August 18th, 2005, 23:37 Posted By: wraggster
Konami's quickly wrapping up development on the first Castlevania game to hit the Nintendo DS: the official sequel to Aria of Sorrow, Caslevania: Dawn of Sorrow. Though we've had plenty of hands on opportunity, the game that was at Konami's BBQ press event today in San Francisco was near complete, if not already so. Which means the presentation was all wrapped up in a nice little package, and we could finally get a grip on how the game will begin and progress in the final build.
Booting up the game will bring you to the title sequence, which kicks off a very energetic video sequence using the newer, fresher anime art style. This was previewed at the Electronic Entertainment Expo a few months ago in trailer form, but it's been implemented as compressed FMV that plays on the lower screen of the Nintendo DS. If you don't want to watch it you don't have to -- hit start to head right to the Castlevania menu.
The start of the game actually begins in the village before the lead character Soma heads to Dracula's castle to do a little of the ol' undead killing thing. In the village, it's a bit of a training mode to get players familiar with the controls, as well as to give them the opportunity to level up before heading up to the castle. And that's where the familiar Castlevania experience begins.
Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow is a direct successor to the storyline already established in Aria of Sorrow, taking place only a year after the events that unfolded in the original Game Boy Advance title. The visual style and combat techniques are also an extension of Aria of Sorrow, though the character designs have definitely been "anime" updated, especially noticeable during the game's cutscenes with up-close talking heads used to tell the story. The gameplay takes place on the lower screen with the upper screen used to keep track of the player's progress using an always-on map of the castle. Very handy. Of course, players can switch from map to character status to pull up details important to the task at hand. Since the action takes place on the lower screen, the level designers put some touch screen elements to use, including a "magic seal" mechanic where players draw a certain symbol to banish enemies or open locked doors. Or certain rooms where players must chisel away at ice blocks to create platforms in order to proceed deeper into the castle.
Though the game is strictly a 2D affair on the Nintendo DS, it's absolutely gorgeous because the development team throw as many sprite effects at the player as the system can handle. Character and enemy animations are stunning and fluid in motion, and the game design, already a solid playing experience on the GBA, feels tight and responsive on the DS d-pad and button combination.
Konami unveiled details of the multiplayer aspect of Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow at its press event today, and we actually got a hands-on with this mode to understand the direction the development team's taking with the wireless feature. In this Versus mode, players customize an area within the castle by placing specific enemies in their choice of rooms, and then challenge the other player to race through this creation to the other side. The first person to defeat all enemies and reach the goal wins. Players don't interact with each other in this mode. In fact, neither sees the other person in the castle until the very end, where it lists both players' checkpoint time.
You will also eventually be able to play as both Julius Belmont as well as Yoko, each with their own different capabilities in the side-scrolling environment. Which means that there are multiple ways of playing Dawn of Sorrow, even after beating the game as Soma. Also of note: there are several endings to Dawn of Sorrow, some good, some bad. And even if you end the game one way, you might not have beat the game at all -- one ending comes up a mere two hours after the start of the quest…and that's not an ending you'll particularly want to experience.
The Japanese version hits shelves in August, with the North American edition following on October 4th. Hit the media link below for new screenshots and an official trailer straight from Konami's event, and we'll have more on the game as it gets closer to its release date.
For more information and downloads, click here!
There are 0 comments - Join In and Discuss Here