As bosses in Castlevania titles go, the Death that features in Aria of Sorrow is a fairly tame one, however it’s located very early on in the game, so for players new to the series and indeed Metroidvania games as a whole it can be a difficult introduction. His scythe is erratic at the best of times, and it’s very easy to get distracted by his projectiles, spells and the sheer amount of screen space that some of his later attacks occupy, and before you know it you’re magically transported back to the title screen, pride significantly dented. So, let’s get down to the business of defeating him then, shall we?
The Two Death Phases
Battling and indeed defeating Death means being able to tackle two phases of play. In the first phase, he’ll regularly spawn in some small, rotating mini scythes that advance in the direction of Soma, along with casting a spell that chases you in a single direction. Both of these are relatively easy to deal with, by hitting the small scythes or simply running to the left or right when the spell is active, however things can be made a little more awkward by Death’s constantly spinning, larger scythe, which you’ll have no choice but to avoid.
It’s the second phase that really causes a problem. Here, the size of Death’s scythe will increase significantly, and his new attacks will cover a great deal more of the screen. Firstly, he’ll dash with his massive scythe towards one side of the screen, for which the absolute best counter is to duck and get in some free hits. He’ll also use an alternative version of this, which throws the scythe around the edge of the room, or possibly just throws it to one side at his current height. To counter these you’ll need to focus on two things; ducking and dealing damage when you can, especially when he dashes or throws his scythe to the sides, and using a soul of sorts to slow your descent whilst jumping over the other attacks. It’s possible to use a story soul to complete the latter, but we’ve got a few better options that you should consider…
Whilst the game does provide you with the necessary souls to defeat Death, it’s worth noting that there are much better options available, if you’re willing to take some time to defeat more enemies. Two souls in particular in fact, which target two critical portions of the fight; dealing enough damage, and easily dodging his screen-long dashes in the second phase.
The first and probably most important of the souls is the Medusa Head. Yes, you’re going to have to kill a lot of these annoying little things to get your hands on it, and we’re fairly certain that the drop rate is pretty low, but it’s absolutely worthwhile. The soul will literally hold you in the exact position, in mid air, when you activate it. Key to its use here is that you will not float downwards like the armour soul, making it a good deal safer against a boss that likes to use attacks that cover the lower two thirds of the screen. It’ll hold you for as long as you want too, so you can even use it to deal with both sides of Death’s dash, should you find yourself in a pinch.
Slightly less important to the battle is dealing damage, though we would argue that you’ll want to get the fight finished and over with as quickly as possible. Now, we’re not sure if this was intended by the developers, but the Lightning Doll soul, which shoots a line of lightning from your fingertips, can hit the target more than once. We assume this is because the animation exists for a certain amount of frames, and the damage is still active on more of these than usual. Either way, it’s very likely to be your best damage option at this point in the game, and it’ll make taking Death down a good deal easier. It’s also much more reliable than fishing for giant bone RNG.
More Castlevania – Aria of Sorrow…
Gathering yourself a lot of money is not technically a requirement in Aria of Sorrow, however once Hammer opens his store, it will allow you access to a selection of powerful consumables, weapons and equipment. Key among these is the Soul Eater Ring, and whilst our feelings are […]
Collecting all of the Souls in Aria of Sorrow isn’t technically required to complete the game, however hunting them down is great fun and some of them are remarkably powerful. One Soul however, tends to elude the player for a great deal of time, mainly because it’s held […]
Hunting down powerful souls has to be one of our favourite methods of improving in a Castlevania game. Having innovated to limited success with the DSS and elemental buff systems in the GBA titles, Konami returned to a system similar to SOTN and created the masterpiece that is […]
Categories: Castlevania - Aria of Sorrow