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Video Game / Castlevania: Lords of Shadow

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"Such a sad tale is ours. A tale of heroes who strove to save humanity, only to lose our own."
Gabriel Belmont

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow is a 2010 action adventure reboot of the Castlevania franchise developed by MercurySteam with oversight by Hideo Kojima and published by Konami for PlayStation 3, Xbox360 and PC. Upon its release, the game was the first true 3D Castlevania title since Castlevania: Curse of Darkness for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox in 2005.

Taking place in an Alternate Continuity from the previous games, the story concerns Gabriel Belmont, an orphan raised by the Brotherhood of Light on a quest to defeat the eponymous Lords of Shadow. Earth has been cut off from the Heavens, leaving the souls of the dead forever trapped in the mortal realm and giving unholy abominations free reign to prey upon the human race. In these dark times, humanity's only hope lies in Gabriel fulfilling the prophecy of a pure-hearted warrior who will unite the powers of the Lords of Shadow and restore balance to the world. Gabriel himself also has a personal stake in the matter: his wife Marie was recently killed, and he hopes the power the Lords of Shadow guard, pieces of an ancient relic called the God Mask, will give him a way to bring his love back.


Traveling through ancient groves, mausoleums, forgotten temples, swamps and castles, Gabriel must face all manner of characters both mortal and immortal,note  and come to terms with his own terrible destiny.

Lords of Shadow were followed by Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate released in 2013 for the Nintendo 3DS (later ported to PlayStation 3, Xbox360 and PC), and Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 for PlayStation3, Xbox 360 and PC, released in February 2014. It also had an August 2013 Updated Re-release with the DLC Expansion Packs included, Castlevania Lords of Shadow: Ultimate Edition.

In April 2017, Konami announced they were adapting the Lords of Shadow sub-series into a pachinko machine called Pachislot Akumajō Dracula: Lords of Shadow, featuring an original story and new characters to the Lords of Shadow universe.


The games feature an extensive character sheet.

Castlevania: Lords Of Shadow provides examples of:

  • Absolute Cleavage: Carmilla in human form.
  • Animal Motifs: Aplenty: Cornell and wolves, Carmilla and bats, Malphas and crows, and Gabriel and birds of prey. He switches to dragons near the end of the game.
  • Adaptational Villainy: In the original continuity, Cornell was the hero of Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness. Here, he's the first of the three Lords of Shadow that Gabriel must hunt down. Things get more complicated when Cornell reveals that the Lords of Shadow are the dark aspects of the Brotherhood of Light's founders, left behind when the founders performed a ritual to ascend to heaven. His human self was legitimately heroic, and there is an angelic version of him serving God in heaven, but we don't get to see either one.
  • Adaptational Wimp:
    • Subverted with Carmilla and Death. They've both lost their signature powers (a giant floating skull that weeps acid blood for Carmilla and millions of sickles for Death), but have new powers making them equal to their classic counterparts: lightning for Carmilla, and Death is a powerful necromancer who can control who lives and who dies across the world.
    • Justified in the case of Dracula, since the story takes place before he becomes a vampire. By the end of the two DLC chapters he has gained power equal to what he's supposed to have, if not more.
    • Played straight with Brauner. In Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin he had the ability to create Portal Pictures and even bring his paintings to life, and he was so powerful than he almost managed to steal Dracula's Castle away from him. Like Carmilla and Death he loses his original powers, but unlike them his new powers are nowhere close to equal to what he had before.
  • Advanced Ancient Acropolis: Agharta, former home of the Precursors.
  • Aerith and Bob: Gabriel, Marie, Claudia, Laura... Zobek? You'll notice it fits better with Carmilla and Cornell.
  • Agony Beam:
    • Utilized by powerful vampires, like Carmilla and Laura.
    • Also used by Zobek, by manipulating the Black Knight's gauntlet.
  • Air Jousting: With Satan, no less!
  • Alternate Continuity/Continuity Reboot: Is a retelling of the classic Castlevania continuity.
