It’s been a while since I talked about Castlevania, so I suppose this time I will talk about the first Castlevania game I ever played, Circle of the Moon. It is a bit of an oddity compared to the other games, since there’s no sign of the Belmonts at all, it doesn’t take place in the titular Castlevania, and if I recall rightly, the game isn’t considered part of the main series continuity.
        It also lacked shops, which made getting potions a matter of luck and hoping this skeleton will drop what I need, and the odds are definitely not in your favor in this game. However, to make up for that, there is something else I really do like about this game; the DSS System. By finding certain cards, you can pull off magical effects. They are split into two categories, elemental cards with pictures of monsters on them, and effect cards with pictures of roman deities.
        For instance, Salamander is the fire element. Mercury is the whip card. Putting the two together creates a fire whip effect. There are plenty of different beneficial effects that will make the game a bit easier, whether it is different attacks, elemental forces, or barriers. One of the best uses I found is the darkness whip in particular, which is not only stronger than usual, but leaves a haze around the enemy that damages them for a bit.
        In any case, to get through the game you certainly need to know how to use whatever cards you find efficiently, and you will certainly need to know how to use them properly for today’s topic, the enemy simply known as Devil. While some iterations of this enemy in other games are a boss, this one, possibly the strongest version, is not. He is simply a normal enemy, but not one you would want to stick around to fight.
        He first appears in the Observation Tower, the last real area in the game. Even though the player will be quite strong at this point, I’d advise holding off on fighting him until you’re about ready to face the final boss. If you want to get past him, I’d suggest simply avoiding Devil’s attacks and running to whichever end of his corridor you’re going to.
        However, once you do face this demon, here’s what you can expect. For a start, he can move about the area rapidly by teleporting from place to place, often behind you. He will resist any darkness based attack, though he isn’t exceptionally weak to light ones. The best sub weapon to use would be crosses, since they can hit Devil three times at the end of their arc and they do so at a fair distance, meaning you don’t have to get too close to him.
        As for his own attacks, the most common is shooting out a cloud of purple smoke with very long range, longer than your whip, that moves up and down, meaning you cannot simply duck under it or jump. This trick is one of the main reasons why you should keep your distance. You can tell when he is about to do this when he raises his hand. However, since he is floating, one could, potentially, slide under him and strike from behind.
        Secondly, he will raise into the air, producing a dark tornado around himself. The rising will be your cue to get away from him. While this keeps you away from him, he is still in cross range, so this is one of the best times to use that weapon.
        Finally, Devil will cause pillars of black flame to erupt from the ground over a very large radius. If you’re anywhere near Devil, you have no chance of getting out of range, but luckily, they do not stretch to the ceiling. Use of the Roc Wing item, which lets you jump very high and cling to the ceiling momentarily, should spare you from this attack. It covers a long range, but it has short duration.
        Devil can also produce a shield, and will do so if you strike him too quickly. This will protect him from all frontal attacks, however, a cross can be thrown past it, allowing you to hit him anyway. Mostly it just stops you from using your whip against him, and this too can serve as an good opening for cross attacks.
        As for how you should prepare for the battle, bear in mind that this is absolutely the strongest non-boss in the game, and Devil’s stats are comparable to Dracula’s first form in this game. Given he is a more unpredictable enemy, I’d say Devil really is worse to face, though not as bad as Dracula’s second form, which stronger in terms of attack and has far more health. I’d suggest you equip items to improve your own attack power, so as to defeat Devil as soon as possible. Defense is useful, but in this battle it is really a better idea not to be hit at all.
        Secondly, all of his attacks are of the darkness element, which means that the Black Dog and Neptune card combo may be useful. It causes darkness attacks to take away from your magic and heal you in return, meaning unless you lose all of your magic, Devil will not be able to harm you. Given how hard he hits though, you certainly shouldn’t rely on this.
        I would also point out that while barriers are useful in this game, they are worthless against Devil, whose attacks will gleefully ignore them. As for offense card combos, I’d recommend either Unicorn and Mercury, making a holy whip that will do more 20% more damage and heal you a bit, or the Unicorn and Mars, producing a sword with the same range as your whip and doing 70% more damage. With the use of these cards, the battle isn’t exactly a cakewalk, but it is much easier, striking harder or negating Devil’s attacks for a bit.
        However, even if you beat him here, don’t think you’ve seen the last of Devil, oh no. There is a bonus area called the Battle Arena, containing the strongest enemies in the game in a succession of rooms. There are a two unique enemies here, the Devil Armor and White Armor, but they’re really just stronger versions of the Dark and Holy Armors you would have seen before. All of the other enemies do appear elsewhere, but here they have a power boost, making them stronger and more durable. Naturally, Devil is similarly powered up.
        He gains a third more health,(1080 to 1530) and while his attack and defense aren’t increased so dramatically, it is still significant. He presides over the very last room, after you have crushed sixteen rooms of other enemies. To make matters worse, in the Battle Arena you instantly lose your magic, meaning you have no DSS cards to help you this time. At least, in theory.
        If you use a Mana Potion or something similar you can regain your magic points, it just vanishes a few seconds later, preventing card use. Most effects are therefore unusable, but a savvy player could, potentially, use a summon. These are very quick attacks that hit everything on screen for a good bit of damage.
        However, they do not take effect instantly; you have to use a code to make them work, specifically down, left, right, up, then attack. This will rain down a powerful attack depending on your chosen element, and will, at the very least, put a dent in Devil’s health. It would probably be more useful in one of the previous rooms though, where you’re swarmed with enemies.
        As for facing Devil here, his attacks and tactics have not changed, even if his stats have improved. It does mean, however, that you have no tricks to make this any easier, and any mistakes will be punished even more severely than before. And this is after the rest of the arena, which I highly doubt anyone could get through unscathed.
        Naturally, you should heal up before the battle begins proper, and bring along a ton of healing items to start with. This means the strategies I spoke of earlier are even more crucial, and as before, you should have the cross equipped to hit him with. I’d also recommend fighting Devil normally until you know his moves well enough to dodge them proficiently. No matter how much stronger he is, it won’t matter if he cannot hit you. If you manage to defeat this last, powerful foe, you will be rewarded with the Shining Armor. This is the very best armor in the game, increasing your defense tremendously and all your other stats as well. Good luck, dear readers, and happy hunting.

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