For every gamer that obsesses over 3D things like polygon counts and normal mapping, there's one who's still in a 2D state of mind, unable to shake the beautifully stubborn phantom of pixels past. It's hard to fault those guys, though…especially since games like the all-time great Castlevania: Symphony of The Night is a shining example of quality 2D game design.
Ever since the Castlevania series hit that home console high point the series has moved steadily along, with mixed results; the 3D iterations haven't really been good times, whereas the spirit of the series continued on in three terrific two-dimensional installments on Nintendo's Game Boy Advance. Each of those portable romps seemed to up the ante for the series, with better graphics, gameplay and plot than the last. The third GBA game, Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow, was particularly great; utilizing an addictive and interesting soul-stealing play mechanic, it was arguably the best Castlevania game since Symphony.
Konami, like any self-respecting dev house, is never content to leave well enough alone; thus, when Nintendo released its new DS system, they started a new Castlevania project for the machine. That project, entitled Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow, is a game that takes what Aria of Sorrow started, and pushes it towards the highest heights.
Dawn Of The Undead
Dawn of Sorrow continues the story told in Aria, so the setting is the future, Dracula's as dead as Sisqo's recording career, and the main character is again Soma Cruz, a young man with the power to absorb the souls of the creatures he defeats. The story revolves around an attempt by an evil cult to resurrect Dracula, and Soma's looking to take down the cult before it does. In an effort to cut this cult down before it gets the job done, he travels to their base of operations...which, of course, just so happens to be a perfect replica of Dracula's castle. With the stage set, you know what must be done - explore the castle, destroy all of the monsters inside, defeat the cult's leader, and put an end to the rise of Dracula once and for all.
As in all of the 2D 'Vanias post-Symphony, you'll destroy numerous creatures, earning experience points and increasing in power and level while doing so. Because Soma's not exactly a legendary vampire hunter like those famous Belmonts, he doesn't get to do his best Devo impression and crack that whip; instead, his tools of the zombie-smashing trade include myriad weapons, armors and accessories littered about the castle. When it's time to scrap with the undead, Soma's down with whatever's clever - he's able to use knives, rapiers, guns, axes, swords, polearms/spears, knuckles/gloves, and almost anything else you can think of. Soma can also use the souls he's collected and fuse them with his existing armaments to forge new and more powerful weapons than those he can find or buy.