Carmilla

        The Count was a interesting boss, but ironically, one of his servants is actually more difficult to defeat than he is. Carmilla is the fourth boss of Boktai: The Sun is in Your Hand, and unlike the Count, she quickly proves to be a much more difficult adversary. She is also, however, a bit less clearly evil. I actually feel bad for her. Well, you’ll see what I mean.
        Let’s start, however, with how we get to her. After the Count is slain, Django is attacked by a boy who looks eerily similar to himself, one who uses the darkness in the same way he uses sunlight. Sabata, as he is called, points out that Django really doesn’t have to go on like Otenko urges him to- he has avenged his father, after all. No need to antagonize the other Immortals. Django, being mute, offers no response, but his refusal is somehow clear.
        Sabata vanishes, and it’s clear by his voice when he teleports that it is the same person that spoke with the Count before you faced him. And the player will see him again very soon- both of the following dungeons end with him being there, and animating some monster with the power of his dark gun. Slaying both destroys the seals that stop Django from going further, and he eventually comes to a teleporter that brings him to the floating Sol City.
        The city was once the living place of the Solar Children, like Django, but it has been destroyed and deserted since then. The walkways are also buffeted by strong winds that can blow you off, but covering the sensor on the game takes care of that. You’ll also run into Solar Mirrors, which reflect your shots at a 90 degree angle. You can stand under them and press A to flip them, and destroy them with a spread shot. Naturally, these are for puzzles, where you will have to fire your shots at various things, and make use of a new enemy too- the cockatrice.
        Cockatrices are giant birds that can fire out a blast that encases you in stone. The more you are hit with, the harder it is to free yourself. You’ll have to reflect their shots to complete puzzles as well. You can also use the mirrors or other cockatrices to have them hit each other, which is always helpful.
        In any case, after going through a few rooms, you come to a wide open spot, where Sabata appears. He welcomes Django to the city, and tells him that there is someone waiting for him in a far off tower. Otenko, naturally, assumes he wants Djanko to go there because of some scheme, and orders Django to defeat his doppelganger.
Sadly, this doesn’t go well. Any shot you fire he will laugh and dodges through superior speed, appearing by you to blast you with a spread shot of his own. He rarely if ever strikes you except in retaliation, as though he’s toying with you. He eventually just says that this isn’t the time to fight, because “I need you to do a few things for me.” and vanishes.
        For now, there is no choice but to do as he says, and Django moves on. Otenko notes that he cannot summon the Piledriver yet, as he had to summon the teleported they used earlier, but it is clear from the size that the site of that battle is where the machine will be.         Moving on, you’ll run into a trap where you have to destroy three golems- it is easily done, as they move slowly. All you have to do is sneak up behind them and shoot. That done, you are rewarded with the Earth lens.
        Different lens effect what kind of damage your gun does. The usual Sol lens is best against average undead, Flame against ice enemies and vice versa, Cloud obliterates earth based enemies like golems, but Earth, oddly, doesn’t seem to have an enemy type it is good at. However, all of them have out of battle uses. Flame lens melts ice blocks, Frost lens puts out fires, the Cloud lens destroyed stone blocks, and the Earth lens, in turn, makes plants grow faster, turning a small plant into huge vines that allow you to climb up where you previously couldn’t. It also helps the plants you are growing get produced faster.
        In any case, Django makes his way through the traps and puzzles and gets on a elevator, which takes him out of the main city and up to the tower Sabata mentioned. As Django goes in, like with the Count, bits of conversation can be heard before the boss room. Unlike before, even less can be gleaned, except that whoever Sabata is talking to, it is someone who he expects to trust him. Incidentally, if you beat the game, you can hear the whole dialogue the second time around… but I won’t spoil.
        Otenko ponders what they could be talking about, when Sabata appears and urges them to go in. Otenko sees this as confirmation it is a trap, and goes in first to check. He then screams loudly, and Django hurries in to find him petrified on the ground, and a sad girl standing over him. She points out that if they had not come, this wouldn’t have happened, though she had no choice but to face them. Otenko uses the last of his power to place the Piledriver where Sabata was fought, and he finally dies.
