As it was in Castlevania: Dracula X, Rondo has to it split paths that determine who you're able to save and which ending you get. Four such stages are secret (alternate) stages that you can unlock by performing specific tasks within the normal route. Considering that both normal and alternate stages have to them, alternate routes, things can get confusing, so follow along as best you can. The game opens with a prologue that'll see you undergo a short squabble with Death before you move on to the normal stages.

     
 
Stage 0: Prologue
 

As Richter rides along on his horse-pulled wagon toward Dracula's castle as a storm rages on, Death swoops in from above. His goal is to only intimidate the young Belmont--a short battle will ensue before in which Death will unleashe green skull-head-shaped blasts as sort of a warning. The rain and fierce winds will be a big distraction, too, as you'll be pushed backwards in your attempts to jump up and whip him. After you make contact a few times, Death will say a few more words before laughing and flying off, but Richter will continue onward.

                    

Lesser Enemies: None
Boss: None
Music Track: Richter vs Death
     

     
 
Stage 1: Town Ruins
 

You start at the town limits and battle a couple of ape skeletons. You'll make your way into the very familiar town, Aljiba, as seen in Simon's Quest (though, its design is more reminsicent of the Town of Jova); you'll be attacked by more ape skeletons and a blade soldier. Most of them break through the windows. You can break through the leftmost wall of the town's exit to get to an alternate stage, but you'll first have to face an alternate boss. If you continue on regularly, you'll reach the town's outer limits, where you'll battle two huge rock monsters while fending off bats. The boss can be seen flying through the background of the next area, waiting for your arrival.

         

Lesser Enemies: Ape Skeleton, Blade Skeleton, Ectoplasm, Stone Rose, Bat and Golem
Boss: Wyvern
Alternate Boss: Water Dragon
Music Track: Opposing Bloodlines
     

     
 
Stage 2: Main Hall
 

You'll start outside in familiar fashion to how all of the other games begin. After battling ravens, skeletons and an axe knight, a trip over a drawbridge will bring you into those familiar halls. Zombies and floating eyes litter the halls. In the next part of the hall, a behemoth breaks through the wall and gives chase. Falling in a hole while he's chasing you will lead you to an alternate area. If you outrun the bull, and avoid all the zombies, he'll crash into the wall of the next room. You must then go downward into the basement to battle the fishmen. If you found a key while the bull was chasing you, you can save Maria here. You'll emerge in the final hall and exit into a battleground, where you'll face the boss.

         

Lesser Enemies: Black Crow, Skeleton, Axe Knight, Zombie, Floating Eye, Behemoth, Bat and Fishman
Boss: Werewolf
Alternate Boss:
Bone Golem
Music Track: Vampire Killer
     

     
 
Stage 2': Lake Bridge
 

If you took the alternate path in stage 1, you'll wind up here. You'll go over a series of long bridges guarded by blade skeletons, bone pillars, ravens and spiders. If you cross all of the bridges without falling into a pit or slipping through a collapsible part of the stage, you'll be back on the regular path. If you fall off the third in the series of bridges, you'll battle an Armor Lord and move on to face a boss whose defeat keeps you on the alternate path. The Ferryman lurks somewhere underneath the second bridge. If you can drop through the right pit and find him, a long fishmen-infested trip will take you directly to the alternate stage 3, without having to face a boss.

         

Lesser Enemies: Black Crow, Bone Pillar, Fishman, Blade Soldier, Spider, Gargoyle and Armor Lord
Boss: Werewolf
Alternate Boss:
Bone Golem
Music Track: Cross a Fear
     

     
 
Stage 3: The Chapel
 

The first hall of this stage is guarded by spear guards and bone pillars. The next area features a long room that has skeletons swinging from the ceiling. Continuing on, you'll climb a giant staircase that has flea men sliding down its banister. You'll then come across rotating platforms with Medusa Heads trying to knock you onto them. Falling into a pit eventually leads to the same place the regular path leads. A Paranthropus guards the exit. The next room has giant candles and is guarded by ghosts, spear guards and a giant flea man, who will steal your sub-weapon if you run into him. Chances are that you'll have an axe here; if you can sneak by the flea man, you can access a lift to an alternate stage, using the axe. The boss lies ahead.

