Medusa (メディウサ Mediusa?) is a legendary monster with living venomous snakes in place of hair, whose gaze can turn her victims to stone. Sometimes she is referred to as Queen Medusa, which implies having power over all snakes. In some occasions, she has been portrayed as having knowledge of secrets long forgotten.
Medusa has appeared in nearly every Castlevania game to date and is generally portrayed as having a serpent tail from her waist down (a trait borrowed from the Lamia, another Greek mythological creature), although she has also appeared as a giant floating head.
Besides Medusa herself, several floating Medusa Heads appear as normal enemies in most games. According to many games' descriptions, all of these creatures were born from the head of Medusa, in some cases spawned from her severed head.
- 1 Origins
- 2 Appearances
- 2.1 Castlevania
- 2.2 Vampire Killer
- 2.3 Haunted Castle
- 2.4 Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse
- 2.5 Super Castlevania IV
- 2.6 Castlevania: Rondo of Blood
- 2.7 Castlevania: Bloodlines
- 2.8 Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
- 2.9 Castlevania Legends
- 2.10 Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness
- 2.11 Castlevania: Resurrection
- 2.12 Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance
- 2.13 Castlevania: Lament of Innocence
- 2.14 Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin
- 2.15 Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2
- 3 Other appearances
- 4 Non-Castlevania appearances
- 5 Enemy Data
- 6 Item Data
- 7 Gallery
- 8 Trivia
- 9 See also
- 10 External links
The three Gorgon sisters, Medusa, Stheno and Euryale, were all children of the ancient marine deities Phorcys and his sister Ceto, chthonic monsters from an archaic world. Their genealogy is shared with other three sisters, the Graeae.
In most versions of the story, Medusa was beheaded by the hero Perseus, who was sent to fetch her head by King Polydectes of Seriphus in order to keep him occupied because he wanted to marry Perseus's mother. The gods were well aware of this and Perseus received their aid. He received a mirrored shield from Athena, winged sandals from Hermes, a sword from Hephaestus, and Hades's helm of invisibility. Medusa was the only one of the three Gorgons who was mortal, so Perseus was able to slay her while looking at the reflection from the mirrored shield he received from Athena. During that time, Medusa was pregnant by Poseidon. When Perseus beheaded her, Pegasus, a winged horse, and Chrysaor, a golden sword-wielding giant, were born from her bleeding body.
Medusa's head retained its ability to turn onlookers to stone, which Perseus used as a weapon, most prominently to defeat the sea monster Cetus, sent by Poseidon, and save Andromeda, who he married later. After these events, he gave the head to the goddess Athena who placed it on her aegis (or shield in other versions of the story).
Another version of Medusa's origin places her as a former mortal priestess of the goddess Athena who was assaulted by the god Poseidon inside her temple. For that blasphemy, Athena turned Medusa into a Gorgon, a monster with snakes for hair and a glance that turned people to stone.
Queen Medusa's first appearance in the series. After crossing a long hallway suspiciously infested by a horde of Medusa Heads in Block 2, Simon Belmont arrives to a chamber decorated with stained glass windows in the background and a large marble bust of what appears to be an ancient Greek female goddess. The head of the sculpture will suddenly come to life, though, detaching itself from its neck and starting to fly around the room. A myriad of snakes will then grow from her hair and many of these will detach from the head and slither along the floor, attempting to bite the hero. Attacking her fiercely with the Cross sub-weapon or with a few well placed Holy Water flasks will make short work of her, earning Simon 3,000 points.
Called Big Medusa (Mammy Medusa in Japan) in this game. While she retains the same appearance from the first Castlevania (just using a different color palette), her attack behavior is quite different. In this game, her head floats all across the screen from left to right until it reaches the edge and then starts moving in the opposite direction, doing so while moving in an undulating manner (much like the classic Medusa Heads; probably why she is given the terms 'big' and 'mammy'). This time, the snakes that are detached from her head are launched directly at Simon's current position as flying projectiles. In addition, the floor of her boss room is notably irregular, making it more difficult to perform evading maneuvers to avoid her attacks.
