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Returning to life time and again since the ancient middle ages, the evil lord Dracula has driven people to terror. Each time Dracula returned from the dead, the Belmont clan fought him in shadows, wielding the holy whip. Through their efforts, humanity avoided darkness, securing prosperity.

But early in the 19th century, having lost their ability to resist the darkness, those in positions of power at the time began to search for new ways to counter Dracula. Our organization, Ecclesia, was born then as one of those countermeasures. Many organizations were established with the same goal, and day after day they conducted their studies diligently, but each was dissolved when they failed to produce satisfactory results.

But that was when Barlowe, the leader of Ecclesia, finally made a surprising breakthrough that could stand up against Dracula.
Opening Narration

Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia is a 2008 Metroidvania game published Konami. The third and final Castlevania game released for the Nintendo DS after Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow and Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin, it was the last Metroidvania type installment before the main timeline was put on hiatus and rebooted with Castlevania: Lords of Shadow.

The story takes place in the middle of the 19th century, several decades after Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. Dracula has been sealed, but evil is still afoot. With no Belmont in sight, the church has been desperately trying to find a way to destroy Dracula once and for all that doesn't involve the Vampire Killer whip.

Enter the Order of Ecclesia, whose glyph-based magic system has made great progress. They have discovered a spell, Dominus, that has the power to destroy Dracula once and for all. Shanoa, under her master Barlowe's order, plans to absorb the glyph and destroy Dracula.

Unfortunately, Albus, a member of Ecclesia and a close friend of Shanoa, chooses then to interrupt the ceremony; he attacks Barlowe and runs off with Dominus. Shanoa recovers a few weeks later, having lost her memories and her emotions as a result of the incident, and learns Albus attacked Wygol Village and kidnapped all the villagers. Barlowe sends her off to rescue the villagers, recover Dominus, and fulfill Mankind's Greatest Wish.

Compared to the other DS games, Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow and Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin, Order of Ecclesia is much harder. Shanoa cannot take many hits, her ability to attack is limited by her MP (granted, it fills up much more quickly than it has in previous games, but it's still a major limiting factor), and leveling up doesn't make hard enemies suddenly trivial. Shanoa can absorb glyphs from fallen foes and can combine them for stronger attacks. Another dramatic change is the map structure: Rather than making use of large, sprawling maps, the game primarily employs much smaller maps that focus on action rather than exploration.


Order Of Ecclesia provides examples of:

  • Absurdly High Level Cap: Unlockable by beating the game on Hard Mode lv1, which increases it to 255, when normally you'd be somewhere around 60-70 at most at the end of the game — and leveling up past around 80 requires multiple playthroughs per level.
  • Actionized Sequel: Compared to the previous "Metroidvania" titles, this game has more emphasis on combat, with smaller, less spacious maps (in fact, a few areas' maps are just straight horizontal lines) and more difficult enemies that you can't just defeat by whacking with no regards to your defense.
  • Adaptational Late Appearance: The Peeping Eye enemies are usually one of the first few you'll run into in a Castlevania game, but in this game, they appear at the final thirds of the game in the entrance of Dracula's Castle.
  • A.I. Breaker: Albus has only one attack to hit Shanoa when airborne, an arcing flame kick that has a fair bit of startup and ending lag. If you time your jumps well, you can prevent him from using any other attack while taking advantage of his downtime to land hits on him, and if you get him facing close to a wall, he will be effectively immobilized. This works even on Hard mode, where his attacks come out much faster.
  • Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: Shanoa. Long dark hair with a personality to match (although we don't know what she was like pre-Emotionless Girl status).
  • Altum Videtur: Most of the glyphs in the game are given Latin names. Several of the game's locales are also given Latin names, such as Somnus Reef and Tristis Pass.
  • Ambiguous Time Period: A minor example, but the official chronology places the game before Dracula in 1897 with the only statement of when this takes place being 18??. It could be the Georgian or the Victorian Era.
  • Anachronism Stew: Try modern-style prison islands and evil Robot Buddies in the mid-1800s.
  • Author Avatar: Koji Igarashi designed Shanoa as an envisioning of his wife, while he designed himself as Albus.
  • Arrange Mode: Albus mode gives you control of Albus, who uses a magic gun and can teleport using the touch screen.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Surprisingly enough, the potions (at least, in normal mode, after you rescue Aeon). While they're useful for healing damage (and, of course, the more expensive potions heal more), they're less cost-effective than Aeon's food items. The only one that's useful is the Super Potion, and that only if you've grinded out so much that Aeon's foods aren't enough, which by then you probably don't need the healing.
  • Ax-Crazy: Barlowe is revealed to not be nearly stable as his status as Shano's mentor would suggest. He is actually Dracula's mad worshipper, and it's also heavily implied that he was like this all along, and that his betraying Shanoa was due to his insanity, as, during his Teleport Spam attack, he says, with each punch, "HOW DARE YOU...! EVEN FORGETTING... WHO RAISED YOU...! YOU... STUPID DISCIPLE!!"
