Castlevania: Lords of Shadow

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"It's God of War in Europe, with friggin' werewolves."
Kevin Pereira, G4's Attack of the Show!

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, developed by Mercury Steam (creators of the Love It or Hate It horror FPS Clive Barker's Jericho), advised by Hideo Kojima and released in the United States on October 5th, 2010, is the first 3D Castlevania title since Castlevania: Curse of Darkness on the PlayStation 2. It's quite possibly the most divisive game in the entire series.

The story is an Alternate Continuity from the previous titles and concerns Gabriel Belmont, an orphan raised by the Brotherhood of Light and currently tasked to speak with the Old Gods in order to determine the nature of a darkness afflicting the world. Perhaps humanity has been abandoned by God. Perhaps someone -- or something -- has cast a spell powerful enough to separate Earth from the heavens, preventing the dead from moving on. Either way, Gabriel has a personal stake in the matter: his wife Marie was recently killed, and he hopes to (at the very least) speak with her again and, if possible, discover a way to bring her back to life.

Traveling through ancient groves, mausoleums, forgotten temples, castles and swamps on his quest for an artifact that may bring Marie back from the dead, Gabriel encounters all manner of characters both mortal and immortal.

A sequel for the 3DS, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow-Mirror of Fate, was revealed in the June 2012 edition of Nintendo Power. Another, more direct sequel, Castlevania : Lords of Shadow 2 for Play Station 3 and Xbox 360 was released in 2014.

Tropes used in Castlevania: Lords of Shadow include:
  • A Girl and Her Magical Golem: Claudia and the Black Titan. She's a Cute Mute girl, the last of her kind, he's a magitek animated suit of armor feeding off the souls of the baddies trying to do her harm. Daddy knows best, indeed.
  • Absolute Cleavage: Carmilla.
  • Advanced Ancient Acropolis: Agharta.
  • Aerith and Bob: Gabriel, Marie, Claudia, Laura... Zobek? You'll notice it fits better with Carmilla and Cornell.
  • Agony Beam: Used by Carmilla. She also uses a Force Field and looks like a Sith-Lord.
    • Also used by Laura.
      • Also used by a Palpatine-esque Zobek
  • Air Jousting: With Satan!
  • Alternate Continuity: And possibly a Continuity Reboot.
  • Anachronism Stew: Although this game is set in the year 1047, most of the deceased knights that you stumble upon are wearing Renaissance-era plate armor.
    • Not just the armor; the clothing styles and architecture are also Renaissance instead of 11th century.
  • And Then John Was a Zombie: The three titular Lords of Shadow -- Cornell, Carmilla, and Death -- used to be the founders of the Brotherhood of Light.
    • And then Gabriel was Dracula.
      • Actually, he refers to himself as Dracul, who was the father of Dracula. However, concept art does list him as being Dracula, so it's uncertain if they changed it in postproduction or if they messed up on the Latin.
  • Anime Hair: Laura, whose hair would have to be twice as long as she is tall to make her crazy bouffant possible. Of course, she's an undead vampire, so she would have had enough time to grow that much hair.
    • It's also possible that, as a powerful vampire her "hair" is just a magical construct, as sufficiently powerful vampires can hide their true form through magic, but are physically no different from the other vampires encountered throughout without it.
  • The Atoner: Gabriel.
    • The black knight as well.
  • Badass: Gabriel Belmont, so very much.
  • Badass Grandpa: Zobek.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: This was particularly true to the human form of Carmilla before she ascended and her spirit fractured.
  • Best Boss Ever: There's a Magitek Golem who you fight, that constantly rains down meteors made of the lost relics of an ancient civilization upon you. It's the second boss, and it isn't even the Climax Boss. And they just get better from there.
    • A perfect example of it just getting better is Pan, your Stealth Mentor and Mysterious Protector, as the Silver Warrior. Where to start? Well, he looks like this. He uses a BFS with a chain-whip tip for his weapon, has magic just like you, pulls off some utterly stunning moves with said BFS and will summon spirit animals to attack you. He insists you bring it on throughout the battle (but not so frequently as to become annoying). The best parts, however, are under the spoiler tags (consider yourself warned, as they are serious plot twists). You just killed a god, and it was a Heroic Sacrifice on the god's part.