Called the Wicked Mermaid in this game, this female monster appears as the boss of the first stage, the Graveyard. After traversing through a haunted cemetery, Simon Belmont enters an old mausoleum where he encounters a sculpture of this legendary monster, with her face partially hidden behind a giant cobweb. A multitude of bats will suddenly start swarming over him, and while he's occupied fending off these flying pests, the statue will slowly come to life. The Wicked Mermaid doesn't pose as much of a threat as she does in other games, though, as all she does is pace back and forth while releasing little snakes every once in a while which slither along the floor trying to bite the hero.
This was the first game where Medusa was portrayed with her serpent-tailed body form, a design that would become a staple in following games of the series.
Medusa appears as a sub-boss in Dracula's Curse. As Trevor Belmont approaches the central deck of the Haunted Ship of Fools, he'll come across a nest of vipers scattered around the main entrance to that area. When the snakes detect his presence, they quickly congregate and curl onto each other, morphing into the snake-headed demoness, Medusa. As in previous games, she poses little threat; just throwing several Holy Water flasks at her while she's morphing can put her down in a matter of seconds, even before she has a chance to fight back.
This was the first game in the series where Medusa can be seen fighting with a bow and using stiffened snakes as arrows. If the player tries to climb the platforms on the left side of the screen, she will shoot her snakes in an upward arced direction. This was also the first time where she could use her iconic petrifying gaze, although instead of a beam, like in future games, it is fired like a ripple shot.
Medusa was replaced with the Snake Man Sentinel in the Western releases of Dracula's Curse, likely to avoid displaying nudity and violence toward women to Western audiences.
Medusa appears as a rather unexpected mid-boss at the end of the swamp section of Stage II, the Transylvanian Wilds (roughly midway through the stage). She doesn't leave a Magic Crystal to be collected after the battle, however, and the aqueduct section continues immediately after facing her.
When Medusa's lair is reached, she will enter the screen from the right side and start shooting energy rings from her eyes, which will momentarily petrify Simon on contact, while also releasing snakes that will slither on the floor toward his direction; these can be dealt with just by crouching and whipping. Medusa's boss fight is remarkably easy, though, as just continuous tosses of Boomerangs and constant whipping will take care of her in a manner of seconds. When defeated, her body will transform and disassemble into a myriad of dead snakes.
It's worth mentioning that this is the only appearance of Medusa in the entire Castlevania series where her torso more closely resembles that of a human, having fair skin and no visible grotesque features along her humanoid visage (such as reptile-like green skin, fangs, long and curved down nose, malevolent grin, etc., like in the rest of the games).
Medusa appears as the second boss summoned by the dark priest Shaft. Her appearance is a reference to the original Castlevania bosses, where she was the boss of the second block. Likewise, she appears as the second boss the protagonist has to fight against in this little boss rush encounter, right after the Giant Bat as in the original game.
She first descends from a pentagram cast by Shaft in the center of the room. Every time she is hit, she will stagger and be knocked back a little, canceling her current attack while also producing a terrifying shriek.
Medusa has the following attacks:
- Shoots a short laser-like beam straightforward from her eyes that will momentarily petrify the player character on contact.
- Briefly stops and performs a high jump in place, and then lashes her tail in a stabbing manner in a downward angle as she descends.
- Releases three snakes from her hair. These are curled in a circle (similar to amphisbaenae) and each takes a set position: high, middle and low; then they slowly float forward in a semi-erratic manner and home toward the hero as they approach them.
- See also: Elizabeth Bartley
Once John and Eric finally arrive to Countess Elizabeth Bartley's chamber, she will transform (or summon) Medusa in a final attempt to stop them. If they manage to defeat this form, Elizabeth will be left with no other option than to confront them personally in her normal form.
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.
As mentioned, in the fight against Elizabeth, 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 the latter was her all along, and when killed and losing her powers, she is forced to return to her humanoid form while dying.
In this game, Medusa wields a sword and a shield as a reference to her ancient Greek origins. She can block attacks with her shield, stab Alucard with her sword, and shoot out a beam which will turn him to stone if he lacks immunity. The player should be especially careful of this attack, because if it connects, Medusa will follow up with two projectiles that will at this point in the game do heavy damage if they manage to hit Alucard before he breaks free from petrification. Speaking lines include "Stone!", when firing her beam; "Venom!", when following up; and "I'm petrifying!", when dying.
