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on 12 March 2006
Without reffering to previous Castlevanias or comparing it to Symphony of the Night which too many people do, this game is excellence.
Its worth buying a DS for this game, its what I did; but unfortunately had to wait for a few months until it was in stock again (thank god it came back in stock)
Basically its really addictive, killing enemies with different weapons and abilities or just your own fists is extremely satisfying, complimented by the wonderful animations and sounds of the monsters. (I particularly like the boss Paranoia, who sounds like a madman from a death metal band.)The bosses are so fantastic its not annoying to have your arse kicked by them, well not the first time.
If you find bosses too hard you can easily just kill monsters to gain more power then try again, (which is very useful to those who have never played castlevania.)
Ah yes, if you have never played a Castlevania game before this is a great place to start. You don't 'need' to buy the previous game, "Aria of Sorrow", to know whats going on. All the info you need is explained in the game.
While its quite short and can be completed in a couple of days solid play (first time through, guideless, clueless) theres plenty of replayability, and is one of those rare games I actually replay to the end. If you like Metroid, buy this. If you dont play games like this buy it! This game would have made a much bigger impression on me if I was younger and less experienced in games, although thats not to say it didnt stun me. The first time I walked into the castle was when Castlevania grabbed hold of me.
Unfortunately this game left me wondering why all other games aren't this good. I didnt want it to end.
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on 9 May 2006
This is a great game. I've not given it 5 stars because it's by no means perfect, but it is certainly a lot of fun, and once you get into it (which can take a while if you're not used to Castlevania games, as I wasn't) it can be very addictive.

At its heart it's a pretty standard Metroid-style 2D platform game, but it does have some neat innovations. Some of the bosses are rather too easy, and the final boss is rather too hard (in my opinion!) but overall, the difficulty level is just right - it's not too hard to get started, and once you realise just how huge the castle is it can be hard to put down.

I've seen other reviewers say they completed this game in 2 or 3 hours, and frankly I find that hard to believe - the game has multiple endings and getting to the "good" ending takes a lot of patience.

Once you've explored the majority of the castle, the mechanism for buying and selling goods, and using "souls" captured from defeated enemies to improve weapons becomes an integral part of the game, enabling you to defeat enemies far more easily than would otherwise be possible.

The music is haunting and atmospheric, and the graphics are pretty. It's not a terribly original game, and it doesn't really make much use of the touch-screen (hence 4 rather than 5 stars) but those quibbles aside, this is a good game, and anyone who enjoys platform games like Metroid would enjoy this.
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on 20 July 2006
When you hear that Castlevania is 2D, your first reaction might be to think of it as a relic of another age. It seems like only 3D is good enough in this day and age.

Think again.

This game is utterly addictive. In fact, i have to say that in all truth it's the ONLY game for the DS that i can say that about.

Apart from Age of Kings, i suppose, but then that was marred by bugs. Castlevania runs as smooth as honey.

The game is open, i.e. lets you take your own path, yet focused at the same time, so you don't end up feeling lost or bored. The various baddies are well thought out and i love the way you get tantalising glimpses of places you can't access yet but will reach later in the game. The pace is fast, but only as fast as you want it to be. There are lots of combinations of powers, weapons and armours to explore - in fact, there's lots to explore full stop.

