Pro tip: Play one stage sans music in Castlevania

The Castlevania games typically have pretty good music for their respective consoles, but in the first NES game there is a way to temporarily turn it off if you have some bizarre reason to want to do so.

First, pop in your Castlevania cartridge and power on your NES. Then... don't touch anything. Eventually a demo will play

Let it go and cycle back to the title screen. Continue not touching anything and a second demo will play.

Let it go and cycle back to the title screen.

Finally, you can touch something!

Hit Start on Controller 1 and the game will start as normal, except when you get in, the music will be gone!

(It's real hard to get a screenshot of music not playing, so you'll just have to try it for yourself)

Once you do something that makes the music change, like fighting the stage Boss, the music will start up again and not go off, so enjoy it while you can!

Pro tip: Preparing to fight Dracula in Castlevania

Dracula's a pretty tough customer in Castlevania, and if you die while fighting him, you only get very few powerups to fight him again, making things tougher.


You could go back down the staircase leading to his chamber, and then back up again. If you do, the candelabras will reset and you can collect the powerups again. And as long as you don't walk far enough to the left to trigger the boss fight, you can repeat as many times as you want. And using some techniques I discussed earlier, you can really load Simon to the teeth with weaponry

Making this a slightly slower version of the method in Castlevania IV

Pro tip: Collecting a 1up in Castlevania

We've seen that there are hidden goodies all over Castlevania, but there's one that's so secret that it's not even in the manual and a lot of people don't even know it exists: a 1up

To spot this rare gem, first make your way to the fifth area, which the game calls "Stage 13". After you leave the first screen and destroy a couple of skeletons, you'll come to this formation.

Most people will walk down the stairs and continue on, but if you just walk to the right and press against the wall for a few seconds

A 1up will appear!

You only have a few seconds to grab it, too, so make it quick!

Pro tip: Another frequently missed treasure in Castlevania

One of the things about Castlevania is that there are lots and lots of goodies hidden all over the place with no indication that they're there. That makes finding them by accident kind of a rare occurrence.

Like this part of Stage 6, for example. It's the hallway that leads to the second boss, a giant Flying Medusa Head.

If you make your way to the fourth arch and stand in just the right place for a few seconds...

A moneybag will rise up out of the ground for a quick 1,000 points!

A couple of things to note, though: 1. The game is really picky about where you stand to activate the moneybag, and 2. There are lots of the smaller Flying Medusa Heads attacking you in their sine-wave pattern, which makes it tough to stand still for the few seconds required to trigger it.

But, there are plenty of people who are old hands at this game that might not know about it, so it's worth perfecting your technique to impress them.

Pro tip: Castlevania's Death is a pushover

The first Castlevania game is pretty tough, mostly because the enemies are way more maneuverable than you and hit harder than you, which seems a little unfair. One of the more common sticking points is the boss of the fifth area, Death. But, with the proper preparation, he goes down pretty easily.

One of the first candles you come across contains Holy Water.

You're going to want to hang onto it for the duration of the level, and make sure you use it frequently enough that you get the Triple Shot.

Don't be tempted by the Cross toward the end, that's Fool's Gold.

Then, once you get to Death's room, start jumping and lobbing Holy Water on the upper-right platform.

Death will come down, land on the explosions, and get stunned.

Keep on jumping, tossing Holy Water, jumping, tossing Holy Water, etc. until

You win!

And Death didn't even have a chance to move.

Pro tip: A frequently missed treasure in Castlevania

In the first Castlevania game, there are secret treasures all over the place, some collectible, and some not. Most of them require you to duck in a specific place to make them appear, but there are a few that are a little more finicky.

For instance, in Area 2 (technically called 'Stage 5') you come across this innocent looking ledge.

Most people that I see play this game jump up on it and continue on. But if you don't want to be like most people, you could just stand on the blocks for a few seconds. Which will reveal...

A secret treasure chest (worth 2000 points)!

There are a few more which require standing still to make appear, but we'll talk about them another day.

Pro tip: getting the multiple shot powerups in Castlevania

In the classic Castlevania games, you get the very useful sub-weapons. You can only throw one at a time until you find the Double-Shot and the Triple-Shot powerups, which let you throw two and three of them at a time (obviously).

But, aside from certain blocks that always have shot upgrades, finding them is pretty random, right?


You can make the Shot powerups appear simply by using your sub-weapon to hit things.

You can hit candles, enemies, whatever, as long as you actually hit something. Hit about ten somethings and you'll make the Double-Shot appear

Hit about ten more for the triple shot.

Just make sure you actually hit things, if you just throw your sub-weapons off a cliff, you won't accomplish anything other than wasting Hearts.

Pro tip: Secret moneybag in the NES Castlevania

A while back I told you where you could make appear a money bag appear in Castlevania so that you couldn't actually collect it. But there are several more that you can actually collect.

Take the very beginning of the game, for example.

Most people will collect the powerups, and walk into Dracula's castle. But, if you hop over the entrance to the castle instead...

Free money!

You just have to remember to jump back over the entrance when you go to collect it, or you'll go in the door instead.

Pro tip: Free porkchops in Stage 9 of Castlevania 4

Make it far enough in Super Castlevania IV and you'll see this stage, affectionately known as 'the treasury' by some... well, by me anyway.

Along the way through the stage, you see these treasure chests pretty much everywhere.

What might not be immediately obvious is that each one contains a hidden porkchop, you just have to work real hard for it.

Pick any chest you like, and then jump on it 255 times. Yes, two hundred fifty five times. Then, a large pork chop will appear right over your head!

The problem is that it takes so much time to pull this off that you eat up a lot of time on the old clock, so you probably don't want to do it unless you're in the direst of straits. You also might consider not doing it on the chest that I did, you're probably going to want your food to appear in a place where you can actually collect it.

Pro tip: Dracula hands you the tools to defeat him

Dracula's a pretty rough customer, but for some reason, just before you guide your Belmont to fight him, he gives you a full arsenal of stuff to use to defeat him. It seems like a pretty large tactical error on his part, so I can't really understand why, but I'm not one to look gift-arsenals in the mouth.

Take a look at this screen. It's the last staircase before you face-off with Dracula. You waltz up the stairs, go into his chambers, and then he kills you.

But, what's not immediately obvious is that there is an invisible platform, an invisible staircase, and another invisible platform.

Hop on down and nose-up to the edge of the screen. You'll see a brief flash, and then stuff will start raining from the heavens. Food, whip upgrades, Hearts,

a Cross (Boomerang),

a double-shot powerup

a triple-shot powerup

Getting back up is a little bit of a challenge. Getting to the the second platform is pretty easy, just take the invisible staircase. But getting back on the visible platform is a little tougher... since it's kind of hard to tell where the invisible one ends and the Bottomless Pit of Death begins. But if you botch it, you'll end up on the same screen, primed to fill your inventory up again, so no big loss.

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