  • Becoming the Mask: Gabriel, sorta.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Satan is defeated, but Marie cannot be brought back to life, leaving Gabriel behind as she passes on to heaven. Some time later, Gabriel becomes Dracula, forever separating him from Marie.
  • Blade Brake: Gabriel uses his Combat Cross to stop his momentum when fighting Malphas and Carmilla.
  • Boss Banter: Cornell and Carmilla will not shut up.
  • Broken Bird: Quite literally, Malphas.
  • Bus Crash: Baba is killed by Zobek immediately after she sends Gabriel forward on his mission.
  • But Not Too Foreign: The game itself. Though made by a Western crew[1], the project also has the Japanese Hideo Kojima involved, and the bonus items from Snake also keep its tie with Konami's Japanese tradition.
  • Byronic Hero: Gabriel. Well-spoken, if not as demonstrably intelligent as many examples of the trope. Prone to brooding and "dark moods." He fights vampires and werewolves, but more for his own reasons than those of the Brotherhood, and while he admits that he has done "questionable things" throughout his quest, circumstances continue to force him to perform more. Then there's the ending....
  • Celebrity Voice Actor: Patrick Stewart provides the voice of Zobek, Robert Carlyle lends his voice to Gabriel Belmont and Natascha McElhone voices his late wife, Marie. Jason Isaacs portrays a character, as well.
  • Chosen One: Gabriel is, of course, the one spoken of in an ancient prophecy.
  • Christianity Is Catholic: Well, the game WAS created in Spain. And it takes place in pre-Reformation Medieval Europe.
  • Church Militant: The Brotherhood of Light.
  • Colossus Climb: The Titan battles are lifted straight from Shadow of the Colossus -- music and all. Press right trigger to hang on? Check. Searching for weak points? Double-check Vaguely Meso-american design? Triple-check.
  • Continuity Reboot
  • Creator Cameo: Hideo Kojima voices Chupacabras in the Japanese version.
  • Crusading Widower: Gabriel.
  • Cute Mute: Claudia, though she talks quite a bit for someone whose vocal cords don't work. (It involves telepathy.)
  • Dark Is Not Evil: The use of Shadow Magic does not make you evil. However, a note from a Brotherhood knight came close to its subversion in that he described how he enjoyed killing monsters more and more and having worse and worse nightmares day by day...
    • The official description says that it does requires more discipline, but with the right amount it can be controlled without making you evil.
  • Darker and Edgier: Quite a bit darker than previous games in the series.
    • Needless to mention, it is easily the darkest entry of the Castlevania series thus far, thanks to the involvement of Solid Snake Hideo Kojima.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Gabriel, learning that it was he himself who murdered Marie unknowingly, breaks down horribly and gets electrocuted by a Satan-controlled Zobek - until Marie urges him to fight on. Yet again, after the defeat of Satan, Gabriel crosses this once more after realizing that he cannot resurrect Marie with the God Mask. After watching Marie fly away, he completely breaks down, heartbroken... forever...
    • He almost crosses this after his mind-controlled murder of Claudia, too...
  • Determinator: Gabriel's determined spirit persevered despite some revelations that would have broken a normal man. He did not care for the creatures that roamed the land, if they stand in his way, he will not hesitate to destroy them.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: More specifically, Did You Just Air Joust With Satan, Punch Him Out, And Then Strangle Him!?
    • Justified in that Gabriel has had his power boosted by all the souls in limbo, and the bestiary specifically states that Satan's power is limited while he is on Earth.
    • Pan is an old god whom Gabriel has to kill.
  • Dirty Coward: The Priest in charge of Wygol Abbey, who hoarded Fthe only thing that could protect the village from the vampires for himself, leading to the devastation of his parishioners. Poetic Justice ensues.
  • Drop the Hammer: Cornell. Probably one of the biggest hammers ever.
  • Distant Finale: And how! Depending on when the sequel/DLC picks up from, this may become a (very long) Time Skip.
  • Eldritch Location: Chapters X-XII gets more and more Eldritchy as it goes along, until it ends up in an Amazing Technicolor Battlefield.
