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Castlevania: Curse of Darkness is the November 2005 sequel to Castlevania III. Three years after Trevor's defeat of Dracula, Dracula's curse still plagues the land. One of Dracula's servants, Hector, has parted ways with the dark side and has set out to break this curse and have revenge against his former friend, Isaac.


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2:21:02 by Damien Moody, done in 14 segments.

Author's comments:

This run was actually delayed by a couple months due to general boredom of the game. I had made it to the 2nd Isaac fight before I back-burnered it.

The fastest method of travel is to use Quick Steps - but only after I have Double Step. There's too long of a pause after doing a Quick Step without Double Step, and that same pause exists after a Double Step. You'll notice that I mess up and end up with Double Steps at times when I don't mean's actualy harder than it looks to always time it right so I don't end up Double Stepping but am still able to keep up a nice momentum.
In terms of weaponry, I chose 1 handed axe types for the most part, since they tend to be the strongest of the "small" type weapons, and the 2 hit + finisher can score 5 hits, and has some range to it. I switched back and forth to the Chauve-souris once I had the materials for it, depending on the situation.
My ID of choice was the Battle-type. His passive STR bonus was good enough, but he also deals great damage when utilized properly. I evolved him to a Speed Mail, then a Rasetz. The Golem side of the tree is too weak (mostly Golem) and a bit slower as well. Speed Mail attacks fast and has nice Chain Attacks as well. The reason I went for Rasetz over Corpsey (other than the fact that I used axes a lot) is that Corpseys ATT and MAG stats have horrible growth, whereas Rasetz's ATT stat isn't too bad. Plus, Bone Storm is Dark Elemental, which all bosses after the point it evolved are resistant to.
I tend to leave my IDs guarding if when running through rooms/hallways. This is to prevent unnecessary damage for the most part.
There's quite a few areas that could be better optimized...most of which deal with flying enemies. I should have been using the Mage ID (Time Stop) more often.


Not really all that much action here...this castle is more like a semi-long tutorial than anything else really.
I used a Memorial Ticket to get back downstairs after getting the Fairy ID, and skipped all side rooms / unnecessary fighting.
All the required fight rooms went fairly well, although those Skeleton Blazes can be annoying by just moving too damned much.
I also crafted a Gano, a Soft Leather Armor, and a Leather Helm with the Bronze and Wild Memories I had been picking up.

This fight went quite well, except for that second Head Smash he did...I've never seen him use that twice in a row, so it caught me off guard.
The trick to this fight is to always dodge clockwise, so I'm to Crazy Armor's right...he can't seem to hit me there.
For the second part, just slash away and dodge whenever convenient. Taking hits isn't a big deal or anything really.

Ditched the Fairy ID for the Battle ID right at the start.
I sidetracked to get the Perfect Guard skill, and also the Boiling Ring. Perfect Guard is pretty much a requirement for any sort of speed run, and the Boiling Ring reduces damage from Fire - which is an element that quite a few bosses utilize.
The only thing that I didn't like that much was when my ID hit the 2nd Wizard I was trying to steal a Memorial Ticket from...though it didn't cost me too much time.
Aside from the 2 Memorial Tickets I stole, I also crafted some Hard Leather Armor from the Jet Black, and a Corinthian Helmet from a piece of Aluminum.

The Battle ID is almost useless in this fight. Other than a couple Aura Blasts when it has it's head buried in the ground, I pretty much leave it on guard mode. The problem is that it has trouble hitting Wyvern's head with it's normal attacks.
The main trick here is to not allow the Wyvern to start flying around the room. When he buries his head the first time I just ignore it and keep pounding away. When he does it the 2nd time, I jump on it's ack and hammer away while he flies.

All of the required fights here went extremely well.
I needed one of the Bone Soldiers at the beginning to drop a Steel so I could make a Mace...which is a decent bit more powerful than anything else I can make at the time.
I also needed to steal a Holy Man's Vein from a Dead Fencer, and a Spirit of Fuji from a Lesser Demon for later use. That, and I needed the Dead Fencer to drop a Knight's Vein so I could make a Gallic Helmet.