        Django doesn’t back down, and is determined to face Carmilla. Though this game doesn’t say so explicitly, it’s clear that she and Sabata are close, perhaps even more than friends, and she was transformed into what she is by the Count, meaning she is certainly not going along with these plots willingly, she simply has no choice in the matter, meaning she really does have no option but to slay Otenko and Django. Sadly, this means we do have to face her. The girl transforms into her true state, a giant woman with the body of a snake. It’s obviously referencing Medusa, but oddly she’s referred to as a banshee. I don’t get that… but weirdness aside, it’s time to fight!
        As the fight begins, several mirrors fall into the room, and Carmilla takes aim, firing out a blast from her mouth. Though slower, it works the same way as the cockatrice’s blasts, and you have to use the mirrors to reflect them. Given she aims for the mirrors instead of you, they’re likely favorably positioned for her from the start. She can also attack you and reorient them herself by stamping the ground with her tail.
        Though you can blast her directly, hitting her with her own blasts via the mirror is the most effective attack, taking out a huge amount of her health. Hitting her tail or head specifically does the most damage. Just don’t get too close to her tail, as she will swat you. Once you hit her weak point, she will retreat back out of the room, and her tail will aim for you, then stab out into the far wall and at you. If she misses you, it will hang there a moment, and you can strike it for more damage, but as with the rest of her your attacks will barely harm her at all. This attack also destroys the mirrors when she uses it.
        Once she is down to half health, she will retreat and summon cockatrices to deal with you instead. Naturally this will give you items, but they are more a nuisance than anything, and she will take use of your distraction to strike out with her tail from afar. Unlike before, she will strike twice, the second happening shortly after the first instead of aiming, and she will repeat this until the cockatrices are gone.
        As a final attempt to get rid of you, she will say “Take this!” and destroy the mirrors in a blinding flash of light, and summon up five stone blasts coming from the left, right, and her direction, making dodging nearly impossible. The only way to do so is get flat against the wall to dodge the horizontal strikes, and maneuver into a gap between the ones coming from the front of the room.
        Once you have Carmilla beaten, she will be forced into a coffin, and you have to carry it back to the Piledriver. The trip back isn’t as treacherous or annoying as the trip there, since the traps and puzzles have been completed, but still long. Moreover, I wouldn’t suggest lugging her back constantly.
        If you hold onto the chain pulling it for too long, then the coffin will start to shake, and soon will emit dark power, knocking Django away- potentially off the map, if you are in a bad spot when it happens, like on of the floating platforms. The Count could also do this, but he did so less often, and it was less hazardous. Both will also try and crawl away if you leave them alone for too long, and if they get offscreen, you will have to return to the boss room. The Banana item gives you super speed, so that might be worth using to speed up the trip.
        Once you actually begin the purification, Carmilla will fight back, generally with the orbs she shot previously. Obviously, being frozen in place for a bit will give her even more time to fight off the Piledriver. Usually one will be flung at you at an angle, homing somewhat, but sometimes she uses a spread shot in eight directions, meaning you have to back off a bit to actually dodge properly. She also shows a new trick- she can force her coffin closed, rendering the solar blasts moot. The only way to get her to open up is to trick her by covering the solar censor, which turns off the Piledriver. Confused that the bombardment just stopped, Carmilla will open up again and you can blast her once more.
        When she is destroyed, Sabata seems dismissive of it, stating that this is all as his master, the Immortal Queen, had planned, but he has other plans of his own. However, he doesn’t get a chance to divulge them as the Queen forced him to return to her. Still, judging from Carmilla trusting Sabata and his plans involving her being killed, either they have some kind of contingency plan for her death, or he simply betrayed her.
        And so Carmilla is beaten, but as before, she reappears in the game’s final level, same as the Count. While the Count is the same aside from the suntan, Carmilla is referred to as ‘Soulless Carmilla’ and does not speak, except for saying Sabata’s name when you destroy her, implying the Carmilla you face again is nothing but an empty shell, not the real thing. Why would this be? Well again… you’ll find out if you beat the game. As for the battle itself, there are no differences, except that her tail moves a bit more, making it harder to hit with her own shots.
        So that is Carmilla, a crafty if reluctant fighter, caught up in evil plots she really has no choice but to be entangled in. Story-wise I do pity her, but I can’t say I didn’t enjoy the battle itself. Still, I do hear that she shows up once more in the third game. The idea that she’s still around in some way or another is actually a bit heartening. Maybe I’ll take a look at that sometime.

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