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Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow

aka: Akumajou Dracula: Sougetsu no Juujika, CV: DoS
Nintendo DS Specs [ all ]
(prices updated 9/24 5:35 PM )

Description official descriptions

Set one year after Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow, the first Castlevania game for the DS has you playing Soma Cruz again. While attempting to return to a normal life Soma is attacked by the leader of a cult with the intention of reviving Count Dracula. He, as well as friends from his last adventure, are drawn to the cult's headquarters to prevent another age of darkness.

All the action takes place on the lower screen, while the top screen is used to see the map or your character's stats. Soma can still equip various kinds of weapons, armor, and monster souls, although the exact powers of the souls have changed slightly from the previous game. Instead of multiples of the same soul just taking up space they are now necessary, as many abilities will not reach their full power unless Soma possesses nine duplicates of the soul. Yoko Belnades has set up an enchanting store inside the castle, allowing Soma to merge souls with weapons in his possession to forge more powerful weapons. The game also takes advantage of the touch screen feature to let you draw magic runes to perform powerful moves to defeat evil monsters.

For the first time in a Castlevania game simultaneous multiplayer modes are possible. Place monsters in a series of rooms and then blaze through it with a friend over wireless connection, either competitively or cooperatively. Trading extra souls between carts is also possible over wireless communication.

The mobile version is a fairly genuine port of the original game with a few minor differences. It adds a new special rare item: the lost soul vial. This item can be used if Soma dies and resurrects him. There is also the bat altar which can be used when Soma owns the bat form ability. Soma walks on a bat altar with the bat ability and is teleported to the linked bat altar. The inventory is strictly limited to weapons, armors and magic spells. It is not possible to store food, life potions or other items.

Spellings

  • 恶魔城:苍月之十字架 - Chinese spelling (simplified)
  • 悪魔城ドラキュラ 蒼月の十字架 - Japanese spelling

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Credits (Nintendo DS version)

53 People (47 developers, 6 thanks) · View all

Producer
Director
Chief Program
System Program
Player Program
Enemy Program
Map Program
Event Program
Menu Program
System Support
Chief Design
Player and Weapon Design
Enemy Design
Map Design
Scenario
Sound Direction
Sound Program
Sound Effects
Composer
[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 90% (based on 80 ratings)

Players

Average score: 4.1 out of 5 (based on 60 ratings with 3 reviews)

A must have for anyone who owns a DS

The Good
For quite some months, I found myself bored with most games I play. Someone evil would have decided that I was doomed to play only average or mediocre games for a while. Thankfully, I eventually decided to buy a DS as enough interesting games were released for it to be worth the cash, along with a few games including Dawn of Sorrow. This very day I can definitely say I'm not playing lots of mediocre games any longer and that makes good games appear even better !

One year after the events in Aria of Sorrow, a sect seems to do bad doings in a snowy forgotten village. As Arikado and Soma goes investigating, monsters appears and Soma's dominance powers are back. Now you are to set on a quest and kill boss until all evil is over. And this won't be easy, as Celia, a weird woman and the sect's chief decided to help people to become the "dark lord" because she wants a back lord to be back for some reason. Two idiot guys, Dimitri and Dario wants to become the dark lord badly and you'll have to stop them.

Well, I'd admit the story is original, but weird, weak and definitely not as cool as the story of Aria of Sorrow (lacking the charm factor of the eclipse), and that won't be the reason for you to play this game. However, a good and better reason to play this game is that it's the sequel to an awesome game you loved and you want to have such a good gaming experience again, this time not on the GBA but on the DS, so you'd expect better graphics, music and usage of the new dual screen and touch screen features.

The gameplay in Dawn of Sorrow is really close to what it was in Aria of Sorrow, Soma returns, the gothic-romantic feeling returns, it's the same gameplay mechanics, a good amount of identical enemies (but not all of them, of course), and you again collect your ememies' souls that they randomly leaves in order to use their abilities back against other enemies. However, you have a brand new castle to discover, and that sounds exciting ! You see the map on the top screen while gameplay happens on the bottom, which is a good thing ! You can press select to toggle between map and enemy description on the top screen, but most of the time you'll be using the map so you're never getting lost anymore. Great !

Just like in other action-RPGs, the game is unlinear (or at least half-unlinear) and you're constantly trying to find new powers that will allow you to work around obstacles in order to enter a new area, which is a formula that never gets old. You'll have to fight hard bosses in order to do so, but overall nothing is too hard either so it's really a great gameplay experience all along.

I guess I'll mention that while graphics are still in 2D, this is a very good thing and they look very good. This game would probably suck if they made it with 3d graphics, and I'm glad Konami didn't do that. Soma does not look transsexual any longer, now he looks like a true man and this is really cool ! In addition to the incredibly detailed backgrounds, there is some good parallax scrolling, transparency effects, pseudo-3D backgrounds and large bosses that will make you quickly forget that the game is in 2D (for those who have something against 2D graphics, which is obviously not my case). Animation is fluid, maybe even too fluid sometimes, when you see how good Soma's cape floating in the wind looks.

