Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow

Today I bought Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow for my DS. It is way cool.

I've only ever played "Symphony of Night" before so I don't know how Castlevania games are across the board. The graphics on this game are great - detailed, rich, and crisp, even on such small screens. The character movement is just like Alucard in "SoN", or at least very close to it. (Re-reading the above article, this probably due to the fact that they used a lot of sprites from "SoN", which explains a lot.)

Apparently with most Castlevania games you are one of the Belmonts and you only ever have one weapon throughout the entire game for the most part. "SoN" was a bit different because you were a Dracula descendant and you could choose between hundreds of types of weapons you got off dead enemies. You can do that, too, in DoS. Yay! So the equptment works the same.

One thing that is pretty neat is your ability to capture souls. Most, if not all, creatures in the game have souls that they "drop" every once in awhile that you automatically absorb, giving you a new ability. The more of each kind of soul you absorb (say, bat souls) the more powerful that ability becomes. This kind of replaces Alucard's four abilities in "SoN". There are four categories of souls and you can have one of each type of category equipped at a time. Familiars are back, too, but they are a type of soul you can equipt -- same with the various weapons of Castlevania fame (dagger, holy water, cross, axe, diamond...) - those are replaced by soul weapons. I haven't gone very far in the game and already I really like this new soul system - it's highly customizeable for different players. Say, by killing bats you can obtain the bat familiar. By killing Wargs you obtain a kind of warg fang bite thing that does a lot of damage. Using souls uses MP, which is the only thing you ever use MP on - well, that and special weapon attacks. You aren't casting spells like "Soul Steal" all the time like in "SoN".

Another interesting thing is that boss enemies can't just be killed - they have to be sealed. You must take them down to zero HP, which causes a Magic Seal thing to appear on your screen with the pattern of seal you must now 'cast'. You use the stylus on the touch screen to quickly draw the pattern you just saw in order to seal the boss permanently. Failure to draw the symbol correctly means the boss regains some HP and you have to take it back down to zero before you can attempt to seal the enemy again. You learn seals BEFORE hand and have the ability to practice them at any time you like. And they're pretty simple in the beginning so it's not that freaky. In comparison, the non-mandatory spells from "SoN" were WAY more difficult due to the directional pad not always doing what you thought it should of done. ;)

I also really like having the two screens on the DS. While you run about the castle, the map is constantly displayed on the upper screen. VERY handy. And apparently this is the largest castle of any Castlevania game made yet. I am so very excited.

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