I didn't notice any speed increase by using my ID for this fight. I think this fight only requires Hector to connect (do damage) a certain number of times, and that the ID's hits don't count.
Either way, it's a pretty easy fight...just Guard / Perfect Guard and attack until he submits.

I used the Magical Ticket I picked up outside Julia's Shop to warp me back there after getting Brute Force Lv1.
Most of the fights here went well...except for one. That last room with the Frost Dragons...that last Dragon just wouldn't cooperate.
That room with all the Blaze Masters is ID doesn't follow well down the stairs, so he ends up lagging behind. That's why I just ran past all the enemies to the other door - to give him time to catch up.
I stole 2 Aquamarines from Fishmen for later use, and also made a Lemellar from some Steel the Bone Soldiers dropped.

I don't like this fight. Skeleton Diver can choose to spend long periods of time in places where I can't hit him. Moreso when he's low on HP.
When he first lands, I have my ID help double team him...he can't guard from his backside, so I was trying to stay back there as much as possible. When the Fish flops onto the platform, I can smack it as well...which is actually an easier target.
I had my ID guard once his HP dropped to a point where he ran the risk of dying. If he died, I'd lose a decent chunk of damage from the STR bonus he gives.

I grabbed the Spirit of Fuji and the Bird ID, then used a Memorial Ticket to save a little walking.
First thing, I stole 2 Ceremonial Tools from the Vessagos - for later use of course.
I also stole a Carbon Steel from the Great Armor so I could make a Morgenstern...which is +15 ATK over the Mace.
Most of the fights here went well enough...except those last 2 rooms where I should have been using Aura Blast instead of Heavenly Sword.

This fight went as well as it could have. My ID is only really useful for some early extra damage...but he gets smacked around too easily to be of much use beyond that.
If I had a 2 handed weapon (sword or axe) I could have made him flinch...but I don't think it would have been any faster really, since the early 2 handed weapons don't have much combo ability.

I was hoping the White Gravials would drop more White Steel than they did...
I stole an Ether from a Lizard Shaman, and also use some Indigo Steel to make Chain Mail, and a Sallet.
Most of the fight went OK enough...that one room with 4 Assassin Zombies could have been better, though.

My ID is operation distraction here. His only job is to keep Isaac's ID busy while I beat the living snot out of him.
Other than stealing the Devil's Vein at the start of the fight, it's a pretty straightforward beat down. When my ID was low on hearts, I had him guard...Isaac's ID still has a tendency to go after him.

I needed to level the Mage ID up here so it'd have enough Hearts for the Saint Germain fight.
I used Time Stop to easily get the Phlogiston from a Flame Demon. However, I should have also used Time Stop on those flying enemies that were wasting my time.
I make a Zaghnol shortly after my Mage learns Lightning Strike. I also make a Plate Mail from some White Steel, and some Field Armor from Red Steel shortly thereafter.

This fight went about as well as it could have. Saint Garmain's main attack is when he uses Time Advance, which I can nullify with Time Stop. He can also stop time, but I can cancel it with my own.
When he runs out of HP, he does Time Reverse to recover to 50%. I Time Stop as he's doing this so he only gets to recover 25% instead.
I tried using Lightning Strike on him, but he has a Magic Defense of 60, and my Mage ID only has a MAG stat of 42, which means a piddly 24 damage per Strike. Not worth the Heart cost IMO.
The Memorial Ticket back to Cordova Town saved a bunch of time. I put the Devil ID away since it seemed to have a tendency to die in that corridor with all the Dead Fencers.

I picked up the Damascus Steel before entering leaving Cordova Town to make a Burgonet.
I think I could have used my ID a little more efficiently here, although keeping him from dying is a decent chellenge in and of itself.
I should have also used the Mage ID for the pesky flying enemies.

The ID is just there for a passive STR bonus, and some Chain Attacks.
While Trevor has the White Aura, he cannot be made to flinch, so I have to prioritize dodging over attacking until it dissipates.
Once the Aura drops, I can use my ID to score some extra hits after my own attacks. Trevor's Magic Defense is too high to allow my ID to do any real damage with it's specials. Notice the last hit of my ID Chain attack does a lot more damage than anything else.

