I've lately been replaying CvHoDiss a few times, mostly trying to speedrun it and get the best ending, and I'm really coming to understand the sequence design of this game. Also coming to appreciate the finer details of the art design, too, just from running through it over and over again, but I won't focus on this here.
FYI if you've not yet played through this game or are looking for a scenic journey through the castle, this thread isn't for you. This thread is about finding the most direct route to finish the game.
Here's what's needed for a no-glitch (i.e. no zipping or door-glitching) any % completion:
* JB's Bracelet (you get this at the beginning of the game)
* MK's Bracelet (you get this on talking to Maxim in Sky Walkway A, after
beating Shadow in Sky Walkway B )
* six Dracula relics: (ONLY IF YOU WANT THE WORST OR THE BEST ENDING)
* * Eye of Vlad (Chapel of Dissonance A, requires rocket-jump normally, or double-jump if you're clever)
* * Fang of Vlad (Clock Tower A, requires opening up a barrier in Clock Tower B first)
* * Nail of Vlad (Aqueduct of Dragons A, requires double-jump)
* * Heart of Vlad (Sky Walkway B, behind the save point, needs Crushing Stone)
* * Vlad's Ring (Marble Corridor A, requires Ice Fist or double-jump)
* * Rib of Vlad (Entrance B, requires rocket-jump AND Crush Boots AND that Giant Bat be dead)
* not an item, but IF YOU WANT THE SOMEWHAT-BAD ENDING, you need to Break the Evil Hand (Top Floor A, requires rocket-jump AND Crush Boots)
* Lizard's Tail (slide, Shrine of the Apostates A)
* Sylph Feather (double-jump and jump-kick, Skeleton Cave B )
* Crushing Stone (charge attack, Clock Tower B )
* Griffin's Wing (rocket-jump, Luminous Cavern A)
* Crush Boots (break ceiling with rocket-jump, Wailing Way B )
* Floodgate Key (drains Luminous Caverns A, so you can fight Death. You can't open his door when it's submerged. in Skeleton Cave A)
Optional items: Night Goggles (see further in the dark hallway), Skull Key (opens green doors), Lure Key (opens rainbow doors), all spellbooks and subweapons (UNLESS you are using Ice Fist), all other whip enhancements, all armor and all other accessories (EXCEPT Floating Boots, which would likely be useful in an Ice Fist sequence-breaking run), all stat upgrades (HP Max Up and Heart Max Up).
Quick note on terminology: The castle maps are roughly organized into three "Chunks", and the barriers between them are generally difficult to circumvent. These chunks are the same in both castles so I won't give castle letters here (alternate area names are from the soundtrack)
* Chunk 1: Entrance, Marble Corridor, Wailing Way, Shrine of the Apostates, Room of Illusions
* Chunk 2: Castle Treasury, Castle Top Floor (most of it at least), Skeleton Cave (a.k.a. Skeleton Den), Luminous Cavern (a.k.a. Luminous Caverns)
* Chunk 3: Sky Walkway, Chapel of Dissonance, Aqueduct of Dragons, Clock Tower
The intended order of this game is roughly 1A, 2B, 3A, 3B, 2A, 1B.
Connections between Chunks are as follows:
* Keyhole Warp #1: connects Room of Illusions A to Castle Treasury B
* Keyhole Warp #2: connects Luminous Cavern B to Sky Walkway A
* Marble Corridor - Castle Top Floor (requires Skull Key and Griffin's Wing)
* Wailing Way - Castle Treasury (requires Skull Key)
* Entrance - Skeleton Cave (requires Crushing Stone and Griffin's Wing)
* Luminous Cavern - Aqueduct of Dragons (requires Crushing Stone and Griffin's Wing)
* Castle Top Floor - Chapel of Dissonance (requires Crushing Stone, and isn't really a connection to most of Chapel of Dissonance unless you beat Pazuzu and hit the switch, which controls a barrier that exists in both castles)
* all Circular Warps (press up to switch between different dimensions' versions of the same room; press down to fast-travel by cycling between rooms in the same dimension)
"Do I need to beat this boss?"
* Giant Bat (Marble Corridor A, opens the drawbridge, otherwise skippable, so you can leave it to last): yes
* Living Armor (Shrine of the Apostates A, guards Lizard's Tail): yes
* Skull Knight (Skeleton Cave B, guards Sylph Feather): yes
* Golem (Luminous Cavern B ): NO
* Minotaur (Castle Top Floor B ): NO
* Devil (Sky Walkway A, guards Night Goggles if you want them before Giant Merman): NOT REALLY, IF YOU CAN GET THROUGH THE DARK HALLWAY
* Giant Merman (Aqueduct of Dragons A, blocks path to a switch that allows access to the Crushing Stone): yes
* Max Slimer (Clock Tower A, it's just in the way): yes
* Peeping Big (Clock Tower B, it's also just in the way): yes
* Legion (saint) (Sky Walkway B ): EITHER YOU BEAT THIS OR YOU TAKE A MUCH LONGER PATH THROUGH Aqueduct of Dragons B, SO UNLESS YOU'RE DOING A MINIMALIST RUN I SUGGEST FIGHTING THIS
* Shadow (Sky Walkway B, beat it to get MK's Bracelet in Sky Walkway A): yes
* Pazuzu (Castle Top Floor A, guards a switch opening up Chunk 2): yes
* Minotaur Lv2 (Castle Top Floor A): NO
* Legion (corpse) (Skeleton Cave A): NO
* Death (Luminous Cavern A, guards Griffin's Wing):
YES because Griffin's Wing is required to use the Crush Boots, and that's required for any ending.
* Talos (Luminous Cavern A, guards Skull Key): NOT UNLESS YOU WANT THE Skull Key which you might want in a normal playthrough
* Cyclops (Shrine of the Apostates B ): NO but it might be convenient to just run through his room on your way to the endgame
* Maxim (Castle Treasury A or B ): yes
* Dracula (two forms, Castle Treasury B ): yes ONLY IF YOU ARE DOING THE BEST ENDING
Suggested any% no-glitch best-ending path in next post. I might come up with low% map, fewest number of relics/items, pacifist, 100% map, 100% sitting items, 100% item drops, etc. routes later. I don't know how to zip in this game so I am ignoring zipping completely. Ice Fist to access the Entrance warp point is in the grey area as to whether it's a glitch, but it's certainly a possibility in some runs but not others.
FYI this thread is meant to supersede the similar thread I've made in Heapers' Hangout