Let’s assume Alucard (or Grant) and Trevor take the upper road after completing Block 5-06. Where does it lead? Turns out your destination is Block 5-07. That’s twice now that Block 5 on the main route probably should have ended, but didn’t. This is why I’ve referred to this route as the longest in the game. It just keeps on going.
Since this path sees Block 5 to its bitter end (and takes you to a boss battle quite shortly), we’ll consider it the main branch of the main path. But this is completely arbitrary, since both routes lead through completely different Block 6s that nevertheless share common numeration. As near as I can figure, the only reason for this is that the dev team wanted the numeration of Sypha and Alucard’s stages to match up so they could both arrive at the convergence of Block 8, but ended up creating one more stage on Alucard’s course. Rather than let the stage numbers fall out of synch, they simply added in an optional level. I guess. Who knows?
In any case, Block 5-07’s categorization as an extension of Block 5 makes sense, because the aesthetics and hazards here feel very much in line with the previous stages. Orange blocks with skeleton-lined catacomb hollows… check. Low, spiked-line ceilings, deep pits, things falling from above… yep.
Unlike the previous stages, however, the falling hazard here doesn’t consist of acid that eats away at blocks but rather… well, blocks. They drop into place and pile up, adding new configurations to the floor and, if you let them, eventually obstructing your path in a very impassible sense. This can be trickier to navigate than the acid traps, since additive obstructions require more effort to pass than subtractive (again, thanks to the nature of your jump’s arc). Alucard can theoretically dash past these sections in bat form, but he’ll be knocked back into human shape and drop like a rock if something hits him, so that’s more easily said than done.
At the end of this short but difficult stage, you face off against the boss from Block 1-03 again. No sweat, right? Oh, your arrogance is your weakness. This time, he’s not messing around. Rather than simply pace back and forth and swing his saber at you, this Skeleton Knight combines the skills of multiple lower-tier skeletons by adding bone-chucking to his repertoire. He fires several of these spare ribs (tibias!?) at once; they loop back behind his head, rise up slightly, and fly forward only to boomerang back around to the knight. It’s kind of horrible!
You can find some degree of safety by climbing up to the upper platforms and attacking with some of Trevor’s indirect sub-weapons (the Axe or Holy Water). Alucard’s upgraded attack will also hit the knight, but since Alucard’s fireballs are half as strong as Trevor’s default whip this tactic will take approximately forever to pull off. Honestly, the best weapon is the Boomerang, which will take out a whole string of bones and hit the knight in a single lob. Alucard’s attacks, being both weak and unable to pass through objects they strike (a weakness that none of Trevor’s weapons possess, save the Knife), are probably the worst tactic to use here, period.
This can be one of the toughest battles in the game. Thankfully, this is a short enough stage that your inevitable loss doesn’t sting too badly. Good on you for making up for your pitiful predecessor, Super Skeleton Knight.
8 thoughts on “Anatomy of Castlevania III: Block 5-07”
I don’t think I’ve ever faced this boss… now I have to dig out the Wii and play!
If there was ever an alternate character in Castlevania who felt like a bad choice, Alucard would be it. His bat form’s one of the most useful abilities for getting anywhere in the game as long as he has the hearts and doesn’t get smacked, but his attack options suck.
His fireballs have the longest range of default attacks, but he fires as slow as Trevor whips and they do such crappy damage that Grant’s knife and Sypha’s friggin’ staff are more viable weapon options. He can upgrade to a two or three fireball spread, but he needs to get to point blank range to make more fireballs hit one foe to make the most of it, and Trevor’s first whip upgrade and pretty much any attacks Grant & Sypha can do are still better alternatives.
He can’t shoot fireballs in bat form, he can’t shoot fireballs while climbing stairs, he has zero sub-weapons, and it takes two fireballs for him to kill a Medusa Head, owl, or flea man. The bat morph and not taking more damage than Trevor are really the only advantages Al has going for him.
The ‘taking more damage’ thing becomes less important in the later levels of the game, anyway, since Trevor gradually starts taking more damage per hit anyway.
Yeah, but when Trevor and Alucard are taking four points, the others are taking five. That works out to four-hit kills either way (16-point health meters and all), but when you start collecting meat this makes it harder to top off the weaker crew’s health.
Back in the day I found Alucard the best for phase 2 of the last fight in the game, but the worst for getting there (having to take the far harder route, and generally being the least helpful partner to boot) – whereas the last fight was hardest (but easiest to get to) with Sypha.
@Leliel: Not that I’ve ever made it there in CV3, but I didn’t think about Dracula. Yeah, I guess the fireball’s range could come in handy for that fight if you get that far with Al.
Game just keeps giving me reasons to use passwords to try things out. Heh.
Okay, without spoiling anything, let me just say that a few bits of the final level almost justify Alucard’s existence! Almost.
Dracula is a jerk. >=(
@MetManMas Yeah, my memories are as old and dusty as my CV3 cart, but I’m pretty sure I got to the end fairly easily with Sypha and then could not beat the game at all until much later, when I got there with Alucard. I remember the level where you had to wait for the falling blocks to be a particularly crippling point, Alucard’s special ability notwithstanding, and I think it’s coming up in a couple of posts. Going to be very interesting to read the Anatomy for that one, because I remember THAT stage with tooth-grinding clarity.
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