This is the first area of the game. The halls starts out dark as Alucard battles the humoungous Wargs but the lights soon come revealing many more horrors. This is where you will first meet Death, who takes away all of your weapons.
This is where Dracula's alchemists studied and created vile concoctions. Watch out for spiked traps and the first real set of bosses you'll meet, the Slogra and Gaibon. You can't open the blue door here until you find the gem from the Library keeper.
The inner dwellings of Dracula's castle is beautiful and well-crafted, but also filled with hideous beings. Various floors will open up once you hit a switch, which is only accessible through a blue door. A gigantic stretch of grandfather clocks leads to the main clock room of the castle. This room holds a secret, if you can find the two rings to activate it. The long hallway at the east side contains large female temptress beasts, monstrous plants and a strange eyeball that peers in from the window.
Accessible from the end of the hallway of the Marble Gallery, the Outer Wall extends vertically on the east side of the castle. Fog occasionally swarms in making things hard to see. If you can find the switch, an elevator can be activated to make traveling a lot easier. At the bottom of the wall lies a strange chamber with a telescope that allows Alucard to view the ferryman. Climb up the Outer Wall and you'll find the door to the Long Library and, farther up, the Clock Tower.
Ghoulish skeletons and possessed books try to attack Alucard in this strange house of knowledge. Keep up your search and you'll find the Master Librarian who's willing to help, as long as he can be paid. Once the Double Jump stone has been found Alucard can explore more, and even find the bat form (although you need the mist to get through the grate.)
Once you open the blue door in the Alchemy Lab, you will go here. Climb the great stairs of the Holy Chapel and you'll eventually make it to the confessional and the bell tower, well into the clouds. The room full of stained glass is a spectacular site to see, but the spectral sword in the area could possibly hamper your trip. The strange room of spikes near the top can only be accessed with the Spikebreaker armor. Near the northeast side you'll find the Castle Keep.
Dracula often held twisted combat rounds between monsters or even prisoners for his viewing pleasure. You can first gain access to the Colosseum through Olrox's Quarters and from there you'll battle skeletons with guns, werewolves, minotaurs and bone dragons. Find Richter Belmont, meet his challenge, and you'll obtain the mist.
Once you push a certain switch in the Marble Gallery, the passageway to this cave will be opened. Destroy the Scylla right at the bottom of the cave and look around more for the waterfall. Miss the jump across and you'll end up back at the Entrance. However, if you do manage to leap across the waterfall you'll meet up with the Ferryman who will take you across the river to the Merman Statue. A hidden passage somewhere in the cave will take you to another hidden layer where you can find the snorkel, allowing Alucard to breath underwater. To reach the Abandoned Mine, you must lure a certain skeleton to break a wooden bridge.
Olrox is a close friend of Dracula that inhabits the center of the castle. To get here, stay in the clock room located in the Marble Gallery until the upper-right statue moves. Most of this area cannot be explored until the bat form is obtained, but once it is you can meet Master Olrox himself.
The Abandoned Mine is rather small, found hidden in the Underwater Cave. This area mainly serves as a transitional area to the Catacombs. Watch out for the hordes of bats that occupy this region, as well as the witches and annoying gremlins.
Deep underground beneath the castle lies the members of the Tepes family. Slimes, grave keepers, and more irritating gremlins will horde progress, although the nastiest sight is the Granfalloon on the west side. On the east side there is a dark room filled with spikes...use the Bat Echo (which is found in the Castle Keep) to navigate through them and find the Spike Breaker armor.
Nightmare is not really a stage, it's just a room. The entrance can be found in a room near the top of the Underwater Vein. It will test Alucard's mind and morals. He suddenly sees his mother being executed, and calls out. She tells him that she loves him, and that he should hate humans. Alucard knows his mother would never say such a thing, and then the illusion vanishes, revealing the Succubus.
The outer bridges of the Clock Tower will crumble if Alucard sets foot on them, so watch out. The inner workings of the tower are full of gears and Medusa heads make the jumps tricky. Further into the lair watch out for knights whose spirits will attack once their mortal body dies and jump across swinging pendulums. The raven king Kuramusan guards the door to the Castle Keep.
This is where Richter fights the opening battle, "Bloodlines", with the Count. This is also where, as Alucard, you'll come face to face with Richter. You'll have to fight the mighty Belmont, who is now under the spell of Shaft. Don't fight this battle blindly or your quest will end only half way through.
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Castlevania Games - Symphony of the Night - SotN Stages