Castlevania DS
Platform: Nintendo DS
Publisher: Konami
Developer: Konami
Genre: Action RPG
Format: Cartridge
Release: US 2005
Japan 2005

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It's not a Castlevania game without blood and gore.
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Check out the dual screen action.
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You'll have to draw this magic seal to finish off the boss.
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Soma gets some help from a harpy
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Mike Wilson
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Mike Wilson
Editor's Note: Since Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow is a direct sequel, there are major story spoilers in this preview.

The Castlevania titles for the Game Boy Advance have an outstanding track record, offering some of the best side-scrolling action that a gamer could hope for. The series' dark plots, amazing music, and great gameplay have kept gamers coming back for years. At Konami's "Gamer's Day" event in January, the series creator Koji Igarashi unveiled Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow for the Nintendo DS, which is going to take the series to the next level by taking advantage of the DS's stylus and wireless capabilities. While Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow looks similar to its GBA cousins, you can rest assured that it is going to be a totally different experience.

Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow is the sequel to Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow for the Game Boy Advance, and it continues the story of Soma Cruz, the current incarnation of Dracula in the year 2036. A mysterious cult has appeared and is trying to resurrect a new Dracula; one who is more evil and cruel than Soma. In order to do this, they have to kill Soma first, and he's not going down without a fight; he takes the initiative and storms the cult's territory in order to stop the resurrection and protect his loved ones before it becomes too late.

Graphically, the game looks similar to the GBA games, but at a deeper glance, it is far superior. Since the DS's graphical capabilities surpass the GBA's, the production team has been able to do things that they could never do before. The game's backgrounds are more detailed and vibrant, and enemies have more animations. Most notably, the game's scrolling is much cleaner. All of these graphical upgrades are subtle at first, but you'll instantly appreciate them once you pick up the game.

Dawn of Sorrow's gameplay revolves around the Soul System, which returns from Aria of Sorrow. Soma will collect Souls, which assist him while he fights. There are dozens of Souls to collect, and some of them are extremely rare. There are offensive types, such as a harpy that attacks from above, and defensive types, such as a golem that protects Soma with his shield. The player will also be able to use the DS's wireless capabilities to trade rare souls, which is always a plus.

The game will make use of the DSís dual screens by displaying the game on the lower screen and maps, menus, and status information on the top screen. The stylus, on the other hand, can be used in several ways. The first way is to shatter weak walls in Soma's way; by touching a weak, discolored wall, you can shatter it and clear a path for Soma to pass. You can also use blocks to make a stairway for Soma to ascend. Second, you'll use the stylus to control certain types of souls; for example, Soma can summon a giant plant with tentacles, and by touching specific enemies on the screen, the plant will attack them. Finally, the stylus can be used to vanquish bosses. When a boss is near death, a symbol will be projected on the screen; you must draw this symbol in order to completely destroy the boss, and if you fail, it'll regain strength and you'll have to weaken it again.

Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow is shaping up to be a highly innovative sequel, and could be one of the most engaging action titles to own for the DS. Keep your eyes peeled for it when it comes out this Fall.


© 2005 Konami.
All Rights Reserved.

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