Elizabeth Bartley (エリザベート･バートリー Erizabēto Bātorī?, Erzsébet Báthory) is a character and boss in Castlevania: Bloodlines. She is the vampiress niece of Count Dracula and one of the main antagonists in the game.
- Disclaimer: Portions of this page are based on internal worldbuilding material that was not made publicly available and thus might be subject to change. (See EGM fax references)
Elizabeth was born in Transylvania, Hungary in 1560 to the Bartley family. The Bartleys had a long history in Transylvania and were said to be related to the Tepes family. Elizabeth was forcefully engaged to Nadazy Ferentz when she was child. They married in 1575, when Elizabeth was 15 years old, and moved to Cheyte Castle located in Nietots, Hungary. Even though they were newly married, Nadazy could not stay at the castle for more than a few days, much to the frustration of Elizabeth. It was then that she began learning magic from the sorceress Drolta Tzuentes and started torturing servants in the basement.
In order to preserve her beauty, Elizabeth eventually started with the practice of killing young virgins for their blood. In 1600, Nadazy died when Elizabeth was 40. However, Elizabeth's blood lust remained unsated and the murders she commited during her lifetime would reach into the thousands.
In December 1610, the Hungarian King heard rumors about Elizabeth's blood worship and ordered Count George Turzo to investigate. After finding thousands of drained bodies in the basement, he confined Elizabeth to a room of her castle that only had slits for air and food, where she lived for four years. Her faith afterward is uncertain.
Events of Castlevania: Bloodlines
Drolta Tzuentes, who was thought to have been executed after Elizabeth's killings came to light, suddenly reemerged in the early 20th century. With the use of her magic, she revived Elizabeth from a 300-year old slumber at the ruins of Castle Dracula. Soon after, Elizabeth, seeking revenge against the imperial family of Austria for imprisoning her, became involved in the assassination of the Austrian prince. Making use of the ensuing war, she plotted to use the souls of the millions people who died as sacrifices for the resurrection of her uncle, Count Dracula, whose resentful spirit continued to wander the earth after his defeat the hands of Quincy Morris.
In the same year, Elizabeth planned to conduct the resurrection ritual. In order to do so, she had to reach Castle Proserpina, located above Whitby, England, where the spirit of Dracula was waiting. However, she was pursued across Europe by Eric Lecarde, seeking her revenge against her for the death of his fiancee, and John Morris, Quincy's son. Before being able to complete the ritual, Elizabeth was forced to engage the two vampire hunters in battle when they reached the castle. In the end, her ambitions were crushed when she was defeated by the duo.
John Morris and Eric Lecarde reach a luxurious chamber in one of the topmost floors of the Castle Proserpina, with two statues that appear to be guarding a coffin that lies between them. Countess Elizabeth Bartley shows her face at last, but before even giving the heroes a chance to react, she quickly adopts (or summons) a gruesome form which immensely contrasts with her eternal youthful beauty: the gorgon Medusa.
Medusa attacks by spewing two fireballs that undulate across the screen, one high and one low; the player must position himself among the safe spots left by their trajectories. She will also breathe a stream of flames upward that will then descend near the ground; crouch to avoid taking damage. Next, she'll slither her serpentine tail and lash it in a whip-like manner all across the floor; perform a well-timed jump in order to avoid it. Between all of her main attacks, she'll slowly move forward, performing short lunges while swiping with her claws.
Once this form has been defeated, Elizabeth is left with no other option than to face the heroes by herself (unless the player is playing on Easy, in which case Elizabeth's death animation will play after defeating Medusa and the player will beat the stage). Her boss fight is rather unconventional, as she'll start by teleporting over her coffin and summon a number of elemental orbs that will then start circling, proceeding next to teleport to either side of the room that is farther away from the player and then command one of the orbs to transform into an attack themed after the element it portrays, whether it is magic, fire, lightning, or a very fast-traveling dagger which stands for physical damage.
To defeat her, remain near the center of the screen and hit her as soon as she materializes, which will force her to teleport to the opposite side of the chamber. Each time she's hit will make one of the circling orbs to disappear and her health bar to deplete a little. Keep doing this until all orbs are gone, at which point Elizabeth will teleport back to the center of her lair and conjure a larger number of orbs.
Once her health bar has been completely depleted, the vampiress will finally succumb - flames will engulf her body as she makes one final attempt to return to her coffin, shrieking in agony as her body explodes into a mass of blood and leaving behind only her lavish garments slowly floating down as the sole testimony of her ever existing.
Behind the scenes
In the American instruction booklet story for Castlevania: Bloodlines, Elizabeth is said to have been executed in 1421, after being discovered kneeling over the body of a dead young man with puncture marks in his neck. This background differs from the Japanese lore, in which her date of death aligns with that of the historical Erzsébet Báthory. No mention is made of her having bathed in the blood of many young women either.