In the Game Boy game, Legends, Medusa is the sub-boss of the fourth stage, the Top Floor of the Castle. She is initially found guarding a door down the ledge where Sonia enters the room. Sonia thus has to jump down and confront her in that enclosed space in order to pass through. Medusa will pace back and forth at moderate speed and periodically stab with her sword, sometimes performing short leaps. She actually never reaches the right end of the room, where the player is usually positioned at the beginning of the fight, so as long as they stay crouching in that spot, Medusa cannot harm them.
Once defeated, Medusa's severed head will escape the room by flying away.
- Medusa will spawn a multitude of snakes from her hair every once in a while throughout the entire battle.
- She will try to get near Carrie, curl up her tail, and lash out with it, trying to hit her.
- Soon after this, Medusa will pull out a snake from her head and this will transform into an ancient Greek shield which will protect her from any harm if Carrie's attacks land on it. However, the shield can be knocked off of her by attacking it enough times and Medusa herself can be damaged if Carrie's attacks land on other parts of her body not being protected by the shield, such as her back.
- Eventually, Medusa will try to gain distance from Carrie and then she'll pull out another snake from her hair, although this time it will transform into a bow and with it she will shoot a barrage of snakes. If she is attacked while she's preparing to shoot, her attack will be canceled and she will be stunned for a brief period of time.
- Further into the battle, Medusa will attack with her distinctive petrifying gaze, covering a considerable area of the room. If Carrie is hit with it, she will be paralyzed while huge rock formations start to build up around her body. Fortunately, as with her bow, if Medusa is attacked while she is preparing to use her petrifying gaze, the attack will be canceled and she will be stunned for a brief period of time as well.
- When only one third of her health remains, she will gain the ability to become invisible. At this moment, most of her attacks will be enhanced in one way or another: her tail slash will have more range and her petrifying gaze will cover about half of the whole room. The player should jump over this beam twice, instead of trying to run away from it.
When defeated, Medusa will turn to stone while dozens of snakes uncontrollably jump out from her hair, only to die a few seconds later.
In 2021, a Pre E3 demo of this canceled Dreamcast game was released to the public after some controversy. This prototype features only one boss fight, which happens to be Medusa. Her boss fight consists of two phases; in the first, she appears with her traditional serpentine-like body from her waist down. She slithers around the room and spews poison at the player every once in a while. Her physical appearance and overall behavior are quite similar to her Legacy of Darkness incarnation.
Once her first form is defeated, her head detaches from her body, grows in size and starts floating about (like a large Medusa Head). This concept seems to be based on her appearance in the first Castlevania and it was probably reused for her later appearance in Castlevania: Lament of Innocence, where she also appears as a large, floating head (although much larger).
Nevertheless, her animations and attack patterns in both phases are still very basic and she barely fights back.
While Medusa doesn't appear as an enemy or boss in this game, she makes a cameo in the Skeleton Cave, where her skeletal remains can be found curled around some ancient Greek columns in the background.
Medusa plays a more prominent role in Lament of Innocence than in previous installments narrative-wise. Her portrayal is a nod to her appearance in the original Castlevania.
Finally arriving at the furthermost chamber of the Garden Forgotten by Time, Leon Belmont's attention immediately falls upon a grotesque stone bust of the legendary monster, Medusa. The head suddenly comes to life and starts speaking, greeting him. It detaches itself from its neck and starts flying forward, marveling at how Leon's body would make an excellent statue. It's at this moment when Leon realizes that all the other statues of warriors decorating the chamber are actually the petrified remains of prior adventurers who had previously confronted her.
Medusa has a number of attacks at her disposal:
- Commands the snakes on either side of her head to lunge forward as a sort of "snake punch". She can also do this with both sides in succession for a one-two punch.
- Cries copious tears of poisonous blood, leaving a trail of it to keep Leon away.
- Rises high into the air and drops a multitude of smaller snakes on the ground which will slither forward in a spreading manner at great speed.
- Projects beams from her eyes that can temporarily turn Leon to stone. If the attack is successful, she will then curl into a ball and start rolling forward, rebounding on the walls a random number of times and inflicting heavy damage if she manages to run over Leon.
