Is That Castlevania in Your Pocket?

Is That Castlevania in Your Pocket?

Yahtzee reminisces on Castlevania's handheld glory days on the Nintendo DS.

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Very fair points on the DS Castlevania titles. The Metroid Series is less expansive and Other M was a disaster even if they remove the Prime series out of the timeline. TheGamingBritShow has done a video on this, just hope he hasn't removed them yet.

Pretty spot-on with this review. It's too bad Lords of Shadow had to go and ruin everything, the Metroidvania genre is seriously under-appreciated in my opinion.

Yeah, the early DS gimmick stuff really sucked, I think the level design itself wasn't as strong in DoS as in AoS though so even without the gimmicks it wouldn't be the superior game. FWIW I did manage to draw all the sigils with my fingernail so I didn't have to use the stylus for those.

Thanks for this.
I heard you talking about Yahtzee using Castevania games as Dark Souls substitute, which got me curious since I find myself in a similar position also looking for games similar Dark Souls.

Now I'm only wondering which podcasts he listens to.

Sill waiting for Julius 1999.

Little stung by this, being that Portrait of Ruin is my favorite game in the series. Otherwise, a nice read. Still waiting for konami to ditch the consoles and start making more metroidvania games for 3DS, and no Mirror of Fate doesn't count. I should also note that many of the series protagonists are were in their late teens or not much older upon their battles with Dracula. Sonia was 17, Julius during the battle of 1999 was 19, Richter was 19, Maria was 12, ect. So Johnathan being 18 isn't that different from the others.

Portrait of Ruin is a sort of running joke among my friends. Yell out "Charlotte!" and someone will yell back "Johnathan!" and the first person will yell out "Charlotte!" and it'll keep going for a minute or so. It gets bad when there's more than three people in the room because when one person quits, someone else usually takes over. What's odd is I've beaten Portrait of Ruin three times now, and I only know that because there are three complete save games on the card. I don't remember any of it besides changing characters.

Konami's corpse is lying in a gutter somewhere, so I don't suspect we'll be getting a new good Castlevania game anytime this decade.

Good to hear you had some fun, with at least some of those games.
I still have Symphony o/t Night on my to do list because of you ;)

Obligatory "I'm just happy to see you"

Interesting reviews, though I get the impression that they're all part of one rejected script of something. Maybe it is time to check out SotN since its on the 360 and Castlevania's become a theme in XP and Let's Drown Out.

I sit with bated breath waiting for the next retro review.

There isn't a single bad one of the Metroidvanias and the fact that Konami has let the series implode is just pathetic what with boring "me-too" entries like the Lords of Shadow games. Seriously, what the HELL happened to Konami to make them so disinterested in making games other than Metal Gear?

Personally, I found Order of Ecclesia to be the best of the DS Castlevanias. It had the most interesting boss battles and a really nice weapon system... and I guess the fact that I'm a sucker for female protagonists may have affected my judgment.

Wasn't Order of Ecclesia made at the time when trying to make the main characters "cool" by removing their emotions was a common thing?

JediMB:
Personally, I found Order of Ecclesia to be the best of the DS Castlevanias. It had the most interesting boss battles and a really nice weapon system... and I guess the fact that I'm a sucker for female protagonists may have affected my judgment.

No, you're spot on with that. It had some of the best mechanics, tough but fair boss fights, an incredible soundtrack and art design (especially for a DS game)...it's easily my favorite too.

Glyphs were (mostly) less clunky than Souls and the ability to combine them to possibly form new attacks or supplement combinations was handled excellently; if anything it was the Soul system taken to its final form.

As for story. I seriously don't care. It's fucking Castlevania; the series whose best known narrative highlight is the "What is a man?" speech.

So as far as I'm concerned, the less intrusive the cliche plot is, the better.

The problem I have with OoE is that it feels kind of stripped down. You're free to use spells and special attacks a lot more often than in the other games, but at the same time there are a lot fewer to chose from. In particular, there's only 3 versions of every weapon type, and 2 stages of every spell. The other DS games shit all over this, especially in the weapons department

Anyways, I'd love to hear your opinion on the Metroid games, Fusion in particular

I wanted to enjoy Order of Ecclesia more than I did, really my thoughts about it are pretty much on par with Yatzee here. It should have scratched that itch but either I was kinda tired of the metroid/vania style at that point or something about it just didn't gel right.

Although that wont stop me from linking this.

I'm also on the "Ecclesia is my favorite DS Castlevania" bandwagon.

I like it because it is very hard, and most "Metroidvanias" Castlevanias (Simon's Quest, Symphony Of the Night, and the GBA/DS ones) tend to be easier than its - for lack of a better term - "classic" Castlevanias counterparts (1, 3, Rondo Of Blood, and the Game Boy ones).

As an avid 8-bit gamer, I find it the harder the better. (insert erection pun here)

The only castlevania games I have played are still the two I own: Circle of the Moon on Game Boy Advance (love the DSS cards mechanic in that) and Curse of Darkness for original x-box. Absolutely love them both.

