Finally, we have the first Castlevania title for the Nintendo DS: Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow. This game is a direct sequel to Aria of Sorrow for the GBA. This game takes place one year after the events of Aria. The rundown is a bit like this; Soma has lost the majority of his powers with the passing of time. He is also now the target of a cult that is hellbent on destroying him so that they can bring about the resurrection of the dark spirit that he keeps trapped in his body. In order to bait him, Soma’s girlfriend Mina is abducted and used to lure him to the cultist’s hideout. Soma must journey into their lair (which is a replica of Castlevania), all the while re-awakening his slumbering powers. During his quest he encounters potential candidates whom hope to receive his power upon his defeat. One-by-one Soma must overcome them, ultimately facing-off against the final and most cunning candidate.
During his journey, Soma realizes that in order to finally put this evil power to rest he will have to journey into the Abyss itself. It is there he defeats the demonlord known as Menace. This victory finally brings about the end of Dracula’s curse once and for all.
In many ways, this game is very similar to it’s predecessor. The graphics are familiar and the game has the same overall feel. The dual-screen configuration of the Nintendo DS allows for one screen to be a dedicated map and equipment area, while the game action takes place on a separate screen. The most innovative and also the most annoying aspect of this game is the “Magic Seal system”. At the end of every boss fight, Soma must seal away the evil spirit by tracing a magical glyph into the air. This is done using the touch screen of the DS. The glyph is a predetermined symbol inside of a pentagram. This sounds quite clever on the surface, but the problem is, it is VERY touchy and sensitive. Many boss fights were failed simply because I had to keep re-doing the seal at the end of the battle.
All in all, I found this to be a good title. The puzzles are interesting,and the graphics are a step up from the previous handheld Castlevania games. The playcontrol is actually a bit improved over the previous entry. But my main complaint remains that stupid magic seal/touch screen function. Silly.
1897: Dracula the novel