  • End of an Age: The Old Gods and the mythological creatures that appear in their presence have long since been forgotten by mankind, and their last remnants are soon to vanish.
  • Evil All Along: Zobek is the Lord of Death and the final of the three Lords of Shadow.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Even as a member of the Brotherhood, Carmilla despised Friedrich von Frankestein's twisted experiments on artificial life. When she became the Vampire Lord, she would continue to torture the mad doctor.
    • Laura also qualifies. She spares Gabriel when she sees him and Marie embrace, and later enlists his help in dealing with The Forgotten One.
  • Evil Overlord: More than one. Gabriel ends up becoming the one that the franchise is best-known for.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: The Final stage is one the Lord of the Dead's personal tower hq.
  • Expy: The bonus costumes (Snake's Bandana and Eyepatch, which looks futuristic and out of place, but hey) give players an idea that Gabriel is an expy to Solid Snake.
    • To some extent, Gabriel could also be seen as an expy of Soma Cruz as well, especially what could have become of him should he lose Mina - only that Gabriel does not become evil.
    • Pan is Grey Fox
  • Eye Scream: Gabriel pokes out both of the Giant Ogre's eyes during their confrontation.
  • Face Heel Turn: Gabriel, absorbs the power of the Forgotten One at the end of the Ressurection DLC. After executing the demon, he destroys the combat cross, signifying his total hatred for God, the Brotherhood, and Mankind, before crossing the portal back to earth. He is now officialy a villain.
  • Fan Disservice: The demon summoned by the Dark Crystal sub-weapon is very female, very topless, and very hideous. Fortunately, you can skip the summoning cutscene (or not, if that's your thing).
  • Fan Nickname: Lady Baba
  • Fate Worse Than Death: Gabriel suffers this right after banishing Satan, which he hates to the bones.
  • Fission Mailed: Right before the final battle Gabriel gets this after his death in the hands of the Necromancer, and then is revived by Marie.
  • Foreshadowing: Zobek's being Evil All Along is hinted at by the increasingly ominous tone of his narration. Just two examples would be his continued spying on Gabriel, and the way Zobek murders Baba Yaga without a second thought as soon as Gabriel leaves her hut. And there's other hints along the way, too. And, if you are particularly Genre Savvy (or overly paranoid): The suspicious wording of Zobek's profile in regards to his armor; it states that he claims that the old style uniform he wears (as opposed to Gabriel's more up to date armor) is passed down from his ancestor. Red flags go up for this unnecessary piece of exposition as soon as Cornell finishes the explanation of the Big Bads.
    • Even Satan's involvement in the plot is subtly hinted at before you encounter him. For example, Baba Yaga says outright that the "King of the Angels" has told her Gabriel would arrive. Angels have no king; the only one to claim the title is Satan.
    • The Priest in Wygol Abbey mentions that the devil was speaking with him in his dreams announcing the arrival of Gabriel and Zobek.
  • Full Boar Action: Better watch out when Gabriel jumps onto an armored boar and tears around the place.
  • Gainax Ending: If you didn't think it had a Kojima feel, wait till after the credits. Yikes!
  • Genius Loci: A scroll tells you that Bernhard Castle, where Carmilla, Laura and their vampire army now live, may be a sentient creature, which would be the reason why it was never possible to give a complete map of the place, as it constantly changes. You never see it happen, though, which is an Offscreen Moment of Awesome.
    • This doubles as a Continuity Nod (or a Mythology Gag). Dracula's castle was explained as always being different in other Castlevania games because it's a "creature of chaos" and always changing.
  • Ghibli Hills: Yup.
  • Giant Space Flea From Nowhere: The final boss is... Satan. Yes, that Satan. Sure, he's relevant to the game's mythology and all, but he reveals himself as The Man Behind the Man about five minutes before the battle begins.
  • Glass Cannon: Reapers, which can kill you in two hits but also die from two hits.
  • Gratuitous Romanian: Eu sunt Dracul! The line is delivered in a conversation otherwise held in English. It's not even the last line of the scene.
  • God Is Good: Gabriel clearly believes so, and... Satan is clearly furious that mankind can ask for redemption.
