Even after you’ve completed the NES-style story mode in Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon, there’s still plenty of stuff to accomplish in the game. There are three bonus modes you can unlock that change how you’ll play the game, and one of them is absolutely required to see the true ending. The rest are challenging extras to test yourself — either through solo completion, or defeating all the enhanced bosses in a single run.
Bonus Modes are unlocked by getting certain endings, but not every ending is required here. You will need to run through the game at least three times before you’re able to get the final mode. It’s a good thing Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon is much more lenient in difficulty than true old-school games like Castlevania 3. That game is so hard, I can barely beat it — what really makes Bloodstained easier are modern conveniences you wouldn’t find on old-school platformers. For starters, there are checkpoints, more useful abilities, and you don’t have to type in a long password whenever you want to restart your adventure.
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How To Unlock Every Bonus Mode
Bonus Modes are unlocked by completing certain endings. Endings are earned depending on which heroes you recruit (or kill) in a single run. There are three bonus modes you can unlock, and all of them change the game in a unique way.
- Normal Mode
- How To Unlock: N/A
- The standard mode you’ll play on your first (and second, and third) runs. This is the mode you’ll likely return to earn alternate endings, although some endings can be earned in Ultimate Mode.
- In this mode, you start the game as Zangetsu and can recruit, ignore, or kill three heroes you’ll encounter in your adventure. The heroes can’t be missed. To recruit them, simply talk to them. To kill them, slash them a few times with your sword attack.
- Nightmare Mode
- How To Unlock: Complete the story after recruiting all three extra heroes.
- Nightmare Mode is a special mode where you start the story with all three heroes unlocked, but without Zangetsu. You’ll have Miriam, Alfred, and Gebel available from the first level.
- The bosses are enhanced in this mode, and gain new special attacks.
- The last level is completely different, and you’ll face a new last boss.
- Complete Nightmare Mode to get the True Ending.
- Ultimate Mode
- How To Unlock: Complete the story after killing (and absorbing the power) of all three extra heroes.
- In this mode, you begin the game with Zangetsu and already have all the bonus abilities unlocked for killing the three heroes. That means you’ll have a double jump, dash, and mid-air special attack right at the start.
- You won’t find the three heroes to recruit in this mode. They’re already dead.
- This mode is similar to Nightmare Mode — the bosses are also enhanced, with new attacks and more health.
- Boss Rush Mode
- How To Unlock: Complete three different unique runs to earn Boss Rush Mode. You need to complete a run with all three heroes recruited, all three heroes killed, and all three heroes ignored (ignoring all three heroes may not be required).
- In this mode, you’ll skip the levels and only fight all eight bosses. You’ll need to defeat all eight bosses in a single run, without any continues or extra lives.
- All bosses are standard, normal mode versions. They are not the harder versions found in Nightmare / Ultimate Mode.
- Veteran Mode is locked, so you’ll be knocked back after taking damage.
- Your weapon points will be refilled after every boss.
- After each boss, you’ll teleport to a room with two large hearts and sub-weapons. These items do not respawn, so wait and use them later in the boss rush when you need them.