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The Castle Maps

Wygol Village
Ruvas Forest
Kalidus Channel
Minera Prison Island
Tymeo Mountains
Misty Forest Road
Skeleton Cave
Somnus Reef
Giant's Dwelling
Tristis Pass
Oblivion Ridge
Argila Swamp
Mystery Manor
Training Hall
Large Cavern
Dracula's Castle


"Albus Mode"

Order of Ecclesia abandoning Portrait of Ruin's team-mechanic gimmick doesn't result in the absence of a quality alternate-hero mission. It's in this case "Albus Mode," which puts you in control of supporting-cast member and difficult-boss character Albus. To unlock "Albus Mode," make sure you save all of the kidnapped villagers before taking down Count Dracula.

When the mission begins abruptly, Albus will be standing in the center of Wygol Village, his only safe haven (no villagers will be present). Once he exits the village, he'll find only the Monastery as an available locale; the mission will then proceed from area to area, as did Shanoa's, with the main difference being Albus' propensity to freely travel anywhere within a given location. If you've played a modern series title, you know how this works: Albus is not bound by narrative and storyline-based progression even though his adventure unfolds incrementally. The more classic approach to platforming and action affords him free reign as he plows his way through the countryside en route to the Castlevania and its heights, where he'll Count Dracula, the big boss. He gains levels as governed by an unseen RPG system, and he can power up by collecting HP-, MP- and Heart-Up symbols. Because he's somewhat controlled and has no inventory, there are some things to remember:

Albus comes to the dance with his Agartha, a magic-powered pistol, and a whole host of abilities you might remember from his boss appearance. Albus, with his rapid-fire shot and overwhelming special attacks, at first feels a bit overpowered. This is a trap you shouldn't fall into; it'll best serve you to put in the effort to grind and gain levels, not counting on the defeat of bosses to provide heaps of experience. Minor enemies aren't really much of a threat, but some bosses (especially the castle-dwellers) will certainly challenge him. Albus' limitations are indeed typical of no-nonsense heroes, but he has enough tricks up his sleeve to compensate:

Normal Attacks:
B: Jump
B while airborne: Double Jump
Down plus B: Slide
Y: Fire Agartha
Hold Y: Rapidly fire
Up plus Y: Max Shot
X: Optical Shot
A: Quadruple Ignis
R: Torpor Crystal
Tap touchsreen: Warp to location
L: Back-dash
Up plus L (while standing): Super Jump
L while airborne: Super Jump
Torpor Crystal: A small shard hits the ground and sprouts into an engulfing crystal - at the cost of 3 hearts

Not counting his slide maneuver and Torpor Crystal sub-weapon, all of Albus' attacks are powered by his magic meter, which refills quite quickly compared to Shanoa's, regardless of his current level. This is perhaps his only advantage when it comes to battling Count Dracula, against whom Albus stands little chance. Should you manage to defeat the Dark Lord, a typical "hero watches from the distance while the castle crumbles" ending will be your only reward.

The "Boss Rush" Mode

To unlock this mode, an additional side-mission for Shanoa, you must finish the game by defeating Count Dracula using the power of Dominus. To even breach the castle halls first requires the rescuing of all twelve villagers preceding the battle with Albus. After the credits roll, your progress will be saved into the game's memory. When the game resets, you'll find on the title screen an additional option called "Bush Rush Mode." Once you select this mode, you must choose your completed regular-mission file in order to begin. Simply put: "Boss Rush Mode" consists of successive battles against all but one of the game's bosses (the Wallman is benched due to the nature of his battle).

There are two separate courses: Course A, which pits you against the normal-area bosses, and the sinister Course B, which is home to the treacherous castle bosses.

Course A
Course B
Room 1: Athroverta Room 1: Blackmore
Room 2: Brachyura Room 2: Eligor
Room 3: Maneater Room 3: Death
Room 4: Rusalka Room 4: Dracula
Room 5: Goliath -
Room 6: Gravedorcus -
Room 7: Albus -
Room 8: Barlowe -

This instance of "Boss Rush" fun doesn't put into action a largely unprepared Shanoa; rather, in accordance of selecting the mission file, she begins the excursion with all of her status intact plus any armor, weapons and abilities she was able to attain. When "start" is pressed, Shanoa will find herself within a lone safety room wherein she can take the time to equip the desired weaponry; thereafter, there's no time to rest--there are no safety rooms after clearing a given room. After a boss is defeated, though, it'll release a crystal that'll restore her lost energy and quickly refill her magic meter. When you've defeated a course's final boss, you'll find a nice reward based on how long it took you to reach and defeat it, and the item will transfer over to your regular mission. The following awards can be procured:

After you collect your new item, your score will be tallied and you'll be given the option to try the other course or return to the title screen.

