You begin your adventure in front of a castle. Simply walk forward and destroy all the candles in your path to obtain two whip upgrades and the Knife sub-weapon. Once they're equipped, enter the castle. NOTE: You can jump behind the entrance; it'll make a bonus item appear that you can grab before entering the castle.
Once inside the castle, the first enemies in the game will attack you, which are Zombies. Keep advancing while the Zombies are attacking you because if you stop, you'll eventually get surrounded by them and you'll take damage. Walk up the first stairs and destroy all the candles to find the Holy Water sub-weapon, which is very powerful. Holy Water can be used to drop fire on enemies which can be a very useful way to keep yourself protected; use it to kill the Black Panther awaiting ahead. Try to keep this sub-weapon for the rest of the game. However, it's only much useful for greatly damaging ground enemies.
Continue to the right and drop down. Kill the Zombies and then walk up the next stairs, and destroy the last candle to make a Rosario appear which if you hit this rare item, it'll destroy all the present enemies on the screen. Enter the door next to the candle to continue on.
Once through the door, you'll find new enemies, Bats. Bats will appear here and try to attack you by flying towards you; kill them before they touch you. Climb down the stairs and break the brick wall with your whip in which some meat will appear and which you can then eat to replenish some of your health. Go to the stairs on the far left and walk down. NOTE: You can skip this section by jumping at the right moment and with a good angle on a bat; the damage will push you over the brick wall into the next area.
Once you're downstairs, Mermen will attack you; try to kill them as soon as they land on the ground or else they'll attack by shooting fireballs at you. Jump to the far right and walk up the stairs. NOTE: You can go to the lower platform to the right and crouch for a few seconds to make a bonus item appear.
Now you're back on the floor above, climb up the stairs and avoid more bats. Enter the door to continue on.
Now through the door, proceed to the right and you'll find an Invincible Jar hidden in a candle which will inherit you invincibility for a short period of time. Take it and rush to the right until the effect goes away. Kill the few enemies who are mostly Zombies, and you'll reach the first boss by walking to the right.
This first boss, Phantom Bat, can be quite a pain to attack, as it prefers to stay in the upper section of the screen. It will shoot fireballs at you and often swoop down towards you. Don't get trapped in the right corner or else the boss will take this opportunity to attack you.
Wait for the Bat to stop moving which it will afterwards rush to you, so prepare to avoid it. When the boss has stopped moving for a little bit, use your handy whip and your current sub-weapon. The Knife and Axe are great for taking out air enemies.
Once defeated, Phantom Bat drops a Crystal Ball. Take this item to finish the level and continue on!
Castlevania I walkthrough
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