Order of Shadow's castle (or The Order's "mansion," in this case) layout is best described as a hybrid between old and new--the classic stage-by-stage setup meets the current titles' exploration-based formula. That is, the hero Desmond will be confined to an area, each straightforward save for split paths, until he eliminates its boss guardian and earns an accessibility move that will allow him to move on to the next area. He can at any time return to previously cleared areas and fully navigate them at his convenience, which doesn't change that the fact that the game is largely linear.

     
 
The Mansion
 

Though recent titles have deemed that their castles are but "replicas" of Castlevania or entirely different estates, The Order's mansion is indeed relative and only part of a much larger whole; its hideout is the very entrance to what is certainly the very castle of Lord Dracula. "The Mansion," as this rather short level is called, is best described as your usual main hall, where the weaker zombies and skeletons greet the hero and perhaps instill within him a false sense of ease; the entire area, in fact, is lacking for enemy types and is in that sense scarcely populated. The path leads through the upper hall, its lower bone-bushel-filled foyer, back up a rocky tower, and out to the woods, where the The Order's first high-ranked minion is stationed.

                    

Lesser Enemies: Zombie, Skeleton, Watcher and Bone-Throwing Skeleton
Boss: Order Knight
Music Track: Daring Assault
     

     
 
The Bat's Belfry
 

Continuing through the woods, Desmond arrives at The Bat's Belfry, named, of course, for the guardians that nest at its exit. The name of the game is split paths, of which the Belfry has no shortage; the path through the woods leads up, onto a tattered bridge whose upper and lower compartments present their own challenges, or forward to the mountain range, which has its own split path whose separate branches are at present abbreviated due to Desmond's lack of special moves. This forces Desmond to take the upper path, the bridge that leads into the Belfry, itself--its stone chambers forging a direct path the obvious boss(es). Defeating the twin terrors allows Desmond access to a balcony, which drops down into the aforementioned mountain range, whose lower path is now accessible via the slide maneuver he learned by defeating the boss. (The breaching of its upper path requires that Desmond earn the double jump.)

                    

Lesser Enemies: Zombie, Bone-Throwing Skeleton, Fleaman, Bat, Witch, Axe Armor, Medusa Head and Minotaur
Boss: Twin Bats
Music Track: Bloody Tears
Second Track: Dancing the Stairs Away
     

     
 
The Cavern
 

The onslaught of Medusa Heads just outside the Belfry's lower exit point should be enough hint of the pain that's to come. Indeed, Desmond will spill into the caverns and trek mostly down through a series of zigzagging caves as stuffed with the deadly combination of Medusa Heads and Skeleton Archers, which for Desmond equals a storm of projectiles as he negotiates his path. The rather abrupt caverns lead into a temple where the remains of a previous warrior, now a lovely stone ornament, is a clear warning sign that a legendary foe is about to make her entrance, sword in hand. The boss' defeat not only earns for Desmond the double jump--it saves him the trouble of backtracking by warping him right back to the Belfry, at the mountain range's lower entrance. A quick trip up and around to its top exit will lead him to the next area.

                    

Lesser Enemies: Medusa Head, Skeleton Archer and Harpy
Boss: Medusa
Music Track: Grounded Search
     

     
 
The Inner Sanctum
 

The mountain range's exit, guarded closely by a Minotaur and an Axe Armor, leads into the Inner Sanctum, believed to be the site of the Sacrificial Altar, from which the Dracula-resurrecting ceremony is to commence, and more importantly Rohan Krause, our main antagonist. The Sanctum is filled with enemies and most perilously the strongest of their kind, the most dangerous of which are stuffed into narrow pathways where combat cannot be avoided. After plowing through two initial red-bricked grottos, both split into upper and lower paths, Desmond will find a third whose immediate abyss gives him the option to drop down and quickly escape rather than take the long path around and fight the enemies (which may be fool's gold for a hero who might be in need of the items as stored within the long path); another such grotto leads to the area's final leg, whose nasty combination of Minotaurs and Giant Ghosts poses a considerable threat. Defeat them and only a few lines of exposition stand between you and Rohan Krause.

                    

Lesser Enemies: Minotaur, Harpy, Axe Armor, Witch, Giant Armor, Fleaman, Bat, Skeleton Archer, Medusa Head and Giant Ghost
Boss: Rohan Krause
Music Track: Covering
     

     
 
Castle Keep
 

It's never that simple, of course. Krause's defeat, though necessary, was unfortunately for the Belmont siblings the desirable means for Dracula's resurrection, which, as powered by Krause's pure blood, spells trouble for the hero who brought it upon himself. Dracula will tell you as much after you exit the Sanctum and climb to the top of the Castle Keep, which is nothing you haven't seen before: Little in the way of obstruction as you hustle up a few long stairways leading into the seemingly floating structure and its throne room, where a quick conversation gives way to the final battle.

                    

Lesser Enemies: None
Boss: Dracula
Music Track: Blood Fugue
     

Back to Stage Listing | Back to Game Page