|“||When something is dear to you, its effect upon you becomes immeasurable.||„|
Death is a major recurring antagonist from the famous videogame franchise Castlevania, based on the Grim Reaper of folklore. A demonic deity who rules over Limbo and dead souls, and decides who dies and who lives, Death is Dracula's first and foremost follower and second-in-command, so he is considered to be the secondary antagonist of the whole series. Death is regularly described as Dracula's close friend and confidant and is often seen attempting to resurrect him or serving as his last line of defense.
Death is a fallen angel who was condemned to hunt for souls for all eternity. Holding his silent grudge against God, he waited for the King of the Night to emerge and ally himself with him.
In the game Lament of Innocence set in 1092, when Mathias Cronqvist came in contact with Death wielding the Crimson Stone, Death sided with him.
Mathias manipulated his friend Leon Belmont to make him destroy the Vampire Lord Walter Bernhard, who wielded the Ebony Stone. When it was done, Death gave Walter's soul to his new lord, who used it and the two cursed stones to become the King of the Night, changing his name to Count Vlad Tepes Dracula. Death thus became his eternal servant and helped him to build his empire.
As the harbinger of death, Death and Dracula are natural allies. Death will do everything for his lord, fighting by himself anyone trying to kill Dracula. He would help anyone trying to revive his lord with his knowledge of dark rituals, and would wander through the land spreading death and sowing misery to make men's hearts hateful, so that their evil would bring Dracula back.
In the games
Death appears in nearly every game of the series, with the exceptions of Castlevania the Adventure, (though he appears in The Adventure Rebirth) Belmont's Revenge and the arcade game Haunted Castle. Death will be dwelling either in the Clock Tower or the Dungeons of the Castlevania, being most often the last boss right before Dracula in person. Death is almost always very hard to defeat, sometimes even harder than Dracula himself. (And Dracula is rarely a boss to be laughed at.)
His signature technique consists in conjuring continuous waves of sickles that track down the player without end. He also wields his huge scythe with immense proficiency and casts several death-themed spells: launching dead souls like rays or whirling blasts; conjuring tormented souls; hurling energy balls, scythes of energy or giant, ghostly skulls; causing huge explosions; and so on and so forth. When defeated, he sometimes transforms into a more powerful skeletal monster to continue the fight.
Death frequently confronts the heroes when they enter the Castlevania, or when they are about to enter it (as seen in Rondo of Blood, Symphony of the Night and Castlevania the Arcade). Although there are some games in which he only has a minor role, he generally serves as a major antagonist.
Death serves as the second-to-last boss of the game and he is quite infamous for being the hardest enemy encountered. He hovers from one point to another, conjuring swarms after swarms of sickles. Using long range attacks is better, although the best weapon against him is the Holy Water that can momentarily stun him.
Death fights in an exact same fashion in the remake of this game Vampire Killer.
Once again, Death only appears as a boss, keeping one of Dracula's remains, and fights in the same fashion as he did in the first game. However, he also dives towards Simon Belmont to strike him with his scythe. Oddly enough, the battle against him can be avoided by going to the next room.
Death is fought near the end of the game, in a similar fashion than in the two previous games. Among the four available characters, Trevor Belmont is the best choice to fight him. Once again it is dangerous to get close to him, the battle is pretty hard and his attacks are very damaging.
When defeated, Death turns into a huge, reddish, floating skull who moves swiftly and spits scythes at his foes. Be very careful not to get trapped into a corner of the room to avoid troubles.
Super Castlevania 4
Death leads Dracula's Personal Gard. He is fought right after Slogra and Gaibon in the Clock Tower, as the last of the three bosses who guard the way to Dracula.
He fights the usual way, hovering around and conjuring waves after waves of homing sickles or striking with his scythe, but this is also the first game in which he launches his scythe like a boomerang. He also has the dangerous power to attract Simon Belmont towards him to hinder his dodging.
Death numbers among the many bosses fought in Proserpina Castle in England, right before Elizabeth Bartley and Dracula himself. He fights similarly to the boss battle in Super Castlevania 4 but he most importantly surrounds himself with a circle of huge playing cards. Striking a card will trigger an additional attack spell and can even force John Morris (or Eric Lecarde) to fight once again a boss previously defeated. The cards must be destroyed to strike him.