- When her energy is low, she will command large stones to surround herself and then launch them at Leon one after another.
There are two gameplay differences in Crazy Mode: She will do the snake punch in seven-step combos, and she will add a stone gaze as part of the stone-throwing attack.
Once defeated, Medusa's agonizing head will utter her last words, astonished by the power of Leon's whip and pointing out that it wasn't that powerful before. She asks him if the whip has gained its complete form, to which Leon seems oblivious about what she is talking about. This scene reveals that Medusa had previously witnessed the power of the whip at the hands of Rinaldo Gandolfi and also that she had knowledge of its true potential abilities.
Jonathan and Charlotte arrive to what seems to be a circus arena. This is no ordinary circus, however, as a series of statues, or to be more precise, the petrified remains of the attendants can be seen attached to the ceiling. Suddenly, the body of what appears to be a gigantic snake will break through the ceiling, destroying all of them. Near the circus' main stage, the head of a gigantic serpent will emerge and slowly begin acquiring the shape of the torso of a woman: Medusa. In this incarnation, Medusa has a more varied repertoire of attacks than in previous games:
- She retracts near the stage and covers her face with her hands while a myriad of Gold Medusas spawn from the snakes on her head, covering almost the entire screen. Gold Medusas cause petrification, leaving the player unable to move, with lowered defenses and open to further attacks, so one must be wary of how dangerous this attack can be. Positioning under Medusa, however, provides a safe spot where the player even can counterattack and deal moderate damage.
- Medusa locks-on to the player and stretches her left arm, which briefly transforms into the lunging head of a snake attempting to bite the heroes. She amply telegraphs this move, though, allowing the player to easily avoid it just by getting out of reach.
- Medusa will quickly retract and raise her torso, widely opening her eyes and unleashing her trademark petrifying gaze, which covers almost the entire screen. Standing below her, again provides a safe spot, but if the player can't get there in time, just facing away from her will nullify this attack.
- Medusa will again cover her face with her hands, but this time her torso will transform into the head of the serpent from the beginning, quickly lunging with great reach and accuracy at the hero and dealing medium to heavy damage. Staying out of her reach or being able to crouch below her, near the bottom-left corner of the room, will allow the player to avoid this attack.
- If the player positions themself below Medusa's body, she will always resort to attack with her gigantic serpent tail, breaking out through various sections of the floor and forming big curls with her body, leaving only a small space between them to stand on. This attack is the key to defeat her easily, as the player only needs to stay below Medusa to lure her into performing this attack and just carefully manage to stand between her body parts. Meanwhile, Medusa will be open for attack for a considerable amount of time and the player may then fight back with their best moves. As soon as this attack ends, the player can trigger it again and repeat the process.
- Main article: Gorgon Sisters
Medusa appears in this game as one of three Gorgon Sisters, along with Stheno and Euryale.
Medusa appears in the first Pachislot game. Her appearance is based on her depiction in Castlevania: Lament of Innocence. She attacks by having her long hair snakes strike from a distance (her "Snake Bite" attack), something which she never did in Lament of Innocence.
One of the bosses of Sexy Parodius is a giant Medusa. She is the boss of the first third stage (Dracula's Castle), which is only played through if the player fails to collect 300 coins in the previous level. The required objective in this level is to kill 100 mice.
Medusa's appearance in this crossover fighting party game was first teased in the Vampire Killer Nintendo Direct trailer released on August 2018. In it, we find Luigi apparently continuing his ghost capturing business, this time inside none other than Dracula's Castle itself. After realizing his Poltergust G-00 won't do any good against the monsters that inhabit this place, he attempts to escape. He reaches a chamber with tall stained glass where a large marble bust of a beautiful maiden placidly sits. However, the statue suddenly comes to life and reveals itself to be none other than the terrifying snake-haired legendary monster, Medusa.
As mentioned, in this game Medusa appears in her marble bust form from the original Castlevania. Nevertheless, unlike other Castlevania boss characters that also make guest appearances in this game, she's just part of the background and does not intervene during battles in any way.
