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Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin

aka: Akumajou Dracula: Gallery of Labyrinth

Critic Reviews 83% add missing review

GamerDad ( )

My expectations were that I would be disappointed with this edition of Castlevania - they had done so well with the first DS game it seemed they were bound to disappoint. The results exceeded my expectations and the game is actually better than the first DS game is a number of ways. Even if you've played all of the GBA and DS Castlevania games this will keep you glued to your DS for hours.

Jan 14th, 2007 · Nintendo DS · read review

Modojo ( )

I'm simply astonished at the fact that Konami has created two of my favorite DS games in only a year apart from each other. Castlevania veterans might grow a little tired of the same old gameplay in a new setting, but there's no denying Portrait of Ruin replicates everything that has made the series so great. For those of you who were like me and are a little weary of embracing the Castlevania name, don't be. This is truly action platforming at its finest form and deserves every gamer's attention. One of, if not the greatest DS title has arrived folks, and just in time for the holidays, so enjoy it.

Dec 22nd, 2006 · Nintendo DS · read review

Gaming Age (A)

On the whole, Konami delivers once again another fantastic Castlevania game that will not only please fans of the DS, but Castlevania fans as well. After 20 years, the series still holds up well both for gamers who are new to the experience, and old fogies like myself who grew up with it on the original NES. It is just this simple?2D Castlevania Rules!

Jan 25th, 2007 · Nintendo DS · read review

Portable Review (38 out of 40)

At the end of the day, I still see this game, along with Dawn of Sorrow, as one of the only real reasons to own a Nintendo DS. If you’re a big fan of using the touch screen in your games, you might want to look elsewhere as Portrait of Ruin kind of overlooks that whole thing. This, in my opinion, is for the better. The last game’s touch screen aspect felt like it was tagged on and a throwaway element. If you’re a fan of Castlevania or action/adventure games at all, you should definitely pick this title up.

Dec 13th, 2006 · Nintendo DS · read review

Lawrence (9.5 out of 10)

It may not take long to beat, but everything that the game offers is of the utmost quality. Omitting the touchscreen elements was a great idea, and the ability to switch between characters is a nice twist to the series. Portrait of Ruin belongs in any DS owner’s library.

Dec 18th, 2006 · Nintendo DS · read review

411mania.com (9.5 out of 10)

Like I said before, this game is a shining example of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. This is what the game is. It’s Dawn of Sorrows with a few additives. It doesn’t do much to progress the evolution of the series, but it doesn’t take a step backwards by any means. After two decades they’ve still got it. Next time, though, we want to see what else they can do. Because if the next installment is just Portrait of Ruin with some minor fixes, then it’ll be a bad thing. Add this game to the long list of MUST HAVE DS games, it’s not the greatest, but your library is going to feel a lot more complete if you have this. Solid game.

Dec 20th, 2006 · Nintendo DS · read review

Cheat Code Central (4.7 out of 5)

I almost feel guilty giving Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin such a high score because as a review I’m always ragging on developers that maintain the same old gameplay with few innovations. Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin adds a few new features but the gameplay is largely the same as it’s been for years – yet it’s so much darn fun.

2006 · Nintendo DS · read review

Nintendo Insanity (9.4 out of 10)

All in all, Portrait of Ruin is another great DS game that belongs in your library. It’s just as good as Dawn of Sorrow, and has the online modes to help promote the longevity. Of course, there’s plenty to do offline, with an epic quest and varying playable characters to make replaying the main story an interesting affair. So, why don’t you have this game already?

2007 · Nintendo DS · read review

Atomic Gamer (92 out of 100)

Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin is an enjoyable game that I’d highly recommend to any DS owner. Having not been a fan of the series before, picking up Dawn of Sorrow got me into the series. I was glad to find out Portrait of Ruin was much the same. The addition of a second playable character in the first run through (you could unlock a mode in Dawn of Sorrow that let you use two characters), the increased area for exploration and the slightly improved graphics make Portrait of Ruin both a must-have for any fan of the series and a recommended pickup for those wanting to see what all the Vampire-fighting craziness is about. While it doesn’t innovate that much, it adds just enough and gives you a more than satisfactory amount of new areas to explore to make it a worthy sequel.

Jan 16th, 2007 · Nintendo DS · read review

Game Shark (A-)

Castlevania: Portal of Ruin is a great example of what's possible on the DS, despite the fact that the game really doesn't go out of its way to utilize many of the DS' marquee technologies. The game is wonderful simply because it delivers a pure unadulterated classic Castlevania experience that looks great and plays like a dream. If you even have a passing fancy in this popular series, Portal of Ruin is worth owning.

Jan 17th, 2007 · Nintendo DS · read review

UGO (UnderGroundOnline) (A-)

Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin should be admired for taking some risks with a proven system, though it probably falls a bit short of the greatness achieved by Dawn of Sorrows. For Castlevania fans, or action/adventure gamers, though, it's definitely one of the better entries in the series, and one of the best DS games around.

2006 · Nintendo DS · read review

Gamestyle (9 out of 10)

Few flaws are evident, but overall this is a brilliant game and one that makes Dawn of Sorrow seem very average. Therefore it is highly recommended to anyone who likes adventure games, and absolutely essential to Castlevania fans. Simply put, it is up there with Elite Beat Agents as the best game the DS currently has to offer.

Jan 14th, 2007 · Nintendo DS · read review

The Next Level (USA) ( )

Portrait of Ruin is fantastic and, while opinions will vary, stands a notch above Aria of Sorrow as my favorite portable Castlevania. Between the perfectly portioned main quest and bonus modes that allow solo or wifi co-op play, you'll want to go ahead and seal this in your DS for the foreseeable future.