Rondo of Blood
Death attacks Jack Dappen at the beginning of the game, as the latter is standing on a carriage drawn by running horses. He throws his scythe at him before summoning a giant, ghostly skull and Jack must deflect his attacks.
The boss battle against Death takes place atop the mast of the Ghost Ship. He fights in the same manner as he always did, but near the end of the battle, he summons two waves of giant, green, ghostly skulls before landing on the ground to attack with his scythe. This stage of the fight is pretty troublesome. Death is fast and dangerous and attacks with strikes, dashing slices and a very damaging spinning blow. Be very careful as he still backed up by his sickles and he can block Jack's projectiles to send them back.
In the remake of the game Castlevania Dracula X, Death only appears atop the Clock Tower, for an optional boss battle exactly similar. He plays exactly the same role in Dracula X Chronicles, the 2D/3D remake of Rondo of Blood.
In this remake of the first game, Death follows a fixed pattern and as usual conjures sickles after sickles, while trying to push Simon Belmont into one of the corners of the room. He can also create a dangerous black hole at the center of the screen that vacuums Simon and deals damage at contact, or send flying, homing skulls. Simon must attack Death relentlessly and take profit of the few seconds during which he gets fazed by his blow to harass him.
Symphony of the Night
|“|| So, you made it this far. In the name of your father, cease this foolishness!|
Not while there's a breath in my body.
Then for the master, i'll feast on your soul this night.
|~ Death's last confrontation with Alucard|
When defeated for the first time, he transforms into a skeletal demon wielding two huge scythes, which he mostly uses as boomerangs. He is surprisingly easier to defeat in his second form, especially if Alucard manages to get behind him.
Death is surprisingly easy to defeat in this game. He keeps hopping from one side of the room to the other to strike Sonia Belmont with his scythe, and conjures (few) sickles afterwards. His attack pattern his pretty simple and with enough caution he should not cause big problems.
Death only appears in Reinhardt Schneider's quest, in which he plays a major antagonistic role. He manipulates Rosa, a vampire maid who retains her human soul, increasing her power and causing her curse to overcome her, so that she would fight Reinhardt in the Castle Center. After Reinhardt defeats Rosa but spares her, Death takes her away saying that she will soon become a full-fledged vampire.
- Rosa is not very hard to defeat. She hovers over the ground and mostly attacks at long range, though she can lunge towards Reinhardt to strike him with a rapier or launch a sonic shockwave. She conjures many fireballs from above and a very irksome, homing rose thorn which must be dodged until it fades away. (She does not use this attack in Legacy of Darkness.) It is best to attack her with projectiles.
Death later ambushes Reinhardt atop the Room of Clocks and the Vampire Killer only owes his life to Rosa's sacrifice. Death then engages a battle that can prove very hard, especially without long-range weapons. He conjures waves of sickles that can intercept projectiles, but he also sends them by waves of different pattern: a circle, a much larger arc, a group of sickles arcing towards Reinhardt and several homing ones. He often flies at contact either to launch his scythe like a boomerang or to summon a horde of demonic barracudas one after another. Jump to strike him and don't hesitate to strike him when he flies at contact.
Legacy of Darkness
In Cornell's quest, Death is leading a plot to resurrect Dracula, seconded by Actrise and Gilles de Rais. The three are seen performing a ritual that brings Dracula back at the beginning of the game. (Though whether this is really Dracula or his Servant from Castlevania 64, who seems to be an avatar of some sort to the King of the Night, is still a matter of debate among fans. Indeed Dracula is only supposed to reappear eight years later during the events of Castlevania 64 and the vampire fought looks like an avatar of some sort.) They abduct Cornell's adoptive sister Ada to sacrifice her and fully restore their lord.
