The Brauner Climax

X, <, =

In the highest tower of Castlevania, just below the sealed off space where the stairway to Dracula’s throne room should be, the vampire painter Brauner sits in the painting of his studio filled with bizarre art pieces, including one of the throne room itself. Caught unaware by the heroes, Brauner is told that the brainwashing curse on his supposed daughters has been lifted.  Genuinely believing the girls to be his daughters, the delusional and distraught Brauner breaks his cane and battles the duo in a rage.

Short one cane, Brauner does not walk and instead fights with a sweeping offense of artistry, first by painting on, apparently, the game screen with damaging trails of blood in the form of an X,< or =.  They can be swatted away, but serve enough of a distraction for more grandiose artwork, themselves accentuated with a fountain of even more damaging blood. Featuring the type of surreal art his historical inspiration Victor Brauner is known for, the monstrosities emerging from his paintings require the platforming skills expected from a Castlevania player to dodge them, lest they inflict the game’s most debilitating status effects. For mobility, Brauner himself becomes art, sealing himself in a painting and flying around his studio before emerging elsewhere. The fight is a test of knowing when to strike and when to fall back. For the unprepared, the varied trajectories and properties of Brauner’s attacks are a major challenge.

He may not be the hardest boss, especially if you use the awakened Vampire Killer, but it is a memorable climax for Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin.

By Bryan Mangan

Bryan Mangan is a journalism graduate based in Texas. He currently writes freelance for gaming publications in his off time and has a particular interest in storytelling through the gaming medium.

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