Medusa is a legendary monster with living venomous snakes in place of hair, whose gaze can turn her victims to stone. Sometimes she is referred to as Queen Medusa, which endows her with power over all snakes and knowledge of secrets long forgotten. She is one of the three Gorgon sisters (the other two being Stheno and Euryale) and the only one to be mortal. She has appeared in nearly every Castlevania game to date and is generally portrayed as having a serpent tail from her waist down, like the Lamia, although she has also appeared only as a giant head.
Besides Medusa herself, several floating Medusa Heads appear as normal enemies in most games. According to many games' descriptions, all of these creatures were born from the head of Medusa, in some cases spawned from her severed head.
The three Gorgon sisters, Medusa, Stheno and Euryale, were all children of the ancient marine deities Phorcys and his sister Ceto, chthonic monsters from an archaic world. Their genealogy is shared with other three sisters, the Graeae.
In most versions of the story, Medusa was beheaded by the hero Perseus, who was sent to fetch her head by King Polydectes of Seriphus because he wanted to marry his mother. The gods were well aware of this and Perseus received their help. He received a mirrored shield from Athena, winged sandals from Hermes, a sword from Hephaestus and Hades's helm of invisibility. Medusa was the only one of the three Gorgons who was mortal, so Perseus was able to slay her while looking at the reflection from the mirrored shield he received from Athena. During that time, Medusa was pregnant by Poseidon. When Perseus beheaded her, Pegasus, a winged horse, and Chrysaor, a golden sword-wielding giant, were born from her body.
Medusa's head retained its ability to turn onlookers to stone, which Perseus used as a weapon, most prominently to defeat the sea monster Cetus, sent by Poseidon, and save Andromeda, who he married later. After these events, he gave the head to the goddess Athena who placed it on her Aegis shield.
Another version of Medusa's origins places her as a former mortal priestess of the goddess Athena who was assaulted by the god Poseidon inside her temple. For that blasphemy, Athena turned Medusa into a Gorgon, a monster with snakes for hair and a glance that turned people to stone.
Queen Medusa's first appearance in the series. After crossing a long hallway suspiciously inhabited by a horde of Medusa Heads in Block 2, Simon arrives to a chamber decorated with stained glass windows in the background and a huge marble bust of what seems to be a Greek female deity. Not long after that, the head of the sculpture comes to life, detaching itself from its neck and flying around the room. A myriad of snakes start growing from her hair, setting them loose to slither on the floor trying to bite the hero. Attacking her fiercely with the Cross sub-weapon or with a couple of well placed Holy Water flasks, will make short work of her, earning Simon 3,000 points.
This time called the Wicked Mermaid, Medusa is the boss of the first stage in Haunted Castle, the Graveyard. After traversing through a haunted cemetery, Simon arrives to a mausoleum where he encounters a sculpture of the legendary monster, her face partially hidden behind a giant cobweb. Not long after that, though, a multitude of bats swarm over him, while the statue slowly comes to life. She doesn't pose as much of a threat as in other games, as she only paces back and forth, releasing little snakes every now and then which slither over the floor trying to bite Simon.
This was the first game where Medusa displayed her serpent-tailed body form, a design which would become a staple for future games in the series.
Medusa appears as a sub-boss in Dracula's Curse. As Trevor approaches the central deck of the Haunted Ship of Fools, he comes across a nest of vipers scattered around the main entrance to that area. When they detect his presence, they quickly curl onto each other and morph into the snake-headed demoness, Medusa. As in previous games, she poses little threat. Just throwing several Holy Water flasks at her while she is morphing can put her down in a matter of seconds, even before she has a chance to retaliate.
This was the first game in the series where she can be seen fighting with a bow and using stiffened snakes as arrows, and this was also the first time where she could use her iconic petrifying gaze, although instead of a beam, like in future games, it is fired like a ripple shot. If the player tries to climb the platforms on the left side of the screen, she'll shoot her snakes in an upward arced direction.