Jan 16th, 2007 · Nintendo DS · read review

Jeuxvideo.com (18 out of 20)

Castlevania : Portrait of Ruin fera-t-il l'unanimité après l'excellente prestation de Dawn of Sorrow sur le même support ? Ca me paraît évident dans la mesure où toutes les conditions sont réunies pour combler une nouvelle fois les amateurs de la saga. Entre la progression inédite en duo, la richesse induite par les portraits et l'apparition des quêtes, on voit que rien n'a été laissé au hasard pour faire en sorte que le joueur n'oublie pas de sitôt ce nouvel opus.

Mar 2nd, 2007 · Nintendo DS · read review

Yahoo! Games ( )

Look up "video game" in the dictionary, and Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin should be pictured on the page. It's an addictive experience that gives you plenty of freedom to explore, and a lot of options on how to play. The two-character dynamic works extremely well and only benefits the title. Without the obligation to use the DS's special features, it's free to just be a kick-butt 2D action/platformer. Some may be a little bummed at its dedication to old principles and practices of the franchise, but it'll be a fleeting thought as they storm ahead to battle the next huge boss or leap into the next painting. Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin is a work of video game art.

Dec 8th, 2006 · Nintendo DS · read review

Thunderbolt Games (9 out of 10)

Castlevania fans now face a problem. The Metroid-esque gameplay of Portrait of Ruin has not been changed from its predecessors on the GBA and DS. You have heroes that will get weapons, level up, find items to progress, and eventually explore every nook and cranny of a massive castle. But before you shake your head in disdain and proclaim that this game offers nothing new, consider what this game does have: a decent follow-up to Bloodlines, characters with plenty of personality, and plenty of content to enjoy. Between the different maps, the weapon leveling, the secret bosses, sidequests, and extra gameplay and online co-op modes, you’re going to have your hands full. If anything else, the sheer amount of older Castlevania game references ought to send fans awash in nostalgia. But even if you’re not a follower of the series, don’t worry; in terms of action gaming on the DS, Portrait of Ruin is second to none.

Dec 29th, 2006 · Nintendo DS · read review

Game Informer Magazine (9 out of 10)

Every time a new 2D Castlevania comes out, I’m afraid that I’m going to get sick of stopping Dracula’s nefarious schemes. The latest entry in the series, Portrait of Ruin, keeps Konami’s decade-long perfect streak alive. Though the basic exploration and combat formula has remained unchanged since 1997’s Symphony of the Night, enough new features and fresh content have been introduced to make this as thrilling of a quest as any in the franchise.

Jan 2007 · Nintendo DS · read review

Cubed3 (9 out of 10)

When Dawn of Sorrow was released early on in the lifespan of the Nintendo DS many thought it would appear rushed. However, it turned out to be one of the best games on the system. Now, though, it has been well and truly surpassed by Portrait of Ruin – a wonderfully crafted game that even ditches the pointless stylus aspects! With the US release just a few weeks away it would be wise to get those pre-orders in as soon as possible.

Nov 21st, 2006 · Nintendo DS · read review

GamePro (US) (4.5 out of 5)

It's hard to believe Konami's vampire hunting franchise has been around for 20 years. It started as a simple feud- the Belmont clan against Dracula- but its now evolved into a grand tapestry that comes to dizzying fruition with Portrait of Ruin.

Dec 5th, 2006 · Nintendo DS · read review

Gamereactor (Sweden) (9 out of 10)

Men vilket är bättre? Det är en fråga som jag inte kan svara på. Ni kan lika gärna fråga mig vilket av mina (imaginära) barn jag älskar mest. Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow har en lysande handling, det har Alucard, det har några vansinnigt coola bossar, det har styckena Vampire Killer, Bloody Tears och Beginning, och det har en alternativ berättelse som heter duga. Portrait of Ruin har ännu läckrare grafik, det har Richter Belmont, det har den bästa slutbossen i ett Castlevania någonsin, det har styckena Theme of Simon, Iron Blue Intention och Bloodlines Bequeathed, och det har ett fantastiskt colosseum fyllt med toksvåra monster. Skaffa båda är mitt råd. Börja med Dawn of Sorrow, men skaffa båda.

Feb 22nd, 2007 · Nintendo DS · read review

Digital Press - Classic Video Games (9 out of 10)

It's easy to pass over this latest Castlevania as more of the same. In fact, that's exactly what it is. However, Konami's constant string of quality that never once deviates from its high standards ensure that you're 15 to 20 hours of gameplay are never wasted.

Dec 31st, 2006 · Nintendo DS · read review

NintendoWorldReport (9 out of 10)

Overall, Portrait of Ruin is another solid entry into the recent line of Castlevania games. There’s not enough different here to change your previous opinion of the series. If you’ve yet to play a Castlevania game, I’d recommend Dawn of Sorrow over Portrait of Ruin because it’s a more appropriate entry into the series as future games will likely not feature the portraits.

Dec 18th, 2006 · Nintendo DS · read review

Video Game Generation (9 out of 10)

However, the series is lagging in a few areas, such as offering a more linear experience this time, as well as a new anime look that may turn off some long-time fans of the series. However, it is the gameplay that makes Castlevania such fun, and Portrait of Ruin has that in spades, making it truly one of the better games on the Nintendo DS.

Dec 31st, 2006 · Nintendo DS · read review

Kombo.com (9 out of 10)

Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin does succeed easily on two fronts. First, it brings enough new aspects to the series to make it a compelling must have and secondly, it remains true to its long lineage of quality.

Dec 26th, 2006 · Nintendo DS · read review

Game Vortex (90 out of 100)

Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin is another great entry in the series. Although it is scaled back both visually and in some gameplay elements, it is still a fun experience that offers lots to do and plenty of replay value. The only major issue I had was the length since, even with the added side-quests, it is still a short adventure. But, the extras are more than enough reason to keep playing.