  • Good Is Not Nice: The Game.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: The Brotherhood of Light's Founders' attempt to purify themselves and ascend to Heaven as powerful spiritual beings worked well enough...too bad their bodies became the vessels for the evil they left behind and became the Lords of Shadow.
  • Grim Up North: The setting is a little more fleshed out, in that the kingdom of the Vampires is in a very cold climate that gets little sun. Adjacent to their kingdom is Wygol Village, which instead of being a friendly haven for the player, is a sacked Eastern Europe hellhole constantly under attack by the vampires.
  • Groin Attack: Gabriel knees the gremlins in the groin when he catches them, and then they explode.
  • Guide Dang It: When rappelling, you can kick-jump off the wall. If you kick again immediately after landing back on the wall after the first jump, you'll fly out farther. Incidentally, the game and manual never tell you this and it happens to be required to get through part of the Clock Tower level.
    • Actually, it does tell you. Once. Really early in the game.
  • Haunted Castle: Well, duh.
  • Here There Were Dragons
  • Heroic Sacrifice: At the end of Reverie, Laura offered her blood to Gabriel in order for him to survive the otherside since normal humans will die without the protection of the dark. At Laura's behest, he drank all of her blood thus gaining all of her powers but killed Laura in the process.
  • Heroic Second Wind: After Zobek killed Gabriel, the spirits of the departed helped resurrect him after Marie pleaded with them not to take him so he can combat Satan and break the spell that separated the Earth from Heaven.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Fighting against hosts of monsters alone and without sleep or much food is not good for Gabriel's sanity, though as The Stoic he doesn't show it much. Two thirds of the way in, Zobek describes him as talking to Marie as though she were still there. To his credit, he's resolute enough to ask for forgiveness when made aware of his unwitting evil acts. It remains to be seen if that repentance stuck during his time as Dracula.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: With a Hideo Kojima touch, no less.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Gabriel LOVES this one. Almost every boss is killed by wresting their weapon away and planting it in their skulls.
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: Squire (easy), Warrior (normal), Knight (hard), Paladin (very hard)
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Implied with Baba Yaga, judging by some of the comments she makes in the Music Box level.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Carmilla. It didn't quite finish her off, though. In the tutorial level, Gabriel impales a warg on a sharpened log he happens to lift up at the right moment as it leaps.
  • Interface Spoiler: A minor example: the life and magic bars start off being able to be filled up to half of their visible lenght, and thus when you get all the upgrades for them, you have more or less twice as much health and magic you had in the beginning.
  • Interface Screw: A weird example of this or You Should Know This Already: during the first chapter in the first playthrough, the game slows down the action and displays button prompts to demonstrate several fancy actions while still in tutorial mode. However, during replays of these stages, the slowdown is gone, as are the button prompts. Makes sense, but the problem is that 2 specific ones of these events aren't exactly intuitive: no other place in the game requires you to time a grab button press properly (which is necessary to finish off the Warg) nor is the jump button used to trigger a predetermined evasion action (which is necessary to avoid the Ice Titan's other arm swipe and get to his chest glyph): in every other similliar situation in the game, you just get the normal shrinking circle QTE prompt.
    • Second and subsequent runs through of these fights work like any other fight without a tutorial. The Greater Warg fight has a standard interactable object glow on the log on the floor next to Gabriel, and avoiding the Ice Titan's attempts to brush you off is the same as doing the same thing against the Rock Titan a chapter later. The tutorial messages disappear because they would have been intrusive and annoying in a game designed so that levels can be replayed repeatedly.
      • Despite the above, the fact still remains that no other "grab" action involving glowing objects needs to be precisely timed to be successful (as opposed to just being too late to trigger it and letting the boss recover: if you try to hold the log up right when the view changes, the Warg will just stand around endlessly until you put it down) and avoiding Rock Titan's swipes doesn't involve predetermined animations, just moving to a different ledge: that, plus the prompt to press A to avoid Ice Titan's swipe doesn't appear either when out of tutorial mode, unlike the countless times the game keeps telling you to hold RT/R2 to avoid being tossed off or falling off a beam.
  • It Got Worse: Gabriel awakes to find he shanked Claudia in the chest, and it's all downhill from there...
  • It Sucks to Be the Chosen One: You think Gabriel looked back on his adventures fondly?