         

Lesser Enemies: Spear Guard, Bone Pillar, Skeleton, Bone Golem, Fleaman, Giant Fleaman, Medusa Head and Ghost
Boss: Minotaur
Alternate Boss:
Dogether
Music Track: Bloody Tears
     

     
 
Stage 3': The Graveyard
 

You can get here from either of the stage 2s--if you battled the Bone Golem on either stage, you'll wind up here. You'll start in a mud-filled area guarded by mud men and bone-throwing skeletons. Some of the tombstones will come alive and attack you. You'll face the 3-eyed skull soon after then travel through more mud. The next rectangular area has grave keepers, skeletons and bone pillars. The top part of this section has spiked-balls on the end of chains. If you break the chains, one of the spiked-balls will fall to the screen below and open up a path to yet another alternate boss. If you don't go that way, you'll travel through more mud and more of the same enemies, winding up back on the original path. Tera is being held captive by the Grave Keepers.

         

Lesser Enemies: Mudman, Tombstone, Bat, Three-Eyed Skull, Skeledragon, Skeleton, Grave Keeper, Bone Pillar and Zombie Hands
Boss: Minotaur
Alternate Boss:
Dogether
Music Track: Cemetery
     

     
 
Stage 4: The Dungeon
 

The first section features the cell area guarded by fleamen, bone-throwing skeletons and blood skeletons. Moving up, you'll run into the first skeledragon; then, you'll have to jump over spinning toothpick-like blades while fending off more bone-throwing skeletons. You can go one of two ways here: You can hit a switch guarded by a fleaman and go through an area with plenty of axe knights, crushing spike platforms, and spinning ball-and-chain barricades; or you can continue on and go up a group of stairwells guarded by flea men riding boulders dispatched by a cyclops, blocking your progress upward. Both lead to the same place. The final hall has more axe knights, axe lords, bone pillars and spinning ball and chains. An alternate boss can be found by hitting a bomb hidden in a wall. The regular boss awaits you here, though.

         

Lesser Enemies: Fleaman, Floating Eye, Blood Skeleton, Skeleton, Spine, Cyclops Worker, Axe Knight, Bone Pillar, Axe Lord and Skeledragon
Boss: Dullahan
Alternate Boss:
Carmilla and Laura
Music Track: Beginning
     

     
 
Stage 4': Mountain Range
 

If you battled Dogether, you'll take this path instead. You'll travel across the marshlands, jumping on moving platforms while trying to avoid frogs and ravens. You'll come to an area that has a waterfall with rafts floating alongside. This is yet another split path to an alternate boss. If you don't take the waterfall ride, you'll cross log bridges guarded by more frogs and skeletons swinging from vines. Hit the frog statues to find Iris' holding chamber. Next is an area that has hawks dropping hunchbacks and skeletons hiding behind trees. The boss is just beyond. If you did ride the raft down, you'll take a long ride down the watery slope (the "Ravine of Death," as a sign refers to it), and you'll have to on the way down battle Bone Halberds on their own personal rafts, jumping off when you near shore. Owls will swoop in and leave you some weapons--if you hit the boxes they're carrying. More platform riding follows after the Ferryman helps you along. Jump on his raft twice: Once for nourishment, the other for a key that opens the door to escape this area. The alternate boss isn't too far off.

         

Lesser Enemies: Frog, Fleaman, Bat, Skeleton, Fishman, Spear Skeleton and Hawk
Boss: Dullahan
Alternate Boss:
Carmilla and Laura
Music Track: Slash
     

     
 
Stage 5: Ghost Ship
 

You'll start at the bay, battling phantom skulls, flail guards and blade soldiers. Then you'll enter the ship and take on some bone archers. This leads to a room guarded by a spectral sword. When you first enter the ship, though, you can enter a shortcut by pushing a steel barricade after breaking bricks on the other side of a wall. What follows is more bow-and-arrow skeletons, with another room guarded by the spinning picture. Maria can find a hidden room by crawling around near the ship's engine. You'll then head up the ship's deck; it's there you'll have cross the ship while battling flea riders, ball-and-chain knights and bone muskets. If you make it past all the foes, you'll climb the ship's mast for another encounter with Death.