2006 · Nintendo DS · read review

Nintendojo (9 out of 10)

Seemingly more so than any other entry in the series, Portrait of Ruin is a love letter to fans. The gameplay manages to successfully merge the two Castlevania play styles, while retaining a firm hold on excellent design and presentation. The satisfying single-player campaign only gets deeper and deeper as the secrets and modes appear; everything is tailored to keep the player busy until the inevitable next DS installment. We can't wait.

2006 · Nintendo DS · read review

HonestGamers (Staff reviews only) (9 out of 10)

Storming Dracula's Castle has never been so much fun! It's not the perfect game if you're sick of that sort of thing, but it's close enough that most Castlevania fans will swear they've died and gone to vampire heaven.

Dec 12th, 2006 · Nintendo DS · read review

ZTGameDomain (9 out of 10)

If you are a fan of the series, and honestly who isn’t, then PoR will satisfy your hunger for a new Castlevania game. The formula remains the same and that is the best part about it. Perhaps someday Konami will grace us with a full fledged 2D sequel to Symphony of the Night for the consoles, but until then you will find plenty to love with this latest installment. Easily one of the best handheld games of the year and quite possibly the best Castlevania portable title yet.

2006 · Nintendo DS · read review

DarkZero (9 out of 10)

Sure, this game doesn’t really do anything new. But what’s wrong with that? Portrait of Ruin gives fans of the series everything they could want to fiddle around with on the customisation front, and then gives you a large game world as your playground. And it does all this in a way that feels almost perfect. For your money there’s a lot of fun and thrills to be had here, backed up by some seriously beefy content. Get hunting.

2006 · Nintendo DS · read review

GamesAreFun.com (GAF) (9 out of 10)

Complaints aside, Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin is still a great game that is worthy of the series name. With play mechanics and a soundtrack that will make it memorable (along with the best bit of fan service IGA could have given us for the last boss fight.), PoR shouldn’t be missed. It is one of the best handheld games released all year.

Jan 10th, 2007 · Nintendo DS · read review

UOL Jogos ( )

"Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin" segue rigorosamente a fórmula mais que vencedora de "Symphony of the Night" e é incrível como consegue ser divertido depois de tantas edições. O game trouxe sua cota de novidades, como o sistema de duplas e as opções multiplayer, mas, infelizmente foi pouco explorada, o que é uma pena, pois poderia ter dado ainda mais profundidade ao game. Ainda assim, o título se consagra como um dos melhores para o Nintendo DS.

Jan 19th, 2007 · Nintendo DS · read review

JustPressPlay (9 out of 10)

Portrait of Ruin is yet another beautifully crafted Castlevania game, which does well to sate the blood-thirsty vampire killer in us all. With dozens of twists and turns to keep you going, you'll be coming back to this game time and time again, just to see what else the game has to offer. You've all heard the term "don't judge a book by its cover", right? Well such is the case with PoR, just because the art style has changed doesn't mean this is any less a Castlevania game. Purists (like me) and casual gamers alike will find a place in their hearts for this little game. Happy 20th Anniversary Castlevania!

Jul 22nd, 2007 · Nintendo DS · read review

IGN (8.9 out of 10)

Overall, Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin doesn't hit the system with the same impact as Dawn of Sorrow, but it's still one of the great Castlevania experiences.

Dec 5th, 2006 · Nintendo DS · read review

GameLemon (8.9 out of 10)

So in the end, I am happy to announce that my childish fears are allayed - we have a quality member of the Castlevania franchise on our hands. Well, I do anyway. You need to go run down to GameStop and get yourself a copy and then you'll be a cool 30-year old child just like me. Cheers.

Apr 10th, 2007 · Nintendo DS · read review

Mygamer.com (8.8 out of 10)

If you have never played a Castlevania before, this would be a great place to start. Fans, however, will immediately fall in love with this game for its addictive quality.

Jan 7th, 2007 · Nintendo DS · read review

VicioJuegos.com / uVeJuegos.com (88 out of 100)

Konami ha vuelto a dar en el clavo, y podemos asegurarte que si te gustó Dawn of Sorrow, este Portrait of Ruin también te va a enganchar, convirtiéndose en compra inexcusable.

Mar 20th, 2007 · Nintendo DS · read review

N-Zone (88 out of 100)

Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow war für mich ein nahezu perfektes Action-Adventure. Der Touchscreen-Einsatz bei den Bosskämpfen hat mich jedoch zur Weißglut gebracht. Dass diese nun bei Portrait of Ruin fehlen, macht mich mehr als glücklich. Da nimmt man gerne ein abgespecktes Seelen-System in Kauf. Die Möglichkeit, jederzeit zwischen den Figuren switchen zu können, empfinde ich als guten Einfall, auch wenn ich die meiste Zeit nur mit Jonathan gespielt habe.

Mar 25th, 2007 · Nintendo DS · read review

Games Master (88 out of 100)

Overall though, this is a mighty achievement and a worthy addition to one of gaming's most illustrious series. Fans'll lap it up like blood! A bold experiment; far from Ruin, this Portrait is the Mona Lisa of Castlevanias.

Feb 2007 · Nintendo DS

IGN UK (8.8 out of 10)

Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin isn’t the mind-blowing revelation that Dawn of Sorrow was but it’s still an extremely solid and enjoyable experience. Playing with two characters is a nice addition to the series, as is the online play and some of the sub-quests. What's more, while PoR lacks a lot of the freedom of Dawn of Sorrow, the epic boss fights and refined combat system really makes up for it. A host of great extras and unlockables, as well as multiple endings, finishes off the package perfectly and makes Portrait of Ruin a title than can sit proudly alongside the best of the Belmonts.

