Should you complete the regular Aria of Sorrow game with Soma, and do not qualify for the true ending by taking down Chaos, then you will unlock the ability to play through the game as Julius Belmont, otherwise known as Julius mode. This is hardly a secret, given that the game select screen will literally tell you how, and whilst things change quite significantly when you play through with him rather than Soma, it’s quite fun and rewarding to do so. Coming directly from a normal playthrough things are likely to feel very awkward and quite difficult, especially since you’ll have no equipment, souls or even a menu screen to guide you through, so we’ve put together a few bits of advice to help you on your way.
You’ll likely first notice that Julius moves very differently to Soma. His natural cadence is a good deal faster and you will feel like you’re zooming along, but this movement gets rather rudely interrupted by quite a long attacking animation, thanks to his Whip. This will take a great deal of getting used to, especially for players used to a more modern approach to the genre, and you’ll likely have to reign yourself in somewhat after careening into enemies one too many times.
Thankfully, rather than having a back dash apportioned to the L button, Julius has a teleport of sorts where he will phase through enemies and appear behind them. This is reminiscent of the Alucard Sword special skill from SOTN, but Julius can cancel out of this at any point to perform an attack. Should you be attempting to explore and play as much as possible in the mode, as opposed to simply rushing to the bosses, this skill will be essential when taking down difficult opponents.
Alternatively, you may want to simply breeze through zones as fast as possible, which is where his other skills arise. Akin to a fully powered up Soma, Julius can double jump by default, super jump by simply tapping the L button in midair, floor slide in the usual fashion and even bop enemies from above by pressing down and jump whilst off the ground. Combining these is what makes the Julius mode fun, and using these to their maximum potential is the key to unlocking his otherwise unwieldy and weak Whip.
The question does arise then, that without souls or equipment, nor even a way to heal outside of saving, how should you go about getting more powerful? Unfortunately, much like Richter mode in Symphony of the Night, your only real option is to collect power ups, namely by defeating bosses. Taking one down will increase Julius’ statistics and fully heal him, which will result in increased durability and the ability to deal more damage with his whip.
Taking advantage of this, it’s probably best to head to some of the bosses that you remember to take them down first. It’s no good heading straight to the hardest of the hard, only to turn up and deal next to no damage. Outside of the true ending bosses, one of which is technically himself, they’re all present and available to be taken down. You may find it either hard or impossible to reach some areas, however you’ll be surprised just how far a super jump and teleport can take you.
Thankfully, the developers allowed Julius to retain some fantastic sub weapons. He can, at any point in time, switch between the following by flicking the R button; Holy Water, Axe, Crucifix and Cross. These function very similarly to the boss version of Julius, and they’re each capable of dealing a great deal of damage to your opponents. The Cross is the flashiest of course, and functions more like a ‘super’ move of sorts, however we must advocate for using the Crucifix in the vast majority of situations. It takes less resources and it will damage the opponent multiple times as it travels back and forth, making it ideal for dealing with most regular opponents and even bosses. Of course, you may just want to spam Cross as much as possible, but be wary of burning out your limited resources, after all Julius has no way of restoring these at all.
Categories: Castlevania - Aria of Sorrow