Midway through your time with Dead Cells’ Return to Castlevania DLC, you’ll find your path to Dracula’s Keep obstructed by a familiar foe. This prevents you from reaching the Lord of Darkness right away, necessitating the use of a circuitous route in order to challenge him. Figuring out how to reach the Master’s Keep, and Dracula himself, in Dead Cells: Return to Castlevania is no easy task, however.
If you’re feeling up for a challenge, read on for a full guide on how to reach the Master’s Keep and return Dracula to his endless slumber.
Dead Cells: Hunting down Dracula in the Master’s Keep
Step 1: Clear the first half of the DLC
Before you reach Dracula, you need to have completed the DLC’s first half. To do this, you first need to access the DLC, clear the Castle’s Outskirts biome, clear the Dracula’s Castle biome, then defeat Death in the Defiled Necropolis. Once this is done, you’ll be returned to a normal run, and you can go on to finish it, or die trying.
When you start your next run, you’ll find Alucard waiting for you in the Prisoners’ Quarters entrance area. Talk to him, and he’ll tell you he’s found a way to get to Dracula by heading to Dead Cells’ clock Tower and using it to cross over into the world of Castlevania. You’ll also receive a message telling you that the Return to Castlevania DLC can only be entered once per run, which means you can’t do both halves in a single run.
Step 2: Defeat the Time Keeper in the Clock Room
Next, you’ll want to play a run as normal, being sure not to enter the Castle’s Outskirts via the Prisoners’ Quarters, and instead taking a more standard route that will lead you to the Clock Tower, and the Clock Room after it. There are various options for this, but the easiest route is: Prisoners’ Quarters > Promenade of the Condemned > Ramparts > Black Bridge > Stilt Village > Clock Tower > Clock Room. If you want to take a different route, you can plan one out using the in-game map.
After defeating the Time Keeper in the Clock Room, you’ll meet Alucard again. He will tell you his plan worked, and prompt you to head through to Dracula’s Castle via the new door that has appeared in the area.
Step 3: Navigate Dracula’s Castle
Now comes the difficult part. While Dracula’s Castle retains the same general layout as it did when you visited it in the first half of the DLC, the enemies hit a lot harder this time, and you’ll have to contend with a few new hazards to contend. One of these is Dracula himself, who will appear at random to perform one of the following actions:
- Send out a series of fireballs directly in front of him.
- Summon a swarm of Vampire Bats to attack you.
- Summon an Elite enemy to attack you (this only happens once per run).
- Flip the screen vertically for about 10 seconds and inverting your controls.
Most of these are easily manageable in isolation, with the exception of the Elite enemy, but they become troublesome when they arrive in the midst of a battle with other enemies. For this reason, it’s best to play it safe in this biome, taking things slow and dealing with enemies one by one, rather than challenging large groups.
When Dracula arrives, deal with his disruption before you move on. He can’t be damaged here, so think of him as a stage hazard that shows up periodically. After some time has passed, he’ll stop appearing, but always be on guard just in case.
Hunting down Dracula in the Master’s Keep in Dead Cells – Step 4: Defeat Medusa
The other major change in this version of Dracula’s Castle is the addition of a locked door before the exit, which can only be unlocked with the Petrified Key. This key can be found in a chest after defeating Medusa, a new mini-boss added to the area. She’ll generally appear in a large chamber off to the right of the biome. You’ll know you’re getting close when you start seeing petrified bodies in the halls.
Medusa is a fairly straightforward mini-boss, but she has some highly damaging attacks that can be dangerous if you’re unprepared. Chief among these is her stone gaze, which locks you in place, letting Medusa unleash a devastating combo on you. This attack is highly telegraphed, and can be avoided by staying behind Medusa at all times — a good strategy for the fight overall, in fact.
Beyond this, Medusa just has some standard melee attacks that hit the area in front of her. She has a good amount of health, but her large size and the fact that she’s permanently on the ground make her very vulnerable to traps and turrets, so try using those if you’re struggling with her. Once she falls, you can grab the Petrified Key from the chest beyond and unlock the exit to Dracula’s Castle. And another step in your journey to reach the Master’s Keep and Dracula in Dead Cells: Return to Castlevania DLC is complete.
Step 5: Climb to the Keep
Final steps to reach the Master’s Keep and Dracula in Dead Cells: Return to Castlevania DLC
Now that Dracula’s Castle is done, there’s nothing standing between you and the Master’s Keep. Make sure you take some time to optimize your weapons and recharge your flasks. You’ll need both for the showdown to come.
And that’s that! Now that you know how to reach the Master’s Keep and Dracula in Dead Cells: Return to Castlevania DLC, the grand finale is in sight.