  • Barrage of Bats: During Dracula's second phase, he will open his arms and release a swarm of bats from his cape.
  • Battle Ballgown: Shanoa's dress has armor on the gauntlets, leggings, bodice, and down the sides of her skirt.
  • BFS: Taken to ridiculous extremes with glyph unions, in which the weapon can be at least twice as wide as Shanoa, and 3 times as tall.
  • Benevolent Architecture: The boss fight against Brachyura involves climbing up a shaft in a long platforming sequence, luring the boss into breaking three stone barriers in the way up, and then boarding an extremely quick elevator with spikes on the underside to finish the boss off. This makes no sense the more you think about it.
  • Big Eater: As usual for a Castlevania character, Shanoa can refill her health by eating impossible amounts of food during combat. However, she goes beyond the usual series staples like whole turkeys and pot roasts in that she is able to eat an entire barbecued fish which is significantly larger than she is... or several said fish depending on how much HP she needs. She's actually able to keep the chef Aeon in business despite being his only customer.
  • Blatant Lies: The description of the Gold Ring is "Luck increases with the gold in your wallet!". Every word of this is wrong, as what the ring actually does is increase the amount of money you get from enemies and candles, having no effect on your Luck whatsoever.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation:
    • The returning Leap Stone relic somehow became the Ordinary Rock. Either someone left in a placeholder joke while they looked up the canon translation and forgot, or believed double jumping needed to make less sense in all directions.
    • One of the villagers' quests involves obtaining Merman Meat. Naturally, one would assume that acquiring Merman Meat would involve killing, well, Mermen. However, Mermen don't drop any items. Instead, you'll have to kill a Lorelai, which is female. The original Japanese name for the item was gender-neutral, a.k.a "merperson meat" and certainly didn't reference to the name of any preexisting enemies.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Shanoa defeats Dracula and saves the world, but Albus is dead. Barlowe, the man who raised both of them, was revealed to be a batshit insane Dracula worshipper, and the ending flat out states that the only people who even know what happened are Shanoa herself and the villagers she rescued. On the plus side, even if Shanoa won't be remembered, she still saved the world, Albus restores her memories and emotions, and it's implied that the villagers, who are actually descendants of the Belmont clan that have lost their way, have begun training themselves in the ways of the Vampire Hunter.
  • Blood Magic: Using any of the Dominus Glyphs costs MP and HP. Furthermore, the Glyph Union with all three Dominus glyphs does 9999 damage to everything on the screen. Including you. Which means that you die.
  • Boring, but Practical: The Macir glyphs. Good damage, good range, good attack speed, not too harsh on the MP, and quite a few enemies are weak to blunt damage. They might not be spells, nor the strongest weapons, but they give the most bang for your buck.
  • Boss Banter: Barlowe's punch combo attack is accompanied by him yelling "HOW DARE YOU..! EVEN FORGETTING..! WHO RAISED YOU! YOU..! STUPID DISCIPLE!!!"
  • Boss-Only Level: The stage after defeating Albus takes place in Ecclesia, with no enemies or obstacles to stand between you and the boss.
  • Bragging Rights Reward:
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: If you want to get the best helmet in the game, Queen of Hearts, you have to play through Hard Mode with a level cap (Lvl 1 or Lvl 50 are your initial options). If you want to unlock the ability to set the level cap to 255, you have to play though Hard Mode with the level cap set at 1... or you can just buy Castlevania: Judgment for the Wii and sync the two games together to get both rewards.
  • Brutal Bonus Level:
    • Training Hall is a Platform Hell level with barely any enemies, where the main source of difficulty is the huge amount of environmental hazards.
    • Large Cavern is full of Demonic Spiders and a Chinese Vampire for a boss fight.
  • Calling Your Attacks:
    • Albus calls out the name of nearly every single thing he fires from his gun.
      Albus: Vertical Shot! Optical shot! Glyph Bullet! Stinger Shot! Lethal Shot! Gaspar Shot! Blast Cannon! Max Shot!
    • The Final Boss Dracula announces his attacks before performing them.
      Dracula: Fatal/Destruction Rain! Demonic Meggido! Dark Metamorphosis! Soul/Life Steal! Soul Blast! Dark Inferno!
  • Cast from Hit Points: The Dominus glyphs. The two attack glyphs (Dominus Hatred/Anger) decrease your HP by 1/6 its maximum per use, and Dominus Agony costs 66 HP every second it's active (and also increases your Strength, Constitution, Intelligence, and Mind stats by 66 each while it's active).
  • Cat Girl: Shanoa can transform into a werecat with the Arma Felix glyph. Aside from granting her different attacks, it also enables her to talk to the cats in Wygol Village and enemy catwomen will become friendly and even aid her in battle.
