How to enter the Master’s Keep in Dead Cells: Return to Castlevania
Avoid facing Death by finding the second entrance to Dracula’s Castle.
During your first trip through the Path to Master’s Keep in Dead Cells: Return to Castlevania, you will have been pulled down to the Defiled Necropolis to face off against Death. Once this undead foe has been defeated, the following biomes will progress as usual, with no other DLC maps in sight. However, after you arrive at the Clock Room and beat the Time Keeper, you will encounter Alucard standing near the entrance to the next level. He will mention that you can only enter Dracula’s domain “either from the prison or from this room, but never both.” Here’s exactly what that means.
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Unlocking the Master’s Keep and Dracula boss fight in Dead Cells
In order to access the Master’s Keep and unlock the boss fight with Dracula in Dead Cells: Return to Castlevania, you need to follow Alucard’s instructions and enter Dracula’s Castle, not from the Prisoners’ Quarters, but from the Clock Room. At first, this might sound unnecessarily confusing. Nonetheless, the gist of this mechanic is that you must avoid entering the Castle’s Outskirts from the prison and instead make your way through the levels to the Clock Tower — as you would a typical playthrough. In other words, entering the Castle’s Outskirts will permanently lock you from the Master’s Keep, forcing you to fight with Death.
Therefore, to avoid the battle with Death and continue to the Master’s Keep to access the Dracula boss fight, you must travel to the Clock Tower without passing through the Castle’s Outskirts. The route we took was Prisoners’ Quarters, Toxic Sewers, Ramparts, Black Bridge, Stilt Village, Clock Tower, and Clock Room. After defeating the Time Keeper, Alucard ushered us into the second entrance of Dracula’s Castle. Inside, we found the Petrified Key to progress to the Path to the Master’s Keep, after which we could access Dracula’s throne room in Return to Castlevania.