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Author Topic: [ DS ] Castlevania impressions  (Read 3533 times)
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Dimmona
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« on: October 06, 2005, 06:27:57 PM »

Quick impressions after messing around with it for an hour or so:

Plusses:
  • Great graphics for a 2D game - the backgrounds are sharp with tons of depth, the animation is awesome, and there's a ton of special effects going on at any one time.
  • Best music in a DS game I've heard so far... probably not saying much, but it is pretty damn good.
  • Presentation is good so far - you get a nice anime CGI to start out the game, and as a cool touch when you create your save file you get to attach your signature to it using the stylus.
  • The gameplay is pretty similar to previous Castlevanias so far, but that's not a bad thing...

Minuses:
  • The menu navigation buttons seem very inconsistent to me for some reason.  In some menus start is proceed and B is back, in other menus its A/B, and in yet another place its Y/B.  Nitpick, but it was pissing me off....
  • The anime style talking heads are annoying.

Overall, it's shaping up to be a damn fine game....
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« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2005, 07:49:42 PM »

The box art is goofy.

Sorry, I just got back from buying it.
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« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2005, 04:27:00 PM »

This game is god.

And yes, that's one o, not two.
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« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2005, 05:44:20 PM »

So, do you like it? smile

Despite the fact that I have been gaming for nigh on more than 25 years, I have never played any Castelvania game. Would this game be a good starting point, or should I pick up the various GBA games first? (I think the Aria of Sorrow is the prequel to this DS game right?) Should I bother with the NES Classic original Castlevania?
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« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2005, 05:54:32 PM »

Naw, this is as good of a starting place as any.

This game really rocks my nuts...
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« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2005, 06:59:30 PM »

So by combining the comments above, this game is rocking god's nuts?  Wow.

Anyways, picked it up as well, and I am enjoying it very much.  It's fun!  I like the soul collection aspect of it.  I know it's been done with other Castlevania titles, but hey, I'm a "Castlevania N3WB13!!1!1" so the idea is fresh and new to me.

The graphics are nice and fairly clean looking.  Though, in one instance (one of the boss battles) when the Magic Seal part popped up, I saw like random red pixels everywhere.  It was very weird.  But that doesn't hamper the gameplay one bit - just a nit pick.

Anyway, I like the assortment of weapons and abilities Soma can use.  I like throwing cats at things.  It's fun.  Did you know - they have 3 different cat noises?  Yeah, I know - impressive huh!

So I agree with the above statements.  It's rocking my nuts.  And it is god.  Very, very god.
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« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2005, 07:02:52 PM »

Quote from: "depward"
So by combining the comments above, this game is rocking god's nuts?  Wow.

Anyways, picked it up as well, and I am enjoying it very much.  It's fun!  I like the soul collection aspect of it.  I know it's been done with other Castlevania titles, but hey, I'm a "Castlevania N3WB13!!1!1" so the idea is fresh and new to me.

The graphics are nice and fairly clean looking.  Though, in one instance (one of the boss battles) when the Magic Seal part popped up, I saw like random red pixels everywhere.  It was very weird.  But that doesn't hamper the gameplay one bit - just a nit pick.

Anyway, I like the assortment of weapons and abilities Soma can use.  I like throwing cats at things.  It's fun.  Did you know - they have 3 different cat noises?  Yeah, I know - impressive huh!

So I agree with the above statements.  It's rocking my nuts.  And it is god.  Very, very god.


You make me laugh with your warm quivering lap!!!
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« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2005, 08:29:26 PM »

Quote from: "depward"
Anyways, picked it up as well, and I am enjoying it very much.  It's fun!  I like the soul collection aspect of it.  I know it's been done with other Castlevania titles, but hey, I'm a "Castlevania N3WB13!!1!1" so the idea is fresh and new to me.


It may be neat now, but wait until you decide you want to collect them all.  Holy shit, some of them took me an hour just to get one!  Maybe it's easier or the drop rate is increased, but damn...  Must have spent easily half my play time in AoS collecting them all.  Not that I didn't enjoy (almost) every moment of it, but YMMV.  The one thing I noticed, having gone and collected every soul during my playthrough, I was way overpowered by the time I finished it.  Kind of like power-leveling in an RPG.

Sigh, I might go buy a DS tonight for this game...
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« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2005, 09:15:50 PM »

Quote from: "stiffler"
Sigh, I might go buy a DS tonight for this game...


