Castlevania: Portrait Of Ruin brings back the award winning action exploration gameplay that has held fans captive for 2 decades! Take control of two heroes, Jonathan Morris, a vampire killer and his close friend Charlotte Orlean, a girl with tremendous magical ability. Amidst the chaos of World War II, two mysterious sisters emerge working to resurrect Dracula and David and Charlotte are all that stand in their way.
Encounter over 100 diverse enemies in your adventure to stop Dracula's resurrection
Summon your partner and execute cooperation attacks to decimate your enemies
Collect items, weapons and magic as you explore the castle
Fight with and against your friends in multiple multi-player modes
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49 of 53 found the following review helpful:
A for effort . . .Dec 10, 2006
By T. Sparks The Castlevania series has undergone its fair share of criticism; i.e., the Metroid-style structure has been done to death, and there simply aren't enough innovations to distinguish the games from each other. The 3D games have been particularly aligned, with poor level structure being the widest complaint.
Portrait of Ruin was Konami's answer to those complaints. While the design of the game has been restructured, the overall execution is somewhat lacking.
For example, the game's protagonists, Jonathan Morris and Charlotte Aulin, must use paintings, much in the style of Super Mario 64, to enter new worlds. Here's where part of the problem lies--there are only five distinct levels (Dracula's Castle, a city overrun with monsters, a dark forest, Egypt, and a twisted circus sideshow.) You can find restructured and more difficult versions of these levels later on in the game, but the overall lack of diversity is disappointing. Instead of offering different versions of the same levels, Konami could have delved into Castlevania's 20-year history to deliver us mountain ranges, or sleepy villages, or haunted docks, or sunken ruins . . . the list goes on, and its rather aggravating to find such a lack of effort in this title.
However, the dual-hero system works well for the game. Sadly, there aren't very many puzzles in which you must rely on your partner--yes, there is a segment in which the two characters ride motorcycles and the player must shift between the two to clear the course--but events like these are few and far between. Most often, the only reason you'll switch to Charlotte is to turn into a frog or an owl, or to cast a specific spell. You'll spend the other 90% of the time as Jonathan.
The difficulty is also somewhat skewed. Most enemies can be ripped through quickly and easily, but boss battles can be intensely difficult, with bosses often using attacks that can drain as much as 200 hit points. Attention to patterns and a plentiful supply of potions are necessary to win the day, and while its refreshing to have boss battles reminiscent of the old-school 8-bit Castlevanias, players who entered the series with Symphony of the Night are in for a rude awakening.
However, the story is top-notch, and follows roughly thirty years after the events of Castlevania: Bloodlines for the Sega Genesis. The characters are well-written, and the player will become genuinely intrigued by their stories and their pasts.
Sounds, as usual, are one of the highlights for the game. The voice-acting is present, but generally minimal, and the melodies and sound effects continue to be haunting.
Enemy design is also one of the game's highest points. The sprites are well-animated, and, in many portions of the game, comical. For example, the Persephone enemy shuffles back and forth with a vacuum cleaner; if Jonathan gets too close, he'll be sucked backwards and get his bottom lodged in the end of the appliance. Charlotte, conversely, will be momentarily inconvenienced as she struggles to prevent her skirt from being blown up. One boss enemy can also seduce Jonathan with one of her attacks, causing him to attack Charlotte.
In conclusion, Portrait of Ruin is a game that belongs in every Castlevania fan's library. It's just not particularly memorable.
Level Design: C
Sound Effects: A
Enemy design: A
Character design: A
11 of 11 found the following review helpful:
Not an experienced playerDec 06, 2007
By Amazon Customer I got this game on the recommendation of my daughter's boyfriend. I had just finished "Legend of Zelda, Phantom Hourglass" (five stars there), and was looking for another game. I enjoy this game because of the puzzles and the ease of use of the characters. It's a bit challenging for me as I'm not very experienced with these things (I'm 47). I would recommend this game, but if you're not very experienced, like myself, be prepared to spend some time on it. 'Course that's not a bad thing either.
