How’s this for circuitous? Dead Cells, the side-scrolling roguelite plainly inspired by Castlevania, now has DLC based on Castlevania, the side-scrolling action series that plainly inspired Dead Cells, the... Okay, yeah, we could do this all day. Point is, there’s a new Dead Cells Castlevania expansion that absolutely rules.
Dead Cells: Return to Castlevania includes a tasteful amount of fan service alongside two new biomes, plus a fight against... Well, no spoilers, but if you’re familiar with Castlevania, let’s just say You Know Who. The expansion is, however, like all things Dead Cells: kind of confusing! Once you’re in the new biomes, you’ll find the format fairly familiar (find weapons, kill things, try not to die). It’s the act of starting the Dead Cells Castlevania DLC that’s the issue.
How to start Dead Cells ‘Return to Castlevania’ DLC
If you’re operating from a fresh playthrough, you’ll need to die three times before starting the Dead Cells DLC. On your next life, a gaggle of bats will fly across your screen. Note that you’re not looking for the typical bats that periodically flutter out of Dead Cells’ caverns — these bats are significantly larger. And redder.
Once you see those bats, you’ll be able start Return to Castlevania by talking to Richter. He’s located somewhere in Prisoner’s Quarters, the starting area of all runs. Don’t exit the biome before you’ve chatted with Richter. (Richter’s exact location is indeterminate; Dead Cells levels are procedurally generated in a random fashion every time you reset.)
After you find Richter, he’ll lead you through a series of pathways, which eventually leads to the Castle’s Outskirts biome. Castle’s Outskirts is an alternate pathway for the second biome of your Dead Cells runs. Heads up that it’s noticeably more difficult than the other three options — Toxic Sewers, the Promenade of the Condemned, and the Dilapidated Arboretum — so you’d do well to scour Prisoner’s Quarters for as many level-ups as you can find before proceeding.