  • Challenge Run: Hard mode, unlocked by getting the good ending, makes certain enemies stronger as well as imposing a level cap of either 50 or 1, enforcing a Low-Level Run. Beating the game on Hard rewards you with the Queen of Hearts, a powerful helmet which reduces heart consumption.
  • Character Catchphrase: Shanoa's is "I am the blade that banishes evil". Less so in the english translation, however.
  • Chinese Vampire: A Jiang Shi resides at the end of the Large Cavern. It attacks by trying to lunge at Shanoa directly, but it will later summon mini hopping corpses that can be easily defeated and cast homing orbs at you. Unlike every other monster in the game, it does not disappear when you kill it; instead, it will go dormant as a Paper Talisman is placed on its face. Attacking it again will break the seal and the fight will start again. Experienced players can quickly level up various glyphs by farming it.
  • Church Militant: The titular Order of Ecclesia — a portion of the Church has been looking for a way to defeat Dracula without relying on a Belmont. Of course, it's soon realized that they only wanted to defeat the seal. Then again, they could have been looking for a way to destroy Dracula when they started, but his seal drove them insane. Dracula has a knack for doing that kind of stuff to people.
  • Climax Boss: Barlowe. He's the last boss before you go to Dracula's Castle, you fight him after you find out about Albus' motives and the true nature of Dominus, and he has his own battle theme music.
  • Colossus Climb: Eligor is a giant centaur monster whose weakspot is located at the back of his neck. The player must make their way under the boss' legs and climb its back in order to reach it. Albus can kind of cheat with his teleporting though, and if Shanoa takes the time to get the Redire glyph from Training Hall before fighting him, she can use it to quickly get to his weakpoint as well. Both characters might have some trouble actually taking him down without destroying the crossbows on his flanks, though.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Shanoa's dialogue just before she enters Dracula's castle references Simon's Quest: "I am the morning sun, come to vanquish this horrible night!"
    • The names of the boss battle themes reference other Castlevania games in order of release date.
  • Copy-and-Paste Environments: Due to the focus on combat, most of the areas use the same repeated segments over and over.
  • Costume Porn: Shanoa's battle-dress is quite elaborate in official artwork.
  • Cute Kitten: There are cats you can rescue and take back to the village. When you meet them at the village, you can attack them, play with them using the stylus, or use the catgirl transformation glyph to talk to them. You even have to save one as part of a villager quest.
  • Cute Monster Girl: While all modern Castlevanias have these, this game is notable for its sheer proliferation. New enemies that fit this include Ladycats, Draculinas, Black Panthers (unrelated to actual black panthers in other games), and the boss of Somnus Reef, Rusalka.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: The Dominus glyphs use your life force upon activation. Needless to say, equipping all three Dominus glyphs is a bad idea unless the plot mandates it.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts:
    • Shanoa has several attacks that are rapid fire but deal little damage. Her starter Glyph, Confodere, summons a Rapier for a quick but very weak stab attack, and is meant to be mashed in order to deal any significant damage.
    • One of Dracula's attacks summons a wave of bats that bypasses Mercy Invincibility and deals continuous damage to the player.
  • Death or Glory Attack: The Death Ring and Dominus Agony significantly increase your raw damage-dealing ability at the expense of your own survivability. Ideal in boss fights as long as you don't end up making a mistake.
  • Death by Depower: Wallman is defeated by absorbing his glyph while phasing through walls.
  • Debate and Switch: "Is the complete destruction of an innocent individual justified if it could destroy the ultimate evil?" When the game starts, Barlowe certainly agrees and Albus violently doesn't. We're not sure what Shanoa's position was before she lost her memories, and it isn't until the Climax Boss that we learn of the price. Instead, just before the Climax Boss fight, we promptly learn that the sacrifice would have freed Dracula instead of destroying him, and Barlowe is insane, rendering his position as obviously wrong. Revisited later, when Shanoa uses Dominus to finish off Dracula after all, and Albus sacrifices his soul in her place. There is an important distinction, however: Barlowe tried to sacrifice another's life without their knowledge or consent, while Albus sacrificed his own, knowing full well what he was doing, and Shanoa tried to do the same as Albus.
  • Demonic Possession: One of the villager quests is freeing a girl from demonic control by bringing back her cat.
  • Double-Edged Buff: Dominus Agony is a Back Glyph skill that raises all your stats by 66 when activated, but in exchange, drains 66 HP per second.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Shanoa can obtain glyphs that allow her to turn into a Robot Girl, werecat, or werebat. As a robot, enemy robots will fight on her side, and as a werecat enemy werecats will likewise be friendly and assist her in fights. Enemy werebats will still attack Shanoa if she's in werebat form, though.
  • Dub Name Change: Shanoa's iconic theme, "An Empty Tome," is called "Twilight Stigmata" in the original Japanese, which led to quite a few confused English players when the latter name was used in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate instead.