  • Anachronism Stew: Although this game is set in the year 1047 AD, most of the deceased knights that you stumble upon are wearing Renaissance-era plate armor. Clothing styles and architecture are also of Renaissance era instead of 11th century era. Although it can be countered with the fact that powerful monsters really exist, so sturdier building and smithing techniques came about faster due to desperate need.
  • And Then John Was a Zombie:
    • The three eponymous Lords of Shadow — Cornell, Carmilla, and Death — used to be the founders of the Brotherhood of Light.
    • And then Gabriel becomes Dracula.
  • Anime Hair: Laura, whose hair would have to be twice as long as she is tall to make her crazy bouffant possible.
  • Anti-Hero: Gabriel, who starts out as a Type I, but turns into a Type IV by the end of his journey. A double subversion in that approaching the conclusion of the main game he discards his doubt and becomes an Ideal Hero. That period of noble-minded valiance doesn't last long, though, as he falls from grace to become — astonishingly enough! — an Anti-Villain. note  Ultimately, however, it is played straight, as he returns to being unscrupulous by the time 2 rolls about.
  • Art Shift: The Reverie and Resurrection DLCs feature new hand-drawn cutscenes as opposed to the pre-rendered cutscenes of the main game.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The Exploding Quake skill, which requires a whole slew of button mashing to pull off. note  You will buy this skill just because it opens up the much better Ultimate Shadow.
  • Balance Between Good and Evil: The game subtly gets in on this with the presence of Light and Shadow, which defines not just the magic system and rival groups, but Gabriel's own struggles to overcome the darkness within him after losing his wife.
  • Barred from the Afterlife: The plot revolves around stopping the titular lords, who are — among other nastiness — barring the way for dead souls to Heaven.
  • Beauty = Goodness: Played with. Most of the monsters you fight look fairly nasty. However Carmilla, Zobek, and eventually Gabriel, continue to be good looking... at least in their human forms.
  • Big Bad: Satan is the puppetmaster behind all the events in the game, and its final boss.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The spell separating the Earth from the Heavens is broken and Satan is banished to Hell, but Marie cannot be brought back to life, and is forced to leave Gabriel behind as she passes on to Heaven. Then Gabriel ends up becoming the immortal vampire in the process of cleaning up the final legacies of the Lords of Shadow, forever separating him from his love.
  • Black and Grey Morality: Unlike the main continuity where one side was clearly good and evil, this series is a lot more ambiguous. Dracula has become the Prince of Darkness and terrorizes the world, but the Brotherhood of Light knew what he would become so they convinced his wife to keep his son's birth a secret so said child may one day destroy him. However, it is implied that Gabriel going down the path where he became Dracula was the only way to stop Satan.
  • Blade Brake: Gabriel uses his Combat Cross to stop his momentum when fighting Malphas and Carmilla.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • The direct heavy combo might qualify as this. It's one of the very first upgraded moves you can acquire, and chances are, you will put it to good use. It's easily the most damaging non-magical skill, the combo can be built indefinitely, and it's one of the few moves which strike the ground before you, meaning it is critical when facing skeleton warriors and/or unique sludge-summoning enemies (the Black Knight and Laura's toys). This skill plus an enemy that is distracted/dazed by a fairy equals mincemeat, enjoy.
    • Guillotine. The ease-of-use of this airborne finisher you obtain during the tutorial is not be undervalued, and with Shadow Magic active you can effortlessly bypass the hundred damage cap per hit.
  • Boss Banter: Almost every boss capable of coherent speech is quite chatty during their respective battles. Special mention goes to Pan, who is all but begging you to fight him.
  • Broken Bird: Malphas, whose love was killed by Baba Yaga, and who fell off the Despair Event Horizon because of it. Quite literally, too.
  • Brooding Boy, Gentle Girl: Gabriel and his wife Marie are explicitly stated to be this.
  • Bus Crash: Baba Yaga is killed by Zobek immediately after she sends Gabriel forward on his mission.
  • Byronic Hero: Gabriel overtly recognizes that he has done "questionable things," as he puts it, during his quest... but that doesn't stop him from seeing things through to the end regardless of his angst.
  • Chosen One: Gabriel, the "pure-hearted warrior" spoken of in an ancient prophecy.