- Main article: Elizabeth Bartley/Gallery
- Countess Erzsébet Báthory was an infamous serial killer –one of the most prolific female ones in history– who's thought to have killed up to 650 victims over her life, all young women. This, along with myths about her bathing in their blood to keep herself youthful, has led to her commonly being associated with vampires. In addition, the Countess was distantly related to the historic Vlad III Drăculea, but, contrary to the game's background, she was his cousin rather than his niece.
- Bartley's Japanese name, Erizabēto Bātorī (エリザベート･バートリー), is an antiquated way to render Erzsébet Báthory's name and was probably intended as a direct reference to the historical figure. The Japanese version also places Elizabeth's death in 1614, further reinforcing the connection, as this was the year of Erzsébet's death.
- According to an internal document shared by Konami's Chicago offices to Electronic Gaming Monthly as part of the prerelease of Castlevania: Bloodlines, the idea of Bartley being Báthory is brought up, giving her backstory up to her execution in 1614, including her marriage to Ferenc II Nádasdy and occupation of Čachtice Castle. Her executioner is stated to be György Thurzó in the document, while her relationship with Drolta is reversed, with the sorceress instead being the one who inspired Elizabeth to "torture her servants in the basement".
- The game states that Elizabeth had assassinated the Crown Prince of Austria to trigger the events of World War I. In reality, the crown prince, Rudolf, took his own life in 1889. It was his cousin, the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, whose assassination in 1914 led to the war.
- In the fight against her, she either transforms into or summons Medusa, and is referred to as "Medusa" in the end credits of the American localization. The in-game animation is unclear as to whether this is a form she takes or a summon she performs, as the sprites are simply swapped out.
- Supporting the theory that Medusa is indeed Elizabeth under that form, is that when playing on Easy mode Elizabeth dies right after killing Medusa, as if Medusa was her all along, and when killed and losing her powers, she is forced to return to her humanoid form while dying.
- The color and uniquely dragon-like form of Medusa might be a reference to the historical Báthory's coat of arms, which featured a long, light-green dragon with a prominent claws (or fangs) motif and a long whip-like tail curled numerous times along it, very similar to how Medusa has hers in the game.
- Elizabeth Bartley was a planned character for Castlevania: Symphony of the Night but was scrapped.
- The lead female antagonist in the canceled game Castlevania: Resurrection, known as The Countess, may in fact be Countess Elizabeth Bartley; however, she was portrayed as Dracula's lover in that game, so this link is uncertain.
- Bartley's actions were indirectly responsible for the events of Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin (which is the direct sequel of Castlevania: Bloodlines), as her triggering World War I led to the deaths of Brauner's daughters and ultimately to his turning to villainy, and which in turn led directly to Eric Lecarde's death at the hands of Brauner and his own vampirized daughters, Stella and Loretta.
- In Castlevania Judgment, the bathing in blood element of her backstory is given to that game's version of Carmilla. They are likely separate characters, though. Eric's ending mentions "Dracula's niece" (Elizabeth Bartley), not Carmilla (who has no known blood ties to Dracula).
- Her name resembles that of her uncle Dracula's (Mathias Cronqvist) first wife, Elisabetha. However, it's unknown if there is any relation between both. More so, because other than Elizabeth's family relationship to Dracula and her date(s) of death, no other details are given.
- It's unknown the year when Elizabeth was born. The original Japanese version of Castlevania: Bloodlines states that she died in 1614 (the English version sets her death in 1421) and it's heavily implied that she was already a vampire by then, although it's unknown if by that time she had already surpassed the approximate lifespan of a human. Elisabetha, on her part, died several years before, in the 11th century, and it can be deduced that Elizabeth became a vampire after Mathias's own turning (whether Elizabeth's was by turning or by being born as such). Nevertheless, since Elizabeth's birth date is unknown, as well as if her father or mother was a sibling of either Mathias, Elisabetha or Lisa (Dracula's second wife), it's still plausible that both women could be contemporaries enough for the latter to have been named this way to honor the memory of Elisabetha.
- It must be noted, though, that Castlevania: Lament of Innocence was released several years after Bloodlines, and the choosing of name for Mathias's wife could have been either deliberate or merely coincidental, the latter without any intention of implying a reference between both characters.
|John Morris • Eric Lecarde|
|Elizabeth Bartley • Drolta Tzuentes • Dracula|
|Hellhound • Armor Battler • Wizard • Heavy Armor • Great Axe Armor • Golem • Snake Dragon • Gargoyle|
The Creature • Gear Steamer • Talos • Silhouette Demon • Princess of Moss • Death • Medusa
|Ruins of the Castle Dracula • Atlantis Shrine • The Leaning Tower of Pisa|
The Munitions Factory • Versailles Palace • The Castle Proserpina
|Akumajō Dracula X|
|Bestiary • Inventory|