First was the Castlevanias of the DS (which appears to be the home of the "good" games) and next will be the Metroid games? Now we'll get the other half of "Metroidvania"!
I remember the GBA Castlevanias, particularly Circle of the Moon for being really friggin' dark to see what I'm doing, and the players' complaint about that were so many, Konami brought back the team from Symphony of the Night to brighten up the next one.

Order of Ecclesia was great fun for me, and I even completed it twice to get all the boss medals. (Dracula was kicking my ass so hard that I had to finish it as quickly as possible with the right fusions and Death Ring equipped, and that's how I learned about the "no damage from the boss" challenge.)

I have never really been into Castlevania, but I think I did play Dawn of Sorrow. Didn't get very far though.

I have to say, I was extremely unimpressed with Order of Ecclesia. I was happy for the return to a more traditional Castlevania art-style, but everything else about the game was just insanely boring. I also stopped playing once Dracula's castle - which, while not as large as previous iterations, was still no small map - made it's eventual appearence, and at that point I was kind of ready for the game to just be over. Then there was so much more.

To be perfectly fair, Harmony of Dissonance also lost my interests quickly. I did enjoy Circle of the Moon, after all, it was the reason I got a GBA, but Aria of Sorrow was just fantastic. By Order of Ecclesia, I was tired of Metroidvania titles. Now, after Mirror of Fate, I long to see another one. It's sad when one game can be so terrible it makes you want to be bored again.

I have to say while the first play throughs of each of the SoTN clones were somewhat enjoyable I found them all to be fairly derivative and uninspired for the most part. Order of Ecclesia is the only one that I can distinctly remember things about (areas, bosses, powers, etc) and for me it's definitely the stand out of the SoTN type games.

It's gratifying to hear Dawn of Sorrow might be your favorite if not for the boring art style and the terrible little drawings you have to do to put away a boss. It's my favorite, despite those flaws. Frankly, whether the portraits have five expressions and are a very boring anime-y style or have one expression and is a pretty, detailed drawing doesn't matter that much to me.
Ecclesia didn't disappoint me with its main character(though she's certainly not very likeable), but wit the level design. So many of the small stages are very linear and flat and uninteresting. When I finally entered Dracula's castle and the design got intricate again, I was psyched.

Cool to finally hear your opinion on the DS offerings of Castlevania, feel like I heard you talk about it ages ago on a Let's drown out.

I actually believe Aria of Sorrow was THE best game in the entire Castlevania franchise, primitive GBA graphics aside. It had by far the best plot of the entire series (Dawn of Sorrow was too much of a retread) with the setting and "your character is the reincarnation of Dracula" twist in particular really impressing, the level and boss design was fantastic and the soul drop rate was just right (in DoS, as well as needing to grind multiple copies of a soul to max it out, the drop rate in general was just ABYSMALLY low).

I also still haven't beaten Order of Ecclesia, although in my case I know EXACTLY why- because it's a return to the classic pre-Symphony series tradition of being hard as bollocks and I got a bit frustrated with it, which is death for a game when I have literally dozens of other, easier games clamouring for my attention at the same time. I do intend to go back and finish it sometime.

Arcane Azmadi:
I also still haven't beaten Order of Ecclesia, although in my case I know EXACTLY why- because it's a return to the classic pre-Symphony series tradition of being hard as bollocks and I got a bit frustrated with it, which is death for a game when I have literally dozens of other, easier games clamouring for my attention at the same time.

At least you can grind levels in the previous levels etc. that wasn't an option "in the oldie days".

A few years ago I played Bloodlines with an emulator, and Death made a friggin' Mega Man -style boss rush during the battle. I sooo wished I had a chance to grind my stats up before that fight like in Metroidvanias (SotN's Death is a joke, BTW)... No big surprise I had to use save states to beat the bastard.

MeisterKleister:
Thanks for this.
I heard you talking about Yahtzee using Castevania games as Dark Souls substitute, which got me curious since I find myself in a similar position also looking for games similar Dark Souls.

Now I'm only wondering which podcasts he listens to.

Play Castlevania: Symphony of The Night if you haven't. Its NOT as hard as Dark Souls but the gameplay is kick-ass just like Dark Souls.

It can be a little harder if you play on Luck mode which gives you a high starting Luck but all your other stats are low. Also you'll feel like a bad-ass playing as Alucard even if you don't know much about the character, he controls quite nicely.

I loved all six portable 2d Cv's.
I think I finished Albus mode on Ecclesia, but haven't gone back and finished Hard Mode for Shanoa.

Aiddon:
There isn't a single bad one of the Metroidvanias and the fact that Konami has let the series implode is just pathetic what with boring "me-too" entries like the Lords of Shadow games. Seriously, what the HELL happened to Konami to make them so disinterested in making games other than Metal Gear?

I still don't get why people didn't like Lords of Shadow 1. Obviously it played nothing like a Castlevania game and really had nothing to do with them, but its combat was god damn superb, it had a camera which was extremely good and gave an artistic touch to every scene, and the boss fights were some of the best I've ever seen in a hack and slash, outside the pointless poor mans Shadow of the Colossus fights.

 

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