Buy it and enjoy.
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on 12 September 2013
This game is the first in the DS trilogy of castlevania games and an excellent entry at that. The story follows young Soma Cruz, heir of Dracula, who goes back to Dracula's castle to stop the plans of an evil cult who want his powers and for him to replace Dracula. Makes sense right? If the plot didn't grab you, everything else will. The gameplay is simple but excellent and plays like many other castlevania games. It is basically a platformer with exploratory elements and an rpg-like levelling up system for Soma to get stronger. Exploration is strongly encouraged, and places that are out of reach can be accessed by gaining new powers by fighting the monsters (soul system, boss characters will always give you their powers after defeating them)and new items to help you along the way too. The exploratory element is the one thing I can say that will you draw you into this game. And you will want to achieve 100% map coverage too. I'm close lol. Music is quite good, and changes from location to location. Enemy variety is good, and presents a good challenge and will give you a good reason to want to level up Soma. Graphics are basic by today's standards but the pixels do make for a nice look (remember its on a DS...) and the locations depicted all have a nice, if deliberately dilapidated, look.
This game is not without faults. The soul system is seemingly at random with every other monster that isn't a boss. The levelling system can be grinding if you're not fighting stronger foes. Some items are needlessly worthless next to others. The magic system that is part and parcel of the soul system is inconsistent. You will use more of others than you will of some powers. And sometimes at some locations it doesn't always give you a hint as to how to progress. But despite this, I always found myself coming back to this game to play and play it over others that needed my attention lol.
There is one thing that really gives you an incentive to carry on exploring and trying out new things within the game and that is the quality bonus content that you get after completing a game plus the 3 mystery endings involved.
The Julius Mode is basically playing the game again, with a different character (Julius Belmont) who has his some of Soma's powers (except he has his from the very start) and plays like a tougher version of this game and more like classic castlevania for the fans and die-hards. There's a challenge mode too in which you either fight normal enemy monsters or boss monsters in the fastest time you can. There'e even a wireless mode (but I don't find myself using it much if at all...the game itself is that good you don't worry much for it...)
Who would I recommend this game to? Old fans of the series (and those who loved Symphony of the Night, easily best game in series for sheer involvement)and gamers who haven't played this before but want to try a platform game with a challenge. This game is also good for those who want to play a retro style game but with modern accessibility and the aesthtetic.
Its the sort of game that you'd want to keep all to yourself...
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on 29 October 2013
This game is about as good as it get's on the Ds it is one of the very best games you can for it.
The follow up to the Aria of sorrow game on the Gameboy advance
in this game You collect souls from the enemies and use them as skills for your character
this gives you alot of options in the game. Would you like to have revolving flame orbs protecting you or would you prefere to have a fammilar ghost attacking anything you get near ? or how about transforming into a demon yourself ? you can do alot in this game :) it's up to you to use those many skills well.
it is extremely Addicting and once you start play you will love this game.
The music is very well made aswell nice tunes and great sound effects every enemy has its own sounds
also the graphics looks very good especially the bosses.
it is a must own game for the Ds a true masterpiece :)
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on 2 March 2009
Dawn of Sorrow is the first Castlevania game I've played since the Xbox live release of the Saturn/PS1 classic Symphony of the Night. It plays in a similar way with 2D platform exploration tied together with a similar hack and slash approach. It isn't breaking down genre barriers and doesn't provide any large innovations or features that haven't been seen before. It does however provide a very competent, balanced and enjoyable game-play experience and is certainly an essential purchase for any fans of this Castlevania/Metroid sub-genre of the platformer.

Dawn of Sorrow adds a few new elements to the traditional platform/exploration bowl by providing you with a fair few ways of customising your character and his stats. There are a selection of weapons, armour and stat boosting accessories to pick up, as you would find in your standard grass roots Role-playing game (and Symphony of the Night) but the most interesting feature is the use of souls. Each enemy in the game has a soul containing a unique ability which are acquired randomly should you kill them. These range from a series of stat boosts to a vast array of special attacks. Along with the weapon variety this adds a more tactical approach to combat as with so many different offensive and defensive abilities to acquire no two players would likely use the same powers and subsequently approach combat in different ways.

The downside to this is that souls are notoriously hard to come by and gaining them is completely random save for the luck stat has some small bearing on soul capture frequency. For completionists this will mean a lot of going back and forth between screens, killing the same enemy several times just to get their soul. However most people who just want to play the game and avoid this "grinding" should still be able to acquire a reasonable amount of souls just through the exploration of the castle so the chore is an avoidable one. This also eases the pain of backtracking through the game, which is likely to occur if you get stuck and can't work out where to go next as you'll still be levelling up your character and hopefully grabbing some extra souls along the way.

