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Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon is an 8-bit style game developed by Inti Creates and revised by Koji Igarashi. It was released on May 24th, 2018. The game is a stretch goal from the main project Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night.

Plot

There was once a man who had been given
the moon's curse by demons.

That man was Zangetsu.

Wrapped in crimson garb with eyes like fire,
he relentlessly pursued the demons who cursed
him. As he journeyed from one pit of darkness
to another, he would stop at nothing until
he struck down every last demon in his path...

One night, he sensed the looming presence
of a great demon.

He swore to eradicate all demons no matter how
much of a threat they posed.

Bathed in moonlight, he cried out as he drew
his sword, which consumed darkness from
within its wretched steel.

On that night, either the demons, or the moon
itself, would feel the wrath of his blade.

The game begins with Zangetsu, a demon hunter who bears a deep grudge against any kind of demonic creature. He feels the existence of a very powerful demon with a terrifying aura and embarks on a journey seeking to destroy this Archdemon, whose name is Gremory.

Zangetsu's personality is rather cold and he will hardly show any feelings, let alone care for anything else than his duty: slaying demons. He also strongly values battle prowess, as it is implied every time he encounters one of his companions.

The first one is a woman endowed with crystals holding demonic powers: Miriam.

They will eventually meet an old man called Alfred, who is a skilled alchemist with the knowledge of powerful spells.

Finally, Zangetsu and his crew will free Gebel from a goldened trickster. Gebel had magi-crystals transplanted in him just like Miriam, but has greater powers, allowing him to shapeshift into a bat and use them as his primary attack weapon.

Once Gebel is recruited, there will be four stages remaining, with the last one being the castle from which Zangetsu sensed the powerful Archdemon's aura.

Characters

Gameplay

There are a total of six endings in the game depending on what the player's actions are.

If the player is on their first playthrough and chooses to recruit every character (Miriam, Alfred, and Gebel), he will then see the normal and first ending. ("Those Left Behind")

However, was the player to choose to kill every companion Zangetsu encounters, the ending will be the worst ending of the game. ("Emperor of the Dark")

Once the game has been cleared at least once, the player can choose to begin the game in Nightmare Mode.

In this mode, Zangetsu is not available but the player will begin the first stage with Miriam, Alfred, and Gebel available right from the start (this allows for further exploration of zones that Zangetsu couldn't explore by himself, as some platforms leading to other screens, for example, are only possible to reach with Gebel in his bat form).

/!\ Spoiler alert /!\

In the final stage, where the player beats the Archdemon (this time without Zangetsu), it is revealed that there is actually a ninth stage and that the true final boss of the game is none other than Zangetsu himself. ("Fallen Moon's Requiem")

Stages

  1. Moonlight Temptation
  2. Frigid Hell
  3. The Brilliant Void
  4. Blasphemy unto Heaven
  5. Sunder the Night
  6. Tragedy of Slaughter
  7. Defiler of Taboos
  8. Curse of the Moon
  9. Fallen Moon's Requiem

Endings

/!\ Spoiler alert /!\
The following section contains heavy spoilers. Continue reading at your own risk.

Those Left Behind

Normal ending
At the end, Zangetsu after a fierce battle against the Archdemon will notice a big shadow ball of dark energy used as last resort by his enemy, preparing to charge against his exhausted allies and ultimately going to kill them all. Realizing this, Zangetsu's body reacted almost instantly, as he tried to block with his bare hands the ominous darkness menacing to kill his friends, hoping to save them.
Sadly, even though he managed to save everyone, the dark energy Zangetsu fully took corrupted his heart and now made him the Emperor of the Dark.

Fallen Moon's Requiem

True ending
After realizing Zangetsu saved them, Miriam, Alfred and Gebel were saddened of Zangetsu's fate and decided to embark on a second adventure in order to deliver him from the vicious state of his heart.
In an ultimate battle against Evil Zangetsu, the demon hunter is freed from the Archdemon's influence and regains consciousness thanks to Miriam, Alfred, and Gebel's teamwork.

Emperor of the Dark

Bad ending
Zangetsu in his quest to kill the Archdemon is alone. Once he encounters Miriam, he feels the power of demons echoing through her and decides to kill her. He also kills Alfred, and once he sees Gebel, he understands that this man got crystals transplanted too and kills him for the same reason he killed Miriam.
Once he is against the Archdemon, Zangetsu with his most powerful slash, slices in half his foe. The castle then starts to fall apart. However, Zangetsu sees something appearing to be dark matter and this energy then surrounds Zangetsu, who takes it as a new power. After assimilating this darkness, a great black wave of energy hides Zangetsu from the screen, and as he reappears, we can see that his physical body experienced some foul changes, and thus, he becomes the Emperor of the Dark.

Development

Trivia

  • The normal final stage's name, "Curse the Moon", will change depending on whether or not the player completes the game with Zangetsu alone or with his companions. If they decide to recruit at least one companion, the name of the final stage will be "Curse the Moon", which is the normal name. However, if Zangetsu is just by himself at that time, the name of the final stage will change to "Cleave the Moon" instead.
    • This is likely a reference to the meaning of Zangetsu's name in Japanese (斬月), which literally means "To Cleave the Moon".
    • Not only that, but in all endings where Zangetsu is alone, the way the final boss dies will change. In endings featuring at least one companion, the boss will burst into flames and disappear. In endings with Zangetsu only, he will charge a special attack and then slice Gremory (the Archdemon) in half, which could therefore also be a reference to his name, since he literally cleaves both the Archdemon and the moon.