- Main article: Medusa/Enemy Data
|Item Data: Medusa|
|Image||Name - Game
|Type / Users||Attributes / Consume||Statistics / Sell||Found||Notes|
|1 of 5 Treasures. Avoid Curse.||Relic (Dracula's Relic)
|Effect: Alucard is completely immune to the Curse|
|Magical Orb: Glows Purple.||Orb
||Special: Magic Missile (Knife), Axe Tornado (Axe), Cross Blazer (Holy Water), Michael's Sword (Cross), Shatter Plane (Crystal), Pumpkin Missile (Pumpkin)|
|A melon of the finest quality.||Item (Food - Fruit)
|MP +120, MND +5
Find: Chapter 6 (Hard)
Drop: R. Queen Medusa
|Summon an 8-bit Queen Medusa.||Bullet Soul
|Consume: 12 MP||ATK +10
||Steal: R. Queen Medusa (3.5 %)
First Obtained: Chapter 10
- Main article: Medusa/Gallery
- Medusa's physical appearance in the Castlevania series seems to have been inspired by a particular scene from the 1981 film Clash of the Titans. Her appearance in that film was one of her first portrayals with the now iconic snake-tailed body (which until then was generally associated with the Lamia). Before that, most representations of Medusa in common media usually depicted her with a normal human body with green-colored skin and/or covered with reptile-like scales.
- It was also in this film the first time Medusa was seen fighting with a bow, a characteristic that has been reproduced in some of her incarnations in the games.
- Medusa wielding a bow and shooting stiffened snakes as arrows, as first seen in Dracula's Curse, may have been inspired by a particular scene from the 1982 film Conan the Barbarian, where the main antagonist, Thulsa Doom, commands a snake to become stiff and then shoots it with a longbow, fatally wounding one of the heroes.
- Medusa is referenced in the Boktai series (also by Konami) by the character Carmilla, where her true form shares some similarities with the Castlevania monster.
- Medusa belongs to a mythological Greek race of female creatures known as Gorgons. However, in the Castlevania series a Gorgon is instead an ox-like mythological creature of Libyan origins.
- The Medusa Shield, originally introduced in Symphony of the Night, may be inspired by the part of Medusa's origin where the goddess Athena placed her severed head on her aegis.
- Gorgon (Lords of Shadow)
- Gorgon Head
- Gorgon Sisters
- Medusa Familiar
- Medusa Head
- Medusa Shield
- Summon Medusa
- Medusa at the Castlevania Fan Wiki
- Medusa at the Gradius Wiki
- Medusa at Wikipedia
- Gorgon at Wikipedia
|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|
|Sonia Belmont • Dracula • Alucard|
|Creatures Bat • Death Dragon • Flying Wolf • Grim Reaper • Medusa • Jumping Demon • Executioner|
|Outside the Castle • Inside the Castle • The Clock Tower • The Top Floor of the Castle • The Cathedral|
|Akumajō Dracula Best Music Collections BOX|
|Nintendo Power Guide • Futabasha Official Guide|
|Bestiary • Inventory • Castlevania: Resurrection|
|Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness|
|Foggy Lake • Forest of Silence • Castle Wall • Villa • Outer Wall • Art Tower • Tower of Ruins • Duel Tower • Tower of Execution • Tower of Sorcery • Room of Clocks • Clock Tower • Castle Keep|
|Castlevania: Lament of Innocence|
|Sara Trantoul • Rinaldo Gandolfi • Mathias Cronqvist|
|Joachim Armster • Walter Bernhard • Death|
|Elisabetha Cronqvist • Pumpkin|
|Undead Parasite • Golem • Succubus • Medusa • Joachim • Walter • Death|
|Flame Elemental • Frost Elemental • Thunder Elemental • Doppelganger • Forgotten One|
|Forest of Eternal Night • Castle Entrance • House of Sacred Remains • Anti-Soul Mysteries Lab • Ghostly Theatre • Dark Palace of Waterfalls|
Garden Forgotten by Time • Pagoda of the Misty Moon • Prison of Eternal Torture
|Castlevania: Lament of Innocence Original Soundtrack|
|Futabasha Guide • NTT Pub Guide • Shinkigensha Guide • BradyGames Guide|
|Bestiary • Inventory • Joachim Mode • Pumpkin Mode|