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Castlevania Portrait of Ruin aka Akumajou Dracula: Gallery of Labyrinth

version: usa (incl. pre-order bonus), jp- year: 2006 - developer: konami - publisher: konami - format: nintendo ds, cartridge - condition: mint - rarity: common

Pre-order bonus for the US version: 48-pages artwork book, 20th Anniversary music CD, branded Castlevania DS stylus, Castlevania Timeline poster


The younger-looking but still nice manga design of Portrait of Ruin is glorified in the wonderful hand-drawn intro of the game, but it remains miles away from Ayami Kojima's dark gothic style which launched Symphony of the Night into the stratosphere of 2D goodness.

Review - Introducing a novel two-players hot swap mechanic to the Metroidvania template, Portrait of Ruin manages to feel distinctively different from the slew of Castlevania play-alike 2D sequels released with unmerciful clockwork regularity since Symphony of the Night.

Graphically really well done with detailed and varied locations, the only thing that bothered me were the recycled sprites of some of the enemies which denoted a certain laziness from Konami.

The music though is just excellent as always for this series, while gameplay effectively feels at least somewhat fresh because of your ability to switch partners on the go to use their specific skills. It's also possible to perform combined attacks which is great.

Also, each Portrait grants you access to smaller "castles" to explore so there's a lot of content at hand here.

Bottom line: All in all, the aging Metroidvania template was partially reinvented for this sequel, but if you played all the previous games, you'll invariably feel like you've seen it all. Still a great game in its own right though. 9/10










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