Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin
This page was last modified 2007-01-25 14:44:55 by Puchu.Net user Choco. (Show history)

Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin brings back solid platform game play with new feature to the series by allowing players to control 2 characters on the screen at once.

Go to: [ Game Mechanics and Controls | Good | Bad | Notes ]

Developer Konami
Web site Konami
Platform Nintendo DS
Cost $34.99
ESRB Rating TEEN. With violence, mild language, suggestive themes and blood and gore.

I've played many games from this series before, and remember vividly how much I enjoyed Symphony of the Night. Growing up, 2D platform games made up the majority of the games I played; after playing many recent franchises that have now transitioned into 3D, I realized how much I really missed a good 2D game.

I bought exactly what I was looking for, a game that follows the same open-ended exploration style of Symphony of the Night, a game that does not force me to learn new tricks right away. Yet there are new features to distinguish this one from previous games in the series.

There are playing modes where you can play as alternative characters. Such features offer new challenges and replay value for players who have mastered the normal modes. This game is easy to pick up and play for a short period of time. It's great for people who cannot commit hours playing games.

Game Mechanics and Controls

  • Two-character control take a short while to get used to. At one point in the game you needed to switch controls between the characters quickly to progress, and that segment forced me to learn this game mechanic. This also means that you can play most of this game without using the second character, so perhaps Konami could have included more puzzles that involves this new feature.

Excellent Ideas

  • Portraits that gives extra locations to the game, each with unique theme different from the castle itself. This addes good variety to the enemies you face.
  • Portal stones that will transport you immediately to various locations in the map without having to walk there.
  • The voice effects are really annoying for me, but I can turn "talk" volume all the way down and not hear them.
  • Save points are evenly distributed all over the map. They are usually just few rooms away from portals, the next boss fight or paintings that connect to other zones. This makes the game a lot easier, so that players are not forced to replay too much of the game, should they fail a boss fight.
  • Different weapons are reflected in the animation. Not only the graphics change, the attack speed, the swing path are all different to reflect the characteristics of the weapon in use.


  • Certain items are required to complete quests, but I sold them before picking up the quest. This should be addressed by having the in-game shop carry items player sold.
  • While skills are unlocked through completing training quests, some of them I don't ever use. Evasive moves are not useful when it is often easier to defeat enemies.
  • After "game over" screen, player is returned to the title screen. I guess this is a penalty for dying, but I prefer the game to offer an option of going back to the last saved state.

Other Notes

  • If you buy the preorder package from EBGames, it comes with bonus items include a book that contains art work from previous Castlevania games, music CD collecting various Castlevania themes, a stylus and a cartridge case.


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