  • Early Game Hell: Present in all modes, but especially so in Hard mode. The tutorial, of all things, plays more like a Boss Fight in this mode, teaching you that you don't have to expect any form of mercy from the game on this difficulty setting. It's only after a few levels, when you've been able to collect stronger glyphs, better armor, and more health/mana (and more/stronger healing items at the shop), that the game becomes a bit easier.
  • Emotionless Girl: Shanoa, post-amnesia, who even flat-out admits to a more cheerful NPC that she doesn't smile. Inverted at the good ending, where she gives one smile for Albus before he ascended to a higher plane of existence.
  • Escape Rope: The Magical Tickets that can be found as Random Drops inside regular chests or just bought from the village store. They immediately take you back to Wygol Village and can be used anywhere, anytime with the obvious exception of boss battles.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: A couple of the female villagers flirt with Shanoa.
  • Evil All Along: Barlowe. The leader of the Order that's supposed to be trying to destroy Dracula is actually trying to resurrect him.
  • Evil Elevator: Inverted in the fight with Brachyura, where an elevator with spikes on its underside is what finishes it off.
  • Fake Difficulty: Eligor is invincible from the front to the unlockable character Albus. Wouldn't be out of the ordinary, except for the fact that he seemingly takes damage regardless of what part of his head you hit. You can do well over enough damage to kill him from the front by high jumping and attacking, and he'll keep standing even though he should be down already. For no reason.
  • Fanservice: Shanoa has to wear a Sexy Backless Outfit, as she must expose her back for glyph absorption.
  • Female Feline, Male Mutt: In addition to the classic werewolves, Ecclesia introduces werecats. While werewolves in the franchise have always been depicted as males, the werecats in this game are all female.
  • Fetch Quest: Nearly every single quest given by the villagers — nine of the twelve quest givers give quests of this type. The other three are a very small Amateur Photographer sidequest, a monster slaying sidequest, and two games of hide and seek.
  • Flawless Victory: Get through a boss fight with no damage, and you get a medal.
  • Foreshadowing: During the tutorial, Barlowe says "So armed, you can wield Glyphs against your foes. Imagine I am one of them, and strike!" Guess what happens later in the game...
  • Four Is Death:
    • The Death Ring adds 44 to several stats.
    • Both the HP and awarded EXP of Death are exactly 4444.
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: Death will occasionally cite the "GAME OVER" screen from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night after he kills you.
  • Gashadokuro: A Giant Skeleton is an early boss encountered at what appears to be a prison. The thing will chase you to the edge of the screen, necessitating using the little jump points to get over it to the other side. Funnily enough, it can't turn around to fight, so it just bends over backwards and crab walks after you to the other side of the field.
  • Giant Enemy Crab: Brachyura is a giant crab who chases you up a lighthouse. You need to drop an elevator on it to finish it off. It's obviously referencing the meme, as killing it without getting hit earns you the Brachyura Medal, which actually refers to it as a Giant Enemy Crab, and the Bestiary description states that it comes "from the depths of Transylvanian history."
  • Glass Cannon:
    • Shanoa can take far less punishment than most Metroidvania heroes and most bosses can kill her in 5 hits or less even if you're sufficiently leveled, but she has far higher damage potential than most other characters, thanks to her rapidly regenerating MP she can use to spam spells at a safe distance and the ability to level up much higher than any other Castlevania hero.
    • Equipping the Death Ring takes this up to eleven. Shanoa gains generous stat boosts, including of course her offensive stats, but taking a single hit will end the game.
  • Good All Along: Albus. The early scenes make it look like he'd stolen Dominus out of jealousy, when he'd actually been trying to protect Shanoa. He found out that Dominus would kill the one who used it, which is why he was insisting that it should be him instead of her.
  • The Gunslinger: Albus' gun can rapid fire, shoot swirling bullets of light and darkness, and unleash a massive energy sphere.
  • The Greatest Story Never Told: At the end, Shanoa saved the world. But what happened to her after that? She lost everything at the end. The last shot of her is in the forest near Castlevania's ruins. The game itself says she was never heard from again.
  • Hammerspace: Justified. Shanoa's tattoos allow her to manifest weapons in her hands.
  • Health/Damage Asymmetry: Inverted in hard mode, where monsters' attack power can be as much as 10 times their own HP.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Shanoa attempts to sacrifice her own life to seal away Dracula at the end of the game, but Albus takes her place instead.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • When it's revealed that Barlowe was Evil All Along right around the point where the game decides whether you get the bad ending or move on, he duels with and is killed by Shanoa, i.e. his own disciple.
    • The Dominus glyphs used to defeat Dracula are made of Dracula's own power.
  • Hurricane Kick: Albus can do spinning jump kicks that are on fire.
  • Hyper-Destructive Bouncing Ball: The Globus glyph sends out two energy spheres. They can get very destructive in tight spaces and are one of the easiest ways to defeat the Double Hammers and Weapon Masters in the Large Cavern.
