Watch Slacker Saturday: Castlevania II Redaction - Best Ending Run from spoonshiro on www.twitch.tv
A handful of tips if you want to make the run too:
- Each 24-hour cycle only lasts 6 minutes in real time, so you don't have much of it to spare. However, the timer will pause while you're inside buildings in towns and in the mansions, so use that to your advantage to grind out hearts and gain a level or two.
- Hearts serve a triple purpose - they power most of your sub-weapons, are used as currency, and collecting them also gives you experience points, which allows you to level up. Enemies power up and drop more hearts at night, but the best place to grind is definitely within the mansions.
- Leveling isn't as useful as you'd think - you get a bit more health and take reduced damage for every level you gain, but this hits the point of diminishing returns pretty quickly. One level cuts your taken damage down to 75%, then 50, then 25, then 12.5, and so forth. It's a pretty minimal difference in the long run once you're past Level 2 or 3, so don't waste too much time grinding out levels.
- Death carries surprisingly little penalty, as it doesn't cost you any time and you respawn right where you died. However, losing your last life and going to the continue screen will reset your heart and experience counts, so do be careful if you're at a critical point for that.
- Most of the sub-weapons aren't worth bothering with. The flame is quite handy in that it stuns enemies for a good while and the holy water is essential for breaking bricks at many points, but the rest aren't really worth going out of your way for.
Oh, and just to clarify:
- Small hearts give 1 heart and 1 XP
- Half-hearts give 4 hearts and 3 XP
- Full-hearts give 6 hearts and 5 XP
And if you want a point-by-point breakdown of my route:
- You start in the town of Jova. Buy the White Crystal here from the guy on the right side for 50 hearts, then exit to the right and fight enemies until night falls. At that point you should return to town and kill zombies until morning, gaining as many hearts as possible. Then buy the Holy Water from the guy in the rightmost house for 50 more Hearts. Equip both right away.
- Continue east, ignoring the stairs down that you see, until you reach Berkeley Manor. Make your way through the dungeon, buying an Oak Stake for 50 Hearts, and use that to break open the crystal ball at the end and get Dracula's Rib, one of the six items required to finish the game. When equipped, it will serve as a shield and block fireballs, so that's useful. Grind out a level and gain about 200 hearts before you leave; the devil enemies drop big hearts (worth 6 apiece) to speed up this process.
- Exit Berkeley and head west to the stairs you passed up earlier, then go down them to reach Veros. Here you should buy the Chain Whip for 150 Hearts; it does far more damage than your standard whip. From here, continue east, through a cavern area, and head to the east at the top. On this screen, break the bottom-most stair with your Holy Water, then the two bricks at the end of the path, to obtain the Sacred Flame.
- Continue east and ignore the stairs down to reach the town of Aljiba. Here, you should trade your White Crystal for the Blue Crystal (by talking to the man in gray at the top left) and buy two sets of Laurels from the woman in the rightmost house (50 Hearts each); she is hidden beneath a false floor that you'll have to break through with your Holy Water.
- The Laurels will be useful later, but for now, exit and head west, then go down the stairs you passed up earlier. Proceed through two screens of cave until you come to a wide lake that's too big to jump across. Equip the blue crystal here and crouch down for a few seconds and the camera will shift downward, revealing a path. This will lead you straight to Rover Mansion.
- This area's a bit tougher to get through, as the stairs leading up take you to a dead end. What you actually want to do is go through a fake wall and continue to the right. Continue further to the right to buy another Oak Stake if you need it, then go up a few flights of stairs to find the orb. Smash it to get Dracula's Heart; this doesn't do anything on its own, but it will be necessary to reach another mansion very soon. Buy another Stake to save yourself some time later, gain another level and some extra hearts if you wish, then exit.
- Now it's time to backtrack all the way to Jova. Do that, then head west out of town to an area with much tougher enemies (though they should be no match for your Chain Whip). When you reach the poisonous swamp, use a Laurel to cross over it without taking damage, and you'll reach the ferryman. Now, if it's daytime (and not about to become night), make sure you don't have Dracula's heart equipped before you talk to him and he'll take you to the town of Alba, where you can trade your Blue Crystal for a Red Crystal (go up the first set of stairs you see, then jump left to find the man in gray). If it's currently night, don't bother with it for now; just equip Dracula's heart and talk to the ferryman to go straight to Brahm's Mansion.