Not only that but the music is also absolutely awesome ! All tunes in this game rock damn hard, perfectly fit the atmosphere and are very memorable. Again there is some upbeat tunes and slow melancholic tunes, depending on where you are. This is really great, and the music is so good it couldn't be any better at any point. The tunes for boss fights are less great, but still good. Not only that, but you also have top notch sound effects and voice acting ! Well, the sound when you move the cursor is a bit too aggressive, but other than that the sound effects are perfect. Bosses even have voices that are frightening.

The Bad
The only single thing I barely disliked is the ending system, where again, as in Aria of Sorrow, you have to beat a fake final boss and do a special trick to continue the game and beat the true final boss to get the good ending. Again, without looking on the internet, it would be hard to guess the trick, but this time at least there is a clue to it in the game, in Aria of Sorrow there weren't any.

I was almost forgetting to mention something I still disliked even if the game is almost perfect. When you defeat a boss, you have to perform a special stylus move quickly in order to finish him off. Fail, and you have to continue fighting him for a long while before getting a second try, almost certainly to your fatal doom. This adds challenge, and the stylus moves are not hard at all (you can train yourself outside of boss battle as well). But it's just you have to do it very quickly, and that the consequences of failing to do so makes the stress unsupportable when doing that (often resulting in a failure), and it's not always that fun.

Since you have to be quick, you had to do the whole boss fight with your stylus in hand, considerably reducing your reflexes for the battle. Thanks god I'm left handed and this removes reflexes on the directional arrow side. For right handed people this should reduce their reflexes on the buttons, which sounds even worse ! So while this stylus thing adds something to the gameplay experience and adds challenge, they could have left the game without it, it would only have been better in my opinion.

To end up with a good note I'd say that even if a game doesn't need a good story to be good (this game proofs it), imagine how good a game like this one could be if it actually had a complex and highly emotional story ! Oh man I sure hope Konami will do that in the future (if they haven't already, I haven't played all Castlevania games ever released).

The Bottom Line
Just like it's predecessor, this game is as close as perfection as it could have been. The only few things that I have barely disliked in Aria of Sorrow, Dawn of Sorrow fixes them ! Soma looks like a man, you have some clues to make it to the good ending, and the game is slightly longer. The graphics and music are even better than previously seen in Castlevania games !

So just like most games I've played with the "Castlevania" title into them, this is an almost perfect game any gamer in the would should give a try so good it is. So just stop reading this and go play this game straight away ! I'd still recommend playing Aria of Sorrow first if that's possible, because it's the prequel of this game, but you could play them in the other order and that can't bother you as none of the games are much about their stories anyway.

As much as the Castlevania series have a great past of about 20 years, the series is still on it's peak, and I'll make sure to play lots of other Castlevania games as soon as I get the opportunity.

Nintendo DS · by Bregalad (937) · 2008

Evil, I stab at thee

The Good
Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow (isn't it cute how many DS games have the intials D.S. in their subtitles?) is another stellar entry in the Castlevania series thanks to loads of powers, weapons and other content, and a tried-and-true method of hack 'n' slash platforming that never gets old.

I admit I'm not up to date with current Castlevania mythology, but the story line isn't the highlight of this game. Rather it's fighting your way through the castle, discovering its secrets and bosses.

And the bosses, large and mean, don't disappoint. Almost all of them have repeated attacks that, with some practice, can be avoided. The game is extremely well-paced: I never felt like I had to fight a boss too often or that I wasn't prepared to take him/her down.

Also, I never got bored playing the game. Oh, there were times when I wasn't sure what my next step should be, but that only made me focus more on the game - it wasn't at all a turnoff.

The 2D graphics work perfectly. 3D attempts at the Castlevania series have always ended in mediocrity.

Controls are tight and precise. I felt like I was in gaming heaven the way I could dual equip my character with a strong, slow moving weapon and a quick one. Attacking in this game isn't a show of brute force, you must use cunning and defence to take out Dawn of Sorrow's baddies.

Multiple endings and unlockable game modes add to the game's replayability.

The Bad
Really, the only thing bad you can say about this game is that it's more of the same (for which I'm glad - if a format ain't broke, don't meddle with it too much).

Also, and maybe this is just a personal thing, the story didn't exactly enthrall me with its tale of people wanting to become evil.

The touch-screen effects are kind of gimmicky - you have to draw a code to kill bosses and certain blocks are destoyable with a tap of the stylus.

The Bottom Line
Fans of the Castlevania series already have this cartridge in their hot little hands, while fans of old-school side-scrolling action should have this title on their must have list.