  • Incest Subtext: Albus is heavily implied to have unrequited feelings for Shanoa, despite the two of them being (adoptive) siblings. She shows no sign of noticing this.
  • Irony: Barlowe had planned on summoning Dracula using Dominus under the guise that it would destroy him. In the end, the latter actually worked, with Dracula once again defeated.
  • The Jersey Devil: The Jersey Devil shows up as an enemy in Argila Swamp. They are demons with a horse head and bat wings, which attack by swooping down on the player character.
  • Large Ham:
    • Once Barlowe's true nature is revealed, his madness is emphasized by him constantly yelling at Shanoa throughout the boss battle.
      Barlowe: DIE SHANOA!
    • Albus' attacks are telegraphed by him bombastically yelling what bullet he is about to fire.
      Albus: OPTICAL SHOT! MAX SHOT!
  • Laughing Mad: Barlowe cackles madly during his boss fight when he uses the Electrus attack to bounce around the arena, as well as when he is being regranted strength by Dracula to break the seal.
  • Later-Installment Weirdness: Compared to previous "Metroidvania" games, this final pre-reboot one takes a significant departure from the usual formula:
    • In previous games, you can use the basic attack as much as you want; special attacks are the ones that cost MP or hearts. Here, all attacks use MP or hearts, even basic ones. To make up for it, the Mana Meter regenerates faster than in other games.
    • There are no physical weapons. Instead, all attacks are done through magic Glyphs that Shanoa has to find and absorb.
    • The game doesn't take place in Dracula's castle until you lock in the good ending. Instead, you explore a variety of unrelated areas. Sure, Portrait of Ruin has you exploring environments that aren't Dracula's castle, but said environments are within portraits inside the castle, so technically you're inside it the whole time.
    • The game puts a greater emphasis on combat than on exploration, which is why many areas are linear corridors with many and/or difficult enemies.
    • Dracula doesn't have 6,666 HP, he has 9,999. Also, instead of taking on some monstrous second form, he just turns into a 3D model and starts walking around to attack you.
    • The Japanese title breaks from the traditional The X of Y naming convention first established with Rondo of Blood, instead translating to The Stolen Seal.
  • Lethal Chef: Played with in the case of Aeon. While his backstory shows him to be a lazy "chef" whose restaurants have all failed, Shanoa (his only customer at this point) doesn't seem to mind his cooking too much, probably because she's forgotten what good food tastes like. Also, Aeon eventually acknowledges that his failures were likely the result of a lack of effort on his part, and his explanation does make sense. Aeon's food items are also more cost-effective at healing than the potions, and three of the food items unlocked by doing his quests (the Curry, the Killer Fish BBQ, and the Thick Steak) are some of the most effective healing items in the game, surpassed only by the Super Potion. He even gives you a serving of the latter two when you finish the relevant quests.
  • Lethal Joke Item: Inverted with the Death Ring, which appears on the surface to be 100% useful (giving massive stat-boosts and the chance of a One-Hit Kill). Then you find out that when it says "hits may cause instant death", it doesn't just apply to your attacks...
  • Level Limiter: The reduced level cap is optional this time, with the available caps now being just 50 and 1. Completing either unlocks a special item with high stat boosts. Completing the level cap of 1 also unlocks the ability to invert this by raising the already Absurdly High Level Cap of 100 to 255.
  • Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: Shanoa stands in sharp contrast to previous Castlevania heroes, on account of being a Lady of Black Magic, as opposed to a Fighter/Warrior or Magic Knight. As such, she starts off with almost humorously low attack power, an unimpressive rapier glyph, and what might be the least useful (if cool looking) backdash in the series. It also takes her a while to get her momentum going, not getting any good spell glyphs until around the lighthouse level. Still, by the end, she can be so brokenly loaded, the game expects you to take down the True Final Boss as part of the timed boss rush mode.
  • Living Shadow: Blackmore, a boss in Dracula's castle, fights by transforming his shadow into a demon.
  • Long Song, Short Scene: "Lone Challenger", the boss rush theme. It takes over a minute to loop, but it only plays at the entry room and results screen of the boss rush (where a player is unlikely to spend nearly so much time). It doesn't help that the tune is appropriately fast-paced enough that it could easily have been a boss theme itself, and played over the boss encounters instead of the normal boss music.
  • Lost in Translation:
  • Magic Knight: Shanoa fights using a combination of standard medieval weaponry along with magical glyphs.
  • Magic Pants:
  • Mana Shield: An item allows you to take damage to your heart supply rather than your health bar.
  • Menacing Stroll: After you do a significant amount of damage to Dracula, he doesn't change into a more powerful form as would be expected. In a first for this series, he starts walking.
  • Metroidvania:
    • Obviously, but it really comes to a head when you play this game on Hard with a cap set at Level 1. It becomes almost like The Legend of Zelda with how desperate you become for Health and Mana upgrades.