Mar 7th, 2007 · Nintendo DS · read review

VGNZ (87 out of 100)

If you have a DS and you are a tad annoyed about getting ribbed by friends because of the cutesy factor of many DS games then Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin will make it all better. This is not a game for kids, it’s full of gore, violence and supernatural themes and as such is totally satisfying way to waste a few grown up hours. It’s rated R16 but I highly recommend it.

Jun 3rd, 2007 · Nintendo DS · read review

FOK!games (87 out of 100)

Het enige nadeel aan de game is dat het gewoon erg veel lijkt op Dawn of Sorrow. Op zich is daar niks mis mee, want die game is ook ijzersterk, maar mensen die Dawn of Sorry niet zo leuk vonden zullen zeker niet door Portrait of Ruin worden aangesproken. Ook kan er vrijwel niets met de functies van de DS gedaan worden. Er is wel iets op het einde dat je vrijspeelt waarbij het touch screen noodzakelijk is, maar verder is er geen moeite aan besteedt. Of dat nu echt een nadeel is laat ik in het midden, want spelers dwangmatig gebruik van de speciale functies opleggen, daar wordt ook niemand blij van.

Dec 30th, 2006 · Nintendo DS · read review

GamingTrend (521 out of 600)

The Castlevania series holds a place near and dear to my heart. From the goofy misspellings to the incredible boss battles, few games will pull you in as well as this series. Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin tosses out the clunky touchscreen functions of the previous title and replaces it with a new dual-hero gameplay element. In the end, the game is a worthy addition to the Castlevania lineage, if only the game lasted a little longer.

2006 · Nintendo DS · read review

Gamernode (8.6 out of 10)

Ultimately, Portrait of Ruin is an extremely solid Castlevania title. It provides you with everything you'd expect, but not a whole lot more. While you aren't getting anything revolutionary as far as the series is concerned, what you are getting is an extremely solid, well-polished game that is definitely worth your money. Innovative or not, this is one of the best handheld games of the year.

Dec 20th, 2006 · Nintendo DS · read review

Wham! gaming (8.6 out of 10)

Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin is an all-around solid addition to the long-running series. At first glance there doesn’t seem to be much to it (and it’s a fairly quick game if you want it to be) but those who want to delve deeper will get plenty out of it. It has slick visuals and a more-than-memorable soundtrack. It’s too bad the whole dual-player thing wasn’t played up a bit more but it’s still an enjoyable title that’s worth a buy.

Jan 9th, 2007 · Nintendo DS · read review

Game Freaks 365 (8.5 out of 10)

Overall, Portrait of Ruin is a good game that doesn’t outdo its predecessor but definitely deserves some attention from action, adventure, and Castlevania fans. In future Castlevania games I’d like to see Konami tinker with more 3D effects and less anime-inspired art, and I’d also prefer if they’d stick to a more traditional design. The portrait idea was cool but just seems like a cheap way to introduce levels that are dramatically different than Drac’s castle. So the final word: it’s good, even great, but not as good as Dawn of Sorrow.

Dec 31st, 2006 · Nintendo DS · read review

RPGFan (85 out of 100)

Overall, this is a Metroidvania game. Get it if you like Metroidvania games. Otherwise, find something else to do with your time. This game does well for what it is, and does not stray even an inch outside. There are some extra wi-fi things you can do, such as set up a shop where other players can buy items, and there's a boss rush mode, but overall, I didn't really use them. So there you have it: buyer enjoy, and buyer beware.

Dec 28th, 2006 · Nintendo DS · read review

GameZone (8.5 out of 10)

Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin is another fine title in the long running series. For hardcore gamers the addition of the second character and Wi-Fi multiplayer are two great additions that set PoR apart from other games in the series. Casual games will still get a kick out of the game but probably won’t notice the subtle changes when compared to the last Castlevania game. I don’t want the series to change too much but something still needs to be done to make the games feel different from each other.

Dec 19th, 2006 · Nintendo DS · read review

Deeko (8.5 out of 10)

The single player game is amusing, do not get me wrong, but it is not as good as the previous title and thus gamers may feel a bit slighted in the end, especially when they discover that the game can be finished in just over six hours — a tragedy, really, as it is one of the shortest jaunts through my castle since the NES days."

Dec 9th, 2006 · Nintendo DS · read review

Portable Video Gamer (8.5 out of 10)

Castlevania games are famous for their light RPG elements, and Portrait of Ruin follows in this tradition more or less successfully. Players will gain experience points for defeating progressively stronger enemies. With each new level attained, characters level up attributes like strength, defense, luck and attack. Items and articles of clothing scattered around the game also provide incremental increases to each of these categories. Players who enjoy collecting stuff for their characters will get a kick out of seeing what exciting new items are dropped by specific monsters, however I found that the improvement offered by new items was often so minimal that it lessened the thrill of collecting. Nevertheless, returning to early parts of the castle with a level-40 character and dispensing a can of whoop-ass on enemies does provide a perverse kind of satisfaction.

Jan 21st, 2007 · Nintendo DS · read review

4Players.de (85 out of 100)

Ich habe mich nächtelang durch den Vorgänger geschlitzt, ich kämpfe mich schlaflos durch den Nachfolger. Castlevania ist ein Zeitfresser alter Schule, ein Kampf- und Sammelmonstrum, ein Paradebeispiel für gutes und gleichzeitig umfangreiches Leveldesign. Hunderte Kreaturen und Gegenstände, zig Fähigkeiten, Jump'n Run und Gemetzel, dazu mehrere Enden. Man kann sich in den Dungeons regelrecht verlieren, wird aber immer wieder aufs Neue gefordert. Und der Teamaspekt tut dem Spiel richtig gut: Sowohl Kampf, Akrobatik als auch Rätsel profitieren von den neuen Möglichkeiten im Duett. Das sorgt für frischen Wind, den man an anderer Stelle vermisst: Warum hatte man nicht etwas mehr Mut zur kreativen Nutzung von Stift und Touchscreen? Warum werden nicht wenigstens die wichtigsten Rüstungen visuell dargestellt? Warum kann man die Kampagne nicht kooperativ erleben?

