Part of playing Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance is figuring out the secret of its two castles. As Death explains it: The two overlapping castles are somehow a product of Dracula's possession of Maxim. While both castles are almost identical structure-wise, their backgrounds, enemies and challenge-levels differ. Initially, you start out in transient "Castle A" and move between it and the real "Castle B." One detail is that the whole middle of the castle--the overlapping portion--reverts when you enter Castle B so that it instead becomes a part of Castle A and vice-versa. This two-page stage overview is structured so that the transient castle, the one in which you begin the game, is covered on the first page while the real castle is covered on page two.

Castle A

     
 
Castle Entrance
 

After parting with Maxim, the gigantic Talos will come alive and chase you until you enter into the castle via the drawbridge. You'll find yourself in those halls of legend, the curtained windows and textures as prominent as ever. The rest of the area, which, like most others, is maze-like, and it branches into several other areas; all but the castle's first vertical passage will be inaccessible at this point.

                    

Lesser Enemies: Zombie, Bat, Skeleton, Armor Knight and Peeping Eye
Boss: None
Music Track: Successor of Fate
     

     
 
Marble Corridor
 

The main halls' only accessible entry leads here, the daunting stone and marble galleries. Not far into the area, you'll have your first encounter with Death before moving on and facing your first boss. Your next challenge will be finding the correct path to travel; the whole area is a maze of stairways, stone walls and attic-like structures, and you'll find only one exit point carved into one of lower levels of one of the area's larger rooms. Even considering the boss, the strongest enemy you'll run into here is a Victory Armor, a foe that guards a power-up and an inaccessible path.

                    

Lesser Enemies: Bat, Skeleton, Bone Soldier, Armor Knight, Medusa Head, Fleaman and Victory Armor
Boss: Giant Bat
Music Track: Offense and Defense
     

     
 
Room of Illusion
 

The Room of Illusion is a virtual extension of the Marble Corridor. As such, it's another one of those famed "connector areas," which serve only to branch into another area. You'll find nothing here early on except for its encompassing backgrounds, but when you learn your sliding move, you'll be able to pass through this area and find the game's first transporter room. Since this is an extension of the previous area, it shares some of the same enemies.

                    

Lesser Enemies: Lizard Man, Medusa Head and Zombie
Boss: None
Music Track: Offense and Defense
     

     
 
The Wailing Way
 

From the Marble Corridor, you'll be forced to come to this connector area. The ruins of the castle have indeed been intentionally neglected, so you can expect narrow passages, unreachable platforms, damaged structures and enemies stuffed all in between. Most of the unreachable platforms house power-ups that you can come back to get later--but for now, the goal is to zip past this area and get to the one it branches into. Trying to stop you from doing that will be some of the more tricky enemies.

                    

Lesser Enemies: Ghost, Rock Armor, Large Ghost, Bone Pillar, Bat and Lizard Man
Boss: None
Music Track: Approach to Despair
     

     
 
Shrine of the Apostates
 

The Wailing Way spills into this area, the burial ground and worshipping area for the castle's wicked habitants. It's here that you'll begin running into some of the more equipped enemies, most of which preside within the narrow passages of this maze. When you've found the correct path, you'll meet up with Maxim; after Maxim departs, you'll venture into the chamber of this area's boss; after defeating the boss, a switch raises a wall that'll allow you to return to the main halls. Many of the previous area's enemies also reside here, including another powerful victory armor.

                    

Lesser Enemies: Lizard Man, Rock Armor, Bone Pillar, White Dragon and Victory Armor
Boss: Living Armor
Music Track: Approach to Despair
     

     
 
Castle Treasury
 

Once you've escaped from the Shrine, you can return to Room of Illusion and take its transporter here. The Treasury is actually the whole center of the castle, and it contains many dark and misty chambers, including crystal mines and volcanic pools, that simply branch into other areas. In effect, this is a very large connector area. This is the easiest part of the castle to get lost within because most of its chambers resemble each other. In effect, your endurance will be tested frequently; if you can find a save room, it'll make this a good area to use to gain levels. The wave of lesser enemies here will serve that goal well.

                    

Lesser Enemies: Bone Soldier, Skeleton, Ghost, Peeping Eye, Skeleton Rib, Skeleton Flail, Ectoplasm, Skeleton Blaze, Zombie, Bomber Armor, White Dragon Lv3, Feather Demon and Gate Guarder
Boss: None
Music Track: To the Center of the Castle
     

     
 
Cave of Skeletons
 

This creepy area can be reached from the aforementioned treasury; it seems as though Dracula's skeletal forces have joined together to create their own haunt. Obviously, much of this area consists of skeleton-like structures--ribcages, most prominently--walls forged using human skulls, bone bushels, and backgrounds containing more of the same. All of the lesser enemies here, though not too advanced, are borne out of its surroundings.