I had to split this into 2 segments due to all the Final Guards. They can choose to just sit there and defend and I can't do a damn thing about it.
I took all those Materials I had been gathering, and along with the Dark Crystal, Ether, Spirit of Fuji, and Ceemonial Tool I picked up in the Emperor's Throne room, managed to make a Chauve-souris - which is one of the most powerful weapons I can make (and has an awesome combo to boot).
Right after making it (next room) there's 2 Wights that need to be killed to unlock to'll notice I pause and spin the camera as soon as I enter the room...this is to make sure the first one doesn't hide in the wall, or off to either side where I can't get to it.

I switched back to the Zaghnol for this fight since Dullahan doesn't flinch. My ID was worth a few extra hits every so often, but it's more improtant for it to be alive for the passive STR bonus.
This fight is mostly about dodging Dullahan's attacks, and dealing a couple hits whenever I can. I prefer when he does anything that makes him stand still for a moment afterwards, since I can get off a full combo + Chain attack.
The only thing I didn't like about this fight was that he didn't do the move he was charging up when he died eariler. He takes double damage while he's charging that.

Again, 2 segments...but this time for the sheer difficulty of speeding through some rooms.
I wound up taking 2 refills in save rooms here...both Hector and the ID get smacked around pretty bad in here.
Did I also mention how much I hate flying enemies?

This fight was a bitch until I figured out the secret. Isaac can't stop to block and summon if you always hit his backside. Chauve-souris is the best to use here, since it deals so many hits at once.
Thus, always attacking him in his rear arc forces him to fight alone the entire time. Plus with no summon animations, and no IDs to kill, this fight becomes rather short.
However, I can't use ID to attack during this fight - it has a good chance to throw him with it's stronger attacks. If Isaac is thrown, it's pretty much guaranteed that he'll summon an ID without any chance for me to interrupt him. Guard duty for the ID.

I think I could have used my ID for some extra damage here, but I also needed him alive for the STR I didn't risk it.
I switched back to Zaghnol since Death doesn't flinch, and needed fast hits over strong ones.
Normally I don't screw up perfect guarding his mini-scythes, but I got one bad block and ended up reeling for it. I would have reset, but I hate having to re-do the Isaac fight every time Death annoys me.
The Boiling Ring was picked up for the sole purpose of defending against Death's Flare Bomb attack. That first hit always gets me...the camera is at a bad angle to try and determine exactly when I need to block the first hit. I managed to block the rest fine, though.
I do, however, regret using the Pork Bowl here since I didn't get hit at all after using it...and it would have saved me a lot of trouble for the Dracula fights.

His Magic Defense is around 100 or so, which makes my IDs specials practically worthless.
I need my ID alive after this fight, but I also need him attacking since he can actually deal out damage faster than Hector can. Chain attacks aren't as worthwhile here since they don't attack as fast as the ID normally does. Leaving him in Manual is quite effective, though.
When he was almost dead, I brought out the Fairy again to get her some levels (from 4 - 25). I needed the healing for the next fight and her HP got a nice boost.

My ID was operation distraction again...well - somewhat. The whole premise here is to just dodge everything I can and attack when I have a chance. My damage is pitiful here...My ID's passive STR bonus makes up for half of all my damage.
I had my ID defend the entire time, since it takes hits easily, and would have died quick. Specials weren't worth anything here either due to a high Magic Defense.
I was also switching to the Fairy ID every time he backed away from the platform so I could heal up. I went through all of her Hearts plus the one Potion I had left, and still finished only one hit from death.
I regret keeping the Battle ID when he backed off after the Fairy ID was out of Hearts...
My ID died because of it, but it wasn't a big deal since Dracula was almost dead. The Mage ID was brought out to grant some extra (passive) damage to finish him off.

Single-segment as Trevor 1:22:20 by Damien Moody.