Mar 6th, 2007 · Nintendo DS · read review

Gaming Target (8.4 out of 10)

No one can doubt that there is a lot of fun to be had in playing Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin. The gameplay as always is extremely entertaining and further proves that Castlevania is one of the best series out there. The character swapping ability is an interesting new addition that will hopefully be improved in future titles. Additionally, the side-quests add a lot of replay value to the game even after completing the story mode. Some negative points include the story, over-familiarity of gameplay, somewhat tacked-on WiFi modes, and anime style. However, the pros clearly outweigh the cons. Nothing short of a crazy man dressed in a clown costume hanging outside EB Games (a common sight in Hollywood) should stop you from picking up one of the best DS titles of the season.

Dec 18th, 2006 · Nintendo DS · read review

1UP (B+)

Still, despite being a definite step backward for the series, Portrait is still quite good. The graphics and music are beautiful, the double-character system is great, and the online modes are far more satisfying than Dawn's sad efforts. And then there's the bonus content, which includes an unlockable mode that radically reinvents the series for stylus-driven gameplay. In all, these elements add up to a game that's not quite a classic...but it's still a damn good time.

Dec 4th, 2006 · Nintendo DS · read review

Netjak (8.3 out of 10)

A serviceable entry in the Castlevania series. While it's not going to ever contend for best game of all time, and while it also isn't even the best Castlevania on the DS, it's certainly better than a lot of other things out there. This is a nice playthrough that clocks in at about 15 hours if you're not trying to unlock everything. If you want to unlock everything, there's a New Game + complete with a Hard Mode, Boss Rush Mode, 3 different character types you can run through the game with, and an online component. I think it's worth a purchase at $29.99, but $34.99 is a bit hard to swallow if you're not a fan.

Jan 1st, 2007 · Nintendo DS · read review

GameSpot (8.3 out of 10)

Portrait of Ruin is another great installment in the long line of Castlevania games. It doesn't mess too much with the formula, but the changes it implements are good ones. It may be more of the same, but nevertheless Portrait of Ruin succeeds in rekindling old flames for Castlevania veterans and sparking new ones for people who are just looking for a great 2D action adventure game.

Dec 5th, 2006 · Nintendo DS · read review

Game industry News (GiN) ( )

Ultimately, Castlevania: Portrait of Ruins makes a solid addition to what is now becoming a pretty extensive series. The game safely follows in the footsteps of its predecessors boasting top-notch graphics, great sound and sound effects, and keeping that familiar game play engine intact which players have come to respect over the years. The new partner system does sort of give things a fresh perspective and with its user friendly control scheme makes for a particularly interesting adventure.

2006 · Nintendo DS · read review

G4 TV: X-Play ( )

Prior to the 1997 release of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, it had been years since the Castlevania series saw any major innovation in terms of gameplay. Unfortunately, the same trend continues even after the hit Playstation title. Almost ten years later, Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin isn’t much a different game than what IGA first gave us. For hardcore fans of the series, this is fine. Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin delivers a solid, exciting trip back into the walls of Dracula’s Castle without too many new systems to learn first. However, for the casual fan, Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin delivers little more than its handheld predecessors. A fun experience, certainly, but the same experience they’ve had before.

Jan 29th, 2007 · Nintendo DS · read review

Stuff Magazine / stuff.tv (8 out of 10)

For any fan of this classic series, it's a buy.

Dec 5th, 2006 · Nintendo DS · read review

GameSpy ( )

Don't take the issues I've mentioned here as dismissive of the stellar quality of the game, but don't think there's much more than an excellent annual update here. Maybe Dracula can leave the castle buried for a year and we'll see something really worth rising from the dead for in 2008.

Dec 11th, 2006 · Nintendo DS · read review

PAL Gaming Network (PALGN) (8 out of 10)

Another well produced handheld Castlevania, and with at least a few new features for once. Definitely worth a trip to this gallery.

Mar 21st, 2007 · Nintendo DS · read review

Pocket Gamer UK (8 out of 10)

Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin is a deep, enthralling game but the presence of some flawed elements mean it's not as good as the previous Dawn of Sorrows.

Jan 5th, 2007 · Nintendo DS · read review

GamingEvolution (8 out of 10)

The well-implemented dual character setup, semi return to the level-based progression of the classic Castlevania titles, and the return of music and sprites from 20 years of Castlevania history as well as a direct connection to a little-known post Castlevania title make Portrait of Ruin a great way to celebrate an anniversary for a game. Although some of these things may make the level progression in Portrait ultimately inferior to that of Dawn of Sorrow, the game still manages to step up to be a decent Castlevania game in its own right.

2006 · Nintendo DS · read review

GamesFirst! ( )

Portrait of Ruin is already out, so if you've been considering giving it a try, chances are you won't be disappointed.

Apr 6th, 2007 · Nintendo DS · read review

Boomtown (8 out of 10)

Ultimately, Portrait of Ruin is more than just one of those games that’s just another entry in a long running series that will appeal to fans only. It will also suit those who have never played a Castlevania game. Though it may not be the best example of whip-cracking fun in Castle Dracula, it’s got a damn sight more in its favour than a great many other games out there at the moment.

