Gilles de Rais is a villain in the Castlevania games Castlevania 64 and its remake Legacy of Darkness. He is named after a gloomy figure of French history. Since his historical counterpart inspired the character of Bluebeard, Gilles de Rais is depicted with a blue beard.
About Gilles de Rais
Gilles de Rais is a powerful and influential vampire, and one of Dracula's henchmen. He is never seen far away from the malevolent vampire witch Actrise, but the true nature of their relationship is not known. While she regards him as important enough to intervene after he is defeated, he seems to be her subordinate rather than her equal.
Although Gilles is obviously higher ranked than most bosses in the Castlevania, his exact position is not clearly explained. He does take part in Count Dracula's resurrection but only seems to assist Death and Actrise rather than playing a part. He is cruel and bloodthirsty, but collected and regal, and grows to admire Cornell's power.
Dracula later makes him a decoy to lure the heroes away from him. Dracula apparently granted him some of his powers to make the masquerade more realistic, since Gilles is much mightier when impersonating Dracula and fights in the exact same way as Dracula usually does. Also this pretence increases his authority over the monsters in the Castle.
Legacy of Darkness (Cornell's quest)
Gilles de Rais is first seen in the opening scene of Legacy of Darkness as he walks through the castle to the Castle Keep, where Actrise and Death are performing a ritual to resurrect Dracula. With help from Ortega they raid the village where Cornell is living and abduct his adopted sister Ada, intending to sacrifice her to fully resurrect the Count. However, Cornell resolves to save her sister and storms the Castlevania.
Gilles de Rais and Actrise are responsible for turning Master Oldrey, the lord of the Villa, into a vampire, prompting him to attack his wife and child until Cornell drives him away. Gilles de Rais awaits Cornel in the crypt underneath the Villa's Garden Maze and attacks him, but he is promptly defeated and only escapes thanks to Actrise, who interrupts the battle and takes him away.
- Gilles de Rais is arguably the easiest boss in the entire game. He fights like the regular vampires, but can evade attacks with side-steps and backflips. Like all vampires, he is fast, spry and agile, but weaker during daytime and highly vulnerable to holy water. By daytime and with the maximum power-ups, he hardly lasts a minute and even without it, he poses little to no threat. He strikes Cornell with his claws and tries to grab and bite him, which absorbs his life-points and inflicts the “Vampire” status that must be cured. He also attacks at long range with a stream of fire that must be jumped over or glided under.
Gilles de Rais is present in the final cut scene, in which the essence of Cornell's werewolf powers is used in a ritual to reincarnate Dracula in the soul of a child, who was born the exact same moment.
Castlevania 64 (Reinhardt's and Carrie's quest)
|“||Worm. You dare oppose the power of Darkness? Is it death you seek? ...As you wish. Come! I will tear you limb from limb.||„|
|~ Gilles de Rais impersonating Dracula (before fighting the heroes)|
|“||So you thought you had won? To save the world is not so simple. [...] Darkness will rule! Die weak fool!!||„|
|~ Gilles de Rais, taunting the heroes after his defeat|
Since the Lord of Darkness was still unable to discard his child-like aspect, he decided to take profit of the situation. He orders Gilles de Rais to take his aspect and play his role, while he takes the name "Malus" and passes as an innocent boy.
Although the game only refers to Gilles as "Dracula's Servant", the official guide states his real identity. (Although his name is mistakenly romanized as "Gildre".) It must be noted that Gilles de Rais is the only character to have voice acting in the original Castlevania 64 game. (The voice was removed in Legacy of Darkness.)Gilles de Rais appears atop the Castle Wall, taunting the protagonists Reinhardt Schneider and Carrie Fernandez, ordering them to flee of meet their doom. Meanwhile, Dracula uses his "Malus" persona to approach them and gain their trust, pretending to be an innocent boy who was abducted by Dracula's monsters and who is slowly getting corrupted by Evil.
If the heroes take more than ten days to reach the Castle Keep where Gilles de Rais awaits, the arrogant vampire hunter Charlie Vincent will get here before them. However, Vincent stands no chance against Gilles de Rais, who turns him into a vampire and sends him to fight them.
- Vincent is the easiest boss of this storyline, and arguably the second easiest boss of the entire game. He walks slowly towards the heroes to bite them (which heals him and inflicts the "Vampire" status), as such it is ridiculously easy to pummel him while keeping a safe distance. While he is quite resilient, he can be struck many times before he attacks. He also throws vials of Unholy Water that causes poisonous, lasting flames. When he is close to death, Vincent unleashes a continuous barrage of Unholy Water, but this is far less dangerous that it sounds.
Since Vincent proves essential in revealing Malus' real identity, his death leaves Dracula without obstacle. When the heroes destroy what seems to be Dracula, Malus appears before them and they take him to safety, not knowing that they fell right into the Count's trap, and depart with him toward a gloomy and uncertain future.
When impersonating Dracula, Gilles de Rais is much more powerful than the pipsqueak fought in Cornell's quest. However, he can still be disposed of without much trouble. He teleports constantly, vanishing whenever he appears too close to the heroes, and striking him will cancel his attack. Also he can only be harmed when struck in the head.
He uses Dracula's signature attack "Hellfire" (here four fireballs that fuse into one), striking the fireballs provides useful supplies and power-ups, which prove mandatory for the very hard battle against the real Dracula. He also attacks with sonic shockwaves, one low and one high; by conjuring winds to drag the heroes towards him to drink their blood (which heals him and inflicts the "Vampire" status); and by releasing a powerful fire wave.
Reinhardt is forced to come close and jump to strike his head, so it is best to attack from afar with axes or crosses. The battle is extremely easy with Carrie, who just needs to release homing energy balls whenever he appears, without even bothering for visual contact.
When Gilles de Rais is properly destroyed, the heroes must escape the collapsing Castle Keep to the rooftop of the Clock Tower. There, Dracula breaks his "Malus" charade. When defeated, he turns back into Malus and pretends to have been possessed. However, Vincent saw through his deceit and douses him in holy water to reveal who he truly is, leading to the final battle of the game.
- The historical Gilles de Rais was at first a famed war hero, appointed Marshall of France for fighting in the Hundred Years' War alongside Joan of Arc. Years later, his story took a most awful turn, as he was executed for molesting and murdering over a hundred children in gruesome rituals, making him arguably one of the first serial-killers in History, and one of the worst.
- Although Gilles de Rais is named after a child-murderer, he serves the in-game child-murderer Actrise. Whether he takes part in her slaughter is not revealed.
- Gilles de Rais' aspect and most of his attacks as the Fake Count were re-used in Legacy of Darkness, for the first battle against Dracula (?) during Cornell's quest.
- Dracula's iconic battle theme "Dance of Illusions" plays during the battle against Gilles de Rais as the Fake Count, making the masquerade even more plausible to the players.
- The 2003 horror film Dracula II: Ascension, part of a trilogy which identified Dracula as the disciple Judas Iscariot, had Dracula stating a list of the names he has gone by through the centuries, one of which being Gilles de Rais.