  • Christianity Is Catholic: Notably averted. The game takes place six years before the Christianity-shattering East-West Schism.
  • Church Militant: The Brotherhood of Light.
  • Clock Punk: Areas present in the Reverie DLC share this motif. The Founders' Quarters tower even has gigantic cogs sticking out of it!
  • Colossus Climb: The Titan boss battles, which borrow heavily from Trope Codifier Shadow of the Colossus.
  • Compilation Re-release: Lords of Shadow was re-released together with both its DLC and an HD version of Mirror of Fate, plus a demo of Lords of Shadow 2, in November 2013.
  • Continue Your Mission, Dammit!: Claudia does this in the level where Gabriel has to collect the four crystal shards.
  • Creator Cameo: Hideo Kojima voices Chupacabras in the Japanese track.
  • Crusading Widower: Gabriel, whose wife has been killed shortly before the story opens.
  • Cute Mute: Claudia, though she is capable of communicating through Telepathy.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Shadow Magic is not inherently evil, though it does require proper discipline to prevent it from corrupting you...
  • Darker and Edgier: Easily one of the darkest entries in the Castlevania series despite being a reboot, given both the level of Gorn, bucketloads of Black and Grey Morality, and the exceptionally Crapsack World setting.
  • Death of the Old Gods: The story takes place in an era where Christianity is slowly displacing the Old Gods humanity once worshiped in bygone times. Gabriel eventually ends up killing Pan, one of the last surviving Old Gods.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Gabriel at the end of the game is a broken man, having learned both that he killed his own wife under Zobek's control and that the MacGuffin he spent the entire story assembling can't bring her back.
  • Determinator: Gabriel perseveres despite some revelations that would have broken a normal man to bring back his wife. Unfortunately, things go From Bad to Worse afterwards.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Gabriel takes out both Old God Pan and Satan himself. The bestiary does specifically state that such beings are weaker outside of their home domains, however.
  • Dirty Coward: The priest in charge of Wygol Abbey, who hoarded the only thing that could protect the village from the vampires for himself, leading to the devastation of his parishioners. Poetic Justice ensues.
  • Downer Ending: At the end of the Resurrection DLC Gabriel abandons what's left of his humanity to defeat the Forgotten One, shatters his Combat Cross to pieces, and then returns to the human world to become Dracula.
  • Drop the Hammer: Cornell's weapon of choice.
  • Distant Finale: The epilogue picks up nearly a thousand years later, with Zobek attempting to recruit/blackmail the now immortal Gabriel into preventing Lucifer's second coming.
  • Dying Race: Numerous in-game foes and allies belong to a species that are slowly dying out. Goblins and trolls are on the verge of extinction, the very last ogre had taken refuge in Malphas' stronghold, giant spiders are being poached for their precious silk, the Old Gods are being replaced by the Christian one, and dragons died out long before the game's events. The sequel adds harpies, lycans, and vampires to this list, as well.
  • Eldritch Location:
  • End of an Age: The game opens with the Old Gods and lesser mythological creatures slowly dying out. The former is because of the increased spread of the One Faith, and the latter because of the ever-expanding human race.
  • Evil All Along: Zobek, the man that has helped you throughout the entire story, is the Lord of the Dead, and the final of the three Lords of Shadow.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Even after becoming the Queen of Vampires, Carmilla still despised Friedrich von Frankestein's heinous experiments on humans. She spends several centuries torturing him for his crimes.
    • Laura also qualifies, sparing Gabriel when she sees him and Marie embrace, and later enlisting his help in dealing with The Forgotten One.
  • Evil Overlord: The eponymous Lords of Shadow. Gabriel also ends up becoming the evil overlord of the series, Dracula.
  • Evil Plan: The entire plot was orchestrated by Satan to obtain the God Mask in order to ascend into Heaven and usurp God. He was the one who manipulated Lord of the Dead, Zobek, into casting the spell that separated Earth from the Heavens and then manipulated Gabriel into killing his own wife. This leads to Gabriel's quest to vanquish the Lords of Shadow and reunite the three separate pieces of the God Mask, after which Lucifer promptly eliminates them both. Unfortunately for him, Gabriel won't stay dead.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: The final stage of the main story: the three towers of the Lord of the Dead.