For the gamer who's been Grand Theft Auto'd and Halo'd to death, the action is no less intense just because the system can fit in your hands and the fighting in done on a two-dimensional plane.

The number of weapons and upgrades available is astounding, the graphics are simple and effective and the story, if a bit wish-washy, will compell you to use your powers to help eradicate evil . . . maybe once and for all.

Nintendo DS · by Sam Vicchrilli (15) · 2005

anime boy with white hair steals souls and kills nude demon women

The Good
This was my first metroidvania Castlevania game, and I feel like it was a good start.

The gameplay felt very good. There is a variety of weapons to choose and upgrade. You can also collect souls from every monster that give you special abilities, but are also used to upgrade your items into some awesome looking weapons that can tear through enemies that gave you trouble previously.

The visuals are amazing. The main character's sprites are nicely animated, the backgrounds are really well detailed, and the many enemies are distinct from each other. The bosses are my personal favorite when it comes to the great spritework of the game-- a lot of them are so disgusting and horrific. There's a boss who's face peals back when it screams, there's one that is just a head with a few arms, etc. it's hard to believe what they got away with in a T-rated game.

(Endgame unlockable spoiler warning) When you beat the game, you unlock Julius Mode, where you play as one of the Belmonts. This means you get to play through the game with only a whip and some classic Castlevania throwables, which are unobtainable in the actual game (you can also switch to another character but she has no whip so she's not as cool). Since you already beat the game, this mode will go a bit faster, but there are no potions or consumables to use (it's played like a traditional Castlevania game, but with a metroidvania styled map), which adds to the challenge.

The Bad
Being a metroidvania with a large map, it's pretty easy to get lost and/or not even know where to go. The map only highlights doors to other screens, savepoints, fast travel locations, discovered areas, and undiscovered areas (if you bought a map), so you have to remember or maybe write down some areas of importance that you want to go to later on.

There are some shortcuts, but not enough. Some areas are really tedious and annoying to get to, even with fast travels. There are a couple places that tease you by letting you see the top of a screen, but you can't jump through the ceiling to get to it, instead you have to take your time to do 50 million laps around the map in order to just reach that spot.

Trying to get 100% is a pain. You have to complete the map, which doesn't sound bad at first, but it really is. There are these Crash Bandicoot 2-esque secret rooms that you would NEVER find without a guide, prior knowledge, or just plain luck. To 100% complete the game, you also have to collect the soul of every monster. To collect souls, you just kill a monster and you have a chance to get their soul (some have a lower drop rate than others). Not only is this hard to have to do, but it also gives the game a nudge in difficulty. In order to defeat the final boss (who's pretty tough), I had to grind for specific souls to upgrade my weapons. Some were easy, but some were terribly hard. I needed a Final Guard soul at one point, so I had to take up to 10 seconds to kill one, leave the screen, and do it again until I got it's soul. This went on for a while.

In Julius mode, there is no actual pause screen, it just freezes the game and says "Pause" in the corner. All of the options in the normal mode are not there, not even button configuration. I changed the controls of the normal mode to my liking, but I couldn't in Julius Mode. The controls were really awkward to me, especially since I played 10+ hours of normal mode with different controls.

The Bottom Line
If you like metroidvania games, give this a shot. If you haven't tried one, this is a good start. This game worth a playthrough. I wouldn't recommend trying to complete it 100%, and you might need a guide for one or two parts, but it's still a really good game.

Nintendo DS · by sinisterhippo (23) · 2019

Trivia

1001 Video Games

The DS version of Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

References

In the Lost Village, the player can see the Bigfoot from the famous Patterson-Gimlin film, lurking in the background.

Awards

  • GameSpy
    • 2005 – #2 Nintendo DS Game of the Year
    • 2005 – Nintendo DS Action Game of the Year

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Castlevania: Circle of the Moon
Released 2001 on Game Boy Advance, 2014 on Wii U
Castlevania
Released 1999 on Nintendo 64
Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin
Released 2006 on Nintendo DS
Castlevania: Curse of Darkness
Released 2005 on PlayStation 2, Xbox
Castlevania Chronicles
Released 2001 on PlayStation, 2008 on PSP, PlayStation 3...
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
Released 1997 on PlayStation, 1998 on SEGA Saturn, 2009 on PSP...
Super Castlevania IV
Released 1991 on SNES, 2006 on Wii, 2013 on Wii U
Castlevania: Anniversary Collection
Released 2019 on Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One...
Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow
Released 2003 on Game Boy Advance, 2008 on J2ME, 2014 on Wii U

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Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 19412

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by sarne.

J2ME added by ElevatorAction.

Additional contributors: Unicorn Lynx, Indra was here, Guy Chapman, Hitman23, Dae, mulayim, LordRM, Patrick Bregger, FatherJack.

Game added October 8th, 2005. Last modified February 22nd, 2023.