damage then most of them, although they are still very useful.
  • Frankenstein's Monster: Appears as a common enemy in the Eternal Corridor.
  • Glass Cannon: Combining the Black Dog and Pluto cards will turn Nathan into a skeleton that throws bones. He occasionally throws a large bone that deals an automatic 9999 damage, but he dies in one hit while in this form.
  • Go for the Eye: Final Dracula's sole weak point is the giant eye on its stomach.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: The magic cards.
  • Grimy Water: The Underground Waterway has purple water that hurts you when you touch it. It can be purified with the proper magic item, or just avoided with extremely judicious double jumping and enemy-dodging.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • Some of the magic cards and secrets. Perhaps most egregiously, the Pluto & Uranus cards requires you return to a certain boss room at a much later point in game- when you would have no logical reason to- and defeat a mook that appears to be part of the scenery. And then hope said mook actually drops the card before it melts away. The Unicorn and Black Dog cards are rare drops from enemies far into the Arena—an area with abnormally pumped-up enemies whose later rooms you can only get to after completing those before them.
    • That is before saying that some DSS combinations have effects which don't show up immediately: The simpler DSS combos instantly add elements to your whip or increase your stats, but some other combos only show their uses after you get hit. Worse, some, especially the uber-useful summoning, requires a relatively complex button input, and the game absolutely doesn't tell you all these until you figure them out.
    • The matter of getting Gambler Armbands can be tricky too. While the Scary Candle and Trick Candle (who drop the Uranus and Pluto Cards) can be dealt with quickly using Venus/Thunderbird, even without a Stopwatch, the Mimic Candle who drops Gambler Armbands has 900 HP and 600 DEF, which is rather stacked for something that disappears after a few seconds. The answer is to use the Stopwatch Item Crush to freeze it wholesale, though with the amount of abuse it can take, in Shooter and Thief modes you'll need 120 Hearts just to kill it once. Things are only more awkward for Fighter, as in spite of Fighter's attack being through the roof, their total lack of DSS Cards means that the Stopwatch Item Crush is out of the question, and at a high enough level (such as Level 48) with as much Strength as can be derived from equipment as possible, it'll take six hits to destroy the thing, which is seemingly out of the question because Nathan attacks more slowly while crouched than while standing. The "Guide Dang It" aspect is remembering that you can slide, and that your slide is both just as powerful as your whip and comes out significantly faster. Thus, by using the Stopwatch before exposing the Mimic Candle, whipping it twice as it falls, three more times when it lands, and closing with a slide kick, it's just barely possible to take it down, possibly even with enough leeway to change to Luck gear before the kick if your level is high enough.
  • Harping on About Harpies: Harpies appears as flying enemies that sometimes shoot their feather all over the place, and they are also used later as palette swaps to display succubi and fallen angels.
  • Headless Horseman: Dullahan, who gallops back and forth with its half of a horse.
  • Helping Hands: Evil Hand is a floating undead hand that tries to grab you.
  • Holy Hand Grenade: The Holy Water and Cross subweapons let you smite horrors with holy powers.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: Some DSS cards (Unicorn and Black Dog come to mind) and the Shinning Armor you find at the end of the arena.
  • Invincibility Power-Up: Pluto + Unicorm makes you invincible for a fairly long time, but disables your ability to attack for its duration.
  • It's All Upstairs from Here: The Machine and Observatory towers have you ascending upwards to the inevitable boss battle.
  • Item Caddy: In Thief mode, you gain an incredibly high Luck Stat and not much else, so you will be buried in stockpiled items from fallen enemies, which you'll spam constantly in order to survive.
  • Item Farming: Required if you want certain spells or being up-to-date on your equipment. Thief mode makes this much easier.
  • James Bondage: As Nathan finally reaches Dracula, Morris stands tied to a pole in the background.
  • Jerkass: Hugh appears frequently throughout the castle, giving Nathan a hard time.
  • Joke Item: The Uranus + Black Dog combo summons the Black Dog, who deals four damage to everything on screen and heals you for four hit points. It would be mana cost-prohibitive against the very first monsters, but both cards are found near the end of the game in obscure locations.
  • Lethal Joke Character: The Pluto + Black Dog combo turns you into a skeleton that dies in one hit, but its attack can do the most damage in the game. And such a hit shows up every 4-6 attacks on average.
  • Level Scaling: As the player progress through the game, enemies are replaced by more powerful enemies to keep up with them.
  • Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: At the start of the game, Magician Mode suffers from doing only does half damage and taking double damage, plus MP and MP recovery aren't high enough to spam DSS attacks. But by the end of the game, you recover MP so quickly you can chain even the strongest Uranus DSS combos until the end of time. Did we mention that you're invinicible while using them?