Medusa was replaced with the Snake Man Sentinel in the North American release of Dracula's Curse, most probably to avoid displaying nudity and violence against women to Western audiences.
Medusa appears as a mid-boss at the end of the swamp section of the Transylvanian Wilds. She doesn't leave a Magic Crystal to be collected after the battle, however, and the aqueduct section continues immediately after facing her.
Once the heroes finally meet with Elizabeth Bartley, she will summon Medusa in a final attempt to stop them. If they manage to defeat her, Elizabeth will be left with no other option than to confront them personally.
In this game, Medusa wields a sword and a shield as a reference to her Greek origins. She can block attacks with her shield, stab Alucard with her sword, and shoot out a beam which will turn him to stone if he lacks immunity. The player should be especially careful of this attack, because if it connects, Medusa will follow up with two projectiles that will, at this point in the game, do heavy damage if they manage to hit Alucard before he breaks free from petrification. Speaking lines include "Stone!", when firing her beam; "Venom!", when following up; and "I'm petrifying!", whilst dying.
- Medusa will spawn a multitude of snakes from her hair every now and then throughout the entire battle.
- She'll try to get near Carrie, curl up her tail, and let it go, trying to hit her with it.
- Soon after that, Medusa will pull out a snake from her head and this will transform into a Greek shield which will protect her from any harm if Carrie's attacks land on it. However, the shield can be knocked off of her by attacking it enough times, and Medusa herself can be damaged if Carrie's attacks land on other parts of her body not being protected by the shield, like her back.
- Eventually, Medusa will try to gain distance from Carrie and then she'll pull out another snake from her hair, although this time it will transform into a bow, and with it she will shoot a barrage of snakes. If she is attacked while she is preparing to shoot, her attack will be canceled and she'll be stunned for a brief period of time.
- Further into the battle, Medusa will attack with her distinctive petrifying gaze, covering a considerable area of the room. If Carrie is hit with it, she'll be paralyzed while huge rock formations start to build up around her body. Fortunately, as with her bow, if Medusa is attacked while she is preparing to use her petrifying gaze, the attack will be canceled and she'll be stunned for a brief period of time too.
- When only ⅓ of her health remains, she'll gain the ability to become invisible. At this moment, most of her attacks will be enhanced in one way or another: her tail slash will have more range and her petrifying gaze will cover about half of the whole room. Carrie should jump over this beam twice, instead of trying to run away from it.
When defeated, Medusa will turn to stone while dozens of snakes jump out from her hair uncontrollably, only to die a few seconds later.
The skeletal remains of Medusa can be found curled around some Greek columns in a background of the Skeleton Cave.
Medusa's portrayal in Lament of Innocence is a nod to her appearance in the original Castlevania. Finally arriving at the furthest chamber of the Garden Forgotten by Time, Leon's attention immediately falls upon a grotesque stone bust of the legendary monster, Medusa. The head suddenly comes to life and greets him, detaching itself from the neck, flying forward and marveling at how Leon's body would make an excellent statue. Leon then realizes that all the statues of warriors decorating the chamber are in fact the petrified remains of prior adventurers who confronted her.
In Lament of Innocence, Medusa has a number of attacks at her command:
- She can command the snakes on either side of her head to lunge forward as a sort of "snake punch". She can also do this with both sides in succession for a one-two punch.
- She can rise into the air and her eyes will start dropping tears of poisonous blood, leaving a trail of it to keep Leon away.
- She can also rise into the air to drop a plethora of smaller snakes onto the ground to overwhelm him.
- She can, of course, project beams ("Turn to stone!") from her eyes that can temporarily turn Leon to stone. If successful, she'll roll herself into a giant ball and rebound around the room a random number of times to inflict heavy damage.
- Finally, when her energy is low, she'll command large stones ("Damn you!") to surround herself before firing them toward Leon, one after another.
