Part 6: Secret Stage and "Good" Ending
This super extra secret stage is...come on. Accessing it is the only clever puzzle in the game, first in you needing to figure out that the death pit isn't one from the level geometry, then by making the trap candle into something you WANT to hit. And then you get THIS. It's a whole load of even more nothing than the rest of the game, presented in an acceptable aesthetic that is reminiscent of the first Castlevania. In fact, even the level design is, what with the two floors! What Legends obviously doesn't get is that this is only interesting if you have enemies that can attack from above or below so you're always in danger and have to move cleverly. And that you have to double back on the other path eventually to recontextualize what you've already gone through and squeeze everything out of the limited screen real estate given to you. Oh, and there should be SOME sort of challenge, obviously.
At least the aesthetic is kinda nice for an early Game Boy game that came out around 1991, right?
I think the boss has the exact same AI (if you want to call it that) as the Minotaur, which is "totally random and will get you cornered", so I just said "fuck it" after a long recording day. As the stage is so short and easy, there shouldn't be any temptation even for a player way worse than I am to use BURNING! on anything but the boss anyway, so I pity whoever tries to figure out the boss pattern and painstakingly plays the positioning game instead. Why would you? I do that for Mega Man bosses because bustering them is fun. Key difference!
Leaving this pitiful excuse for a bonus round behind, let's talk about the Good Ending. Well, I think I made it abundantly clear that the name is a joke - the ultimate reward for going into all of those stupid fucking dead ends for meaningless rewards should not be the confirmation that Alucard impregnated a 17-year-old before turning into the ultimate deadbeat dad, and it is very much not kind to Sonia to basically say "she did kill Dracula in the normal ending which was okay, but in the good ending she's a mother, and that is her real use". In fact, it's disgusting on any level. Fuck this game, I'm glad it's gotten itself decanonized, though for a reason that is in fact completely in line with the ending's casual misogyny. I'd have been fine with the "Good" ending only having Sonia letting her hair down, that would have been an awful reward but kinda funny for its utter banality. But this?
Just imagine Castlevania 1 ending with "and so, after slaying Dracula, Simon went into the next village and got totally laid so the Belmont line could continue. Soon he had many children and was a great father, The End".
Dungeon of Silence (Secret Stage)