The Top 5 Bosses in Castlevania: Lords of Shadow
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow is arguably one of 2010’s most memorable experiences for many reasons. Obviously, you have the epilogue which has been the topic of many discussions among ‘vania fans for months. But you also have a line-up of truly superb boss battles in the game as you take on the role of Gabriel Belmont looking to bring back his deceased wife by way of the God Mask.
From the battles with the game’s titans to the encounters with the Lords of Shadow themselves, the bosses in the game are critical aspects to its overall success; which all culminates in one hell of an epic last showdown with a certain embodiment of evil. Then, of course, we have a big “unruly evil” to do battle with in the game’s DLC. So with all this talk about who, or what, this unruly evil is (which we now know after playing ‘Reverie’) we decided to rank the bosses that are already present in the main quest. Beware, spoilers ahead.
*Note: Second takes written by Mike Angileri (Kefka)*
This fight was one of the game’s much talked about titan battles and due to its size and downright sense of epic-ness, it proved to be the best. After fighting Necromancer spawns throughout his respective chapter (chapter 11) you finally reach the Lord of the Necromancers himself (or so you initially thought) only to have him turn into the massive Dracolich. And from there, you’re pit in a huge multi-staged boss battle.
Like the previous titans in the game, the Dracolich has to be taken down by means of destroying specific runes placed in different spots around its body. Unlike the previous titans, though, the Dracolich is much more aggressive and isn’t stationary or just merely walking around an arena, he’s taking flight over the Abyss, instead. And after many hardships faced trying to hang on to the flying beast, you finally destroy all the runes needed to take him down. And yes, he does go down, only to reveal his final form. It’s interesting because back when the Dracolich was seen in the game’s Kojima-cut trailer, everyone thought this massive flying dragon-like titan would serve as the game’s final boss which seemed possible due to the epic scope the battle was briefly shown in. But then again, many people also thought that Satan was Alucard after some good ol’ time travelling. Ah, good times.
Second Take: The first two titans awed us as we scaled their massive bodies to take them down and stop them from wreaking havoc upon the world. After facing the Stone Titan we felt that nothing could top just how epic it was to be so far off the ground and able to peer down upon your tiny comrades. After the end of chapter 2, the titans were gone…no sign of them until almost the very end of the game; emerging from the abyss was the Dracolich. This fight takes titan battles to a new height…quite literally as it is a gigantic beast that soars through the sky. You scale this beast as he flies around, grappling to his outcropping bones and tendons for dear life as he swoops around the sky.
Size isn’t the only thing that makes this boss memorable; it’s one of those feelings in a game that feels all-too-real at points. When the battle begins we see Gabriel standing alone on an isolated cliff, staring at the beast flying in the distance. From afar we can hear the bellowing from deep within this beast as it resonates around us. The tone of the beast’s roar and the fluidity of his movements bring him to life. When you gaze upon this behemoth, you can literally feel that you’re about to take part in something amazing.
Named after a boss that Alucard fought in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Lords of Shadow’s Olrox is one of Carmilla’s main commanders of the vampire army. After having killed his brother Brauner in Wygol Village, you know damn well that Olrox isn’t going to be happy to see Gabriel. The vampire commander resided right outside the ever so classic staircase leading to Carmilla’s throne room. He is her last source of protection after Gabriel has extinguished the castle’s many demonic threats. So, in a classic sense, Olrox could be seen as this game’s Death protecting his Dark Lord right until his last breath which in this case is Carmilla.
But what exactly makes this fight so good? Well, for starters you have a much more deadly vampire commander here than in his brother Brauner. That alone makes for one hell of a heated battle made only better with back and forth counters and quick dodges keeping the boss battle at a very fast pace. Until he decides to regenerate. But even that act is quite awesome because Olrox doesn’t just magically regenerate health (like bosses in other games do) no no, instead, the remaining vampire general sucks the blood from the Lycan corpses positioned around the room you fight him in. Now how cool is that? Then after re-killing all the poor Lycan corpses that Olrox was feeding off of, you finally get the finishing blow on the vampire commander, which then opens up the way to Carmilla’s throne room thanks to his spilled blood. And off to fight the “bitch” (just picture Patrick Stewart saying it like in his narration) who commands the castle you go.
Second Take: While Brauner was fast, Olrox is faster and much more precise, not to mention you battle in a much smaller arena than when facing Brauner in the village. Olrox is a force to be reckoned with not only his speed, but his punch as well. He packs some serious heat, which makes Gabriel all the more susceptible to a quick death if Olrox lands a couple attacks.
To make matters worse, Olrox’s teleporting and rejuvenating brings a new issue to the table. Not only do you have to take care of yourself by blocking and dodging on the drop of a dime, but you have to destroy the vampire lord’s health sources one at a time, all this while chipping away at him when you have an opening. If you are not fast enough however, Olrox will gain more and more life…so be swift and accurate to defeat him!
3) The Silver Warrior (Pan)
I really didn’t see this fight coming, at all. If anything, I thought that Pan would’ve just sacrificed himself for the benefit of Gabriel. And this did end up happening, but only after an actual fight with the one that has been vital to Gabriel’s survival throughout his entire quest. As soon as Pan revealed his Silver Warrior form you knew things were serious. What ensued was one of the best boss fights in the game. From the clever use of your magic abilities to the satisfaction you get from pulling off successful counters in this battle, fighting Pan was as amazing as it was unfortunate. I mean, why did he have to confront Gabriel only to die? Why was a sacrifice needed?