There are two differences in Crazy Mode: she'll do the snake punch in seven-step combos, and she'll add a stone gaze as part of the stone-throwing attack.
Once defeated, Medusa's agonizing head will utter her last words, astonished by the power of Leon's whip and pointing out that it wasn't that powerful before. She asks Leon if the whip has gained its complete form, to which he seems oblivious about what she is talking about. This scene reveals that Medusa had witnessed the power of the whip before at the hands of Rinaldo and that she had knowledge of the whip's true potential abilities.
Jonathan and Charlotte arrive to what seems to be a circus arena. This is no ordinary circus, however, as a series of statues, or to be more precise, the petrified remains of the attendants can be seen attached to the ceiling. Not long after that, the body of what appears to be a gigantic snake breaks through the ceiling, destroying all of them. Near the circus' main stage, the head of an abominable serpent will emerge, slowly acquiring the form of the torso of a woman: Medusa. In this incarnation, Medusa has a more varied repertoire of attacks than in previous games:
- She retracts near the stage and covers her face with her hands while a myriad of Gold Medusas spawn from the snakes she has for hair, covering almost the entire screen. Gold Medusas cause petrification, leaving the player unable to move, with lowered defenses and open to further attacks, so one must be wary of how dangerous this attack can be. Positioning under Medusa, however, provides a safe spot where the player may even counterattack and deal moderate damage.
- Medusa locks-on to the player and stretches her left arm, which briefly transforms into the lunging head of a snake attempting to bite the heroes. However, she telegraphs this move with enough time, allowing the player to easily avoid it just by getting out of reach.
- Medusa will quickly retract and raise her torso, widely opening her eyes and letting go her trademark petrifying gaze, which covers almost the entire screen. Standing below her, again provides a safe spot, but if the player can't get there in time, just facing away from her will nullify this attack.
- Medusa will again cover her face with her hands, but this time her torso will transform into the head of the serpent from the beginning, quickly lunging with great reach and accuracy into the hero and dealing medium to heavy damage. Staying out of her reach or being able to crouch below her, near the bottom-left corner of the room, will allow the player to avoid this attack.
- If the player positions him or herself below Medusa's body, she'll always resort to attack with her gigantic serpent tail, breaking out through various sections of the floor, forming big curls with her body and leaving only a tiny space between them to stand on. This attack is the key to defeat her easily, as the player only needs to stay below Medusa to lure her into unleashing this attack and just carefully manage to stand between her body parts. Meanwhile, Medusa will be open for attack for a considerable amount of time and the player may then unleash his or her best moves. The best part is that as soon as this attack ends, the player may trigger it again to repeat the process.
- Main article: Gorgon Sisters
Medusa appears in this game as one of three Gorgon Sisters, along with Stheno and Euryale.
- Main article: Medusa/Pachislot
Medusa appears in the first Pachislot game. Her appearance is based on her depiction in Castlevania: Lament of Innocence. She attacks by having her long hair snakes strike from a distance (her "Snake Bite" attack), something which she never did in Lament of Innocence.
One of the bosses of Sexy Parodius is a giant Medusa. She is the boss of the first third stage (Dracula's Castle), which is only played through if the player fails to collect 300 coins in the previous level. The required objective in this level is to kill 100 mice.
- Medusa, Medusa Heads and Gorgon Heads, all are Greek female creatures called Gorgons, despite the fact that in the series, a Gorgon is an enemy inspired by an ox-like mythological creature of Libyan origins.
- The Medusa Shield, originally introduced into the series in Symphony of the Night, may be inspired by the part of Medusa's origins where Athena places her severed head on her Aegis shield.
- Medusa's iconic physical appearance in the Castlevania series seems to have been inspired by a particular scene from the 1981 film, Clash of the Titans. Her appearance in that film was one of her first portrayals with the now recognizable snake-tailed body from her waist down. Before that, most representations of Medusa in common media usually depicted her with a normal human body, with only her skin being green-colored or covered with snake-like scales.