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Author's comments:

I don't even know why I picked up Trevor mode. I had originally picked this game back up because Zewing wanted some info on how to run Hector mode. After looking over my notes, I realized that I had never actually rerouted the game like I had planned (equipment and IDs). So started doing that.
One day I just decided to play around with Trevor mode for fun. See if I even remembered how to play him. Did a full playthrough. Then I decided to see how well I could do for any%. On my first run with minimal routing and planning, with multiple deaths, I managed a 1:37:xx by the in game clock, which beat the previous segmented record by 6 minutes. It all kind of snowballed from there. (Note that I had never actually watched Aquatiger's run before that first attempt, even though it had been sitting on my hard drive for about 5.5 years...)

Trevor has numerous combos he can do with his whip, but there's only 2 that are really of any use in a speedrun: Windmill and Torpedo.
-Windmill deals (((ATK - DEF) x 0.6) - 1) damage for each hit but the last one, which deals full damage. This can hit up to 7 times I think.
-Torpedo is the fastest form of movement Trevor has. Over the course of a really long hallway (tested on the ramparts in Abandoned Castle), Quick Stepping takes about 24 seconds vs. Torpedo which takes 20 seconds. Overall it saves about 0.5 seconds per Torpedo compared to Quick Stepping. The Quick Step in between most Torpedoes doesn't cost any time at all, and has the added benefit of more control over what direction I'm heading in.

Out of all the subweapons, Knife is the most useful, followed by Stopwatch.
Well, Knife Crush is useful anyway - it deals 10 damage per hit for the duration of the attack. This damage does not increase over the course of the game, and any enemy that has a defense greater than 0 severely affects it's usefulness.
Stopwatch allows me to keep enemies at bay for a length of's usually saved for fast moving/hard hitting/flying enemies, for obvious reasons. Stopwatch Crush uses 10 extra hearts to freeze time twice as long (5 seconds vs. 10 seconds). Correct usage of this isn't always to use the Crush since I don't always need the full 10 seconds to do what I need to do, and doors won't unlock until after time starts moving again. In addition heart management comes into play, since this is by far the most costly subweapon.
Cross Crush (Grand Cross) gets a little use breaking open a wall in Eneomaos Machine Tower, and is extremely useful against Death.
Holy Water Crush is useful in a couple select places.
Axe is never used in any%.

The run itself:

Abandoned Castle:
Went really well except when the knives decided to target the wrong ghost in the basement. Very minor time loss, though.
Grabbing the Attack Up here costs about 20-25 seconds, which is more than made up for throughout the rest of the run.

Baljhet Mountains:
Very short area since Trevor can skip the latter two-thirds of it. The lone battle room went perfectly.
The Attack Up here takes about 50 seconds to grab - this was the most controversial one to pick up. After making an estimate for how much time it saves on bosses, I was still about 16 seconds shy of it actually saving time. After some deliberation, I figured that it has to save at least some time in normal battle rooms, and even if it ends up costing time it can't be more than a handful of seconds. At best it may even save a few seconds. Either way, it makes some battle rooms and bosses easier due to the increased attack.

Mortvia Aqueduct:
Mostly went well, except the room right before the Circle Tip, where a Merman had way more HP than it should have had, and the Skeleton Wolf room where I was having trouble hitting them.
Grabbing the Attack Up here only costs about 20ish seconds, which is of the same usefulness as the one in Abandoned Castle.

Skeleton Diver:
This was a really lucky fight outside of him perfect guarding my initial assault after he jumped on the platform. I use the Knife Crush to keep the Diver stunlocked so I can beat on the Fish when it flops onto the platform. When the Diver is mounted on the Fish, it's possible to hit both of them with one attack with proper aiming.

Forest of Jigramunt:
There's actually very little fighting in this area, until near the end.
The trigger for opening the door in the room with all the Bone Soldiers is a bit unusual: The Dark Warlock and the 5 Bone Soldiers nearest the way I came in have to die to trigger the Thief spawning. The other Bone Soldiers don't matter at all. I have no idea why they set this room up like this.
There's an HP MAX UP in the 2nd room of the caves, but it's a bit of a detour, and while it's good for anyone just starting out with running this category, it's unnecessary for those with experience.
Unfortunately I didn't reach the save point with 150+ HP, which meant I needed to take the save there. Minotaurus' hits all do around 50 damage, and I want as much of a cushion as I can get.

