Castlevania NES - a look at the game's bosses





Hi, welcome to my brief look at all the bosses in Konami's 1986 horror classic, Castlevania for the NES. I'm not going to go too deep into the backstory of the game here (I'm planning further articles that will take a good look at the making of the game, etc.) For now, it's suffice to say that Castlevania is Konami's love letter to the classic Universal and Hammer horror movies of the 30s, 40s and 50s, featuring such monsters such as Frankenstein, the Mummy and Count Dracula himself, while also borrowing from Greek mythology and more.


The objective of the game is simple. You play as Simon Belmont, the latest scion of the Belmont clan that has sworn to battle Count Dracula down the generations. Your task is to guide Simon through 18 stages filled with nasties - zombies, merfolk, bats, panthers, crows, the notorious floating medusa heads, knights, skeletons, and many other creatures of the night. Simon is armed only with the now classic Vampire Killer whip, and along the way he can acquire sub-weapons to help him defeat the horrors of Castlevania. Every 3 stages, Simon will encounter a more powerful foe, basically the game's boss fights, and that's what we're focusing on today. So without further ado...



Location

Difficulty

Stage 3

Easy

The giant Vampire Bat has the distinction of being the first ever boss to appear in a Castlevania title. As such, it's quite a good entry point boss, not too tough, although it does have an annoying tendency to swoop down in an attempt to get at our plucky hero. Never mind, though, the Vampire Bat is easily dispatchable using either the Axe or Stopwatch sub-weapon. With the former, you can chuck them at the bat, giving it a nice, little headache and bump in the head for good measure. With the latter, you can just freeze time and whack at the bat with the whip while it's suspended in mid-air.

Whack this thing in the face and give it a nasty headache!



Location

Difficulty

Stage 6

Easy

Medusa - the Gorgon from Greek mythology - is the second boss you'll face in Castlevania, and it looks like Perseus has already done part of the job for us, as you'll basically just be facing off against her giant, floating face covered in writhing snake-tentacled hair. As bosses go, she's fairly easy, provided you have the Stopwatch sub-weapon. Freeze time as she floats around and wipe that annoying smirk off her face by whacking her with the whip. She'll go down for good soon enough. Like we said, easy. Even the flying Medusa heads the game throws out you on your way to the boss room are more difficult.

Use the stopwatch to freeze time and whack this gangly gorgon in the face!


Location

Difficulty

Stage 9

Easy

The next boss - or bosses, I should say, come all the way from Ancient Egypt, although how they made their way to Transylvania is a mystery. I'm of course talking about the mummies, a throwback to the classic Universal and Hammer horror films from the 30s, 40s, and even 50s. They'll lumber from left to right, throwing the occasional bandage at you, and how Simon can get hurt by simple linen is a mystery; perhaps it is cursed, just like the mummies themselves. Thankfully the bosses aren't too tricky, and the fight can be wrapped up (hehe) fairly quickly. The best strategy is to squat on the second, solitary step on the left-hand side of the screen (the one concealing the yummy chicken roast). Unfortunately I destroyed it with the whip, so it's not shown in the screenshot below. Anyway, assuming you haven't broken the step, stay there and whack at the mummies' heads with the whip. When they lumber towards your position, just climb up to the first step to avoid them. When they start moving back the other way, start whipping at them again. Or you can do what I did, which was fall into the boss room, destroy the bottom step, eat the roast chicken, and start whipping away at the bosses like crazy... Hey, it worked, and that's what counts!

Two mummies for the price of one, bargain!


Location

Difficulty

Stage 12

Hard

Another of the classic Universal horror icons takes centre stage in Castlevania in the forms of Frankenstein's monster and the hunchback, Igor, and you can see that the creature looks very similar to the version portrayed by one Boris Karloff. These two are tough to get through, make no mistake! Frankenstein's monster sort of lumbers around while Igor - who's invincible by the way - jumps all over the place like a little ninja. The trick to this fight is the Holy Water sub-weapon. And getting to the bosses with as much health as possible, which given the preceding three stages, may not be feasible. Anyway, get to the boss room and stand on the blocks as shown in the screenshot below. Whip at Igor and chuck holy water at the creature like your life depended on it. Whip, whip, holy water, repeat should do it. At some point, Igor might ninja flip away, especially if you didn't find a multiplier on the way to the boss fight. If he does break out of the stun-lock, just keep your focus on Frankenstein's monster while being mindful of the projectiles Igor throws your way. It might take a few attempts, but keep at it, and you'll snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

Igor and Frankenstein, such an electric fight... ahem.



Location

Difficulty

Stage 15

Hard

Next up we have the Count's right-hand man, the Grim Reaper himself, Death! How he came to be in Dracula's employ is retold in Castlevania: Lament of Innocence on PS2, but that's a story for another time. He blocks your way to Dracula, so you better beat him. But Death is not just going to lie down for you. Instead, he moves around the boss room, chucking sickles and just being plain annoying. The Holy Water sub-weapon is your best friend in this fight. Stand just about where Simon is stood in the screenshot below and stand throwing holy water on to the raised platform on the right even before Death makes his grand appearance. If you time it right, Death will remain stun-locked in place, unable to move or do anything. And if you chance upon a multiplier on the way to the boss, even better. Once Death is well, dead, the path is clear to the final boss of the game.

You should be flattered, it's not every day Death comes for you personally...



Location

Difficulty

Stage 18

Very Hard

That's it, you made it to the King Vampire's lair. Count Dracula himself awaits at the very top of the clocktower, and he's pissed, so get ready for one hell of a fight (the hardest in the game, at least for me personally). A lot of people like to use the Holy Water sub-weapon to intercept Drac's projectiles and then jump upwards to whip his head (the only vulnerable part of his body). However, I personally found the Boomerang to be the most useful sub-weapon against this undead monstrosity. This is is mainly because it makes the first part of the fight go by quicker due to the boomerang coming back around after you throw it. So you can chuck the boomerang and hit Drac's head with your whip at the same time to potentially take off three bars of health from him for your troubles. Oh yes, did I forget to mention this boss battle has two phases? Deplete Drac's health in human form and his head falls off. He then transforms into a giant bat beast that shoots projectiles and jumps around the boss room. I still found the Boomerang sub-weapon to be useful in this phase for the same reasons as above. Once the Count's down... for the count, Castlevania crumbles to the ground. Over this, the player is treated to some very funny credits with mis-spelled names of horror icons. Count Dracula, for example, is supposedly played by Christopher Bee (get it), and so on. Classic!

Keep at it and Count Dracula will eventually go down for the count...


And that pretty much wraps it up as far as the bosses in Castlevania for the NES are concerned. If you want to take a look at how finally I managed to beat them, here's a boss reel video I made recently: https://youtu.be/unZgHI5J1r8. If you want to see the complete playthrough, check out this link: https://youtu.be/rcw1efIZ3aQ. Happy reading/viewing and I'll see you in the next piece!





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