- It was also in this film the first time Medusa was seen fighting with a bow as her main weapon, a characteristic that has been reproduced in some of her incarnations in the series. The 2010 remake of the film further supported this, as Medusa first uses her bow as a long ranged resort before getting up close and using the infamous Stone Gaze.
- Medusa using a bow and shooting stiffened snakes as arrows (as first seen in Dracula's Curse and most prominently in Legacy of Darkness), may be inspired by a particular scene from the 1982 film, Conan the Barbarian. In one part of that film, the main antagonist, Thulsa Doom, takes out a snake and hypnotizes it to become stiff so it can be used as an arrow, then he is given a longbow and shoots the snake, killing Valeria with it.
|John Morris - Eric Lecarde|
|Elizabeth Bartley - Drolta Tzuentes - Dracula|
|Cerberus - Armor Battler - Wizard - Heavy Armor - Great Axe Armor - Golem - Snake Dragon - Gargoyle|
The Creature - Gear Steamer - Talos - Silhouette Demon - Princess of Moss - Death - Medusa
|Ruins of Castlevania - Atlantis Shrine - Leaning Tower of Pisa|
The Munitions Factory - Versailles Palace - The Castle Proserpina
|Akumajo Dracula X|
|Bestiary - Inventory|
|Sonia Belmont - Dracula - Alucard|
|Creatures Bat - Death Dragon - Flying Wolf - Grim Reaper - Medusa - Jumping Demon - Executioner|
|Outside the Castle - Inside the Castle - The Clock Tower - The Top Floor of the Castle - The Cathedral|
|Akumajō Dracula Best Music Collections BOX|
|Nintendo Power Guide - Futabasha Official Guide|
|Bestiary - Inventory - Castlevania: Resurrection|
|Castlevania: Lament of Innocence|
|Sara Trantoul - Rinaldo Gandolfi - Mathias Cronqvist|
|Joachim Armster - Walter Bernhard - Death|
|Elisabetha Cronqvist - Pumpkin|
|Undead Parasite - Golem - Succubus - Medusa - Joachim - Walter - Death|
|Flame Elemental - Frost Elemental - Thunder Elemental - Doppelganger - Forgotten One|
|Forest of Eternal Night - Castle Entrance - House of Sacred Remains - Anti-Soul Mysteries Lab - Ghostly Theatre - Dark Palace of Waterfalls|
Garden Forgotten by Time - Pagoda of the Misty Moon - Prison of Eternal Torture
|Castlevania: Lament of Innocence Original Soundtrack|
|Futabasha Guide - NTT Pub Guide - Shinkigensha Guide - BradyGames Guide|
|Bestiary - Inventory - Joachim Mode - Pumpkin Mode|
|Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin|
|Jonathan Morris - Charlotte Aulin - Wind - Vincent Dorin|
|Brauner - Stella - Loretta - Death - Dracula|
|Richter Belmont - Maria Renard - Old Axe Armor|
|Main Game Bosses|
|Dullahan - Behemoth - Keremet - Astarte - Legion - Dagon |
The Creature - Mummy Man - Werewolf - Medusa
|Nest of Evil Bosses|
|Balore - Gergoth - Zephyr - Aguni - Abaddon - Doppelganger|
Fake Trevor, Fake Sypha and Fake Grant
|Entrance - Great Stairway - Buried Chamber - Tower of Death - Master's Keep - The Throne Room|
|City of Haze - Nation of Fools - Sandy Grave - Forest of Doom|
13th Street - Burnt Paradise - Forgotten City - Dark Academy - Nest of Evil
|Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin Original Soundtrack|
|BradyGames Portrait of Ruin Official Strategy Guide - Konami Akumajō Dracula: Gallery of Labyrinth Official Guide|
|Bestiary - Inventory - Sisters Mode - Richter Mode - Old Axe Armor Mode|