This definitely wasn't my greatest started with some bad luck with how he turned - he pushed Trevor off to the side, which made some of my initial whips miss. Those missed attacks wouldn't have been a big deal except my strat requires constant damage. Minotaurus only flinches when he takes enough damage/hits, and with my current damage output, he won't flinch properly if I miss any shots. The knives are only used to add hits. Without them it's impossible to keep him stunned.
When Minotaurus drops below 25% HP he'll change his pattern, and add jumping and spinning to his arsenal. It's beyond possible to perfect guard the jumps, but missing one will send me flying, and do quite a bit of damage, so I played it safe. The Holy Water works best once he's in this phase since staggering him becomes exponentially more difficult.

Cordova Town:
The first third of this area has no battle rooms. I have no idea why.
In the Assassin Zombie room, one of them managed to escape before I could get to it. I was able to drag it up the hill a bit, so minimal time loss.
In the Skeleton Rider room, one of the first 2 mounts started running around and it took me a few tries to nail it. I need to remember to attack the same one my Knives are going after.
The rest of the battle rooms went quite well.
I hit the save point before Isaac because I always want full HP going in here. Isaac has ended more than a few runs.

Isaac himself went pretty well comparatively. I want to keep my Knives on his ID since that's the only way to keep it off of me. If I had the Ice Whip I could freeze it, but any% skips that. Even though you'd think keeping the Knives on Isaac would be a good idea (since he has a defense value of 0, which allows the knives to do full damage), it's actually better to keep them on his ID since Isaac can randomly block/dodge any attack. Having the knives on him causes this to happen a LOT, which means I whip him less as a result. Note that the hesitation when his ID gets ready to explode is due to how much damage it does - 100+ depending on how long it's been charging for. At full charge it's over 150, which I can't afford to take.

Eneomaos Machine Tower:
The biggest factor in this area is that I'm at the mercy of Heart drops. I use an alternate route to get to Saint Germain, one which lacks a save point. If my heart count is too low when I reach him, it's pretty much game over. The route I use takes the way that Hector is intended to come down after the fight. Since Trevor doesn't use IDs, they installed teleporters to allow Trevor to pass those areas. They, however, didn't remember to take them out on the way up. Going up and coming back down this way saves about 1:45 over the intended way, and has the same number of battle rooms.
All of the battle rooms went really well here, except the one with 2 Flame Demons...the auto-targeting decided that the one I had already killed was a better target than the one that was still alive.
I picked up the Thunder Whip since Saint Germain is weak to it, and there's also a couple other places it's useful later on. The Grand Cross is the fastest way to destroy that wall.

Saint Germain:
Other than the slightly rocky start, Saint Germain went beautifully. I was able to catch him after he teleported out of my combo and prevent him from attacking me. I generally don't use the Windmill attack in this fight since Saint Germain has a certain number of attacks he'll take before teleporting (it varies, but it's usually 6-10 from what I've seen). Since normal attacks hit for full damage, it increases how much damage he takes in between each teleport.
Also, The (almost) sole reason I was picking up the Heart Max Ups was for this fight. Being too low on hearts is a run killer.
Unlike Hector, Trevor has no quick way to get out of here, so I have to backtrack to the warp room. Going the same way I came up is faster than taking the elevator down, even though neither way has any battle rooms.
Before anyone asks, you don't have to activate the Baljhet warp's always activated just so you'll always have somewhere to warp to.

Trevor Doppelganger:
This guy has ended a few runs, though he's not that dangerous. Outside of not using Holy Water when he still had his shield up, this fight went pretty well.
When his shield is up, he cannot be made to flinch at all. Once he suffers enough damage the shield will drop.
The best way to deal with him once his shield is down is to try and either perfect guard his combos, then counterattack, or to dodge out of the way and counter, knocking him out of his attacks. I have to be mindful of when he attacks, though, and get out of the way in time since he does deal a fair bit of damage. Defeating him before he activates his shield for a second time means the fight was a fast one.

