Castlevania: Potrait of Ruin Preview - The Next Level

Game Profile

Nintendo DS
Release date:
Fall 2006

Castlevania: Potrait of Ruin

Update: First screenshots and E3 hands-on impressions.

Preview by (Email)
May 17th 2006

Last Updated: 5/16/06

The Basics: In this world, there are a few things you can count on, and a regular sequel to Konami's renowned Castlevania is pretty high on that list (between death and taxes, I believe). The company has really enjoyed putting the "Metroidvania" style of play through its paces, and the DS is quickly becoming the place to be for those who can't get enough of it.

This newest installment has a pair of heroes once again set on stopping the Count's return. After World War II, those who were left with nothing have united with a pair of vampire sisters bent on bringing the Prince of Darkness back to Earth in order to rebuild society. Out to stop them are the magic-wielding Charlotte Orlean, and someone I thought I'd never see in a Castlevania game again: John Morris. For those shameful souls who don't recognize the name, he was the hero of the only installment of the series released on the Sega Genesis: Bloodlines. Can you tell I'm giddy?

Portrait of Ruin allows players to switch freely between the two heroes as they battle through over 100 different enemies. Complimenting the established gameplay formula is the new Summons system, which lets each character unleash devastating attacks. Several new weapons are available as well, and this latest adventure takes players through several environments new to the series (out of the castle, yay!), testing Charlotte and John's unique abilities as they go.

What do we think? I am very pleased that Konami has finally decided to revisit the Genesis Castlevania game. A fan favorite, it was one of the first in the series to bring the storyline to the 20th century, and it's about time someone gave it a nod. The idea of using the son of Quincy Morris (killed by the Count in Bram Stoker's timeless novel) brings an air of legitimacy that I think the franchise has been losing with the slew of sequels that have been released over the years. Don't misunderstand me; I love the 2D Castlevanias, but the brand was beginning to get a little stale, plot-wise, and it's cool to know that in the absence of Simon Belmont, there is still another classic vampire hunter out there kicking ass.

I'm looking forward to Portrait of Ruin, especially if it continues the magnificent experience that DS owners received with Dawn of Sorrow. Nintendo's little handheld is really a force to be reckoned with, and its fans are about to get another feather to put in their caps this fall. It's a great time to be a portable gamer!

···Kenneth Horowitz

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