It is Death himself who appears in the Clock Tower where Ada was hidden, to take the young girl away. It is hinted that he stealthily followed Cornell after Ortega told him where he hid her. After Cornell defeats Dracula (?) at the cost of his Beastman Power, Death and his associates fetch Cornell's werewolf form and sacrifice it, ensuring Dracula's return in eight years. In the second part of the game which is a remake of Castlevania 64, Death's role in Reinhardt's quest is exactly the same.
Circle of the Moon
Death only appears here as an optional boss. His aspect and fighting style are quite similar to those he had in Symphony of the Night.
He hovers around and unleashes his signature waves of sickles, also attacking with two large, green orbs or six bony spears from his cloak. After being defeated, he turns into a skeletal, turtle-like monster with scythe-shaped arms. He is very slow but he still conjures sickles and can create a shield for frontal attacks or slow down Nathan Graves to hinder his movements.
Harmony of Dissonance
In this game, a warrior named Maxim Kischine gathers the remnants of Dracula's body to destroy them, hoping to prove his worth and to relieve his best friend Juste Belmont from his cursed fate as a Vampire Killer. By doing so, he gets corrupted by Dracula's spirit and partially resurrects the Castlevania, making a reflection of the castle appear alongside it in a spiritual realm.
Death returns to the Castle and joins side with the corrupt Maxim, looking for a way to reunite the two castles and make Dracula's spirit overwhelm his host.
Death starts looking for Juste's and Maxim's friend Lydie Erlanger, who was brought to the castle by the corrupt Maxim but hidden away when his true self took back control. Death eventually finds Lydie and brings her to the corrupt Maxim, given if he were able to bite her in the Ceremonial Room, Dracula would fully resurrect through him. As for Death, he confronts Juste to prevent him from freeing Maxim of Dracula's evil influence.
Death fights with his usual scythe and sickles, but he can also make pillars of blue energy erupt from the ground. When defeated, he turns into a skeletal, snake-like monster with scythe-shaped antennas. Juste must jump on his back and strike his skull to defeat him for good.
Aria of Sorrow
In this game, Death attacks the hero Soma Cruz, hoping to set free Dracula's essence which rests within the young man and start the second reign of the King of the Night.
He is intangible at first, meaning that Soma must strike his scythe while dodging his strikes, sickles and pillars of blue energy. Then, he conjures a double-bladed scythe made of bones. During the second phase, he charges at Soma and mostly fights at close range, but he is also able to throw his scythe in a boomerang-like fashion or in a spinning, circular motion all over the room. Stay away from his scythe after defeating him to avoid huge damage.
Lament of Innocence
Death serves here as the final boss for the first (and very likely last) time. He tricks Walter Bernhard by pretending to obey him and when Leon kills him, he offers his soul to Mathias Cronqvist. After Mathias orders him to dispose of Leon Belmont, who refused to follow him on the path of Evil, he drags Leon into Limbo and attacks. He is a very powerful and difficult boss, fought right after Walter Bernhard.
Contrary to the previous games, Death remains static near the walls and teleports when Leon gets too close. Death must be fought at close range. He fires five tormented souls like homing rays, makes explosive fireballs fall from the sky, conjures flaming skulls, swipes his scythe or launches it like a boomerang, and causes a devastating fiery explosion.
Lament of Innocence is one of the two games in which he does not use his sickles.
Dawn of Sorrow
In the sequel of Soma's first adventure, Death doesn't meddle with Celia Fortner's scheme to awake a new King of the Night, despite sharing her goal, most likely because he knows that Soma Cruz is the one and only reincarnation of Dracula. He still attacks Soma to set free Dracula's essence though.
The first stage of the battle is rather easy. Death attacks by striking with his scythe, by throwing his scythe which separates into a circular wave of sickles, and by creating three doppelgangers of himself to fire four parallel beams. Soma must not hesitate to pummel him after avoiding the second attack. Death then gets angry and things get serious. He now attacks by making his scythe whirling around him, by teleporting to strike, by conjuring his usual waves of sickles and by summoning four gigantic ghostly skulls that charge at Soma from right and left one after the other.
Curse of Darkness
Death is the central antagonist of this game, set three years after Dracula's Curse. Dracula is dead but he left a curse that plagues the land and corrupts its citizens, which Death uses to resurrect him.