Despite what was said about this being an extra mission for only Shanoa, you can actually play through as Albus, who can take to the battle without even having to clear his mission (his level will automatically be set at "50," since anything lower would be unfair). Albus of course has his own abilities, which makes for a unique fighting experience; without inventory, though, he can't cop out and put to use healing items, making his excursion considerably more challenging. Be warned that playing as Albus is its own reward, since the collected item can't be carried over to his inventory-less main mission.

Better Ending

There have in more modern titles been different endings depending on the conditions surrounding your battle with certain boss creatures or your actions beforehand, and this trend continues--there are three possible endings for Shanoa in Order of Ecclesia. The first ending, considered "bad," is received if you are defeated by Albus. The second-worst is reward for instead defeating Albus without first rescuing the twelve kidnapped villagers. If you've been unable to locate the missing villagers, here are there locations:

If you save all of the villagers and then defeat Albus, the game will continue. The story will advance and you'll then be able to enter into Castlevania en route to the real final battle and the game's best ending.

New Game +

When starting a new mission in an already existing file, you'll ordinarily have to delete the current progress before starting anew. Order of Ecclesia bucks the trend: Rather than selecting the file by highlighting your name, push right to choose the "Clear" icon. When you start a new mission in this manner, your inventory and statistics will carry over, affording you great power right from the outset.

Harder Difficulties

Order of Ecclesia's "Hard Mode" will be unlocked once you clear a normal mission with Shanoa by defeating Count Dracula. When you start a new mission, you'll now find "Hard Mode" as an option in addition to "Normal Mode." The beefed-up Hard Mode features an optional level cap (1-50), tougher foes, shuffled enemy placement, and the proliferation of (yellow) Medusa Heads, who appear earlier than expected.

To unlock "Hard Mode Level 255," you'll have to somehow clear the normal "Hard Mode" using a Level-1 cap. After starting up the game, choose the "Clear" icon of a selected file and start a new mission--in either Normal or Hard mode. Quite simply, the very unlocking of "Hard Mode Level 255" allows for the player, in any mission attached to the file, to break beyond the standard Level-99 cap and and reach up to Level 255.

Sound Mode

The Konami Sound Test returns once again for your listening pleasure. To unlock this mode, simply defeat Dracula to receive the game's best ending, under the same conditions you used to unlock the "Boss Rush" mode. This may be redundant, since both modes unlock at the same time. From here, you can without restriction listen to all of the game's outstanding tunes.

Boss Medals

If you want to be called an expert hunter, you have to have the hardware to prove it. Earn greater distinction by defeating a boss without taking a hit; if you do this successfully, the a blue treasure chest will appear mid-room as the boss withers away. Open the chest to claim your prize--a medal signifying your flawless victory will be added to your inventory. (Note: The "Dracula Medal" will appear within the nearby save room once you continue after defeating Dracula.)

Prolonging the Agony

Did Ecclesia's 16 standard areas not meet your sight-seeing quota? Well, then, extend your adventure by visiting Transylvania's two most infamous hellholes--the Training Hall and the Large Cavern, both of which can be accessed by leaving Castlevania through its lower-right exit after you defeat Blackmore. Challenge yourself to endure two unique styles of madness while agreeing to their conditions:

Queen of Hearts

The Queen of Hearts is another of those items that can't be obtained through normal means. To claim the Queen of Hearts as your own, clear the "Hard Mode" using any level cap. The Queen of Hearts will appear in your inventory when you again load up your mission. Equipping the item will cut heart-usage in half, allowing you to pull off a Glyph Union at lesser expense.

The Codes

Ecclesia's Judgment

Thanks to the DS' wireless capability, owners of Ecclesia can squeeze more out of their purchase by using Castlevania Judgment as the gateway (and vice-versa). Insert Judgment into your Wii and boot it up. Select from its main menu "DS Connection," then turn on your Nintendo DS with Ecclesia already inserted and choose "Wii" from its title screen. Choose the desired data and select "Connect to Wii." From there, follow the directions until the transfer has been made. Dual owners will unlock new fighters for Judgment and the following for Ecclesia: The Queen of Hearts, the Royal Crown, easier access to "Hard Mode Level 255," and a record.

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