Infinite Corridor:
The Thunder Whip is very useful against the Final Guards since they are weak to it. In addition, Bone Soldiers and Spirits take the same number of hits to kill with the Thunder Whip as they do with the Circle Tip, so there's no point switching until after all the Final Guards at the beginning are done with.
I made a slight mistake in the room with all the Ectoplasms and the two Wights. I should have only used normal Stopwatch instead of Stopwatch Crush. It only wasted a few seconds though.
Speaking of Wights, they are easily the most irritating enemy in this entire area. They can fly through walls, and sit around in places I can't reach. I was just lucky that both rooms with them went as well as they did.
Overall, this area went much better than normal, and was the biggest time improvement over my last run.

This fight is very RNG based. There's one attack he does where he points his sword straight down and charges for a few moments. During the charge up, he takes double damage...sadly he didn't use this at all this time around (unlike last time where he used it twice). He did jump a lot though, which allows me to get full combos off on him. I also use the Knife Crush here since Dullahan has a defense value of 0.
Once again, Trevor has no quick way to get out of here (unlike Hector who is automatically teleported to the Mortvia Aqueduct warp room). The backtrack isn't too long, thankfully.

Dracula's Castle:
The one thing about this area that required some somewhat extensive testing was whether or not the Square Tip was worth it. It adds +10 Attack Power over the Circle Tip, which is actually pretty huge for the final boss gauntlet. However, it takes around 1:25 to go get,
And doesn't save anywhere near that on the final four bosses. In addition there's only 8 battle rooms between the Square Tip and the end, which means it's an overall net loss of time.
I will say that I got relatively good luck in most of the battle rooms. The rooms with Flame/Frost Demons are probably the most RNG heavy, even though I use Stopwatch Crush to keep them in place. If they don't all spawn near each other, it's pretty much guaranteed that one or more of them will get away when it wears off. The Frost Demon room upstairs went perfectly. The Flame Demon room almost had one get away, but I was able to get it before it took off. The Frost Demon room downstairs had an unlucky spawn, and there was no easy way to hit all of them. I got extremely lucky that I was able to take out those last two before they moved.
I have to be relatively mindful of my Heart count here...the save rooms have quite a bit of distance between them, and this area is fairly heart intensive, mostly thanks to the Stopwatch. I get a bit more breathing room once I'm out of the basement, thankfully.

The biggest thing here is that Isaac must never be allowed to do anything. Once he drops below 80% HP, he'll summon an ID (Crimson). Not only does he waste time with the summon, but he's also completely invincible while this ID is out. When he drops below 60% he'll recall the Crimson if it's out and summon an Iytei. He takes minimal damage while this one's out - not enough to be worth attacking him. Below 40% he summons a Rasetz. He takes full damage while this one's out, but has increased knockback resistance.
The Knife Crush works wonders for keeping him stunlocked. I have a setup that allows me to keep track of exactly when I need to use another Knife Crush: I do 3 full combos, then whip twice. Knife Crush should end during the last hit, allowing me to use it again before Isaac has a chance to move.

Outside of breaking the wall for the Thunder Whip, this is the only other place you'll see me use the Cross. It's the perfect way to dodge his scythe swings and continue dealing damage at the same time. It also manipulates his fire scythe into a pattern that won't hit me after I tank the initial hit. It can also manipulate the tiny sickles into flying up, which allows me to keep attacking (he didn't use this attack this time though).
The optimal pattern here is when Death just keeps swinging his scythe at me, which is almost exactly what he did minus the one fire scythe.
When Death drops below 50% HP he'll always do a Fireball next. Without more attack power, it's not possible to kill him before I take a hit. I do try to perfect guard the initial hit, but the camera angle is really awkward for doing that, so it's pretty rare that I time it correctly.
I screwed up one of the perfect guards and ended up taking a second hit for it. If I had messed up 2 hits sooner, I would have died from it, so I was extremely fortunate in that regard. In addition, if my assault after the fireball ended hadn't killed him, I would have also died since there wouldn't have been enough time to dodge his next attack.