                    

Lesser Enemies: Skeleton, Bone Soldier, Bone Pillar, Big Skeleton, Skeleton Flail, Skeleton Spider, Flying Bone, Skeleton Spear, Red Skeleton, Skeleton Rib, Bone Thrower and Skeleton Ape
Boss: Skull Knight
Music Track: Skeleton Den
     

     
 
Castle Top Floor
 

Early on, the top floor of the castle can be accessed only through the treasury. The bottom portion of this area consists of long vertical passages--two of which feature elevators for easy travel that can be used when you can jump high enough to reach them--forcing you into a game of platform-jumping. Later on, you'll be able to enter the top of this area, the dreaded castle keep, headed by that all-too-familiar staircase.

                    

Lesser Enemies: Skeleton Blaze, Ectoplasm, Skeleton Spear, Big Skeleton, Bone Thrower and Disc Armor
Boss: (1) Minotaur, (2) Maxim
Music Track: To the Center of the Castle
     

     
 
Luminous Cavern
 

The Luminous Cavern is very reminiscent of the usual underground caverns of games' past. The supernaturally carved passageways will test your skills thusfar, as you'll be unable to speed past the enemies that clog up each. After you dispense of the boss here, you'll have to retreat to the area's first downward vertical chamber in order to find the castle's only other transporter. To get there, you must fend off axe armor, man-eaters, witches, bomber armor and others that are more than comfortable within the narrow caves.

                    

Lesser Enemies: Axe Armor, Bat, Siren, Man-Eater, Ghost, Slime, Tiny Slime, Bone Pillar, Ectoplasm, Skeleton Ape, Scarecrow, Bone Thrower, Witch and Bomber Armor
Boss: Golem
Music Track: Luminous Caverns
     

     
 
Sky Walkway
 

The Cavern's transporter leads here, one of the castle's rightmost towers, and it's hardly suppressed by the intimidating clouds circling its top. There isn't much room to move around its passageways, so you'll forced into difficult situations against more of those "tricky" enemies. There are three exits out of this area, only two of which you'll want to explore before entering the second castle; after entering that castle, you can return here for another meeting with Maxim.

                    

Lesser Enemies: Balloon, Big Balloon, Flying Bone, White Dragon, Bone Archer and Ruler Sword Lv3
Boss: Devil
Music Track: Chapel of Dissonance
     

     
 
Chapel of Dissonance
 

The topmost exit of the Walkway leads to the maze-like halls that connect into the chapel. The narrow halls wrap around and around, all vertically, until you come to the chapel itself. (Think of the archer room in the chapel from Symphony reversed.) After finding some power-ups, you'll want to battle the boss to retrieve the night goggles and then retreat back to the Sky Walkway, since you can't yet open the locked door within this area. On the way up, you'll face bone pillars, flying bones, bone throwers, and other pesky platform-protecting baddies.

                    

Lesser Enemies: Fleaman, Flying Bone, Bone Pillar, Bone Archer and Bone Thrower
Boss: None
Music Track: Chapel of Dissonance
     

     
 
Aqueduct of Dragons
 

From the Walkway, you can reach here using the night goggles. This underground waterway isn't too large, but it's crowded with hordes of sizeable fishmen and mermen. If you can manage to plow your way through the onslaught, you'll find a save room, which, as usual, will signal a boss' presence. After defeating the boss, you can move forward and enter into the Clock Tower from a different location than the one you could reach using the Walkway. Besides the fishmen and mermen, you'll run into into a few smaller enemies, and you'll run into the second-toughest foe here--the guardian boomerang armor.

                    

Lesser Enemies: Fishman, Merman, Slime, Tiny Slime, Bat and Boomerang Armor
Boss: Giant Merman
Music Track: Aqueduct of Dragons
     

     
 
Clock Tower
 

The Clock Tower is the last area you'll explore in the transient castle, and you can get here from the previous area and the Sky Walkway. The tower is its usual collection of long vertical chambers filled with gears, cylinders, spokes and the whole works. Since all roads lead here, expect the most powerful enemies you've faced thusfar. The last such chamber of the tower will lead to another encounter with Death, in a room where you'll find the first inter-castle portal. If you want to stop along the way to the far east, you'll find a unique room where you can race a giant boulder around a metal track for a prize.

                    

Lesser Enemies: Harpy, Gold Medusa Head, Fleaman, Bone Pillar, White Dragon, Big Skeleton, Disc Armor, Arabaki, Feather Demon, Guardian Armor, Specter and Ruler Sword Lv2
Boss: Max Slimer
Music Track: Clock Tower Casualty
     

Page 2: Castle B | Back to Stage Listing | Back to Game Page