This whole “Castlevania-thon” thing started taking shape two years ago when I decided to play through all the Castlevania games I own in order of the official timeline. My effort in October 2012 was really only halfhearted, though, as I didn’t put too much effort into actually getting through the games. Still, I managed to complete five of them, including Dracula’s Curse, Adventure Rebirth, the original Castlevania, Simon’s Quest and Harmony of Dissonance. Last year, I charged through Super Castlevania IV (which I wasn’t able to play in 2012), Rondo of Blood, Order of Ecclesia, Circle of the Moon (not canonically part of the timeline, but whatever), Bloodlines, Portrait of Ruin and Aria of Sorrow. Not bad considering that the “metroidvanias” are much longer than the classic linear games. But I didn’t have time last year to finish the final game in the timeline: Dawn of Sorrow.
Well, now it’s finished, and my two-year journey is compete.
It’s been several years since I last played Dawn of Sorrow, but I really enjoyed giving it another run-through. Usually in revisiting these games for the Castlevania-thon, I try to do something I haven’t done before. For example, last year, I played through Order of Ecclesia in Albus Mode. For Dawn of Sorrow, I started a New Game+ on Hard Mode, and that made the game quite challenging in the later areas. Also, I was surprised to see that I had not gotten 100 percent of the souls. I thought I had done that, but I guess I was thinking of Aria of Sorrow. I was only missing three, so it was pretty easy to finish that off.
It’s always really satisfying to play through Koji Igarashi’s Castlevania games. For all the criticism they may get for recycling assets and following the same basic formula, they really are fun, solid games with lots of cool little details. It’s interesting that despite being distinctly different from the classic linear games in many respects, they still feel very much like Castlevania, both in atmosphere and in gameplay. Iga really “got it.”
And now, it begins again. I’ll be moving on to Castlevania: Dracula X on the Wii U Virtual Console. I’ve never played it before, so I’m looking forward to checking it out!