Dracula has high defense, but low HP. If he teleports to the back of the room and does the lasers, Grand Cross works wonders. Holy Water also works well when he uses spikes.
When he did his first attack, I dodged the wrong way and took a hit for it. Other than that this fight went well. I need to come out of this fight with high HP for Drac 2.

Final Dracula:
Even though I've practiced the shit out of this guy and have done quite a number of attempts, Final Dracula still scares the shit out of me. He hits like a truck, cannot be stunned, and has a random amount of windup before all of his punches, making it almost impossible to time perfect guards.
Coming into this fight with high HP is a must - it's almost inevitable that I'll take damage here. As the fight progresses, I start taking it more and more cautiously. I've lost a number of good runs to this guy, which is always a heartbreaker.
Overall though, this was a good fight. Even though I took a number of hits, I didn't get hit by any of the big damage ones. The overhead smash is the one I really have to play it safe around, since it can easily double hit. I got really lucky with the timing of my dodges, since dodging too early can cause me to still take the hit.
The only reason I use Knife Crush here is for some extra damage. No other subweapon is worth using since I'm too weak for them to have any oomph. Grand Cross was a consideration, but it doesn't elevate me high enough to avoid most of his attacks.

Closing thoughts:
Is this time improvable? Probably. My execution was good, but not perfect. Overall the luck was good though, which would make getting a run better than this difficult. For now I'm going to leave the time at this, and maybe come back to this run another time.

-SDA staff for hosting my runs
-Aquatiger for doing the original run. While I changed quite a few of the strats, I still learned a fair bit from his run
-My stream regulars who sat through me grinding attempts

Trevor Boss Rush 0:09:49.33 by Damien Moody.

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Author's comments:

I have no idea why I tried to do sub 10 minute attempts on this. My first real attempts yielded an 11:08. At that time I had some ideas for new strats that I figured could bring it sub 11 pretty easily.
My next batch of attempts yielded a 10:43 or so, which I thought was pretty good at the time. Then I somehow got a 10:17 shortly thereafter and had no idea how that was possible. That was quickly followed by a 10:12.5. Another attempt later on that night was 24 second ahead of that at one point, then Drac and Drac 2 ate all of that time through pure RNG.
I did some off-stream attempts a few days later and brought it down to 10:02.5. At this point, any further improvements could only come from boss pattern RNG (Technically that was also the case when I got 10:12). Being only 2.6 seconds off of a sub 10, I figured it was only a matter of time before I managed sub 10.
I'll say this: Grinding attempts for purely RNG based time gains is not really that fun. I could have easily submitted the 10:02 and it would have looked fine. But I wanted to beat that arbitrary number, and I'm pretty sure my sanity hated me for it.

Either way, I crushed the 10 minute mark when I had a decent early fights, putting me about 4 seconds ahead going in to Minotaurus, lost all that and then some up until Dullahan, then gained it all back between Death, Legion/Nuculais, and Drac 1. Drac 2 gave me almost perfect RNG, netting me about 13 seconds.

Actual run comments:

Crazy Armor:
Got an unlucky pattern that cost about 0.5 seconds thanks to getting hit in phase 1. Otherwise perfect.

Only way this could have been faster is if I could have gotten a couple extra hits in before he took off. This would have allowed me to use one less Windmill attack, and saved up to a second.

I usually lose a bit of time here, so almost breaking even is really lucky. Trevor has a guard counter that decreases every time I hit him with the whip. When this counter hits 0 he'll start guarding any incoming attacks. The counter seems to increase over time when he's not taking hits. The Knife Crush works well to start with, but if used during the latter half of the fight, Trevor will block almost everything and prolong the fight.

Skeleton Diver:
Got a really good start, bringing him down about 30% before he submerged. Fish did his laser after the Diver jumped on the platform, which is the quicker of the 2 attacks it can do while on the platform. Diver jumped back on the fish almost immediately after the fish submerged. Managed a lot of double hits when the Rider was mounted. Overall a really good fight.

Did the strat perfectly, but the 2 jumps at the end cost about 4 seconds. I also screwed up the perfect guard on the first jump. Time loss here was pretty much all RNG.

