Surprising absolutely no one, the final challenge awaiting players at the end of Dead Cells‘ new Return to Castlevania DLC is none other than the Lord of Darkness himself, Dracula. The Count joins the esteemed ranks of Dead Cells‘ final boss options, alongside fellow fiends The Hand of the King and The Queen. Even in such cruel company, the bane of the Belmonts distinguishes himself as a particularly dangerous foe, making the task of figuring out how to defeat Dracula in Dead Cells: Return to Castlevania DLC has a monumental undertaking.
Thankfully, we’ve suffered enough to master his various tactics, and can now pass that information on to you. Read on to learn how you can join the ranks of the true vampire hunters, and finally defeat the greatest enemy of mortal men.
How to knock Dracula out for the count
Dracula can be found in the Master’s Keep biome, a new biome found deep in the DLC, requiring a duel with Death and a trip through the Clock Tower to access. For full details on how to reach this biome, check out our comprehensive guide. Once here, be sure to talk to Richter and Alucard, and check out the secret room above, before proceeding through the door to Dracula himself.
Defeating Dracula in Dead Cells: Return to Castlevania – Phase 1
Once you do, you’ll be greeted with a humorous exchange that harkens back to Symphony of the Night‘s iconic opening dialogue, before Dracula casts his glass aside and the fight begins. This first phase should feel very familiar to Castlevania fans. Dracula makes use of a number of moves he’s used in that series, albeit sped up a notch or two to match Dead Cells’ hectic feel. His moveset in this phase is as follows:
- Fireballs: Dracula will lift his cape and shoot a series of fireballs moving horizontally. He will do this three times in a row.
- Bat Swarm: Dracula will stand in the middle of the arena, arms outstretched, and release a swarm of bats in both directions. The bats will move in a sine-wave pattern.
- Meteors: Dracula will launch a series of four meteors, alternating between high and low.
- Explosive Bow: Dracula will quickly lift his cape and release a series of red orbs that explode in an arc just in front of him.
- Kick: Dracula will kick out at you. Only occurs if you’re standing next to him.
- Teleport Grab: Dracula will teleport to your location and attempt to grab you. If successful, he will deal a series of hits to you for massive damage.
This is a fairly complex moveset. But thankfully Dracula telegraphs each move well and remains static most of the time, besides teleporting to a new location after each attack. The Fireball and Meteor attacks can easily be avoided, the former by rolling through the first set then rolling behind Dracula, the latter by jumping over the low meteors. The Explosive Arc is quite rare, but is also easy to dodge by rolling away from Dracula when he does it.
The dangerous moves here are the Bat Swarm and Teleport Grab. The former deals continuous damage for as long as you’re touching the bats, and can easily kill you if you don’t get out of its way quickly. The best way to avoid this attack is to crouch in the gap underneath the wave of bats, and wait until the attack ends. It’s worth noting that Dracula will usually begin another attack before this happens, so be prepared to dodge when he delivers it.
The Teleport Grab is equally dangerous, dealing huge damage over a series of blows if it connects. You have quite a long window to react to the grab, though, so just dodge whenever Dracula teleports right next to you and you should be fine. Beyond avoidance, Dracula is actually quite easy to wear down in this first phase. He doesn’t have much health, and he’s almost always standing static on the ground, making him very vulnerable to traps and turrets. Ranged weapons are quite effective, since you can get hits in without exposing yourself to his short-range kicks, but melee weapons can get the job done as well.
Once you’ve drained Dracula’s health bar, he’ll fall to the ground, and you’ll be rewarded with 40 Cells, a lot of gold, and a couple of weapons. These rewards are nothing more than a carefully orchestrated fake out, however. Soon after, the room will start shaking, and Dracula’s second, more powerful phase will begin.
Defeating Dracula in Dead Cells: Return to Castlevania – Phase 2
This is where things get serious. Castlevania fans were likely expecting a second phase in this battle, but they probably weren’t expecting it to be one of the hardest bosses in the entirety of Dead Cells. The reasons for this difficulty come down to a couple factors. One is most notably the unconventional arena, which is really just three small platforms floating above the abyss. And second is the transition that takes place halfway through the fight, which is difficult to react to if you haven’t experienced it before.
Before we cover those, though, let’s cover the snazzy new moveset that Dracula gets in this phase. It consists of the following:
- Meteor Shower: Dracula moves horizontally across the screen, shooting meteors down at an angle.
- Laser Beams: Dracula unleashes a series of three powerful beams: two that sweep across the screen, followed up by one that focuses in on a single spot for a few seconds.
- Rubble Rain: Dracula clings to one of the castle walls on the edge of the arena, causing rubble to rain down on you.
- Abyssal Spikes: Dracula will summon large, orange spikes from the ground below your location.
These moves all deal a lot of damage, but thankfully they’re fairly easy to avoid. Meteor Shower can be dodged by simply moving in the same direction as Dracula. But be sure to get out from under him quickly or he’ll perform a follow-up slam that will catch you out. Rubble Rain can be avoided by moving over to the side where Dracula is clinging to the wall, as most of the rubble will land elsewhere in the arena.
For the Laser Beams and Abyssal Spikes, simply dodge through all of them and you should be fine. While you’re evading this endless onslaught, don’t forget to keep getting damage in. Dracula is a massive target in this phase, making it easy to damage him with whatever weapons you happen to be using. The new Cross weapon is particularly effective here.
Once Dracula’s health reaches roughly 50%, he will perform a one-off Giant Meteor attack. During this move, he goes into the background and unleashes a huge meteor, as well as a bunch of smaller meteors, which fall down from the sky towards you. When this happens, move over to one of the side platforms, dodging any small meteors that fall near you. Finally, wait for the giant meteor to fall on the middle platform.
When it does, a series of small platforms will appear above the arena. Quickly make your way up to the highest of theseace failing to do so will result in you taking a significant hit of damage. Be ready to dodge as well, since Dracula will perform a slam onto this platform shortly after the meteor impact down below.
Now that this is over, the FINAL final phase can begin. Dracula will add a couple of new moves to his arsenal here:
- Dash: Dracula will fly quickly across the screen, damaging you if he touches you. This is telegraphed by red indicators at the edges of the screen.
- Summon Minions: Dracula will call forth a series of enemies from the Return to Castlevania DLC for you to contend with.
These new moves aren’t difficult to deal with, so this final phase mostly comes down to patience and positioning. Remember how to deal with his previous attacks, avoid damage wherever you can, and take advantage of his large hitbox to deal regular damage in return. It’s a long fight, owing to Phase 2 Dracula’s massive health pool, but persist and the Lord of Darkness will finally fall.
After finally laying Dracula to rest, you’ll get to enjoy Return to Castlevania‘s wonderfully animated closing cinematic, and then the end credits will roll. If this is your first time beating Dracula, you’ll receive the blueprint for the iconic Vampire Killer whip weapon at this point, which you can then unlock via the Collector during your next run.
And with that, the ordeal is over. You now know how to defeat Dracula in Dead Cells: Return to Castlevania DLC, and the mortal world is safer for it.