         

Lesser Enemies: Phantom Skull, Flail Guard, Blade Skeleton, Bone Archer, Spectral Sword, Spinning Picture, Bone Musket, Flea Rider and Mace Knight
Boss: The Grim Reaper
Music Track: Picture of a Ghost Ship
     

     
 
Stage 5': Hidden Docks
 

The path through the hidden docks allows you to skip over the battle with the Reaper, but it leads directly to stage 6's boss battle. The long trek starts on a pier where ravens and bats will clutter the area while you jump onto moving platforms that hover over water. Once inside, a high path, guarded by spear guards, and a one low, it littered with Medusa Heads, will rest before you; the high path leads to a series of battles with axe knights and Armor Lords; the one low has more jumping onto moving platforms. They both lead to a long bridge with floating eyes and a lone axe knight. Back into the castle, spear guards will stab at you from above while Medusa Heads try to knock you onto the flipping platforms. A lot of bosses await you.

         

Lesser Enemies: Fishman, Black Crow, Bat, Spear Guard, Axe Knight, Axe Lord, Medusa Head, Yellow Medusa Head, Armor Lord and Floating Eye
Boss: (1) Phantom Bat, (2) Medusa, (3) The
Mummy
, (4) Frankenstein, (5) Shaft
Music Track: Opus 13
     

     
 
Stage 6: Marble Gallery
 

This marble hall, where Shaft has been hiding, is hardly a stage; this small area's only purpose is to serve as your means to power up for the bevy of boss battles that are soon to follow in the next room. Even if your arsenal is lacking at the time, you'll find a few big hearts and five other candles that contain all of the striking mystic weapons. Personally, I'd take the boomerang--make sure to take something strong because you'll need it. The bosses are only a door away.

         

Lesser Enemies: None
Boss: (1) Phantom Bat, (2) Medusa, (3) The
Mummy
, (4) Frankenstein, (5) Shaft
Music Track: Road to the Enemy
     

     
 
Stage 7: Clock Tower
 

Anyone who's played Symphony will immediately recognize this. First you have to cross a very long collapsing bridge being patrolled by multiple mutant bats--some of them with swords in tow. You'll then go through the clock tower area, which is made up of three sections, all containing water skulls, bone-throwing skeletons, harpies and Medusa Heads. As in Symphony, there's a gear you can whip to make a door open; it contains a key to rescue Annette in the next tower leg. The whole next area requires that you pick the correct paths while going up and down stairways, battling sword lords, wereskeletons and panther skeletons as you do so. Don't mind the wereskeleton that takes the place of your reflection in one of the mirrors. When you take the right route, you'll have to swing over pendulums. The next hall has a series of breakable walls that require certain sub-weapons to break them; the reward, if the puzzle is solved, is merely a stopwatch. You'll then exit to face the boss in exactly the same place you fight the Karasuman in Symphony.

         

Lesser Enemies: Mutant Bat, Water Skull, Skeleton, Medusa Head, Yellow Medusa Head, Hawk, Harpy, Sword Lord, Panther Skeleton and Wereskeleton
Boss: Shaft's Ghost
Music Track: The Den
     

     
 
Stage 8: Castle Keep
 

Like stage 6, this stage challenges for shortest in the series' history. Just go up the stairs, collect the items in the candles, and face the game's ultimate evil. There's an invisible stairway that you can climb, and it's right at the top of the first stairway--same area where the hidden stairway is in Symphony; jump up and all around the area right after the keep's overpass to climb the unseen stairs. To get out of this money-filled room, walk along while pushing downward to climb down that same stairway.

         

Lesser Enemies: None
Boss: (1) Dracula, (2) Dracula's Ghost
Music Track: Poison Mind
     


For the Chronicles version of these stages, click here.

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