  • Evil Makes You Monstrous: The Lords of Shadow all went from normal humans to demons with decidedly monstrous true forms. Subverted with Gabriel, however; he's fairly humanlike even as a vampire, and this is in a universe where a vampire must survive for a few centuries to take human form.
  • Evil Makes You Ugly: The Abbot in Wygol village, Baba Yaga, and Malphas.
  • Eyepatch of Power: You can give Gabriel a Solid Eye from the Extras menu once you beat the game.
  • Eye Scream: Gabriel pokes out both of the Giant Ogre's eyes during their confrontation.
  • Face–Heel Turn: After having to become a vampire with the help of Laura, Gabriel executes the Forgotten One, destroys his combat cross and returns to Earth, where he goes on to become the Evil Overlord Dracula.
  • Fan Disservice:
  • Fate Worse than Death: Gabriel becomes an immortal vampire who will never see his wife again, and is destined to do battle with the Brotherood of Light and his own descendants for the rest of time.
  • Fallen Hero: The Lords of Shadow, and in the epilogue, Gabriel as well.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The fact that Gabriel killed his wife is flat-out shown in a vision in Chapter 1.
    • The increasingly ominous tone of Zobek's narration as the story continues.
    • After several instances of Gabriel fighting alongside Zobek, Zobek's narration says that the vampires' reckoning is coming in the form of a "Knight in Shining Armor with Death at his side."
    • Baba Yaga saying that the "King of the Angels" told her Gabriel would arrive.
    • The priest in Wygol Abbey jabbering on about how the Devil has been taunting the holy man in his dreams about the arrival of Gabriel and Zobek.
    • Gabriel's profile mentioning he may be an illegitimate son of the Cronqvist family. Mathias Cronqvist was Dracula's original name in Castlevania: Lament of Innocence.
  • From Bad to Worse: Gabriel awakens to find he stabbed Claudia in the chest, and it's all downhill from there...
  • Full-Boar Action: Gabriel can capture and then ride around on a giant boar in certain sequences.
  • Genius Loci: A scroll you find speculates that Bernhard Castle, where Carmilla and the other vampires now live, may be a sentient creature. This is confirmed in the sequel.
  • Ghibli Hills: Gabriel travels through a number of picturesque European mountain chains during his quest.
  • Glass Cannon: Reapers, which can kill you in two hits, but also die from two hits. Appropriately, they show up only in the finale of the game.
  • God Is Evil: What fate makes Gabriel turns out to be an antithesis to his belief below, "Where is this brother who is the supposed savior? Where is this warrior of light? More lies dreamt up by the Church to keep us subservient to their will, no doubt. How is it possible that God exists when he allows the murder and killing of so many of our brethren?"
  • God Is Good: Gabriel clearly believes so, and Satan is clearly furious that mankind can ask for redemption.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong:
    • The founding members' of the Brotherhood of Light plan to purify themselves and ascend to Heaven as powerful spiritual beings worked well enough, but the evil they left behind in their bodies grew into the Lords of Shadow, whose lives were tied to their own.
    • Gabriel fulfills the prophecy and defeats the Lords of Shadow just like the Brotherhood of Light and Pan wanted him to, but then goes on to become a more terrible monster than all the Lords of Shadow combined.
  • Good Is Not Nice: The Game.
  • Gratuitous Romanian: "Eu sunt Dracul!" is delivered in a conversation otherwise held in English. It's not even the last line of the scene.
  • Grim Up North: The Land of the Vampires is in a very cold climate that gets little sun. Adjacent to their kingdom is Wygol Village, which is not a friendly haven for the player, but rather an Eastern Europe hellhole constantly under attack by the monsters.
  • Groin Attack: Gabriel knees the gremlins in the groin when he catches them, and then they explode.
  • Ground Punch: Gabriel has a move that involves punching the ground to create several explosions of magic around himself.
  • Haunted Castle: The eponymous Castlevania, though it is never addressed as that until the sequel.