That question gets answered upon the fight’s ending where you find out that a sacrifice had to be made (involving blood) in order to proceed to the next part of the journey. Up until that point, Pan served to be a very helpful and wise character who had kept a close watch on Gabriel and his journey the entire time; even downright saving his ass a couple of times. It’s interesting to note that Pan was quite knowledgeable when it came to Gabriel and the darkness that was resting inside him. You can tell by the way he spoke to him during the game’s cutscenes. It’s most notable early on in their first encounter when, after completing the pendulum puzzle, Pan leads Gabriel into the Lake of Oblivion and just by looking at him you can tell there’s sorrow and maybe even regret resting within Pan. He will be greatly missed and his dying act will also be remembered as what led to Gabriel being able to not only conclude his journey but also to find out the truth about the whole mess humanity has found itself in. Rest in peace, Pan.
Second Take: The battle with Pan was definitely unexpected. Your mentor and confidant throughout the game has one final test for you to complete your journey. Suiting up in a shining body of armor, the once decrepit-looking ally shows his true strength and agility to Gabriel for the last test. Unfortunately for us, Pan takes one for the team and dies in the line of duty. While his efforts are understood and needed, it is definitely sad he had to die to progress on Gabriel’s journey.
One thing I found when fighting Pan was that I really learned my abilities and how to utilize them to their potential. To be honest, I never really used my blocking technique until this point…I just went balls-to-the-wall and evaded very precisely which is hard to do in this fight – and I quickly learned that the hard way. The integration of light and dark magic phase-shifting really prepares you for the final battle in the game and I really believe this battle was necessary to hone our skills and master our techniques before entering the conclusion of the game.
The Dark Lord of the vampires,this battle with Carmilla came really close to being number 1 on our list, due to its overall level of (for lack of a better word) awesomeness. What starts out as an already epic battle in the Vampire’s Castle’s throne room elevates to the skies above said castle; concluding in a very satisfying scene that puts an end to Carmilla’s reign and thus kick-starts the events in ‘ Reverie’. With QTEs put into the mix, this fight ends on a really high note after a fairly challenging bout with the Queen of the Vampires.
This fight should have felt extremely familiar to fans of the series, especially with the long staircase to ascend leading up to the Vampire Queen’s throne room. It was like doing battle with a female version of Dracula; especially when her second form came which resembled (despite being much slimmer) Dracula’s second form from Rondo of Blood and Symphony of the Night (among other titles). Considering the length of the game, this battle did have that sort of “final boss” feel to it, made even more felt due to the setting of the actual battle as aforementioned. We shall await the return of Carmilla in Mercury Steam’s Castlevania universe, riding a skull ,perhaps.
Second Take: Going into this fight no one really knew what to expect. All we knew was that this was the Queen of Vampires and she was pissed. In the beginning of the fight she shows us her mastery of the demons throughout the castle as she summons countless vampires to her aid as she keeps her distance and fires beams of magic at you, killing anything that gets in the way. As Jorge said above, the fight quickly changes pace once you dwindle her down a little; she becomes very forward and pursues Gabriel as he hacks away at her.
Simply killing the Vampire Queen would have been too lackluster for Gabriel. In the final segment of the battle, Carmilla takes flight, fleeing from the man she underestimated. Gabriel whips her leg and is taken for a wild ride. Although relatively short-lived, this button-timing minigame ends, oh how it ends. Taking footing upon one of the castle’s steeples, Gabriel struggles to keep Carmilla at bay in the sky and eventually yanks her down with his whip, impaling her upon the top of the steeple and ending her reign. Epic.
Who would’ve thought we would see the day where we would be whipping the holy hell (no pun intended) out of Satan himself in a Castlevania game? Voiced by Jason Isaacs, Satan proved to be a very surprising but yet understandable final boss at the end of the game; especially taking the plot’s subject matter into account. And really, for almost 25 years we’ve been facing Dracula and his demonic creatures of the night so it’s about time we get to do battle with the ultimate form of evil itself.
Right before his reveal we find out that Zobek (Death) has been behind everything from the very beginning. Then, of course, the villain’s ego-fueling antics come to an end when we find that there was yet someone else behind everything, even behind Zobek’s mastery of the dark arts. That “someone” was none other than Satan himself . After some expected dialogue we finally get to the fight. And the fight itself was truly memorable, but the music also lend itself greatly to make the battle much more intense. Oscar Araujo’s composition during this battle was truly breathtaking and it complemented what was going on on-screen perfectly. Fighting Satan proved to not only be memorable in its own rights but also a good representation of how all of a game’s different aspects can come together seamlessly to result in very satisfying result. Did anyone else get an Ikaruga feel from this battle? But seriously, who doesn’t want to whip the hell out of Satan?
Second Take: Being a Castlevania game, fans were under the impression they may be fighting the lord of darkness, but little did they know there was a little twist in there. Yeah, change that to PRINCE of darkness. Satan. While the trailer expertly showed us a faux enemy with Jason Isaacs’ voice overlaying an image of a colorless hand of a man sitting in a throne, we now know that it was not Dracula…well…kind of…but that’s another story…
This battle is like Pan x 100. The abilities and techniques you used with pan are very important here as well. Not only do you have to adjust your magic to be able to damage Satan, you have to adjust it accordingly to avoid getting tangled in the glyphs that Satan produces to slow you down. This fight has many phases, mixed with standard combat to button-press minigames that will decide the fate of the battle if you slipup even once. It tests your endurance and your focus, but the battle is a perfect sendoff, making this our number one boss fight for Castlevania: Lords of Shadow.
This list could have easily been extended to a top 10 affair but we figured we should narrow it down to a handful of bosses that really stick out from the overall experience found in Lords of Shadow. Yeah, I know making the last boss of the game be the number one pick isn’t all that original, but the Satan battle was really that good. We would love to read your opinions, though. What bosses do you guys think are the best in the game? Or better yet, you can post your very own “Top 5″ list in the comments below.