  • Jittercam: Not to a huge extent, but the camera is never completely still. It's especially noticeable in the menus which have this effect as well, probably to complement the book motif.
  • Karmic Death: The abbot Vincent Dorin was indirectly responsible for an entire village being killed by vampires because he kept the only artifact capable of killing them to himself. Guess what becomes of him when he is left at the mercy of vampires when the artifact is taken from him by Gabriel Belmont and Zobek.
  • Kill the Cutie: Claudia.
  • Kill'Em All: Every single main character dies horribly, save for Zobek, who turns out to be mysteriously still alive in the modern era! Laura isn't killed either, and becomes something of a What Happened to the Mouse? until the Reverie DLC came out.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: Gabriel taking gems from his fallen brethrens, as if they are going to use them anyway.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: Gabriel. After having done so many terrible things to some others - or so he said, he still continues his journey bitterly thanks to the heavy weight the world has placed upon him as well as the thought of his beloved wife.
  • Large Ham: Death. Very much so.
    • Satan as well, and most of the villains in the game, so it's Evil Is Hammy in full force.
  • Last of His Kind: Claudia.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Cornell. Also serves as a "Wake-Up Call" Boss.
    • The giant spiders also count.
    • Not to mention Brauner, who can be miles away one moment and right in your face the next. And he doesn't have speed boots like Cornell.
  • Load-Bearing Boss: When Malphas goes down, so does her entire castle.
  • Love Redeems: Laura nearly kills Gabriel, but spares him after seeing him and Marie's spirit embrace. Almost makes Laura a woobie, given how often the game mentions how Laura misses her mother (who died long ago; Laura's a centuries old vampire). Also Gabriel himself in the end, although the The Stinger kind of throws it out the window.
  • Manly Tears: When Marie's spirit ascends into Heaven during the ending, uber-badass Gabriel Belmont breaks down and starts sobbing.
  • Mind Screw: The epilogue.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Zobek Unfortunately for him, Satan is the true manipulator in the entire game.
  • The Many Deaths of You
  • Meaningful Name: Gabriel. You'll kick yourself when this one hits you.
  • Mythology Gag: Familiar names pop up throughout the various scrolls and documents you collect, sometimes appearing as actual characters -- although, this being an Alternate Continuity, the names have often been repurposed for characters who can't possibly be the ones we know (Cornell, Vincent, Brauner).
    • The opening cutscene cuts to a shot of Gabriel standing in front of a gate in an Asskicking Pose. It cuts by very quick but is noticeable if you're familiar with old-school Castlevania. The Travel Montage via map and dotted lines from the earlier installments is also present.
    • Some of the music in the music box stage bears an uncanny resemblance to the Vampire Killer theme from the first game.
    • The soundtrack piece titled "Waterfalls of Agharta" heavily resembles the piece "The Waterfall" from Castlevania 4.
    • In the epilogue, when Zobek enters the hidden section of the church, a dead Slogra can be seen prominently sticking out of the rubble.
    • One of Zobek's narrations says that Carmilla will "cry bloody tears" before the night is done. Aside from the well-known song from Castlevania II, Bloody Tears is also the name of Carmilla's primary attack in each of her appearances.
    • Gabriel is rumored to be an illegitimate child of the Cronqvist family. Mathias Cronqvist was the childhood friend of Leon Belmont in Lament of Innocence and, like Gabriel, he became the main continuity's Dracula. The vampires' castle is also said to have been built by the Bernhard family (Walter Bernhard being Lament's main villain and Dracula's predecessor).
    • Not only is there a visit to Wygol Village, it is told the villagers begin to refer to the Combat Cross as Vampire Killer.
    • Reverie sets things up for a confrontation with The Forgotten One, the optional super-boss of Lament of Innocence.
  • Mythology Upgrade: Malphas.
  • Necromancer: Several, including the Dark Lord of the Necromancers.
  • Necromantic: Gabriel.
  • Notice This: Corpses of dead knights carrying scrolls bearing hinds glow. Also, wheels, switches and levers. Enemies awaitng the killing blow (or the mounting) as well. Practically everything Gabriel can interact with.