Jan 30th, 2007 · Nintendo DS · read review

AceGamez (8 out of 10)

Portrait of Ruin leaves plenty of threads of potential to be pulled and tightened, including the dual character system, co-op and shop modes, but simply seeing them to their end might not be enough. I can only hope that Konami takes a careful look at the direction of the next game before committing to it, as well as providing the development team with what they need to keep rehashing to a minimum.

2006 · Nintendo DS · read review

Legendra (8 out of 10)

Un jeu assez réussi et captivant par son ambiance. Il marque le coup grâce à des nouveautés très sympa comme les deux persos, ou le système de quêtes. Cependant la difficulté de certains boss a des chances de vous repousser. N'oublions pas de noter les mode Co-op et Wi-Fi assez sympa mais sans grand intérêt. On regrette de ne pas pouvoir faire l'aventure à deux, le mode Co-op étant un mode spécial qui n'a aucun rapport avec l'histoire.

Oct 21st, 2007 · Nintendo DS · read review

Retro Gamer (80 out of 100)

Jipped. That's how I'm feeling at the moment. Portrait of Ruin is obviously an experiment by IGA to take the series in a new direction. Now I've no problems with this, but the end execution is almost as if he has no confidence in the actual direction he has taken, which is a real pity as he's definitely on the right track. Let's hope the next DS outing is far more self-assured. Oh, and give us proper co-op please.

Feb 1st, 2007 · Nintendo DS · read review

Consoles Plus (16 out of 20)

Un Castlevania se doit d'être culte, et celui-ci ne déroge pas à la règle... même s'il oublie, en privilégiant les trouvailles gadgets, de nous épater par de réelles nouveautés.

Mar 2007 · Nintendo DS · read review

Games TM (8 out of 10)

With its array of improvements and considered removals, Portrait Of Ruin feels like the best Castlevania in an age. Its slick 2D gameplay has been honed to near perfection through the last five handheld instalments, leaving every 3D incarnation hanging its head in shame. And although it doesn't quite hit the dizzy heights of Symphony Of The Night and Dracula X, there's no denying just how much care and attention has gone into making this newest instalment feel special. If Konami can build on this for the inevitable follow-up then the future of Castlevania will be a very bright one indeed.

Dec 2006 · Nintendo DS

Worth Playing (8 out of 10)

All in all, Castlevania Portrait of Ruin is very short, fairly slapdash and kind of easy, but this doesn't stop it from being a worthy addition to a fantastic franchise. With multiple play modes, a number of interesting bosses and all the fun that comes from the Castlevania franchise, those with a DS are strongly encouraged to pick up this newest edition. Those who've never played a Castlevania title may feel a little lost but should be able to grasp the mechanics — if not the plot — quickly.

Dec 15th, 2006 · Nintendo DS · read review

GamersMark (8 out of 10)

If Konami didn’t try to pretend like there were so many changes, I probably wouldn’t have been so hard on this game, because it plays excellently. They really have the whole "Metroid-vania" style down to a formula, and their experience shows. Maybe someday this experience will bring us the Symphony of the Night sequel we all want to see, but for now these other great games will have to do.

Jun 16th, 2007 · Nintendo DS · read review


So, the bottom line is - it’s another good Castlevania. If you don’t know what the series is about you should at least give it a try since it’s a great game in its own right.

Jan 12th, 2007 · Nintendo DS · read review

NGamer (78 out of 100)

Excellent for beginners, looks great, has masses to do, but doesn't really improve on previous games. Shame really, with some adjustment this could have been a work of art.

Feb 2007 · Nintendo DS

Nintendo Spin (7.6 out of 10)

The partner system is an interesting take on the conventional formula, but poor implementation hinders it from being a truly remarkable feature. The sub-level castle design is also something not worth revisiting in future Castlevania’s. Not only convoluted in execution, it doesn’t add much other than a few interesting level designs. Don’t let its shortcomings fool you though, this is your standard affair with a Castlevania, and it’s a great one at that.

Feb 10th, 2007 · Nintendo DS · read review

Computer Bild Spiele (2.24 out of 6)

Romantik und Horror bilden auch in dieser Vampirgeschichte eine prickelnde Mischung. Die Kulissen sind liebevoll gezeichnet, mit stimmungsvollen Lichteffekten ausgeleuchtet und passender Musik untermalt. Dank der ausgefeilten Steuerung kommen auch geübte Spieler mit dieser rundum "guten" Vampirjagd voll auf ihre Kosten.

Mar 7th, 2007 · Nintendo DS

Retrogaming History (7.5 out of 10)

Dei tre capitoli di Castlevania per DS, questo è forse quello più deludente. Non che sia un brutto gioco di per sé, ma a più riprese si ha la sensazione che l'idea del doppio giocatore non sia stata sviluppata a dovere, così come altri aspetti del gioco che lasciano l'amaro in bocca a pensare a quello che “sarebbe potuto essere”. Peccato perché il ventennale di una saga storica come questa meritava una celebrazione di altro spessore.

May 26th, 2010 · Nintendo DS · read review

Realm of Gaming (7 out of 10)

I wouldn't say that experimenting with new concepts ruined Portrait of Ruin. I loved the game on my first playthrough, but subsequent revisits have shown me how tiresome it can be. Thankfully, the negative aspects that come with the game's new features are mostly benign. Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin is still enjoyable and a worthwhile addition to the franchise, but it doesn't measure up to most of its ilk.

Oct 16th, 2013 · Nintendo DS · read review

Random Access (7 out of 10)

Bottom line: if you really enjoyed the previous handheld Castlevanias, in the style of exploration and battle equally sharing the stage, than Portrait of Ruin is right up your alley. Just don't expect any evolution of the series here, because it's more of the same. Not that that's necessarily a bad thing sometimes...