8 of 8 found the following review helpful:
It's like Dawn of Sorrow, but with different characters!Dec 11, 2006
By Dewgunner Well, I was actually quite pumped up to play this game, so much so that I went and pre-ordered it at EBgames and managed to get some bonus goodies along with the game. But that's another story altogether. Let's make no bones about it, Portrait of Ruin (POR) is a solid entry to the Castlevania franchise that is definitely going to live up to many fans'expectations. It's the same gaming formula that was introduced in the earlier PS2 hit, Symphony of the Night, and was reused in many of the later sequels.
And that is exactly why, while it is a good game, it doesn't succeed in becoming an excellent game. It's the same tried and true offering with minimal changes. There are a lot of reused character sprites, reused music and even reused plot developments (no real surprise there, a descendent of the Legendary Belmont clan and his partner encounter the evil of Dracula once more as his castle once again casts its menacing shadow across the land. Ho hum). Even some of the game's boss fights are reused from previous outings (I won't mention which one in case it ruins the surprise). In short, the game plays a lot like something you may have played before.
However, that is no reason for anyone to dismiss this game out of hand. The new partner system, while not being groundbreakingly innovative, is a good example of clever game design, opening up multiple choices as to how to dispatch the unholy dead. The level designs, though familiar, are wonderfully crafted and gorgeous to a 2D affecionado (or anybody, for that matter). There's solid action and RPG elements to keep any gamer happy for hours on end (I ended up playing more than 6 hours straight on my first day...even through my class lectures).
Ultimately, the game doesn't really offer anything deviously new and doesn't really tread away from the tried and true Castlevania formula. But if you're looking for a good game that is more than worth your buck, then this is surely one of the games you must get, even if you're not a huge Castlevania fan.
If you're already a fan of the series, then this is another good reason to delve into the world of Castlevania again to fight Dracula another day.
Bottom line: great game, and a good buy, but if you've played a lot of the previous incarnations don't expect anything fabulously different.
8 of 9 found the following review helpful:
More Castlevania on the go? Count me inDec 17, 2006
By N. Durham
It's a safe bet that when Konami creates a Castlevania for a handheld that it's going to be pretty good. Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin is no exception, and while it doesn't do much we haven't seen before in the series, it still manages to pack one heck of a punch. Following up the wonderful Dawn of Sorrow, Portrait of Ruin puts you in the shoes of Jonathan and Charlotte; a whip and magic wielding duo that you play as together throughout the game. This new dynamic adds some spice to the tried but true side scrolling gameplay, which is rich with a horde of weapons, items, and power-ups to find. And, since this is a Castlevania game, it's only natural that the boss battles are nothing short of fantastic and the best parts of the game. The graphics look sharp with superb animation and effects that really show off what the DS is capable of with 2-D graphics. The music and sound is superb as well, and the game offers some decent touch screen capabilities that are more substancial than the ones found in Dawn of Sorrow. If there's any cons to Portrait of Ruin, it's that the level designs don't have that personality that we've seen in previous Castlevania games like Dawn of Sorrow and the GBA titles, but that's not a huge gripe. All in all, Portrait of Ruin is another superb portable Castlevania game, and yet another must own title for the DS.
5 of 5 found the following review helpful:
Konami's done it again.Dec 09, 2006
By extinctinks Portrait of Ruin promised yet another step in the highly acclaimed Symphony of the Night formula of the 20 year old Castlevania franchise, and delivered upon it beautifully.
The familiar physics and engine are there, the designs, music, environments and characters are true to the standard, but PoR doesn't suffer the stagnant repetition that plagues titles in some long-running series. Konami seems to know how to insert certain features to keep the game fresh, while remaining loyal to the precedent. Aria of Sorrow introduced the soul system, which carried over to Dawn of Sorrow, along with an innovative system of drawing seals in order to progress and/or banish boss monsters.
Portrait of Ruin introduces a dual-character feature and miniquests, making it even more RPG-like than its predecessors. Touch screen use is limited, but as the seals in Dawn of Sorrow got frustratingly complex at later stages of the game, this is more a relief than a dissappointment.
I, personally, haven't gotten that far into PoR, but even a short trek into the first stages of this game has been highly entertaining and rewarding, leaving you wanting for nothing but more and more.
Any true Castlevania fan will adore this latest masterpiece in this long-running and strong-running franchise. Even a casual gamer could easily get sucked into this game and appreciate all the things that have made this series as legendary as it has become.