The GBA had the privilege of containing three Castlevania games. Konami is bringing over this coveted series to the Nintendo DS with full touch screen and wireless support. Aria of Sorrow, the third Castlevania released for the GBA had players assuming the role of Soma Cruz where he was flung into the future. Strangely, this teenager was forced to venture through Dracula’s castle and put a stop to the mischief that was brewing from within. The biggest addition to AoS was the soul absorb technique. After enemies were defeated, the souls of the fallen could be absorbed and used in combat. This greatly reproduced replay value as every single enemy in the game could be used as a skill for the player. Castlevania DS (the game has yet to receive an official title) takes place one year after the events of AoS. Once again, it is up to Soma Cruz to stop Dracula from being revived by a mysterious cult.
The touch screen support will introduce new and exciting gameplay elements to the Castlevania series. Unlike most other DS games on the market now, the action will take place on the bottom screen while a detailed map and character stats will be placed on the upper screen. The map and character statistics can be switched easily by a single tap of the Select button. As players of AoS on GBA know, collecting all the souls in the game can be time consuming but rewarding. Using the wireless connection, Castlevania DS players will be able to swap souls (and possibly other information) with each other.
Fighting enemies makes innovated use of the touch screen. To fully banish baddies, the player must draw a series of symbols using the stylus. This “Magic Seal” banishment technique also plays both sides. If the player successfully completes the symbol, the enemy will vanish. However, if the symbol is drawn incorrectly, the monster will be revived and must be defeated again. Konami has also confirmed that touching the screen will also play a bigger part throughout the game by creating bridge-like pathways and destroying weak walls.
At quick glance, it seems like a disappointment that the developers decided to stick with the same 2D art style as AoS as opposed to creating a full 3D environment. However, AoS looked fantastic on the GBA with fluid character animation and vivid backgrounds. Castlevania DS far surpasses AoS by adding even more detail within every graphical part of the game. Character models, backgrounds, lighting trickery, particle effects, and even the number of objects on screen all take a backseat to the GBA version. There is no way the GBA could handle the processing power that the DS version showcases. The boss battles and enemies promise to be bigger and smarter than anything in AoS. The music, while still in an early build of the game, has potential of creating a deeper mood with the use of the DS’s stereo speakers.
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