  • Not So Different: All three of The Lords of Shadow to Gabriel. Even one of the generic Necromancer enemies, who is briefly played up as the Lord of Death, gets one during a cutscene. Carmilla even goes so far to say that Gabriel is even worse than her since killing the Lords would also kill their heavenly counterparts, which Gabriel was all too willing to do.
    • To view the whole thing at another angle, all these lecturing could be just some Hannibal Lecture to tear down Gabriel and the player's morale while they are working together to save the world's sorry ass from the vile grip of darkness.
  • Older Than They Look: Laura and Carmilla obviously, but also Claudia, whose longevity is a genetic trait of her people.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Getting skewered by Carmilla and Satan doesn't seem to deter Gabriel in the slightest.
  • The Only One: Gabriel is the only one who can defeat the Lords of Shadow, yada yada.
  • The Ophelia: Played straight by poor, poor Malphas. Gabriel, knowing the story behind her, regrets having to kill her (a little.)
  • Orgasmic Combat: Just close your eyes and listen to some of Gabriel's grunts. Heck, even the sounds he makes while climbing sound dirty!
  • Our Ghouls Are Creepier: Rather than being undead, the ghouls in Lords of Shadow are living beings descended from cannibalistic humans. Also a case of Shown Their Work, as this is pretty much what ghouls originally were.
  • Our Goblins Are Wickeder: They look more like pygmie chimpanzee-men than the usual gremlins you may be used to. They're fond of throwing around grenades, too.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: At the very least, mention must be made of the Wargs, which are horses that have contracted lycanthropy and are ridden by other werewolves.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: The vampires here are fairly standard (even going with the correct practice of exchanging blood in order to become a vampire, as opposed to merely having it drained from you), but they aren't able to assume human forms unless they are several centuries old. They also have weird Crab-leg-claw-talon thingies protruding from their shoulders in addition to large bat wings. Olrox and Brauner aren't even human in origin; they're demons that Carmilla turned into vampires (and thus don't have the ability to become human-looking).
  • Power Glows: Cornell transfers his power (or Soul. Or something else.) into the werewolf-shaped pillars that surround his arena. They start to glow, his chest stops glowing.
  • Precision F-Strike: When Claudia is trying to distract the Stone Titan.

Claudia: "Down here, you bitch!"

  • The Precursors: The architects of Agharta and the Titans.
    • Claudia is the only one left, and that doesn't last long after Gabriel's entré.
  • Preorder Bonus: Gamestop preorders got a beautiful black Castlevania shirt with a motif of the Combat Cross. But those who bought a retail copy from Best Buy got a code to download Castlevania: Symphony of the Night for free. Two very excellent options depending on who you are. If you've played every game, you can get the shirt, or buy a retail copy and give the code to a non-Castlevania savvy player to spread the love.
  • Press X to Not Die: Usually has to be done with bosses once you reduce their health to a certain point, either to proceed to the next phase of the fight or to kill them. They're somewhat easier than the quick time events in other games, thanks to you being able to press any button for most of them, and not getting killed if you fail one (though the boss usually regenerates some health).
  • Real Is Brown: Spectacularly averted.
    • Played straight with The Land of the Dead
  • Rewarding Vandalism: Breaking pots and what-not is usually the only way to regain sub-weapons, though in some cases you'll get back things like silver daggers you threw into a werewolf if you kill that werewolf.
    • Mind you, this has been the trait of all the Castlevania games, although in earlier games it was mostly restricted to candles, lanterns and candelabras, while here it's taken Up to Eleven by allowing you to destroy things like huge stacks of books and large pieces of scenery to regain your subweapons.
  • Right Behind Me: A Skeleton Warrior sneaking up behind Gabriel. The look on his face is priceless.
    • Done again when the Dracolich emerges behind Gabriel - this time Gabriel answers with Dull Surprise.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Zobek narrates that Gabriel's devotion to destroying the Lords of Shadow so ferociously is a more than mission-oriented tunnel vision, and hope to save Marie. He is furious at all the creatures of evil and is destroying them with extreme prejudice.
    • The Black Knight goes into one after arriving to find a dead Claudia with one of Gabriel's daggers sticking out of her chest. Cue Boss Fight.