Dawn of Sorrow is not perfect but it is a very good example of the genre and I found my whole experience with it far more enjoyable than I had expected. It has certainly fired my interest in picking up the other DS games and possibly even hunting out the old Gameboy Advance ones. The graphics do the job, character animation is decent, the controls work well, the difficulty level is tough but not impossible or unfair. Symphony of the Night is still the benchmark for the series but Dawn of Sorrow does come close in many aspects and even exceeds in a few.
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on 10 August 2005
Earlier this year we had an opportunity to play through a short amount of what's to be Castlevania DS, and we experienced the direction that the development team's going with the project. The game made another showing at E3, and it's coming along strong, even though, honestly, not much has changed from the first time we played it beyond a tighter presentation using a newer anime-inspired art style for the cutscenes, as well as a new subtitle: Dawn of Sorrow. It's playing off the D and S, you see.
The gameplay is very similar to what the team created for the last 2D Castlevania game, Harmony of Dissonance. Instead of going for a 3D presentation, the Castlevania team is instead playing the strengths of the Nintendo DS system's 2D capabilities for Dawn of Sorrow. The action features a lot of rather nifty special effects using the Nintendo DS's hardware, including sprite techniques that enable the developers to create some rather massive creatures for the action.
Though the adventure is "just" an update to a Game Boy Advance title, the development team are putting a bit of effort into utilizing the Nintendo DS system's dual screen function. The upper screen will be used for a display of the character's skills and traits, but it can also be switched to an on-screen map to keep track of where you are and where you've been in Dracula's castle. The touch panel will be employed as a control mechanism to chisel away at ice blocks blocking your way to create staircases and other platforms, and it also comes into use when banishing boss characters by drawing specific symbols on the touch-sensitive screen.
The newest addition to the presentation is the ability to draw your own sketch for each of the game profiles in Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow. The creator jokingly spotlighted this feature in his presentation, but he claims that the customization feature makes the game feel more personal to the player.
Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow is definitely one of the most anticipated games for the Nintendo DS, and it didn't disappoint players at the Electronic Entertainment Expo. It's a stunning follow-up to the 2D side of the Castlevania series, and we can't wait to finally get a chance to cozy up to the game without the hustle and bustle of the convention atmosphere.
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on 24 February 2013
As graphics evolved, people wanted more of the same thing with better graphics. What happened instead was, that we go a complete new thing. The thing though is, that there is nothing quite as fun and responsive as a classic old school side scrolling game. Sure, I enjoy titles like Metal Gear Solid, Onimusha, Red Dead Redemption, Assasins Creed, Batman Arkham series... they are really good indeed. But my opinion is that they do not compare to side scrollers. Stealth games are fun and all... BUT! They feel to me more than watching movies than actually playing a game.

In Castlevania, you double jump, dash, stick on the ceiling, use 3 different type of weapons simultaneously within seconds. Simply jumping from platform to platform is pure fun and a nice challenge. Doing the same thing in a 3d environment is challenging indeed but for different reasons. Jumping from platform to platform in a 3d environment is horrible.

Compare one of our time's best games to one of the 90's best games. Zelda Ocarina of Time VS Megaman X.

ZoT: One of the most annoying things is trying to cross the bridge to get to the rupee.

Megaman X: Dashing/ Double Jumping/ Hovering / sticking on walls/ sliding / Charging your weapon and shooting right before changing your weapon and proceed to shoot like a maniac while avoiding enemy fire.

Dont want to talk trash about Zelda and argue about it...its a magnificent game...but its different, its all I am saying. What I want to say is I wish there were more games like Castlevania today...in the latest generation consoles like Xbox and PS3.

Think about today's best sidescrolling games. Mario...Little Big Planet...and...thats it. A chubby plumber and sackpeople (dont wanna trash talk them...both are awesome games).

BUT!

Where is my Contra? Where is my Megaman X? Where is my Pandemonium? Please...game developers should really take notice and do something about it. This world needs to start moving forward again instead of backwards.

They made a Golden Axe game...that supports no multiplayer!
They make racing games...that have no split screen!
Everything is a movie!

DS' Castlevania games for me are a pure 10/10. An amazing gaming experience. It gave me the rush videogames haven t given me for the past few years. Both this and Portrait of a Ruin are excellent games and please for the love of God..make more of them.

If anyone is looking for something similar I strongly suggest "Cave Story" which can be found legally for free on the internet. It has horrible horrible graphics but its tons of fun.
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on 27 October 2005
I absolutely adore this game, it's excellent and it's the perfect sequel to Aria of Sorrow.
The game plays almost exactly like Aria of Sorrow which was inspired by Symphony of the Night.
It's classic 2D gameplay with plenty to explore and discover.
Where this edges Aria is particularly in the visuals and music area. Dawn of Sorrow is the best looking 2D Castlevania, outmatching even Symphony of the Night, gorgeous large sprites fills the screen as well as lovely looking 3D bacgrounds.
Music is also excellent and matches the best in many ways. Excellent remixes would give nostalgic boost to long time Castlevania fans and tracks like "Dracula's Tears" are instantly catchy and fit each theme of the environment.
What makes it my favourite? Well, while Dawn Of Sorrow isn't perfect (touch screen gimmicks and relatvely short main quest), it's got the best replay value of the lot, the soul system is even more rewarding, there is a bonus quest which you play as three other characters (one in particular will excite fans of SoTN), a buss rush mode where you go through a series of modes and even multiplayer!
My highest recommendation indeed.
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on 29 August 2011
Brillient game!

I loved collecting souls and finding out their abilities!
The castle that the game is based in is HUGE!
Also all the different endings and results are very refreshing.

An overall great game, and a must have.
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