With the announcement of Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, one-time Castlevania series producer IGA promised Metroidvania action with a strong female lead. That heroine, Miriam, also happens to be quite the Belmont analogue, a wehip-wielding hero venturing deeping into demon castle to rid the world of their evil.
The fact that the nominal series lead (so far, anyway) is a woman is quite a change from the classic Castlevania series. Although that series has had its heroines, mostly they've served as backup to male characters or, in a couple of instances, have had to go through hell before getting their own hero's quest. ALthough Miriam does have a bit of potential fridging in her background leading up to Ritual of the Night (as per official snippets of story released so far, she's placed in a deep sleep for ten years and then wakes up with amnesia), she's still the primary connective hero between the two games.
Having the female character be the lead for two games (well, at least the second quest of Curse of the Moon, anyway) is a refreshing change. Hopefully her story is handled well in Ritual and this new series can grow beyond the flaws of it's predecessor series.
Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon
Orphaned at an early age, Miriam was taken in by a group of magic practicioners knows as the Alchemists. There she trained in demon hunting, learning about the darkness while the Alchemists infused her with dark magics. She became a powerful huntress, using her abilities to fight the evil in the land.
During her time training, she was captured and trapped on a demon-possessed train. Thankfully, Zangetsu, a powerful, sword-wielding demon hunter from the East, fought the demonic train and, in the process, freed Miriam. Although initially distrustful of the girl due to her dark gifts, he eventually agreed to team up with her to fight the demons. Two then became four when, as they ventured forth, the heroes freed the Alchemist Alfred and the demon hunter Gebel. This team proved quite powerful has they were able to invade the dark castle of the demon Gremory and destroy the demonic king.
Unfortunately, Zangetsu had a dark curse laid upon him long ago and, with the release of the dark magic from Gremory, the curse flared. Miriam and her companions watched in horror as Zangetsu took the dark magic into himself, becoming the new Emperor of Darkness.
Fleeing, the three remaining heroes regrouped back outside the castle grounds. Together they agreed to venture back into the castle once more in an attempt to free their companion from the dark magic. The castle was more challenging the second time through, but the heroes percevered, making their way through the tower before decending into the final Keep. There they confronted Zangetsu, now in his full demon form. He locked two of the heroes down, stunning them with magic, leaving Miriam as the only hero capable of fighting the demon. Although her friends were sometimes able to free themselvs for short bursts, Miriam had to do much of the work, dealing enough damage to weaken Zangetsu and render his soul ready for release.
Eventually, with Zangetsu weakened, Miriam fought off his final attacks while Alfred cast a spell to release thee dark magic. Once the spell was ready, Zangetsu was freed, his body dead but his soul sent on to the afterlife.
Outside, Miriam and her companions watched on as sun rose over the demon castle. They mourned their friend but were greatful he'd move on to a better place.
It will be interesting to see just how exactly Curse of the Moon fits into the overall storyline of Ritual of the Night. Currently, this game is supposed to take place 10 years before the sequel, but it's also been stated that Miriam is only 18 in the second game, so she would have had to be 8 years old (and very tall for her age) if that's the case. More likely she'd be 28 in the second game (or frozen in time by the magic and remaining 18) if the retro game really is set 10 years before Ritual.
Also, it's curious that Miriam goes off to fight the demons when, supposedly as per the story of Ritual, the Alchemists who raised her actually want to use her as a host to raise the demons and take over the world. Presumably she was sent on the mission in Curse so she could save Alfred (while also not knowing who she actually worked for). Hopefully some explanation is eventually give for this incongruity in the sequel when it's released.
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night has not been released yet. Although bits of the story have already come out, much of what is known about the game is essentially supposition and rumors. Until the full game is released and we can see the final, complete plot of the game, we are unable to write about the story.
Playing as Miriam:
As the Belmont-like hero of Curse of the Moon, Miriam has a very traditional feel in the hands of a Castlevania fan. She has her whip (which actually has a longer reach than many of the whips in the original series) along with a selection of subweapons: dagger, great axe (which she swings in a slow arc in front of her), scythe (which acts like the boomerang-like holy cross), and triple blade (which she throw in an upwards arc).
She's also the highest jumper of the heroes in Curse which, when compared with her ability to so a very Mega Man-like slide, gives her a lot of movement tech the other heroes lack. When playing through the game, it's quite likely that you will end up using Miriam for huge stretches (especially once Zangetsu is removed from your party for the 2nd Quest, Nightmare Mode).