  • Hate Sink:
    • In contrast to his mainstream counterpart who remains a devoted servant to Dracula, Zobek is a sickeningly evil necromancer who manipulates Gabriel into a variety of evil deeds, gloating over his despair and pain. Centuries hence, Zobek showcases he remains as much a monster as ever by feeding an innocent family to Dracula and attempting to string him along for his own purposes.
    • Satan is a self-centered Fallen Angel who feels he is entitled to rule above God, and upon being defeated by Gabriel, threatens him by implying he will rape and torture his deceased wife's soul. After being summoned back to Earth, Satan kills his own son for incompetence and tries to destroy the Earth out of spite for Dracula and Alucard thwarting his plans. In a final act of cruelty, Satan possesses Alucard to force Dracula to fight his son, taunting him throughout their battle with references to child abuse, and ultimately proves himself to be nothing more than a coward by trying to flee from his impending death.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • Marie, Claudia, and Pan all surrendered their lives so Gabriel could continue on his journey.
    • At the end of Reverie, Laura makes Gabriel drink her blood until she is fatally drained so he'd have the strength necessary to survive inside the Forgotten One's prison.
  • Heroic Second Wind: After Zobek offs Gabriel, the spirits of the departed with Marie in charge resurrect him so he can break the spell that separated the Earth from Heaven.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Fighting against hosts of monsters alone and without sleep or much food is not good for Gabriel's sanity, though as The Stoic he doesn't show it much. Two thirds of the way in, though, and Zobek begins to describe him as talking to Marie as though she were still there. To his credit, he's resolute enough to ask for forgiveness when made aware of his unwitting evil acts, yet he immediately reverts back when his long-awaited reward is yanked from under his nose.
  • Hijacked by Ganon:
    • You've been playing as Dracula's past self all along, and you just hijacked the Big Bad title from both the Lords of Shadow and Satan.
    • Of course, that happens after the game is already hijacked once, by Satan. You expect to fight the Lord of the Dead in a climactic showdown that the entire game has been building up to. Zobek appears, reveals that he was Evil All Along and is the Necromancer Lord himself, gives Gabriel a big, winded speech, and even offs Gabriel... and then Satan appears, anticlimactically does away with Zobek, and takes over as the real final boss.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Almost every boss is killed by wresting their weapon away and planting it in their skulls.
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: Squire (easy), Warrior (normal), Knight (hard), and Paladin (very hard)
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Baba Yaga makes some comments about how "tasty" the knights who failed to get her the Blue Rose were during the Music Box level.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice:
    • In the tutorial level, Gabriel impales a Warg on a nearby sharpened log.
    • Cornell is spiked through the roof of his mouth.
    • Carmilla gets impaled on one of the steeples of her own castle.
    • Gabriel stabs one of the Necromancers through its face.
  • Interface Spoiler:
    • A minor example: the life and magic bars start off being able to be filled up to half of their visible length, and thus when you get all the upgrades for them, you have more or less twice as much health and magic you had in the beginning.
    • In the Updated Re-release version on Steam, the achievement description for "Chapter XII" is "Defeat Satan and save the world".
  • Interface Screw: Snow and ice will hit screen in snowy and frozen environments.
  • It Sucks to Be the Chosen One: Gabriel loses everything he loves and slowly gives up more and more of his humanity as the story progresses.
  • Jitter Cam: Not to a huge extent, but the camera is never completely still. It's especially noticeable in the menus which have this effect as well, probably to complement the book motif.
  • Karmic Death: The abbot Vincent Dorin was indirectly responsible for an entire village being killed by vampires because he kept the only artifact capable of killing them to himself. Guess what becomes of him when he is left at the mercy of vampires when the artifact is taken from him by Gabriel Belmont and Zobek.
  • The Killer in Me: Gabriel killed Marie, under the effects of the Devil Mask.
  • Kill the Cutie: Claudia.
  • Kill 'Em All: Gabriel kills around 90% of the entire cast, save for Zobek, who's offed by Satan, and Satan himself. Nevertheless, the latter two do not survive the events of the sequel.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: Gabriel taking gems from his fallen brethren. Scrolls of the fallen also suggest nearly all Brotherhood of Light members loot the dead for such items, as they are too precious to leave behind. Most of the Brotherhood are suitably somber about it. Gabriel specifically kneels and crosses himself over dead knights before searching them.