    • The Metroidvania aspect is also relatively diminished in this game compared to previous entries, as a lot of the areas are smaller and more linear, and upgrades are of somewhat less focus.
  • Mirror Boss: Albus, especially in Hard Mode, as the boss can use three glyphs available to you: Ignis, Grando, and Fulgur. And they hurt just as much as yours.
  • Mirror Match: In Albus mode, you still fight Albus. For some reason, both player Albus and boss Albus have different names for the same attacks.
  • More Dakka: Albus fires that gun of his really fast in Albus Mode. Made even more awesome by the fact that this game takes place in the early 1800s and the gun is a muzzle-loaded flintlock.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Shanoa with her Sexy Backless Outfit that also exposes her shoulders... And a lot of the promotional artwork does focus on her back and shoulders.
  • Multiple Endings: Two of them here. To get the good ending, you have to rescue all of the trapped villagers. The bad ending borderlines on Non-Standard Game Over.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Dominus, from the Latin word for "lord" or "master". And if that wasn't enough of a clue, each of the Dominus glyphs are called Hatred, Anger, and Agony.
  • New Game Plus: Unlocked after beating the game, this mode allows you to use powerful glyphs such as Nitesco from the beginning, which is very helpful when it comes to obtaining the boss medals.
  • Nintendo Hard: Only one of two Metroidvania-engined Castlevania games to exceed the GameFAQs difficulty voting threshold of 3.5 to qualify for Nintendo Hard (the other being Castlevania: Circle of the Moon). Exaggerated in multiple stages: level 50 Hard mode, level 1 Hard Mode with a New Game Plus, and level 1 Hard Mode without a New Game Plus. Enemies deal absolutely insane amounts of damage and some of them are faster, demanding you to use everything you've got and come up with some new strategies.
  • No Hero Discount:
    • Lampshaded, apologized for, justified, and finally subverted. The shop owner, Jacob, would really like to give Shanoa the supplies she needs for free, but with his shop being in a village in pretty much the middle of nowhere and with her being virtually his only customer, he simply can't afford to do that and still keep his shop stocked, much less make ends meet. Shanoa, out of either maturity or a lack of emotions, is totally okay with this. However, if you buy enough stuff from him, Jacob will eventually give you a special VIP card that will give you a 20% discount on everything he sells.
    • Played with with Eugen, the blacksmith. While he outright states he won't give you his wares for free after you give him the ore necessary to make it, he then adds "however, I do pay my suppliers" and gives you a generous sum for the ore you gave him.
  • Non-Standard Game Over: Failing to set all the villagers free before confronting Albus will result in a bad ending where Shanoa is tricked into sacrificing her own life to restore Dracula's power.
  • Not Completely Useless:
    • The Scutum glyph is a mostly useless Glyph that summons a shield above Shanoa, but it lets you ignore the debris that fall from the ceiling during Goliath's boss battle, as well as nullify Dracula's destruction ray. Even more importantly, this glyph and another Scutum glyph is the easiest way to avoid Dracula's wave of bats, as well as Eligor's arrows and the Jiang Shi's energy spheres, which can otherwise clog the arena.
    • Volaticus, the flying glyph, is given to you very late in the game. Useless? Not if you want to get through the Large Cavern.
    • The Fidelis Caries glyph. The zombie you summon barely does any damage, but it does destroy projectiles.
  • NPC Boom Village: One major subplot is rescuing the villagers of Wygol Village, the Player Headquarters. As each return and repopulates the village, they unlock various sidequests and shops Shanoa can use to upgrade her equipment.
  • Number of the Beast:
    • The Final Knights have 666 EXP.
    • The HP costs, attack strengths, MP costs, and stat boosts of the Dominus Glyphs are full of 6s and are obviously meant to invoke this. (See the Cast from Hit Points entry above.)
    • Notably, Dracula averts the tradition of having 6666 HP, instead having 9999 HP. (Then again, '9' is just '6' upside down.)
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder:
    • The Death Ring grants incredible stat boosts, but any hit will be fatal.
    • Level 1 mode makes Shanoa/Albus a three (or even two) hit point wonder for most of the game, so the Death Ring becomes a very good item to use.
  • One-Winged Angel: Subverted by Dracula, of all people. Upon taking enough damage, he announces that he's done playing around, but doesn't transform as would be expected; he just starts walking around and using different attacks.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: This time around, the Chupacabra hang out near Dracula's quarters, and it turns out a Jiang Shi moved in to the cave next door, creating an oddly multicultural vampire gathering.
  • Player Nudge: If you don't rescue all the villagers, you get the bad ending halfway through the game. This bad ending pans over all the villagers you failed to rescue, cluing you in as to where you need to be go to avoid the same fate next time.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Albus, just tell Shanoa that Barlowe is trying to use you as a human sacrifice and be done with it.