YES!
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« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2005, 09:57:02 PM »

Really, my only gripes about the game so far are in relation to the fact that the DS's music is always going to be worse than full CD audio (like in Symphony of the Night).

That and SOTN had richer colors, and more of them (there's probably a reason for this, someone whip out the specs for the DS color depth vs the PS1 color depth and help me out here).

Otherwise, the game's as good, and in places better, than Symphony of the Night.  So far.  Item vareity, replayability, and overall game length are still unproven (since I'm only a couple hours in).
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« Reply #10 on: October 10, 2005, 06:58:37 PM »

I bought the game today because of everyone's glowing reviews.  I don't have much to say on the gameplay, but the graphics are sweet!  Very impressive I must say.
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« Reply #11 on: October 10, 2005, 10:43:20 PM »

Bought a DS for this game.

The music, while not full-on CD quality, is quite good.  Especially through headphones (hurray for the real headphone jack!).

The button config had given me fits for awhile.  Maybe it's just the new layout of the DS I am not used to, but I swear I end up exiting out of the menus inadvertantly just as often as not.

I hate the Magic Seal stuff.  Ugh.  If I had a third arm to hold the stylus I'd be okay, but for now I put it in my mouth when I fight a boss and grab it real quick when I need it.  I can pull off the easy ones with my finger, but the harder ones are all over the place.

Destroying ice blocks is a neat touch.  Love the map up top and the ability to switch between it and the status screen (with info on the monsters as well as yourself).  This saves me a lot of time.  As does the doppleganger.

Man, there are a TON of extra little things to find and do in this game!

I don't look forward to getting close to the end when I must grind out all the souls.  I didn't start the game with AoS in the GBA slot so I didn't start with the Rare Ring.  Wish I had (that thing cost like 300,000) now, but I'm way too far to start over now.  Hopefully I'll find something similar, but if it costs that much I will scream!

Overall I'm loving this game and find myself drawn to the DS.
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« Reply #12 on: October 10, 2005, 11:32:24 PM »

Quote from: "stiffler"
I hate the Magic Seal stuff.  Ugh.  If I had a third arm to hold the stylus I'd be okay, but for now I put it in my mouth when I fight a boss and grab it real quick when I need it.  I can pull off the easy ones with my finger, but the harder ones are all over the place.

You don't have to worry about the Magic Seals and having the stylus out and ready.  The actual "timer" doesn't start until you actually START to draw the seal.  So keep that stylus tucked away somewhere other than your mouth!

And buy Ouendan   biggrin
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« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2005, 12:13:19 AM »

Quote from: "stiffler"
The button config had given me fits for awhile. Maybe it's just the new layout of the DS I am not used to, but I swear I end up exiting out of the menus inadvertantly just as often as not.

I hate the Magic Seal stuff. Ugh. If I had a third arm to hold the stylus I'd be okay, but for now I put it in my mouth when I fight a boss and grab it real quick when I need it. I can pull off the easy ones with my finger, but the harder ones are all over the place.


You can redefine the controls in the options menu.  I changed them back to the same layout from previous CV GBA games.  

And what dep said re: magic seals.  No rush at all.
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« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2005, 01:09:37 AM »

Thanks for the tips, guys!  I had no idea the seals didn't start until you touch.  As for the buttons...doh!  I'm going to change them and probably be used to the way they were.  It's a no-win situation!

And man, I sure was used to being uber like at the end of AoS.  I have to be more careful since I am still puny, weak, and lacking in power.

Currently at 29.9%
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« Reply #15 on: October 13, 2005, 11:24:46 PM »

So I've finally figured out that you can unlock monsters using those 'Daily news' newspapers you find around the castle, but there's still a few things I'm not quite sure about:

1) Is there any functionality attached to the mirrors?  I see them all over the castle, often in an empty room - surely they do something?

2) What is the giant piano used for?  I assume some sequence of keys will unlock something, but I have yet to see where...
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« Reply #16 on: October 14, 2005, 01:31:31 AM »

I've read about the monsters in the paper but have yet to get one.  I figure you need to do something special.  I think I've seen the bigfoot thing but can't yet coax him out.

The mirrors and piano HAVE to do something!  Maybe we need a special soul?  Don't want to go FAQing quite yet.  Just got the laser and need to remember or find where to use the thing.  That boss took me a lot of tries and many healing potions.  I almost wondered if I had come too far too early.