  • Knight In Sour Armor: Gabriel. After having done so many terrible things to some others — or so he said, he still continues his journey bitterly thanks to the heavy weight the world has placed upon him as well as the thought of his beloved wife.
  • Large Ham/Evil Is Hammy: Most of the villains fall under this. Special mention goes to Cornell, Zobek, and Satan.
  • Last of Her Kind: Claudia, last of the Agarthians.
  • Lightning Bruiser:
    • Cornell, thanks to his Cyclone Boots. Also serves as a Wake-Up Call Boss.
    • Olrox and Brauner, who can be miles away one moment and right in your face the next.
  • Load-Bearing Boss: When Malphas goes down, so does her entire fortress.
  • The Low Middle Ages: The game takes place in 1047 AD.
  • Manly Tears: When Marie's spirit ascends into Heaven during the ending, the uber-badass Gabriel Belmont breaks down and starts sobbing.
  • Mind Screw: The epilogue jumps the story forward to present day, reveals Zobek is still alive, and also that Gabriel has become a world weary Dracula, Prince of Darkness.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Zobek. Unfortunately for him, Lucifer is the true manipulator of the entire game.
  • Milking the Giant Cow: The Lord of the Dead spends almost five minutes prancing around Gabriel, gesturing wildly while gleefully describing his evil plan.
  • Mucking in the Mud: The Dead Bog. Complete with murderous naiads and Quicksand Sucks if you don't get to safety in an allotted amount of time.
  • Mythology Gag:
  • Necromancer: Several, including the third Lord of Shadow.
  • Necromantic: Gabriel, in a rare heroic version, wants the God Mask because it may be able to bring back his dead wife.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Averted. Unlike the original series, where everybody had an American accent, the Lord of Shadows series is pretty good about everyone having a European accent since the game takes place in Medieval Europe. Granted, it seems like they can't quite decide which specific part of Europe (you have characters with English, Scottish, and German accents in the same family), but it's something.
  • Notice This: Corpses of deceased knights carrying scrolls, winches, switches and levers glow bright yellow. Enemies awaiting the finishing blow — or which are stunned and can be mounted — as well. Grapple points glitter blue. The lifebar of bosses who cannot be killed by normal means changes to silvery-white.
  • Not So Different: All three of the Lords of Shadow deliver speeches like this to Gabriel. Carmilla even goes so far to say that Gabriel is even worse than her, since killing the Lords would also kill their heavenly counterparts, which Gabriel was all too willing to do.
  • Older Than They Look: Laura and Carmilla obviously, but also Claudia, whose longevity is a genetic trait of her people.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Possibly getting skewered by Carmilla and, much later, Satan, but this one's obligatory, doesn't seem to deter Gabriel in the slightest.
  • The Only One: Gabriel is apparently the only one who can defeat both the Lords of Shadow and Lucifer. This is justified, as Gabriel has God on his side for the final battle.
  • The Ophelia: Played straight by poor, poor Malphas. Knowing her story, even Gabriel regrets having to kill her.
  • Orgasmic Combat: Just close your eyes and listen to some of Gabriel's grunts. Heck, even the sounds he makes while climbing sound dirty!
  • Our Ghouls Are Creepier: Rather than being undead, the ghouls in Lords of Shadow are living beings descended from cannibalistic humans. Also a case of Shown Their Work, as this is pretty much what ghouls originally were.
  • Our Goblins Are Different: They look more like pygmy chimpanzee-men than the usual gremlins you may be used to. They're fond of throwing around grenades, too.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: At the very least, mention must be made of the Wargs, which are horses that have contracted lycanthropy and are ridden by other werewolves.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: The vampires here are fairly standard, except they can't assume human forms unless they're at least several centuries old. They also have weird Crab-leg-claw-talon thingies protruding from their shoulders in addition to large bat wings. Olrox and Brauner aren't even human in origin; they're demons that Carmilla turned into vampires.
  • Power Glows:
    • Cornell when he transforms into werewolf form, and the stone pillars which hold his power near the end of his boss battle, as well.
    • Pan, whose animal forms are covered in neon-blue runes.
