Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse/Stage 1
The Belmont's former hometown of Wallachia now lays in ruins; bereft of people and overrun with monsters. The enemies are fairly weak and there are no real jumping hazards. This is a chance to get used to the controls and combat.
 Block 1-01
Not only is the town square is completely empty, but you can fully charge your whip and get a couple of hearts and a Dagger.
- While the Dagger is rarely the best weapon, it is the only one available now, so grab it.
- Get both of these big hearts, otherwise you won't get a second whip power-up from the last candle.
 Block 1-02
It is here that you first encounter Dracula's undead hosts. The basic skeletons will crumble with a single hit from a powered-up whip. Take the powerups from the candles and ascend through the church.
The next area scrolls upward, but the scrolling is one-way; you can still fall off the bottom if you do not watch yourself. Deal with the occasional bat that flies your way. Near the top, you can switch out your dagger for Holy Water, which will be much more useful against your mostly ground-based enemies. Ascend the stairs at the top.
Be careful as you emerge in the next area, as the skeletons here are much tougher; not only are they much faster and can jump about, but they occasionally lobs bones at you. They will harass you as you try to climb stairs and jump gaps. Near the end you will find one candle very high up. This and a few others in the game contain high-value prizes but can only be obtained on a second playthrough. Descend the stairs.
This next area contains flipping platforms. As long as you simply walk across them, they don't move. But land on them in any way from above (this includes jumping, falling, or being knocked back by a hit), and the platform will flip, and if you're not quick, it'll dump you. To make things trickier, the flying Medusa heads make their entrance here, and their wavy flight patterns will test your ability to avoid an unwanted drop. You must navigate the upper path without being dumped in order to reach the door to the next area.
 Block 1-03
Whip your way past the zombies. Near a gap will be an Axe: a good weapon for the coming boss battle. Also don't be afraid to take the Cross near the stairs down. This simply wipes out all the on-screen enemies, giving you a clear run down.
Going down, you may notice a candle you can't reach at first, but a block at the bottom can be broken with your whip, allowing you to reach both the candle and some meat hidden in blocks in the corner. Ahead, watch out for some hunchbacks; you may wish to stay towards the bottom so you can handle them more easily. Guarding the door is a twin-headed statue. It always spits fireballs in threes. The bad news is the fireballs will be too low to duck and tricky to jump; the good news is they're exactly at whip level, so you can whip the fireballs away. The statue itself will take numerous hits: even with a full-power whip.
 Block 1-04
Deal with the initial rush of zombies and bats by finding the nearby Cross. Then make your way across the graveyard (you may wish to avoid the dagger) until you finally reach the Skull Knight. Defeat the Skull Knight and retrieve the first crystal to clear the stage.