  • Scenery Gorn: Later stages shows how far the influence of evil is displayed, from decaying corpses in an abandoned village to the Land of the Dead, the very definition of Hell on Earth.
  • Scenery Porn: To an absolutely ridiculous extent. A very early level, a swamp, may have you remarking upon how gorgeous the foliage is (and marveling that apparently the swamp is filled with the fallen corpses of green dragons.)
  • Schizo-Tech: Frankenstein's laboratory, the game is supposed to be set in 1047 AD, yet we encounter lots of mechanical devices powered by electricity, the Mechanical Monstrosity which is effectively a robot with a human brain, and a Tesla coil with that very same name (Nikola Tesla was born in 1856).
  • Screwy Squirrel: The Chupacabra for the player.
  • Sequel Hook: After the credits, we see Zobek meet with Gabriel, who is now Dracula, and ask him for help to stop Satan from returning. In return, he'll help Dracula finally die. And this takes place in modern times. Curiously, while this game is supposedly an Alternate Continuity, it seems to be hinting at the long-awaited 1999 incident mentioned in the Sorrow games.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The Forgotten One from the DLC packs.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man
  • Shout-Out: "Search your soul, Gabriel. You know it to be true."
    • The way the Chupacabras speak is also very Yoda-like.
    • What am I fighting for?
    • "The Cake is not a lie!"
    • The magic creating portals and warps is called Aperture Magic. Granted, aperture is a real word that makes perfect sense there, but given the Cake line...
    • A Shout Out to MGS. (It's not only the music you hear, but the camera angle when Gabriel is inside the tunnel is a reference to MGS's gameplay, too.)
      • An odd enough shout out given that the song was cut from the Metal Gear series to avoid plagiarism accusations.
      • Needless to say, the Vampire's Castle chapters - no, the game itself has a lot of gameplay elements from Metal Gear.
      • In other words, Gabriel is Solid Snake - and Satan is Liquid Snake. Saying the name will spoil the final part of the game.
      • And we also have Zobek as the Big Boss.
      • Pan is Grey Fox, whose fighting style and personality is not dissimilar to Pan's.
    • Also, Scrolls of deceased knights talking about a tree named "Dekuh".
      • From another scroll: A deceased knight mourns the death of two of his companions and vows revenge. The names of those companions? Sister Laverne and Brother Bernard. The log is signed Hoagy.
    • The game's visual style is heavily influenced by the films of Guillermo del Toro, and several elements could be considered shout outs, from the appearance of Pan to the fact that the ghouls' lower jaws split open in a fashion identical to those of the Reaper Strain vampires in Blade II.
    • The way the Focus meter works is very similar to the way the combo system works in Dance Dance Revolution series, also made by Konami, as both increase to the max when you successfully perform consecutive hits without interruption and reset to zero when you get hit or miss a step.
    • During the Reverie DLC, you come across a scroll which mentions a time machine built by Emmett Marron. If you know what Marron means in Spanish, this could count as a Bilingual Bonus.
    • "Bring back the dead! Rule the world! Destroy the universe! CHALLENGE THE GOD HIMSELF!!!"
    • Gabriel's answer to the Forgotten One's boast? "Enough Talk...! Have at you!"
  • Show, Don't Tell: Averted. At least insofar as character development is concerned.
  • Super-Powered Evil Side: The three Lords of Shadow to the three founding members of the Brotherhood. Simply put, the founders used a spell to become angels, but their dark sides were left behind as a result.
  • Stealth Mentor: Pan in a sort of way. His boss battle is also a way to teach how to fight Satan (he even states this in one of his battle quotes).
    • It also forces Gabriel to realize he's been a bit of a selfish prick.
  • Snow Means Death: The castle is now constantly snowy and covered in ice.
  • Start of Darkness: For Gabriel, especially in the DLC.
  • Stop Helping Me!: Played with. A character like this is introduced but after a few missions of annoying you, she's killed. And There Was Much Rejoicing.
  • Swamps Are Evil: Goblins, trolls, poisonous bogs... and clingy naiads that have really let themselves go.
  • Tall, Dark and Handsome: Gabriel. Even Zobek thinks so: "He's so dark, so beautiful".