  • Little Hero, Big War: Nathan is completely unrelated to the Belmont clan or anybody they've ever encountered or intermarried with, and it bears repeating, he does not wield the Vampire Killer. But that doesn't stop him from doing what he can to help keep Dracula sealed away.
  • Luck Stat: To go with the Random Drops. The last New Game+ bonus, Thief mode, you earn boosts it through the roof (hitting the Cap before long) .
  • Magic Knight: Nathan Graves qualifies, wielding both a Hunter Whip and magic cards. This game even has a Magician Mode where you have all the cards available from the start.
  • Mana Shield: The Neptune card combinations heal you if you are hit with an element that it is guarding you against. However, in the regular mode the amount of restored health is very small, turning the combinations into this trope.
  • Mercy Invincibility: One of the DSS combinations (Jupiter+Golem) actually interacts with this mechanic, making the invincibility last four times longer.
  • Metal Slime:
    • The Skeleton Medalist, who will run into a wall as soon as you enter his room. He drops the Bear Ring.
    • Masquerading as ordinary candles, the Scary Candles only give you a brief window of opportunity to destroy them before they dissolve into the floor and disappear. They drop the Uranus card.
  • Minimalist Run: Actually rewarded, unbeknownst to most players. Opting to play the game without a subweapon limits your options somewhat, but if you get enough hearts to use an Item Crush without one note , you perform a long lasting, screen wide attack powerful enough to kill all but a handful of bosses in a single cast.
  • Mirror Boss: Hugh Baldwin wields a sword instead of a whip, but he uses your subweapons as well. He also has a variety of special sword techniques which are roughly similar to the DSS enhancements used by Nathan.
  • More Than Mind Control: Implied to have been the case with Hugh, who harbored some degree of jealousy toward Nathan, as Morris chose him over his son to be his successor. After Nathan defeats Dracula, Morris tells Hugh that his training will have to begin anew.
  • Multi-Mook Melee: The Battle Arena, a multiple-room area where you are drained of your MP and thus not allowed to use DSS cards. There are several floors of monsters to fight through, but between floors there's a one-way path to leave the area prematurely.
  • Musical Nod:
    • The title screen and main menu reuse the main menu theme from Rondo of Blood, even including the sound of a door opening when the player presses Start.
    • Honestly, the entire game is a love letter to music from past games. Accompanying the five tracks original to the game, among others, are the intro theme and stage 2 theme from Bloodlines and final boss theme from Dracula's Curse.
    • The Game Over tune is from Super Castlevania IV.
  • Mythology Upgrade: Mesopotamian sun god Adramelech appears as a giant, eyeball controlling, ooze gagging goat thing that is locked into a giant pillory.
  • Necromancer: The second boss is a necromancer (called Necromancer) who sometimes summons skeletons to its aid.
  • New Game+: Every time you beat the game, you get a new mode based from RPG character classes that has a set of bonuses. Beating that gets you another, up to five different modes in total:
    • Vampire Killer - The standard playthrough
    • Magician - You start with all the DSS cards, but have poor physical stats
    • Fighter - You have amazing stats, but can never get a single DSS card
    • Shooter - Subweapons cost half the hearts, plus you can get a homing dagger, and subweapon damage is equivalent to "Fighter" stats.
    • Thief - You get insanely high luck in a game where power is more or less influenced by item drops
  • Nintendo Hard:
    • Unlike Symphony, Harmony, and Aria, this game is far harder and has less forgiving control physics. (You can still steer your jumps, but don't expect to be pulling Mario-esque acrobatics and mid-air dodging.
    • Spread out save points, lack of an item shop, no After Boss Recovery that's been there in practically every other game in the series and excess of low-contrast projectiles on dark backgrounds really ups the difficulty. The game itself is also pretty hard even with lighting.
    • In addition to the aforementioned lack of shops and high difficulty, items are only found as drops from enemies, from every piece of armor (bar the Shining Armor) to the simplest potion. Unfortunately, items are all pretty rare themselves, so unless one takes time to farm for them, healing is a major issue especially with all the damage you'll be taking in some of the bonus modes. Unless you've farmed plenty of items for a while, a tedious task itself, or have a DSS combo that allows for it, your only reliable source of healing is visiting a save room, requiring you to gauge your ability at all times to know when to retreat and try to heal or push on, and there's no guarantee you'll survive either venture, especially given how far apart each save room is...
  • No Sympathy Between Mooks: If one Zombie Dragon is killed, the other will chew away at the corpse to recover its own health.
  • Oddball in the Series: One of the more unusual games in the "Metroidvania" era of Castlevania games:
    • It doesn't have Koji Igarashi's involvement.
    • It's not canon.note 
    • The Jump Physics are somewhat less flexible than in other games.
    • There are no shops and other than the reward gotten from beating The Arena, no fixed locations where you can find new equipment so what few items you can get must be farmed from enemies.
