Video Game Review: ‘Castlevania’ lives up to series

“Castlevania” is a veteran franchise in the gaming industry, having started in the same era as “Super Mario Bros.” and “The Legend of Zelda.”

Though not quite as popular as its Nintendo developed peers, the “Castlevania” games have, with a couple of exceptions, consistently played and sold well.

The new Nintendo DS game “Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow,” a direct sequel to the 2003 Game Boy Advance hit “Aria of Sorrow”, looks to keep the series’ legacy alive.

Most of the games in the series have retained the same basic concept: As the hero (in this case, a college student named Soma Cruz), the player must traverse through Dracula’s Castle. Along the way, classic monsters like Frankenstein, as well as original creations, attempt to block the player’s progression.

Along with the story, “Dawn” offers everything fans have come to expect from their “Vania” games. The graphics are filled with detail; the music is as hauntingly beautiful as ever and the game play is, of course, amazingly fun.

Since this is a direct sequel to “Aria,” many of that game’s unique traits have been retained, most notably, the soul capturing system. While battling creatures, occasionally Soma will collect an enemy soul, which can be used to give the player new abilities or increased statistics. This is a great reason to keep playing, even long after the game is beaten.

The collection aspect is actually a lot like Pokemon. The only difference is that cap?turing the soul of a bloodied zombie is infinitely cooler than catching Pikachu ever was.

Another reason to keep playing after beating the game is the unlockables.

The best of which is Boss Rush mode, which is a time trial to see how quickly the player can beat the game’s bosses, one after another.

This mode has been included in the last few “Castlevanias,” but it is really a standout inclusion this time around due to “Dawn’s” excellent boss battles.

The last time this series had bosses this fun was in the Playstation classic “Castlevania: Symphony of the Night,” a game that is widely believed to be one of the best games ever developed.

It would actually be safe to say that “Dawn of Sorrow” is the most memorable “Castlevania” since “Symphony.”

It is hard to find any faults with a game this good.

It’s not only one of the best games in the series, it’s one of the best reasons to own a DS.

Matthew Loriso can be reached at

Journalism operations manager at the University of La Verne. Production manager and business manager of the Campus Times.

Latest Stories

Related articles

Video Game Review: ‘Vanguard’ improves on the foundation of Modern Warfare’

"Call of Duty: Vanguard" is the next entry into the "Call of Duty" franchise. "Vanguard" was developed by Sledgehammer Games, coming on the heels of last year’s "Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War" developed by Treyarch and Raven Software. "Vanguard" has three main game modes to offer: the single player campaign, multiplayer, and zombies.

Students find solace in gaming

As the University of La Verne has hit week seven of its campus-wide shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic, students are stuck at home with more free time to kill than ever before.

Gaming Club faces pandemic challenges

With the University of La Verne shutting down due to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, the La Verne Gaming Club is facing its own set of challenges. 

Video Game Review: New ‘Animal Crossing’ offers immersive fun

“Animal Crossing: New Horizons” for the Nintendo Switch is the newest addition to the Animal Crossing franchise and saying it is fun would be an understatement.