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Up from (Super) Obscurity

During my Bram Stoker's Dracula-a-thon, I've recently covered the first four bosses and bosses five through eight.
Well, it turns out there are only two MORE bosses (and they're both pushovers). So I'll discuss everything that happens after the impressive 8th boss, the spider-puking Tom Waits mummy:
Immediately after he's puked his last spider, you're swept away to a big-pillared room for ANOTHER boss battle. Get ready to meet the game's second-most-underwhelming boss:
9. Purple Fuzzy Bat Enemy!
Fight Type: Hit him until he dies
He hovers in the air, not hitting you. You jump up in the air and hit him. If you don't have full-energy, you'll probably die, then you'll beat him on your next life. I'm not sure if I really need to add anything else...the fight was over so quickly that I didn't even get a second picture of him.
And then...
Because the progression-of-levels has gotten all weird (with Tom Waits then Purple Bat Guy), I'll pad the article give a rundown of what happens next: gone is the tried-and-true level progression of level-with-Van Helsing, to other level without Van Helsing, to boss battle.
After you've swatted Purple Bat Guy out of the air, you see this ominous level-book:
With a chapter title like that, you'd assume you're headed straight in to another Boss Battle, but au contraire! Instead you're treated to an invincible zombie, (who you're welcome to jump over)
While you're trying to ride the floating platform over the zombie, you'll be pelted by the same projectile-launching henchman that has plagued you since level 1:
The almost-passed-out drunk guy who throws bottles!
Yes, throughout Dracula's entire army of the night, no one but bosses and THIS guy have the capacity to shoot things at you. But at least the bosses with ranged attacks have the decency to not collapse on their backs after they've taken a pot-shot at you. Holy molé, what a slapdash soldier of the army of the night this guy is!
After you've ridden the moving platforms to evade these devilish adversaries, you'll spend the rest of the level...
riding on/jumping to MORE floating platforms,
dodging arrows fired out of the eyes of giant skulls,
avoiding hopping blobs of lava,
...and occasionally climbing on weird pantsless statues which are staring at their balls.
In fact, 90% of the level is just jumps and traps. After the zombie and drunk in the beginning of the level, there's only one more zone which has living enemies:
Meet...the dreaded Purple Knights!
These four knight appear in a particularly frustrating hallway full of low ceilings and jumping lava-blobs. You have to follow each knight whilst stabbing him in the back to chip away some of his health, because when he eventually turns around, he'll start running and STILL bump in to you once or twice before he goes down.
To make matters worse, this hallway shows off the weirdest aspect of the game's enemy respawn:
  1. some enemies never respawn,
  2. when many other enemies are killed, they'll respawn the moment their original spawn-point scrolls back onto the screen,
  3. but when these enemies are killed, they apparently respawn based on some level-specific countdown.
That "countdown" isn't based on how long its been since you killed THAT knight...the game seems to check every so often to see if a knight is dead, and if so, it makes him reappear.
In practical terms, that means while you're trying to figure out when to attack the next knight, sometimes a new PREVIOUS knight will saunter in from off-screen to bump in to you.
It's as vexing as it is unpredictable (and/or hard to explain).
But once you've made it through the Hallway of The Bumping Purple Knights and a final skull-arrow-dodge-em sequence, you climb the steps to your greatest battle ever, where you finally get to cross sword mono-e-mono with Dracula's ultimate form:
10. Giant Horned Guy Covered in armor that looks like STEAKS!
Battle Type: Hit him until he dies
Yup, like Purple Bat Fellow before him, Meat Armor Dracula is a total letdown: he runs around the whole two-screen-wide area, bumping in to you. If you have less than full health, get ready to lose a life. Then on your next life, employ the clever battle technique of "standing still and repeatedly swing your sword, possibly while jumping up in the air" and you'll probably outlast him. It always worked for me!
I've never had to try this fight more than once or twice, so I'm not really sure if there's more strategy needed.
Well, the anticlimax is over...roll credits!
And wouldn't you know it, there's an ambigous ending (even on the highest difficulty level!)
I pity the fool (and/or vampire)
But we're left with one final mystery:
Why was "Dying Dracula" portrayed by Karg from the Masters of the Universe movie?
And speaking of mysteries, tune in next week for my closing thoughts on this game!
— carlmarksguy, 2014-04-18
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