Castlevania Dawn of Sorrow

Date: 2008-11-02 11:52:02 Created: null

For Nintendo DS

My very first Castlevania game, and honestly I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I knew and trusted all the good reviews, but they can never tell what I personally will think about the gameplay. Fortunately I really enjoy it. There are a few platforming moments with less than stellar entertainment value, but they're few, far between and completely lose their annoyance factor once you've got the right souls.

Souls are in many ways what Dawn of Sorrow is all about. They're collectible, of varying rarity and all give your character, Soma, new abilities of various kinds. You can have up to nine of each soul, and some abilities grow more powerful the more souls you have, so there's definitive enjoyment in hacking up enemies even when you've fought them before. Which is very lucky since enemies respawn every time you enter an area, and some, like zombies, keep spawning as you make mince meat out of them.

There are also a bunch of more normal weapons to be found and/or bought and used, and you can fuse certain souls with certain weapons to increase their power. Even more reason to stock up on souls, and hence even more reason to chop up monsters.

Dawn of Sorrow looks great too. It may not actually be all hand-pixeled, but it certainly looks like it is, and by really great artists too. Enemies run all the way from minimal Fleamen up to enormous bosses who fill upwards of half the screen, and they all look great and animate just as well. There are various 3d effects in the backgrounds, but they don't disturb the beautiful 2d look of the game, just provide a little depth and variation.

So far I'm twelve and a half hours, 46 levels and 80,3% in, have reached the worst ending and am heading toward the better ones. I've read up a bit on endings and secrets, but nothing that I think has or will decrease my enjoyment. I'm positive I wouldn't have figured some of those things out if I didn't know about them. Plus it's good to get a pointer in the right direction sometimes, because the game really never gives you any firm direction and never tells you if what you just did or collected made any special area accessible. In fact I'm not even sure I would have found out about the "real"/better endings myself, and that would really have been missing out on a lot of stuff. Devious little game this ...

February 19th, 2006, 19:17

Finished!

Hands ...

... tired hands ...

Finished with level 72 with 98,5% of the map discovered, 25 hours, 9 minutes and 20 seconds played and all souls collected. No idea if that's the time before or after the last battle ... Anyway, great fun all the way through!