Dec 14th, 2014 · Nintendo DS · read review

Gamezine (14 out of 20)

On apprécie toujours autant un nouveau Castlevania. Portait of Ruin ne déroge pas à la règle et est un épisode efficace. Ne rêvez pas trop non plus, la durée de vie s’avère hélas assez courte, et ne comptez pas plus d’une dizaine d’heures pour en voir le bout. Il serait grand temps que Konami revoie une bonne fois pour toutes sa copie afin de donner un souffle nouveau à la saga, car j’avoue être lassé d’affronter encore et toujours les mêmes ennemis dans les mêmes décors. Capcom a bien réussi avec Resident Evil, tout paraît possible. Bref, Portait of Ruin n’a rien d’exceptionnel, mais propose tous les ingrédients qui font le charme d’un bon vieux Castlevania.

Mar 18th, 2007 · Nintendo DS · read review

RPGamer (3.5 out of 5)

In the end, those that finish Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin will find that it is very much more of the same, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Though more new monsters would have been nice, the extra modes at the end make the game worth playing through a couple times. It's certainly not reinventing the franchise, but it isn't hurting the name, either.

2006 · Nintendo DS · read review

Eurogamer.net (UK) (7 out of 10)

Even so I just didn't feel the same magic, the same excitement that flowed from Sorrow. Whether you will all depends on how you approach it, and it would be rude and silly of me to declare that this has no merit simply because I fall outside the impact zone of some of its best ideas and mechanics (especially with so many wonderful bonuses and unlockables squirreled away for those with the patience to uncover them). Equally though, I can't very well recommend it completely, because it's just not doing the things I love.

Dec 13th, 2006 · Nintendo DS · read review

Nintendo Life ( )

All in all, PoR is another excellent addition to the Castlevania lineage. Konami seem committed to keeping the format of the series in stasis – at least on the DS, anyway. Hopefully they can find other more creative ways of expanding the concept, because as good as PoR undoubtedly is, the blueprint is now over a decade old and a fresh lick of paint is badly required.

Mar 15th, 2007 · Nintendo DS · read review

Gamer 2.0 (6.9 out of 10)

It is risky and fairly stupid to criticize a game for doing what it has always done best. So call us stupid. The Castlevania bloodline has always been loyal and true. Portrait of Ruin has all the flair, presentation, and experience necessary to be a worthy successor. But the truth is, this series is in need of some real upgrades that—while not altering the core experience too much—can resuscitate its lost charm. For some, new characters and bosses and the expected gameplay may be enough. And for a classic Castlevania experience, Portrait of Ruin mostly delivers. Personally, we can’t deny our thirst for some unique touch-screen play, a deeper storyline, and a less-linear experience all around.

Jan 20th, 2007 · Nintendo DS · read review

NTSC-uk (6 out of 10)

As it stands, PoR is still a quality product that all fans of the series should invest in, but Konami should really start considering giving everyone's favourite vampire-hunting franchise a face-lift when it comes to crafting a follow-up.

Mar 2007 · Nintendo DS · read review

The Video Game Critic (C+)

The graphics are rich and well defined, with a few unusual enemies like the guy who professes his love for Charlotte and explodes into roses upon his demise. Typical of the mammoth bosses, you'll face an enormous knight with a hideous disembodied blue head. It's fun to upgrade your characters with new items you find, and I like the way portraits are used as gateways to new "worlds". Portrait of Ruin is not my favorite Castlevania title, but fans looking for something new may enjoy its novel approach.

Oct 21st, 2007 · Nintendo DS · read review

Snackbar-Games.com (2 out of 5)

I like to let my paragraphs run into each other like this, with common themes. Ya like that? Satisfied. That is probably what you won't be after playing Portrait of Ruin. The areas end up as dull and repeatable, while the Castlevania staples like the music also become unsatisfying. It is too short, and once you're done, you just want more. Unfortunately, even with multiple end-game play-modes, you're going to need another course. Still, if you love Castlevania, Bon Apetit.

Jan 2nd, 2007 · Nintendo DS · read review

Saving Progress (D+)

This all breaks down to the fact that Portrait of Ruin does nothing new for video games, clinging to the past. It isn’t all bad, but none of it is that good either. If you’re a diehard Castlevania fan, then you may have some interest in this game, but otherwise it’s a waste of DS potential and should be forgotten or ignored by anyone that crosses its path.

Jun 29th, 2007 · Nintendo DS · read review

Background N/A

Sans être le jeu de l'année, ce Castlevania suit les traces de ses prédécesseurs tout en innovant suffisamment pour que tous les joueurs y trouvent leur compte. Excellent du début à la fin, il est rythmé et nous en apprend un petit peu plus sur la légende, malgré la relative maigreur de son scénario. En bref : achetez-le !

Mar 2007 · Nintendo DS · read review

Player Reviews

Castlevania back to it's roots, but with a lot of innovations
by Bregalad (967)

The Good
Aaah the Castlevania series. What do I need to say ? In case you don't know about it, Castlevania is a MIGHTY video game series of platformers involving vampires. That being said, the series took a major twist for its last (at the time of the release of this game) 2 games, Aria of Sorrow and Dawn of Sorrow, because they took place into the near-future (instead of a distant past), and the main protagonist wasn't fighting with the "Vampire-Killer" whip. For their next installment, Konami went back on their roots, as Portrait of Ruin takes place during World War 2 area, where the major conflict between humans opened a threat for Dracula to be revived.