  • Power Copying: Shanoa learns many of her abilities by absorbing Glyphs from her enemies. She can learn to summon Zombies by stealing the ability from an enemy Necromancer, and to shoot Fireballs by stealing it from a fire demon. As a bonus, in many of these cases, you literally have to absorb the Glyph as the enemy is casting the spell, preventing it from going off successfully in the process.
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: Shanoa confronts Dracula, and tells him, "I am the blade to banish all evil, and I've come to see you annihilated."
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Shanoa says "Go to Hell" before she uses an elevator to crush Brachyura.
  • Press X to Die: Equipping the Dominus Anger, Dominus Hatred, and Dominus Agony glyphs and pressing Up + X causes Shanoa to die. Except at the very end, where you need it to finish Dracula off and trigger the final cutscene.
  • Punctuated Pounding: Master Barlowe's strongest attack has him teleport around the arena to deliver a sequence of punches, with each strike being accompanied by him yelling at Shanoa.
    "DIE, SHANOAAA! HOW DARE YOU! *Punch* KEEP ON FORGETTING! *Punch* WHO RAISED YOU! *Punch* YOU..! *Punch* STUPID DISCIPLE!!! *Megaton Punch*"
  • Puzzle Boss: Wallman. How do you defeat a demon that keeps hiding in the walls, throwing Bomberman-style explosives at you, and has a limitless supply of healing items? Absorb the glyph that allows him to enter walls... while he's still in one. Alternatively, you can absorb the glyph before he enters the wall, which will leave him unable to escape the explosives that he's tossed into the room.
  • Random Drop: Enemies will drop money, usable items, and objects for the various missions you'll go through. You can also get them from chests that replenish themselves.
  • Rare Random Drop:
    • Some item drops aren't as easily gotten as others. Merman meat, only obtainable with a 6 star chance from a merman-unrelated enemy (Lorelei), is quite the offender, as you need it for better potions.
    • Some items can only be obtained from Green Chests, which have a 10% chance of appearing in place of a regular wood chest.
  • Redemption Equals Death: The end of the boss fight with Goliath, interestingly enough. After he's defeated, he's enveloped in a pillar of light and apparently ascends to Heaven.
  • Say My Name: Upon his defeat, Albus bellows "SHAAANOOOAAA!"
  • Secret Character: Albus becomes playable in his own mode after you get the good ending.
  • Sequential Boss: Dracula does have two forms, but instead of the second form being a demon thing, the second form renders the first form in 3-D.
  • Sexy Backless Outfit: Shanoa wears a backless dress, which is necessary because she absorbs Glyphs through a large and intricate tattoo on her back... For an Emotionless Girl, she sure does lift up her hair sensually.
  • Shop Fodder: Some chests and enemies will have items that look like they should be part of a quest, but actually aren't (like Copper Ore). These items can be sold for cash at the shop.
  • Shout-Out: One sidequest in the game is named Tom and Jewlery.
  • Simple, yet Awesome: The Fidelis Medusa glyph. If you take the time to get it to level 3 (which doesn't take long since the grey Medusa Heads have a 100% drop rate for it), it can shield you from most projectiles, ward off enemies, petrify certain monsters rendering them weak and stationary, and break walls to find secret treasure or passages you might otherwise ignore.
  • Slasher Smile: The last expression you see on Barlowe's face if you choose to use Dominus on the seal after failing to save all the villagers. An obvious hint that he's not what he seems and that you should shoot for the good ending.
  • Stealth Pun: One enemy is a former human that was a victim of an Une attack and is called Chosen Une. Also counts as Bilingual Bonus, since "une" is French for "one".
  • Sprite/Polygon Mix: The second phase of Dracula's fight has him turning polygonal and walking around to attack you.
  • Swiss-Army Hero: Shanoa can obtain glyphs that change her form into a werecat, a bat-woman and an automaton (a slow, but sturdy little robot). The enemy bat-women keep attacking her, but enemy Automatons will promptly fall in love with Automaton Shanoa when they spot her.
  • Tarot Motifs: Most Rings are named after Major Arcana cards.
  • Tearful Smile: At the end of the game, Shanoa grants Albus' Last Request to see her smile. Unfortunately, since he is dying, she does so while also breaking down in tears.
  • The Fool: The "Fool Ring" reduces all stats, except luck, which is drastically increased.
  • Theme Naming: The Boss Battle tracks are, in order of appearance: Symphony of Battle, Dissonant Courage, Sorrow's Distortion, Lament to the Master, Chamber of Ruin, and Order of the Demon.
  • The Stoic: Shanoa's emotions are repressed because of her amnesia.
  • Took a Level in Badass: The tin men are much harder than they were in Symphony of the Night, even despite having basically the same attack patterns. This is because they can whack you even if you jump over them (double jump works though), move faster than you, and can do a lot of damage very quickly.