    • There is no After Boss Recovery, making it very possible to kill a boss and then die trying to get to the nearest save point.
    • Dracula's lair is in the center of the castle rather than being at the top, let alone approached by a big staircase coming from the right. Even Symphony of the Night, which has Dracula fought in the center of the Inverted Castle, at least has his series-traditional quarters present in both versions of the castle.
    • The stat numbers are on a pretty big scale; unlike other games where stats cap at 255, stats here are each in the 2000's at least by the endgame.
    • There are no alternate character modes.
    • But in place of alternate mode, there are four New Game+ modes, each of which tweak Nathan's stats and abilities. In other games, the most you get is choosing a difficulty level and your level cap rather than being offered new play styles for the same character.
  • Of Corsets Sexy: Carmilla's top looks to be one as well.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: The game uses the traditional "Kyrie Eleison" chant for its opening menu.
  • One-Winged Angel:
    • To get more power after Nathan beats him, Dracula teleports into a hellish dimension where he turns into a demonic figure.
    • Death (more like Clipped-Wing Angel) and also Camilla (who does this without you fighting her normal form).
    • Necromancer does it too, turning himself into a flying skeletal demon.
  • Orbiting Particle Shield: There's an entire subset of shield powers with many variations on this.
  • Our Werebeasts Are Different: Features werewolves, werebears, werejaguars, weretigers, and more.
  • Padded Sumo Gameplay: One reason this game takes awhile to beat is the fact that, without enhancements (ie, magic), your whip deals crap for damage, and even by the end of the game it'll hit for about 50-60 damage without massive amounts of Level Grinding. Fortunately you have the boomerang.
  • Permanently Missable Content: One of Nathan's DSS Spells can summon a long-lasting storm of rapid homing projectiles, but only if you never got a subweapon during the game (you can't take them off).
  • Perverse Puppet: The floating life-sized marionettes that inflict Curse upon contact.
  • Petal Power: Several of the Mandragora based spells involve attacking with flower petals.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Camilla wears a pink and red dress with frills trimming the sleeves and neckline, and the skirt made of flowing fabric, that is bunched up in the back that makes it look like a Giant Waist Ribbon.
  • Plant Person: Alraunes look like women inside enormous roses, and attack with vines that come from the floor.
  • Poor, Predictable Rock: The Underground Waterway is one of, if not THE most obnoxious areas in the game... unless you have the Neptune+Serpent combo, which grants you immunity to ice attacks that most enemies in there use and makes the place nearly harmless. The difficulty comes from the Neptune card dropping from Ice Armors, which are primarily found in... the Underground Waterway.
  • Power Up Letdown: The Dagger is yet again the weak starter weapon that just gets in the way of progress. Averted once you unlock the Shooter mode, you can make daggers home in on enemies, which can actually be pretty handy. The Shooter also does more damage with daggers than the other job classes (but they still aren't as powerful as your whip).
  • Random Drop: The items and the DSS Cards, the latter of which is the mutant lovechild of this and Guide Dang It!. In Magician mode, at least, you start with all the cards.
  • Rare Random Drop: Thanks to the absurdly low drop rates of items, some of which only drop from one enemy at a rate of <1%. Thief mode helps by starting you out with 1600 luck (and jacking it up close to max pretty quick), but considering that takes four playthroughs to get...
  • Recycled Title: The game was released in Europe simply as Castlevania.
  • Regenerating Health: One of the spells allows you to heal gradually, but you have to stand still for it to work.
  • Regenerating Mana: Your mana replenishes over time, its rate depending on your Intelligence.
  • Respawning Enemies: As with other Metroidvanias in the series, enemies respawn when entering a room. Some respawn even within a room by arriving from outside a room.
  • The Rival: Hugh. Also a Rival Turned Evil, thanks to Dracula's influence.
  • Save-Game Limits: Save points are well spread-out, and there's no quicksave feature. And this is a game for a portable system.
  • Sean Connery Is About to Shoot You: Nathan Graves is about to whip you!
  • Sequence Breaking: You can skip the fights with Death and the Zombie Dragons. Once you kill Adramelech, you can access the Underground Waterway, although the water is poisonous until you get an item from Death. If you know the path through it and some good reflexes (or abuse the Pluto + Unicorn combo), you can make it through to the save point before Camilla relatively unharmed.
  • Sequential Boss: Averted in that while Dracula has two forms the second is in a different room and you are free to go save and heal before you follow him there, unlike most games in the series. Played straight with other bosses in the game, though, like Death.