    • Gabriel glows red or blue respectively when he uses Shadow or Light magic.
  • Precision F-Strike: When Claudia is trying to distract the Stone Idol Titan.
    Claudia: Down here, you bitch!
  • The Precursors: The architects of Agharta and their Titans, who were eventually all wiped out by Cornell.
  • Press X to Not Die: Used for grabs, avoiding certain enemy attacks, platforming, and boss battles. They come in a few forms: mashing one of the four face buttons as fast as you can, hitting a shoulder button to avoid falling, twirling the left stick to catch and return things, and timed button presses based on two on-screen circles intersecting.
  • Prophetic Fallacy: When Zobek first unveils that Gabriel must fulfill the prophecy that would “deliver [them] from all evil,” he fails to mention the consequences. Justified, in that neither Zobek nor Satan, were aware of the “completed” version of the prophecy, and that Gabriel would have to trade in his humanity to achieve his goal.
  • Protagonist Journey to Villain: The story is in many ways a chronicle of how heroes can descend into evil and madness, especially in the Reverie and Resurrection add-ons.
  • Rated M for Manly: Compared to the older Castlevania games in the original continuity, especially the 3D games, Lords of Shadow is more brutal, graphic and gory, the plot is Darker and Edgier, and for some reason, the characters' body proportions are mostly large and muscular.
  • Real Is Brown: Averted. Despite its "gritty" art direction, the game uses a wide range of colors, from lush-green swamps and forests, to stark-white glaciers, to dark-blue castles gleaming in the night. Only the Land of the Dead uses a predominantly brown color palette.
  • The Reveal: Zobek is the Lord of the Dead, Gabriel killed his own wife, and Satan is the The Man Behind the Man.
  • Rewarding Vandalism: A series mainstay. Even in this game, breaking pots, crates, and barrels will usually net you refills on your sub-weapons.
  • Right Behind Me: Done to Gabriel by Skeleton Warriors, Dracolich Necromancers and more. Gabriel's reactions range from shocked to Dull Surprise.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge:
    • Gabriel's devotion to destroying the Lords of Shadow is half the hope to save Marie and half revenge on all the creatures of evil that he believes killed her.
    • The Black Knight also goes into one after arriving to find a dead Claudia with one of Gabriel's daggers sticking out of her chest. Cue Unstoppable Rage.
  • Scenery Gorn: Later stages shows how far the influence of evil is displayed, from decaying corpses in an abandoned village to the Land of the Dead, the very definition of Hell on Earth.
  • Scenery Porn: To an absolutely ridiculous extent. A very early level, a bog, may have you remarking upon how gorgeous the foliage is and marveling that the swamp is filled with decaying corpses of green dragons.
  • Schizo Tech: The game is supposed to be set in 1047 AD, yet Frankenstein's laboratory is filled with mechanical devices powered by electricity, a mechanical spider powered by a vampire embryo, and a Tesla coil, in spite of Nikola Tesla not being born till 1856 AD.
  • Sequel Hook: After the credits, we see Zobek is still alive in modern day, Satan is about to return, and Gabriel has become the immortal Dracula.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The Forgotten One from the Resurrection add-on.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Superpowered Evil Side: The three Lords of Shadow to the three founding members of the Brotherhood. Simply put, the founders used a conduit spell to become angelic beings, but their dark sides were left behind as a result.
  • Stealth Mentor: Pan in a sort of way. His boss battle is also a way to teach you how to fight Satan. He even states this in one of his Boss Banter quotes.
    • It also forces Gabriel to realize he's been a bit of a selfish prick.
  • Stronger Than They Look: Zobek, a gray-haired warrior who can fend off enormous titans, packs of ghouls, and dozens of undead vampires all by himself. Being one of the Lords of Shadow, arguably the most powerful one, probably helped.
  • Snow Means Death: The Bernhard castle is constantly snowy and covered in ice.
  • Start of Darkness: For Gabriel it is the ending of the main game.
  • Swamps Are Evil: Goblins, trolls, poisonous bogs... and clingy naiads that have really let themselves go.
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome: Gabriel. Even Zobek states this in one of his late-game narrations, "He's so dark, so beautiful."