  • Telepathy: How Claudia communicates with Gabriel.
  • That Man Is Dead: Gabriel. "Don't you dare call me that!"
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: The state of the Combat Cross used as a loading indicator during pre-stage narration mirrors its state ingame: it reflects all the respective upgrades when you get them and loses the stake when Gabriel breaks it off into Carmilla's chest.
    • This also results in a minor case of Gameplay and Story Segregation, since the only thing the stake seemed to be useful for was using it as leverage to turn large wheels with holes in them, yet losing it doesn't stop you from doing so: it's not necessary to finish off vampire enemies either, so the whole thing comes off as being mostly superfluous.
  • The Killer in Me: Who killed Marie? You did, Gabriel. You did.
  • The Low Middle Ages: The game takes place in 1047 AD.
  • Theme Tune Cameo: Baba Yaga's music box plays some of the series' recognizable tunes, such as Vampire Killer.
  • The Reveal
  • Unblockable Attack: Indicated by a white chargeup.
  • The Unfought: Zobek gets fried by Satan, who upstages him as the final boss.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Given Zobek's real intentions, it's possible that he's seeing Gabriel's moral descent when it isn't there-he's projecting.
  • The Vamp: Carmilla, including in the literal sense.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: The climax of the Carmilla battle.
  • Tragedy: No other Castlevania games have been so dark and hopeless compared to Lords Of Shadow... and Gabriel is the first Belmont who is not so nice at all - although he is not related to the original Belmont clan in any way.
  • Tragic Dream: Gabriel's hope of resurrecting Marie from death is shattered in front of his very eyes at the end of his journey...
  • Tragic Hero: Gabriel
  • Tragic Monster: Once again, Gabriel, after the ending credits.
  • Tron Lines: Pan's animal forms feature these.
  • Undead Enfant Terrible: Laura
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Rinaldo Gandolfi's spiked chain is designed for controlling large beasts with agonizing pain and then killing them when they are no longer of any use. The elders of the Brotherhood of Light were right about its cruel nature...
  • Viewers Are Goldfish: For some inexplicable reason, every time the Brotherhood of Light is mentioned, it is appended, "The Order to which you belong," as though we would forget from scene to scene.
  • Villain Protagonist: Gabriel is revealed to be Dracula after the credits.
  • We Can Rule Together: Carmilla, as you would have probably expected, makes this offer to Gabriel. She doesn't appreciate him turning her down. Satan also offers this to Gabriel, but is quick to withdraw it when he refuses.
  • Wham! Line: EU SUNT DRACUL!
  • Whip Sword: The Silver Warrior.
  • Whispering Ghosts: Disembodied voices can be heard in The Dead Bog stage.
    • The souls that engulf Gabriel once he gets fried by Zobek via Agony Beams also whisper things like "Your time has come!" "Stay with us!" "Come with us!"
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Gabriel, in the epilogue, lives to modern times as the immortal Dracula. Unfortunately, it seems all he really wants to do is die. Zobek tries to recruit him to prevent Satan's return, and promises to cure Dracula of his immortality.
  • Wicked Witch: Baba Yaga. Sends Gabriel on a quest to assist in a spell that will make her a Hot Witch.
    • Sadly, we never get to see this transformation.
  • Woman in Black: Carmilla fits this to a T.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Dracula.
  • Worthy Opponent: The Forgotten One calls Gabriel this.
  • Xanatos Gambit: As it turns out, it was all a plot by the Lord of the Dead, who turns out to be Zobek. He was the one who cast the spell to separate the world from the heavens in order to trick his fellow Lords of Shadow and their heavenly counterparts into thinking an old prophecy was coming true in order to get them killed and finish off Gabriel to absorb their power. He also made Gabriel kill his wife.
  • Yin-Yang Bomb: Gabriel gets a couple of pendants that let him absorb Light and Dark energy.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: How Gabriel deals with practically every mount that isn't a shapeshifted Pan. The spiked chain Rinaldo Gandolfi created was for such a purpose.
    • You can also do this to your own white pieces after winning the Vampire Wargame.
    • Also done by the Big Bad, Satan, once Zobek is no longer necessary.
  • You Can't Fight Fate
  1. Spanish, specifically