You take the control of the vampire hunter Jonathan Morris (son of the hero of the Megadrive game Castlevania Bloodlines) and great mage Charlotte Aulin. Jonathan wears the good old "Vampire-Killer" whip (which is why I told you Konami went back on their roots), but he don't know how to use its full power. This game have both platforming and RPG elements, you can equip a wide range of weapons, armors, helmets, accessories, ... Nothing unfamiliar. The main difference is that sub-weapons aren't "absorbed" from enemies like in the "Sorrow" games, but they are just found as you progress in your quest, or a few are randomly dropped by some enemies (which means you have less sub-weapons to use, so less crappy ones and more effective ones). Jonathan can equip whips and traditional weapons (sword, axes, lances, ...), use the traditional sub-weapons (Knife, Axe, Holy Water, ....) plus some new exclusive powers (javelin, throw cream pies,...). Charlotte fight with books, and can use magic (Fire, Ice, Wind, ....) and has antidote, stat boosting and even healing spells. They also added some street-fighter style combo you can do to trigger critical attacks, dealing greater damage.

For the first time in the entire series (as far I know), a new system where you can use 2 protagonists at the same time is implemented. You can play either as Jonathan alone, Charlotte alone, or control one while the other is CPU-controlled. The controls are intuitive and responsive. B jumps, Y attacks, X switch the control between Jonathan and Charlotte, up+Y uses your subweapon, and L uses the CPU character's subweapon, and 'A' calls/frees him/her. The touchscreen can also be used to control him/her, but as Charlotte says herself, this is hard to pull out and isn't too useful. Oh, yeah I didn't mention you can go into the menu to have advice from Charlotte. This is very useful for bosses, and for puzzles. Yes there is a few puzzles in the game which is great news ! When the character you control get hit, Hit Points (HP) decrease, but when the CPU character is hit, or when you use a subweapon, Mana Points (MP) decrease. If you get out of HP it's game-over (duh) but if you get out of MP, the character you're not controlling goes away and you can't use him/her for awhile, which isn't always very good either. As if that large arsenal wasn't exciting enough, they implemented a new Dual Strike system, where both heroes combine their powers to release some extra-strong attacks (and extra-MP wasting). Those are a great help on boss battles, but be careful, the CPU controlled character won't avoid attacks, and is likely to take major MP damage, so you'll get out of MP in no time. Because of this, a lot of boss fight are almost needed that you play as Jonathan only (as Charlotte is weaker physically). On a lot of boss fight you'll still be very glad that Charlotte is here for various reasons. With all those varied possibilities the gameplay offers, you are sure not to get bored when playing !

Something worth noting is the paining system in the game. Instead of having only one big castle to explore, you have one (unfortunately) smaller castle, but in it there is a few paintings. You can enter in the paintings to get into another full stage (this explain the subtitle of the game). This is completely ripped of Super Mario 64, but let's act as if we didn't notice and call it a great innovation. Another addition to Portrait of Ruin is subquests. A guy in the castle will give you quests (which are for the most challenges, like defeating a rare monster, or find rare items, etc...), and if you complete them you get some kind of reward. Doing those are great fun, although I admit I had to look a FAQ for the hardest of them. If you like challenge, you won't be bored with this game, as there is a lot of secret and rare items to be found, and there is a bonus arena with hard enemies & bosses you have to beat in series. For the first time of the series, you have to fight Dracula and Death AT THE SAME TIME !!

Eventually, it seems Konami partially completed the only lack of the Sorrow games : The storyline. It's not a VERY complex story, but it's still better than almost no story for the Sorrow games (probably the in-between release of Lament of Innocence on PS2 is for something). Because of all dialogue between both heroes, it gives both of them some personality. and without giving any spoilers, there is some noticeable plot twist, and some emotion thrown in. The voice acting, already present in Japanese in the Sorrow games, is now in English so you can hear what the enemies&boss says to you. It makes avoiding attacks easier as you know in advance what they're doing. As in the Sorrow games if you're not careful you'll get a crappy bad ending, but here the way to avoid it is really obvious and you likely don't need any FAQ about it.

I think graphics don't really play a major role in how good a game is. But as long as you don't have anything against 2D platforming, you shouldn't have anything to worry here, as they are top-notch. I'd still say that many enemy graphics here are ripped from Dawn of Sorrow (many from older games too), but there is also new pretty detailed environments, and the sprites for the two protagonists are amazingly detailed and animated.

Last but not least, the infamous seal system from Dawn of Sorrow has been removed and this is a great thing. If you beat a boss, you have won.

The Bad
About the soundtrack of this game, I can't say anything better than "it's good". No almighty amazing soundtrack here, just one that fits well, and that does it's job. Compared to the soundtrack of both Sorrow games (Lament of Innocence too) which are among the best of all video games, if not among the best music albums ever, it's a small disappointment, but hey at least the music found here does its job well.

Second disappointment, Dracula's castle is really small, this is compensated by the painting but the ever traditional sewers level is BADLY missing here, and the game is again really short (10-12 hours). Yes there is extra harder modes available with other playable characters, but those are usually much less fun.

The Bottom Line
Well, if you were afraid that Dawn of Sorrow was so good that this game has nothing better to offer, you are wrong. Even if Drawn of Sorrow has way better music, and a larger castle to explore, the large arsenal available in this game, with 2 main characters, a better storyline, the painting system and the side quests to complete, this one shows that Konami don't just rest on their laurels even after 20 years of amazing Castlevania games being continuously released. So congratulations Konami, and thanks for this great game. It's probably a must buy, unless you are allergic to 2D platformers. Although if you are hesitating between Dawn of Sorrow and this one, I'd say don't hesitate and buy both.

Oct 24th, 2009 · Nintendo DS

Plus 39 player ratings without reviews

Contributors to this Entry

Critic reviews added by Big John WV, Zechs_, Jacob Gens, Alaka, Wizo, Jeanne, lights out party, RhYnoECfnW, chirinea, Xoleras, Kyle Bell, Corn Popper, Patrick Bregger, Evil Ryu, Alsy, Tim Janssen, LordFeder, Maner76.