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Castlevania Judgment -- Story Mode, Shanoa

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I do rather worry, having very recently taken in and absorbed what Castlevania Judgment has to offer on the subject of Shanoa and Order of Ecclesia... and I kinda have to admit I worry that it goes a little too much into detail compared to the others.

I mean, every other story is treated as a combination of high-level non-detail-oriented overviews... maybe even just irrelevant (and obviously non-canonical) epilogue (or sometimes prologue, depending on where in their timeline the characters were plucked from), and that's about it.

But this... this basically delivers a condensed version of the opening act of what was then (and still might be to many) a brand new game and not one fans and prospective players might be ready to be spoiled even a little on. And, I mean, what qualifies as a spoiler versus what's just a description of the premise might vary from person to person... and as far as things go, what we have here is pretty tame and rather tastefully excludes a lot of details, but I feel it still drops a lot of unnecessary ones as well.

So I'm not going to throw up the red flags of SPOILER ALERT and all that... yet. But just file away this little chat in the back of your mind, I guess... it may or may not strike you as relevant later.


Stage 1: Aeon

Wait, wait... WHAT?! Aeon gave us something even close to a straight answer with minimal prodding? That's insane!

That said, this feels like a slightly different story than the rest got. Or maybe Aeon figures that in Shanoa's artificially reticent state, there's nothing to tempt her with like the others...


Stage 4: Grant Danasty

I'm not sure whether to cringe or laugh aloud whenever Grant introduces himself as "the nasty," since I think this is the second time... and Simon at least had the good sense to try to pronounce it a different way, perhaps to avoid a "It's pronounced: 'Dumas'" sort of situation...

It just comes across as really weird that the character who really "should" be aware of his own historical roots (the real world Wallachia had the actual noble house of Dăneşti, the competing lineage to the Drăculeşti... and now you can see how that might be relevant), as weirdly circuitous that illogic might seem.

(Also, Kirk went an entire word off-script! The subtitles don't always match Grant's spoken words! All is lost, pal!)

Shanoa's huge, fast, powerful Pneuma shockwave beats Grant AI's incessant dagger and chakram tossing. It's an absolutely insane projectile.


Stage 6: Zombies and Iron Gladiator

Take away an opponent's ability to flinch and fall down and you have these jokers right here... seriously, monsters don't stand a chance against Shanoa unless you fall asleep at the wheel or get too committed to a combo, since an unflinching enemy has its downsides, too.


Stage 7: Maria Renard

Oh, thank goodness we don't have the same conversation we got when Maria had a different sort of reaction to Shanoa's comment. Well, what do you know that an idle boast opens more doors than simply deciding to fight... and then you fight anyway.

The key to beating Maria's AI compulsions is generally having a means to interrupt her attempts to drop Genbu on your head and to avoid needing to block all of her repeated-attack assaults, as either one will swiftly deplete your guard, adding grievous insult to your injury. Shanoa happens to have more means to address this than she honestly should.


Stage 10: Simon Belmont

Shanoa, you're breaking the temporal prime directive! You can't tell people about their futures, particularly futures that are way beyond them and their control! And who knows how it'll change things if they actually try to do something drastic as a result of this new knowledge?

Besides, Castlevania players just know that the bloodline vanishes at one point and inexplicably returns at another, so I don't think it's so much anything to be worried about as it is something that different time periods have to deal with ...probably because writers don't want every game to have to star "[insert name here] Belmont" or revolve around whip combat.


Clearing Story Mode as Shanoa on her own does nothing, but I bet you probably saw that coming because of how Trevor's story unlocked two at once.

This was almost certainly done in this fashion because it would allow you to unlock Shanoa and her story early at any time using the Order of Ecclesia connectivity bonus without actually affecting the order in which stories would be unlocked.

I would like to point out that clearing Shanoa's story will NOT unlock her for use in any of the other modes. She (and the stories of those that follow) will remain as locked as they were when you made yourself a fresh save data and the unlock criteria will remain more than a little obtuse for unfriendly reasons I can't exactly say I can get behind...but the are what they are. More on that later, though.

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