- Brahm's Mansion is relatively straightforward, but the enemies here are a bit tougher than what you're used to. You'll also confront Death near the end; you can defeat him to get the Golden Knife, or just ignore him completely and proceed into the next room to get Dracula's Eyeball, which reveals items hidden in blocks when equipped. Buy another Oak Stake on the way out, and be sure to have at least 200 hearts before you leave too.
- Go to Alba now, and if you didn't have the chance before, be sure to grab the Red Crystal before you leave. Cross through and continue west, ignoring the stairs down, until you reach Ondol. Here, you should purchase the Morning Star for 200 Hearts; to find it, go up two flights of stairs, left past another one, then hop onto the ledge and enter the building there. Break the false bricks in the floor with Holy Water and talk to the man there.
- That should be all you need here, so head west out of town, over a few tricky platforms, and you'll reach a dead end. Now equip the Red crystal and crouch for a few seconds to make a tornado appear, which will take you straight to Bodley Mansion.
- Bodley Mansion is another fairly convoluted dungeon, but if you bought an Oak Stake ahead of time you can skip over the majority of it. Instead of going up the stairs at the start, hop right through a fake wall, then break the bricks over the platforms there with your Holy Water and continue to the right. Go down the stairs here, then all the way right to reach the orb. Break it open to acquire Dracula's Nail, which lets you smash breakable blocks with your whip when equipped; not too useful, but it's something at least. If you don't have an Oak Stake, though, you'll have to take a much longer route up the stairs, through a fake wall on the right, down some more stairs, and through a fake wall on the left to find the seller in a large, dark and otherwise empty room.
- In either case, gain one more level if you wish, exit Bodley Mansion and go left two screens to another lake. Equip the Red Crystal again and crouch down for a few seconds to reveal another hidden path. Head down to the next screen, but don't hop up the blocks just yet - instead, jump into the small gap between them and head left, over some more floating platforms, and break through the bricks here with your holy water to find a man. Talk to him and he'll trade your Morning Star for his Flame Whip, which is far and away the most damaging weapon in the game. Now head back, up the stairs, break the bricks here with more Holy Water, and continue left and down to exit to a new area. You'll come to another poisonous swamp before long; use your Laurels to cross over unharmed and you'll soon come to the fifth and final big dungeon, Laruba Mansion.
- Laruba Mansion is, strangely enough, one of the easiest dungeons to get through; there's no fake walls or floors, no really dangerous enemies and only really two paths to take, both of which lead you to the same destination. You'll want to take the upper path if you need an Oak Stake to break the crystal, but either way, you'll end up facing off with the evil mask, Carmilla. Unlike Death, though, this fight is not optional; she drops the Magic Cross, which you absolutely need to enter the final area of the game. Fortunately, she's also dead easy to beat; just stand back a bit, equip the Rib to block her fireballs, then wait for her to start spinning around the room; jump up and get a few hits in, then repeat until she goes down. After that's done, smash the orb to get Dracula's Ring, which is also necessary to enter the final dungeon. Now head to the left, cross the spikes, talk to the guy here to get your Laurels refilled, and exit.
- From here, we're going to be making a long journey to the east (yeah, I like the sound of that!). Continue back over the poison swamp, through the area where we got the flame whip, back up through Doina (heal up if you need to), and across a lake and another small poison swamp. Take the stairs down here and you will reach the town of Yomi. There's nothing interesting here (not even a church), so keep going through a graveyard and over a bridge (use Holy Water to break a couple bricks so you can get on top) until you reach Castlevania, our final destination.
- For the final dungeon in the game, this area sure is anticlimactic; the path forward is very linear, there's no enemies, and the only obstacle in your way is some bricks you must break with Holy Water. Anyhow, once you're at the altar room, Simon will burn the five relics of Dracula, but his vengeful spirit will attack! And like the other two bosses in the game, he's... really not much of a threat. You can easily stun-lock him with the Sacred Flame and whittle him down to nothing, but taking him out with the Flame Whip isn't particularly difficult either. Either way, once you've beaten him, the game is over. And if you've done it in under seven days' time, you'll get the best ending!
And finally, for those curious, here's the other two endings.