OK fight, didn't get the best luck, but not the worst by a longshot. Isaac has a chance whenever he's about to get hit to either dodge or block, and there seems to be no limit on how many times he can do this. It's possible to lose up to 15 seconds in this fight purely from RNG. His ID, however, cooperated until the very end.

Saint Germain:
Got an unlucky teleport at the very start of the fight, and he never appeared where the auto-target aimed at. Lost a bit of time here because of it. When Saint Germain drops below 50% HP, his next move will always be Time Advance, but this can be overwritten by using the Stopwatch since his AI will always counter Stopwatch with Time Stop, and this is always #1 priority.

When his white aura is present, Trevor cannot be made to flinch. Thanks to the Holy Whip, I can knock him out of the aura in 3 hits. Execution-wise, this went perfectly, but I could have gotten slightly better luck with how many times I was able to hit him each round before he started blocking. He has the same block mechanic he uses in the first fight.

Lost a bit of time here due to bad RNG. He ran off early, and that beam attack is hard to avoid while keeping up damage as Trevor, since the Windmill attack takes too long to get off in between rotations, but only 3 whips is too quick to quick step through the beam. I lost time from taking the hit and flying into the wall, but it could have been a lot worse if I had gotten hit from a different angle. Ultimately I want him to do his other charge (where he points the sword straight down) since he takes double damage during the charge up for that.

Isaac has the same block mechanics he had in the first fight, which makes actually connecting with whips random. He lacks the dodge mechanic thankfully. I need the knives always on him to keep him from summoning any IDs. He didn't block enough to force me to use a 3rd Knife Crush, so that at least makes this fight average. I use the restoration circle after this fight since it's the fastest due to being able to be on top of it when it appears.

This is where I started gaining time. Death gave me pretty much the perfect pattern by only doing Scythe swings. I use Grand Cross to avoid it and keep the damage up. Once he drops below 50% his next move will always be Fireball, which with my maxed out attack power enables me to kill him before the fireball expands enough to hit me.

I let the Knife Crush do damage as I'm climbing the staircase, then switch to Axes when I'm level with Legion. Axes do 90% of my attack power per hit (this is dependant on what whip I have equipped, which I why I stick with Square Tip instead of switching to Legion's weakness of Holy). The Axes with their superior range allow me to whittle Legion's HP down in no time flat. Note that Legion cannot die until the core starts glowing purple, which only happens after all the exterior pieces have fallen off. Using Axes also allows me to stay at this level instead of dropping back down to the ground, which lets the Knife Crush hit him a lot sooner than if I were to jump out and whip him to death.

Gave me pretty much the perfect pattern. The rush attack he did actually helped when it hit me since it knocked me back to where he was standing, allowing me to get him down past 50% before he teleported away.

Meteor is the most preferable attack since I can get a full combo in so long as I attack him from the back. He did one blood suck as well, but this was an extremely lucky fight since he did 2 Meteors.

Dracula (Demon):
If he does one of his mega attacks, it wastes up to 8 seconds. Thankfully he immediately came to the platform. Got a pretty lucky pattern in terms of what attacks he used. Claw Swipe is the most preferable since it's the easiest and quickest to avoid/block. Overhead Smash is take the longest to dodge, but can be perfect guarded somewhat easily. Straight Punch and Backhand are almost impossible to perfect guard due to the random length of his windup, and how fast the actual animation is. He also laughed 3 times, which is just free damage. Getting a time this low requires that he be killed before he moves away from the platform, which is completely random. If he moves away, it's a 10-20 second loss depending on how many attacks he chooses to do.

Closing: I have no intent to improve on this. Any further improvements can pretty much only come from RNG, which I was already fighting pretty hard. I beat my goal time, and am quite happy with that. I wish anyone who attempts to beat this the best of luck, because you'll need it when battling an RNG this stacked against you.

Thanks to my stream viewers who stuck around and actually watched me grind attempts on this. I know watching resets due to bad RNG isn't the most interesting thing to watch.
Also want to thank the whole crew at SDA for hosting all of my other runs, this one, and hopefully more in the future.

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