The primary protagonist Hector, a former Devil Forgemaster who betrayed Dracula, sets out to avenge the death of his wife Rosaly, caused by his fellow Devil Forgemaster Isaac. Hector befriends Zead, a priest who gives him advice all over the game. Zead tells him to get back the Dark Powers that he relinquished to stand a chance against his nemesis, who must be killed to lift the curse. The Castlevania is eventually resurrected and the two Forgemasters settle their score within its walls.
After Hector wins but refuses to finish Isaac off, Zead appears and reveals that he was the true mastermind behind Isaac's plot. He guided Hector so that he would resurrect the Castlevania, and triggered all events from behind the scene to make them fight to the death. Zead reveals that a Devil Forgemaster fully corrupted by the curse is the vessel necessary for Dracula's return, and he hoped that Hector, who is more suitable for this role, would succumb to the curse by quenching his thirst for revenge. Zead then resolves to use Isaac, whom he seals in a bewitched coffin and sends to the Throne Room.
It appears that Zead is none other than Death himself, who drags the now useless Hector in Limbo to get rid of him while Dracula is coming back through Isaac's body. Death fights in a similar fashion as he did in Lament of Innocence. He remains at the same place and attacks at long range by launching his fire-infused scythe like a boomerang or by conjuring sickles; and at close range by making fire erupt from the ground, by swiping his scythe or by becoming transparent and trying to touch Hector with his glowing hand. He can also cause a devastating fiery explosion.
Portrait of Ruin
Death plays a major role in this game. He once again returns to the newly resurrected Castlevania, wondering why there is no trace of his lord. Upon meeting Jonathan Morris and Charlotte Aulin, the game's primary protagonists, he learns that the Vampire Lord Brauner has raised the Castle and taken it over through his bewitched paintings, intending to take Dracula's place. Outraged, Death almost considers an alliance with the protagonists but he dismisses them and sets out to deal with Brauner on his own.
Death eventually runs into the characters in the Tower of Death, and they resolve to defeat him so that he won't seek Dracula's return. He fights by conjuring the now traditional endless rain of sickles, by striking with his scythe either with a chop to the ground or "regular" swipes, by generating a barrier of chains around him that must be destroyed, and by conjuring chains to grab the protagonists, leaving them open to a dangerous attack. Death can only get wounded by sub-weapons when he turns white after several hits. When defeated, he flees taunting Jonathan for being far weaker than his father. (John Morris, one of the protagonists of Castlevania Bloodlines.)
When the protagonists defeat Brauner, Death, who was counting on this, appears out of nowhere and finishes him off, lifting the seal that prevented Dracula from rising again. Death ultimately fights alongside his lord during the first stage of the final battle, befitting the game's theme of partnership.
Dracula and Death either attack separately or combine their power to unleash a very dangerous super attack. Dracula fights as he always does, by teleporting repeatedly and hurling either fireballs or orbs of dark energy in succession, while Death strikes with his scythe from above or at contact. There are three different super attacks:
- They combine Dracula's orbs of dark energy and Death's boomerang-like scythe throw.
- Dracula turns Death's sickles into a huge swarm of demonic bats.
- Death transforms into a giant scythe with which Dracula stabs the ground to cause an extremely destructive explosion of dark energy.
Fighting both villains can prove very tricky, as each will impede the protagonists when they try to strike the other. Fortunately, they share the same life-points and striking one damages them both. When they are defeated, Death urges his lord to use his power so that he can unleash his demonic form.
Order of Ecclesia
Death returns to his "classical" role as Dracula's last line of defense.
In addition to his signature endless rain of sickles and his scythe strikes, (from above or as a charging slashes) he will conjure six scythe blades of blue energy (three from each side) to corner Shanoa; summon three tormented souls that whirl outwards around him; and unleash a huge onslaught of sickles from his hand.
Death's appearance and fighting style are re-used in an exact same fashion in the medley game Harmony of Despair. However, before being fought he chases the protagonists all over the level, intangible and impervious to attacks, and bombards them with his sickles.
