Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow

July 14, 2008

Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow is probably the closest we’ve come to a true Symphony of the Night sequel, and even surpasses it in a few senses.

Let’s make it absolutely clear just how big a statement that is. There are few bigger SotN fans than me. I purchased a Japanese Sega Saturn off of eBay just to get the Saturn version with Maria as a playable character and the extra dungeons. I’ve contemplated doing a Maria speedrun since I couldn’t find one on Speed Demos Archive.

DoS’s graphics are on par with SotN. They seem to be more subtle and nuanced – the colors in the opening snowy area are great. Probably the most impressive improvement is Alastor’s 3D sword instead of a 2D one. As another plus, oh-my-goodness-I-just-realized-Alucard-is-playable-in-Julius-mode.

The big disappointment is the music – nobody except Guitar Hero has ever gotten anything like CD-quality out of a DoS, and it’s only after hearing this that I fully appreciate the score for SotN. As far as the gameplay, it seems that DoS is really encouraging you to use souls instead of regular weapons, and it just doesn’t have the same appeal to me as slicing through dudes with the Crissaegrim. Finally, unfortunately, Julius, when running, reminds me of Shaggy from Scooby Doo. There’s something about the animation that just isn’t quite right =]