Jan 29, 2009

RISE FROM YOUR GRAVE


The DS really does make it easy for one to pick up and put down a game at their leisure, like a kind of TiVo for gamers. Aside from being portable, the system's suspend function further allows you to stop playing midway through and pickup right where you left off. None of this is new to you if you own one yourself, but it's little touches like this that keep me from putting down a game indefinitely.

One game that I've been playing in my rare moments of free time is Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow. It's an older game (released in 2005), and it doesn't deviate too far from the tried-and-true story of the series:

It's some point in history and Dracula, the Lord of Darkness, (has/is/is threatening to) plunge the world into eternal darkness yet again. Only you, as the latest in the Belmont bloodline and/or someone related to Dracula have the ability to stop him. Before you can, you have to beat the crap out of endless monsters and likely fight Death himself.

Filling in that madlib, Dawn of Sorrow sees you play as Soma Cruz, a man who is technically the latest rebirth of Dracula. Having averted his fate of becoming Dracula in a previous game, Soma's trying to live a peaceful life until some priestess decides she wants to ruin all this and revive the dark lord through Soma. Hilarity Lots of addictive 2D side-scrolling RPG-lite hack-and-slash ensues.

There are several things I think that really make this game stand out:
  • The music is catchy and adds an incredible amount of atmosphere to the gorgeous and engaging scenery.
  • Speaking of graphics, I know this game is only comprised of 2D sprites, but every last motion and interaction they have is fluid and believable. And not just of Soma, either - but the bad guys, from the lowly bats to the baddest bosses. The attention to detail here is phenomenal.
  • The Soul Dominance system is incredibly fun: You can absorb the souls of your enemies, each one of varying types and abilities. Then, you can equip 3 of them at any time to boost your character, leading to some interesting combinations of attacks you can create.
Despite living in the Playstation One era I never got to play Symphony of the Night, considered by many to be the best in the entire Castlevania series. I can't say for certain, but I have to imagine this game comes awfully close. If you have a DS and like to use it for something other than Nintendogs or Brain Age, I highly recommend this game.

I look forward to playing the other two DS Castlevania games.

4 comments:

JM said...

There's just something wonderful about a really gorgeous 2d game with some rudimentary immersion, a great mechanic, and fitting music.

Jon Baker said...

@JM

Seconded. Somewhat related: how is The Crossing coming?

JM said...

Great! I've forgotten how much fun it is to sit and just write code, a statement which deftly pigeon-holes me, might I add. I made a dev-blog and so on, but today I just got put down by someone and I'm not feeling the magic.

I don't know if it'll be "Gorgeous" though, not without help. I semi-beleive that you can just take a long time to do something on a computer and get it right eventually; mistakes count for nothing here.

Game Maker is weird. I like to work in code, and have everything be automated and dynamic (so the player never moves "4", they always move "global.player_speed"). That way, you can mod it, expand it, etc. It's a little harder to do that stuff in Game Maker. A lot of global variable names, like global.health, are reserved for big drag-n-drop code. I resent having to declare "global.GeneralWellBeing".

So ya. It's a fun project for the back burner there. That and berating people on the forums for not RTFM.

Ether said...

You are correct sir! It does come close to rivaling Symphony of the Night!