Castlevania Dawn of Sorrow - NDS - Preview
Without a doubt, Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow on the Game Boy Advance stands as one of the best portable versions of the Castlevania series . . . that is until I got my hands on the upcoming Nintendo DS game, Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow and things look very good.
Dawn of Sorrow follows the continuing adventures of Aria hero Soma Cruz, a vampire hunter that suddenly finds himself going up against a cult that’s attempting to resurrect the fallen Count Dracula. The cult even goes as far as building an exact replica of Dracula’s eerie castle but Soma is determined to put a stop to their plans and invades the castle armed with a nice variety of weapons like swords, blades and a bladed staff.
First thing you’ll notice right off the bat is the fact that the top screen is only utilized as a map display and status screen while the lower touch screen is used as the main screen where all the action takes place. The actual touching comes early in the game where use of the Stylus is necessary to clear crystal blocks that get in Soma’s way. A quick swipe of the touch pen destroys the obstruction and Soma is off to fight legions of enemies.
The enemies I’ve encountered range from undead bad guys to armed cultists. Like Aria, there are plenty of side-scrolling battles and going up against the undead you’ll really see the gore fly. There’s even some good old fashioned boss fights and having a chance to battle a monster that takes up a majority of the screen, the game introduces a nifty little touch--to truly banish the enemy boss you use the Stylus to perform a “magic seal” by drawing the seal on the screen. I was lucky to have sealed the boss for good but according to Konami if you’re unsuccessful the boss regains some power and the fight continues until you do seal up its power.
There are a seemingly non-stop parade of enemies but thankfully this time around Soma has the option to summon guardians much like the upcoming 3-D Castlevania: Curse of Darkness for the PlayStation 2. The guardians help protect Soma and even attack enemies. Soma can even level up as he continues on his quest, gaining new weapons, attack skills and more health and guardian upgrades. There’s even talk of including wireless connectivity for players to share guardian souls with friends.
As far as how the game looks and sounds, it certainly beats Aria of Sorrow and that game was actually visually gorgeous. This one is certainly a lot sharper and the enemies, especially the bigger ones, are nicely detailed.
Nintendo DS owners, this is the Castlevania game that looks like its destined to be a fan favorite and having played it I can tell you that I really didn’t want to put it down. Mark this one down as a Must Have. Hopefully this will come out in the fall.