The Adventure ReBirth
Death makes up for his absence in the original game Castlevania the Adventure by putting up a tough battle, being fought once again in the Clock Tower.
He first appears without his scythe, conjuring large sickles from his hands. When he goes to one side of the screen he conjures a huge scythe of blue energy that strikes Christopher Belmont and then hooks him down. Christopher must first avoid it and then run towards Death faster than the scythe. When he creates a doppelganger of himself, they attack from both sides of the screen with bewitched, homing sickles. Striking the doppelganger makes it disappear. After a while Death starts using his scythe. With each swipe of his weapon, Death hurls a red beam to hit at both ranges. Death can also separate his scythe into three huge scythe blades that hover around him before chasing Christopher, or summon several purple, homing, ghostly skulls that must be destroyed.
Castlevania the Arcade
Death first attacks the player on the bridge leading to the Castlevania, slicing a statue with his scythe. He flies around and strikes at close range, summons Zombies to distract the protagonist, launches his scythe like a boomerang and hurls a barrage of dark fireballs. Death flees after a rather short skirmish.
Death is fought again, once again as Dracula's last line of defense atop the Clock Tower. He assumes the more powerful form of a ghostly, knight-like reaper, and starts the true boss battle. He is much more aggressive than in the first confrontation and he mostly fights at close range, often diving towards the protagonist to slash at full speed or hurling many dark fireballs at once. The best way to deal with him is to strike as much as possible when he is getting close while avoiding direct contact.
The Arcade is the second game in which Death does not use his sickles.
Lords of Shadow
Main Article: Zobek
Death takes great pride in working for Dracula and holds his lord in very high regards. This is especially notable when he is confronted to people who covet his lord’s throne, as he finds the mere idea of the Castlevania being ruled by anyone else than Dracula "positively absurd".
Death is cocky and confident, but he never holds back against anyone unless he sees a reason for this. He is most of the time cold, imposing and even threatening. He never loses his composure and even when angered, he remains perfectly stoic. He harbours great contempt for the heroes of the games, but not outright hatred. He treats them with harsh indifference or cold politeness following his mood, and only insults them when defeated or when feeling insulted. He acknowledges their merits nonetheless, and never hesitates to taunt the heroes whose power is not at its fullest, stating that said heroes are a disgrace to their name. He also enjoys taunting and tormenting both his enemies and the dead souls in his grasp very much.
Death is a highly skilled manipulator, who often uses the heroes when he seeks the same thing (Ada and Lydie, in Legacy of Darkness and Harmony of Dissonance, Brauner's defeat in Portrait of Ruin). He lets them progress before appearing on time to seize the prize. He can also devise elaborate schemes to lead the heroes where he wants to and pull the strings from behind the scenes, but he rarely bothers, preferring to seize opportunities when they appear.
He has (or had) apparently a great deal of respect for Alucard, as he somehow bemoans the fact that he sides with mankind and seems reluctant to fight him. However, all the respect he could have for anyone would not prevent him to attempt to get rid of him or her should said person raise against Dracula.
In Castlevania Judgment
Death is a playable character in the fighting game Castlevania Judgment. He lacks his usual cloak and robes, and bears robotic features, most notably the hook which replaces his left hand.
Fighting style and Attacks
Death is a well-balanced character, proficient in both close range and long range fighting (though he is arguably better in long range). His most basic attack consists in a spinning scythe strike followed by a forward dash. He can also teleport.
- Spinning Scythe: He makes his scythe spin around him.
- The Reaping: He launches his scythe like a boomerang, which he can remotely control.
- Twin Sickles: He fires two homing sickles.
- Orb of Gehena: He fires an orb of dark energy that engulfs his victim and paralyses him/her for a determined amount of time.
- Judgment: He grabs his victim and tosses him/her to the ground before landing a diving slash.
- Corpse Hunt: He creates a magical pentagram over his victim that blasts the ground with dark energy.
The Gates of Hell: Death summons the fallen souls, forming ghostly hands from the ground which hold his victim in place. Death then changes his hook into a blade and stabs his victim before dislodging his head and "swallowing" the victim's soul in a burst of blue flames.
Original Series: Secondary