  • Telepathy: How Claudia communicates with Gabriel.
  • That Man Is Dead: "Don't you dare call me that! EU SUNT DRACUL!"
  • Theme Tune Cameo: Baba Yaga's music box plays some of the series' recognizable tunes, such as Vampire Killer.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill/Rasputinian Death: The climax of the Carmilla boss battle has Gabriel stabbing her multiple times with a stake, then impaling her on the steeple of one of her towers, then spiked through the heart with such force the ground behind her quakes. No wonder the Combat Cross' stake extension breaks off after that.
  • Tragedy: Lords of Shadow is all about Fallen Heroes, how You Can't Fight Fate, and that all things come to an end.
    Gabriel: Such a sad tale is ours. A tale of heroes who strove to save humanity, only to lose our own.
  • Tragic Dream: Gabriel's hope of resurrecting Marie from death is shattered at the end of his journey, when he learns the God Mask couldn't bring her back after all.
  • Tragic Hero: Gabriel, who loses his wife, his humanity, and in the end his soul.
  • Tragic Monster: The ending reveals Gabriel became Dracula after the events of the game.
  • Tron Lines: Pan's animal forms feature these.
  • Unblockable Attack: Any attack indicated by a white charge-up.
  • Undead Enfant Terrible: Laura, the immortal, temper-tantrum throwing, Agony Beam spewing child vampire who very, very nearly charbroils Gabriel.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: The much-maligned platforming and stealth sections in the DLC.
  • The Unfought: Zobek until the sequel, who Satan upstages as the final boss.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Zobek, who hides the fact he's the final Lord of Shadow from the audience, but doesn't even know himself that he's under Satan's control.
  • The Vamp: Carmilla, who tries to seduce Gabriel with promises of pleasure and power before their fight.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: In some sequences you're free to endlessly light enemies on fire, jump on monsters' backs and snap their necks, turn them into living bombs, and plenty of other horrible things.
  • Villain Protagonist: The Distant Finale reveals Gabriel became Dracula after the events of the game, and the sequel further confirm his status as one such character. How well he dons that mantle is a whole another matter, however.
  • We Can Rule Together:
    • Carmilla makes this offer to Gabriel, only to go in a rage when you turn her down. Satan also offers this to Gabriel, but is quick to go back on the deal when Gabriel death glares him.
  • Wham Line: "Don't you dare call me that! EU SUNT DRACUL!"
  • Wham Shot: In the epilogue, Gabriel and Zobek fight briefly before Zobek discards his cloak to reveal a business suit. He pushes Gabriel out of a window, and Gabriel falls into a modern day city.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: It's not wholly clear what happened to the Devil Mask after Satan had been defeated. Gabriel holds onto it in the intro cinematic of Reverie, but it's never elaborated on whenever he got rid of it or kept it.
  • Whip Sword: The Silver Warrior uses one during his Boss Battle.
  • Whispering Ghosts:
    • Disembodied voices can be heard during the Dead Bog stage.
    • The souls of the dead that engulf Gabriel once he gets fried by the Lord of the Dead's Agony Beam also whisper things like, "Your time has come!", "Stay with us!" and "Come with us!"
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Gabriel, in the epilogue, lives to modern times as the immortal Dracula. Unfortunately, it seems all he really wants to do is die. Zobek tries to recruit him to prevent Satan's return, and promises to free Gabriel of his immortality if the fallen hero does.
  • Wicked Witch: Baba Yaga. She sends Gabriel on an errand to recover a special flower that would make her a Hot Witch, but it's never revealed if it worked.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Dracula.
  • Worthy Opponent: The Forgotten One calls Gabriel this after their brawl.
  • Yin-Yang Bomb: Gabriel gets a pair of pendants that let him use Light and Shadow magic in battle. Switching between the two on the fly can cause some truly devastating combos.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness:
    • This is how Gabriel deals with every mount that isn't a shapeshifted Pan. The spiked chain Rinaldo Gandolfi created was for such a purpose.
    • You can also do this to your own white pieces after winning the Vampire Wargame.
    • Also done by the Big Bad, Satan, once Zobek is no longer necessary.


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