  • Took a Shortcut: All the villagers are nothing more than normal, yet quirky NPC townsfolk. Which makes it all the more remarkable with the monster-infested locations you rescue them from, as they all note that they will trek all the way back to the village by themselves right after you save them, and they do. It's more ridiculous when you realize one's a frail old woman and two of them are children, with one being a girl you save from an underwater cave infested with evil creatures, yet they make it back a lot easier than you would. Then again, they are descendants of the Belmont family, and it's implied from one of the first villagers you save that they all have Magical Tickets on them, which warps the user straight to the village.
  • Treacherous Advisor: Barlowe did not found the Order of Ecclesia and forge the Dominus glyphs because he wanted to prevent Dracula's rebirth. Everything he's done was to manipulate Shanoa into unleashing the Dark Lord back into the world. If the player fails to rescue every villager before the final battle against Albus, Shanoa fails to realize his trickery, leading to the Bad Ending.
  • Tricked to Death: in the bad ending, Shanoa is tricked into using the Dominus glyphs together on Dracula's coffin, unaware that Dominus will, in fact, revive Dracula at the cost of the caster's life.
  • Turns Red:
    • Dracula decides to ditch his One-Winged Angel routine for once and simply decides to start walking around the arena after you weaken him. His attacks become much more brutal and difficult to dodge during this phase.
    • Brachyura literally turns red and becomes more aggressive after sustaining a set amount of damage. You have to make him do that for him to knock the ceiling out so you can climb higher, and repeat 3 times.
  • 20 Bear Asses: Nearly all of the side quests involve killing the living hell out of a certain enemy over and over until you get it to drop its rare item (Killer Fish drops Raw Killer Fish, Altair drops Eagle Feather, Dark Octopus drops Black Ink, etc.) Only a few of the side quests actually do something different, such as the ones where you have to snap photos of rare enemies for the local paper.
  • Unable to Cry: Shanoa laments she can't cry after Albus' death in the path to the good ending. Subverted in the actual ending, where she cries due to Albus' sacrifice.
  • Under the Sea: Kalidus Channel and Somnus Reef all take place underwater for most of the time.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Shanoa must learn Dominus so Barlowe can free his master, Dracula. In the bad ending, she falls for it.
  • Useless Useful Spell:
    • Torpor stinks of it at first glance (it purports to freeze enemies), but is actually "very" nifty, especially in Hard Mode. Most enemies that are vulnerable to Slash glyphs can be frozen with it, and this just happens to include the Cave Troll, Lizardman and Lizardman Blade, and other speedy nuisances that it helps to stop cold.
    • Cubus and Fidelis Caries are seemingly useless, but in Hard Mode they can be your best friend in the Skeleton Cave as they are capable of blocking the fireball spam dished out by Bone Pillars well before you come into Vol/Melio Scutum (shield glyphs that actually cover you frontside), with a single cube if you duck or a single zombie. This is more than enough to allow you to get in and bash them with Vol Macir without getting shot to hell, making the proceedings a lot less painful.
  • Violation of Common Sense: Once you get Dracula's health low enough in the final fight, he becomes invincible and begins charging an unavoidable attack that will kill you instantly. Luckily, the game all but spells out to you what you need to do to finish Dracula off. Despite everything you've been told up to that point, you must equip all three Dominus glyphs and use their glyph union to win.
  • Villainous Breakdown: After The Reveal, Barlowe throws all restraint out of the window and promptly starts to Chew The Scenery all around.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss:
    • The Giant Skeleton is encountered very early in the game and poses a surprising challenge, as its attacks deal a lot more damage than the previous boss, and its health is also significantly higher.
    • The third boss, Brachyura, is a four-stage boss that limits your attack patterns because he's beneath you. You have to learn his patterns in order to get to the top and deliver the finishing blow.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Albus did all of the things he did to reseal Dracula so his sister won't have to, and for a very good reason: Had his sister gone through with the attempt, she would have died.
  • Wham Episode: After Shanoa defeats Albus (and provided she saved all the villagers first), she finds out that Barlowe sacrificed her memories and emotions to control Dominus and that it'll kill her if she uses it. Albus was Good All Along and stole Dominus to protect Shanoa, and only kidnapped the villagers of Wygol because they're descendants of the Belmonts and hoped that samples of their blood would allow him to use Dominus without being consumed by it. On top of all that, it turns out Barlowe was Evil All Along and wants to resurrect Dracula. And he succeeds.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: Played with. A Knight in Argila Swamp will fight in tandem with an Owl. If you kill the Owl first, he will take time to rush over and mourn his beloved bird. The same enemy was also in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, but unlike in that game, where you could strike him down while he's mourning, this time, the game forces you to let him give his regards by making him invincible during that time.
  • When She Smiles: Albus's last wish is for a smile from Shanoa. She grants it.
  • With My Dying Breath, I Summon You: Barlowe gives up his own life to revive Dracula.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: Thought Barlowe would be the final boss, think again! You still have a whole castle to explore, along with a few more boss fights. Then again, you probably should have known that the game wouldn't have ended at that point, because the castle is shown on the menu screen.

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