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November 17, 2013
So, I promised that we weren't done... and that's a good thing, seeing as how it's been entirely more linear than I suggested from the outset and a shorter journey than Simon's (retold) retread of the original Castlevania's scenario, and if that's all there was to it, perhaps my unabashed love for this game would be a bit unusual and undeserved...
But the file select screen indicates to us that there's actually quite a bit more unseen and undone... particularly since I'm quite keen to point out that each stage we've seen has had routes that were rendered either inaccessible or simply unchosen, so we've but scratched the surface with the original run.
I'm not really sure what makes the game tally up a 60% completion rate, although I guess it's not TOO far from what I'd consider an accurate figure... though if pressed, I guess I couldn't actually give you a proper estimate of a more accurate figure, so such a claim is as moot as it is completely pointless...
We can also see that the stage select screen (a handy feature, to be sure!) looks... a little strange... perhaps NOT as linear as the path we took after all. But before we attempt to unfurl this mystery at its source, let's have a little side trip first...
Stage 2, Entrance: God, Grant Me Strength
We'll begin here for reasons that totally aren't spoiled by the title, but we DID see the unusual "subweapon" that is the tiny key that you'll need to pick up while the Behemoth chases Richter through the entry halls of Castlevania. It's obviously something you could easily forget or fail to notice while running for dear life to get away from such an imposing foe...
Like any other subweapon, if you should happen to fall while carrying it, you'll have it taken from you and you'll resume play from the last doorway you passed through. This means that you'll have to pick it up and use it all in the same life, seeing as how the door we need to use it on is in another segment entirely. It's not too terribly tall an order to fill, but it isn't exactly trivial either, especially if you're just starting out and might be easily overwhelmed by the enemies placed in your path from where it starts to where you must end up.
A note on the key, by the way... it's not entirely without its uses. For one thing, it's actually a pretty powerful attack if you can manage to land a hit with it... its range is pretty much nonexistent, but it has a fair few active frames while Richter's hand is outstretched. Furthermore, the Item Crash has the same invulnerability as Richter floats a slight bit skyward in preparation, even if the "attack" doesn't do a thing. The absolute best part is that both of these are entirely free actions... no heart costs whatsoever!
I had thought that it was used up when you struck an enemy with it, but I must be thinking of something else... so hanging onto it is definitely a viable strategy, albeit a seemingly suicidal one, as Richter will likely agree if you insist on using it over other far more conventionally viable weapon choices.
Anyway, this isn't about the key... it's about what the key goes to! In this case, a small gated door that's otherwise impassible until you unlock it... which DOES use up the key, in that old chestnut of true unquestionable video game "logic" in action.
Within, we find... what?! Shaft! (Not that we'd know it by this point... or by the point we "meet" him... or ever... but that's why I'm here!) Also, he seems to be playing magical levitation... or... a very bizarre game of single-player catch with a little girl. This... seems incredibly unwholesome, so I think we must insist he stop immediately.
Amusingly, Shaft is utterly unfazed by Richter's intrusion and will continue to ignore him for as long as you just wander around, even in front of him and in the path of whatever he's doing. The only way to make things move along is to whip him, causing a speedy exit and the girl's gradual descent.
This leads us to...! A cutscene! More moonspeak! Whatever could this all be about?! Well, the only part I'll actually say definitively is that this is Maria Renard, one of the missing girls taken from Aljiba before the game began, and a name that should at least be slightly familiar to those who are familiar with certain Castlevania titles... or happen to follow some of my OTHER upload series... ahem... cough cough... (hint hint nudge nudge wink wink etc. etc.)
Anyway, you know I won't leave you hanging... another immediately related upload will be upcoming shortly.
(For the curious, witnessing this scene is enough... if you were to reset the game without saving, you'll still be credited with Maria's rescue at the save data selection screen.)
Castlevania: Rondo of Blood -- Stage 2: Saving Maria