  • Shout-Out:
    • A very well hidden easter egg gives a shoutout to an obscure Nintendo 64 fighter called Rakuga Kids. In a secret room hidden within a secret room, itself pretty difficult to find, there is a unique enemy, who will immediately run away from you before you can fight it. Figure out how to catch and kill it, and ,if you're very lucky, it will drop a Bear Ring. This item has no ostensible purpose other than lowering all of your stats by 100 when equipped. However, if you equip the ring and then use the Pluto+Black Dog combo that normally turns you in the aforementioned skeleton (and getting either of those cards is a Guide Dang It! in itself), you instead will turn you into a strange green bear with a cannon on its head and its ass that shoots bear-shaped rockets out of the cannons and can drop bombs. It is a lot more agile than the skeleton, and can Double Jump, but still dies in 1 hit. The bear, called Beartank, was one of the fighters in Rakuga Kids.
    • Hugh's rant on Nathan's winning all the time not because of his own skill, but because of the whip he has calls back to a similar rant to the protagonist in Mobile Suit Gundam.
  • Slide Attack: The one special move that you have from the get-go. If your strength is high enough, you can plow through enemies that you'd be able to oneshot anyway. Trying the same on stronger enemies does hurt them, but you will receive Collision Damage.
  • Space-Filling Path: In any room that is more than one screen wide or tall, it is virtually guaranteed that you'll move through every possible screen to get from one corner to the other.
  • Spell Whip: The Mercury DSS card imbues your whip with the element of whichever card it's paired with, causing it to deal elemental damage and changing its attack range.
  • Spider People: Arachnes make their 2D debut here, appearing in the catacomb tunnels after Death is defeated.
  • Standard Status Effects:
    • Poison drains your health gradually for a short time.
    • Curse makes you unable to attack for a while.
    • Petrify make you unable to move for a while, and you must shake yourself free or take tremendous extra damage if an enemy smacks you.
    • Freeze is the same as Petrify, except that you cannot break free manually, but rather wait until you thaw out. Small wonder why those Ice Demons were such demonic spiders.
  • Stationary Boss: One of the mid-game bosses is a huge goat-headed monster called Adramelech that is locked into a giant pillory at the end of the Creepy Cathedral. It can't move, but attacks with summoned projectiles.
  • Summon Magic: Uranus card, generally regarded as the best card in the game. Too bad some dexterity is required to use it, and they don't tell you how it works.
  • Taken for Granite:
    • Enemies like the bronze Medusa Heads and Gorgon (and its Palette Swap Catoblepas) can turn you into stone.
    • The Cockatrice card can add a petrification effect to your weapons or abilities.
    • Using the Jupiter and Cockatrice combination turns you into a statue with low mobility, but immunity to status effects and virtually impossible to knock down.
  • Technicolor Toxin:
    • The poison status effect causes Nathan to take on a purple tint.
    • Poisonous worms, Poison Armors and other poison enemies are purple, fitting the game's focus on different elemental traits.
    • The Manticore card applies the Poison element to your spells, which results in predominantly purple graphical effects.
    • Interestingly enough, antidotes are also represented by a bottle filled with purple liquid.
  • Temporary Platform: Before gaining the High Jump, you have to relay on crumbling floating platforms in some areas. Ice and Stone weapons can also turn enemies into this, which is required in order to get a few Power Ups.
  • Theme Music Withholding: The game doesn't play "Vampire Killer" until the very last area.
  • Turns Red: Hugh, who halfway through the battle, turns on the power of evil and gets an extra skill for each of the sub weapons.
  • Unique Enemy:
    • The Devil is found in only two places in the game - a side room in the Observation Tower, and the final room of the Battle Arena. And thank Christ for that!
    • The Nightmare enemy and her palette-swapped counterparts each only appear once in the entire game, and only in side areas that you have to go out of your way to reach.
  • Useless Useful Spell: The watch subweapon ordinarily only stops regular enemies, slows down larger ones, and doesn't do a thing at all to bosses. There is an item crash spell available later in the game that enhances the watch to make it stop all enemies and even slow down bosses (including Dracula himself), but at this point you have much better spells that actually do damage.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: Cerberus makes up for its weak appearance in Symphony by setting the standards of high difficulty for the bosses of this game. It is huge, the player can't be careless about its powerful attacks and only by bringing the right subweapon can the player expect to do good, constant damage.
  • Wall Jump: The magic item that you receive after defeating Golem allows you to do this, enabling you to proceed.
  • Where It All Began: At the very start of the game, your character is dropped into the Abyss while standing in front of the door to Dracula's inner sanctum. The entire rest of the game is a quest to get the key to that same door, behind which is the final encounter with Dracula.
  • Who Forgot the Lights?: Its dark graphics became something of a running gag until Nintendo added a backlight to the GBA hardware.
  • Wicked Witch: In contrast to the Cute and Hot Witches seen in other Castlevania titles, the witches in this game have large noses and green skin, a la the Wicked Witch of the West.
  • You Have Researched Breathing: You need to find a powerup in order to run. Even though you were seen running in the opening sequence.


How well does it match the trope?

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