5 2D castlevania is the way to go - proven 3 times now.Chrissy0jay | 13/02/2009 | See all Chrissy0jay's reviews (40)Top 100 Reviewer Top 10 Games Reviewer You may have figured by now that I really like these 2D castlevania games, so with great fervour I pre-ordered this upon release, and guess what? I was glued to my DS for 8 hours straight, the time it took me to finish this 24 karat gold piece of gaming.The gameplay is typically 2D castlevania fare. You scramble around the maps, solving the odd platforming puzzle and teabagging the almighty minions of dracula, broken up by the odd (and damn difficult) boss fight. New additions are a map system, where you pick a level from the world map, and the glyph system.The first is an excellent edition, and cuts back on much of the tedious and unneccassary backtracking that plagued "Portrait of Ruin" and its predecessor, "Dawn of Sorrow". The second is an excellent addition. Instead of obtaining new weapons for the same style (i.e. iron spear, long spear, wind spear etc), Shanoa obtains low, medium, and high power versions of weapon 'glyphs'. She can wield a 'glyph' in each hand, and can wield a support glyph on her shoulder. Wielding glyphs in each hand enables you to string together complex combos if wielding two of the same glyph, or unique glyphs allow for strategisation (lance for long range hits, and a sword for close range combat). On top of this, the two glyphs can be combined to use your heart points in "Glyph union", a powerful magic attack that deals lots of damage, but is limited both in the combination (You have to experiment for effective ones) and your available casting points. The support glyph will usually boost Shanoas attack power, call down friendly forces to lend a hand, anything like that really (hence the name).The gameplay is also made a bit more strategic now in that you can only strike a limited number of times before your stamina goes down, and most enemies have resistance to certain glyph types. It forces you to strategise, plan your attacks, and the real beauty is that it prevents "spamming" of bosses, since you make a few strikes then peg it to let your stamina refill for a few seconds.The game looks gorgeous, and as usual the environments are grand and have a medieval watercolour style to them. Enemy graphics and animations are superb as always, and there is less recycled material in this game (PoR I'm looking at you). The music and sounds are top notch, music of particular note is typical gothic rock-electro style of castlevanias past.The real show-stopper is the amazing boss fights, which are stacked with Hit points and can take you down in a few hits. The beauty is that in this game you are forced to learn their attack patterns, choose the best weapon for the situation, and play with your best skills to have any hope of beating them.On top of that, you have multiple endings, a huge map to explore for secret items, and dozens of side-quests to reward you with better armour and weapons.So overall, it doesn't really add much to the beloved castlevania series, but it is another step toward perfection for the 2D castlevania formula. Anyone who enjoys skillful, hardcore old-skool gaming, step right up with your 25 notes and purchase this little beauty - you won't be dissapointed. 9/10Pros:+ Beautiful graphics.+ New layer of strategy to combat.+ Bosses are some of the best in the series yet!+ Plenty of extra features.+ Map system is convenient and welcomed.+ Brilliant soundtrack and voice acting.Cons:- Over too quickly.- Wi-fi features feel like an afterthought.- May be too difficult for newcomers.- A few cases of dodgy collision detection with enemies.