I am finding souls are not as easy to score in this as the last.  At least it seems that way.  Wish I had 300k for the special ring.  Right now I am doing a lot of wandering around until I stumble upon a "eureka" moment and wonder how I missed it to begin with.

Having a lot of fun with it.  I'm sure there are plenty of little secrets to find here and there.  Still seems like I have a very long way to go as I hover around the 45% mark.
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« Reply #17 on: October 14, 2005, 02:46:49 AM »

I'm trying to avoid a FAQ as much as possible as well.  BTW, one thing that tripped me up for a while was where to go after defeating the guy to get the 'laser' soul (gegorth or something like that).  Let's just say that you need to climb the tower a second time smile
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« Reply #18 on: October 14, 2005, 04:07:16 AM »

I'm having so much fun playing this game.  I'm a Castlevania newbie, but I really like the RPG aspects (such as equipment, gaining souls, and leveling) of it.

I'm not giving it as much time as I should (due to Digital Devil Saga 2 AND having no other time to do/play anything), but it's definately a great game.

I like throwing cats at things.
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« Reply #19 on: October 14, 2005, 06:25:03 PM »

I'm loving this game, but I've run into a killer bug that's been keeping me from making much progress the last few days.

So I'm in the clock tower area of the game, starting out at the save point.  There's a few rooms in the clock tower where these batlike creatures swoop down at you while you try to ride the the moving clock machinery.  The problems it that if the first bat in the room touches me before I get a chance to him him, the game locks up - my character and the enemy gets stuck in an infinite animation loop swinging his weapon (which goes right through the enemy).  I've tried swapping out weapons at this point, having different guardians active, etc. and so far the only way to stop it is to reboot the DS.  It's frustrating because there's at least 3 different rooms so far that have these hard-to-hit creatures, and if I don't kill the first one in the room I pretty much have to restart my game and rescale the damn tower.

That bug aside, I'm still having fun with it - although if I don't get past this bug soon I could see my interest level fading....
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« Reply #20 on: October 14, 2005, 06:37:09 PM »

We'll have a review of this up soon smile
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« Reply #21 on: October 14, 2005, 07:00:58 PM »

Quote from: "Dimmona"
I'm loving this game, but I've run into a killer bug that's been keeping me from making much progress the last few days.

So I'm in the clock tower area of the game, starting out at the save point.  There's a few rooms in the clock tower where these batlike creatures swoop down at you while you try to ride the the moving clock machinery.  The problems it that if the first bat in the room touches me before I get a chance to him him, the game locks up - my character and the enemy gets stuck in an infinite animation loop swinging his weapon (which goes right through the enemy).  I've tried swapping out weapons at this point, having different guardians active, etc. and so far the only way to stop it is to reboot the DS.  It's frustrating because there's at least 3 different rooms so far that have these hard-to-hit creatures, and if I don't kill the first one in the room I pretty much have to restart my game and rescale the damn tower.

That bug aside, I'm still having fun with it - although if I don't get past this bug soon I could see my interest level fading....
Wow, that's bizarre.  I don't think I'm to the clock tower yet, but I'll report in when I get there and let you know if I get the bug too.
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« Reply #22 on: October 15, 2005, 03:15:52 AM »

Dimmona, that isn't a bug its an imp.  That is the way their attack works (by confusing you), just like the medusa head freezes you.  I just got to that part (thanks to your tip on where to go after beating Gergoth!) and ran into them.  I was frozen in my attack animation until hit by a medusa head and righted myself.  I think you can shake the attack off like when you are stoned (shake the d-pad back and forth).  Regardless, it's perfectly normal.  You might find a soul to make you immune later on, can't recall.  They were also in Aria of Sorrow.
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« Reply #23 on: October 15, 2005, 10:59:45 PM »

I dunno - I've tried violently pushing every single button, equipping/unequipping every weapon/soul/etc., and I still get stuck.  Sure, if I get lucky and a medusa head hits me I'll get unstuck, but there's a couple of rooms where there are imps and nothing else.  Guess I'll keep soldiering on....
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« Reply #24 on: October 15, 2005, 11:57:13 PM »

Quote from: "Dimmona"
I dunno - I've tried violently pushing every single button, equipping/unequipping every weapon/soul/etc., and I still get stuck.  Sure, if I get lucky and a medusa head hits me I'll get unstuck, but there's a couple of rooms where there are imps and nothing else.  Guess I'll keep soldiering on....


I ran into this today and it is definitely the power of the creature.  WHat I do to get out of it is press my D-pad back and forth.  Eventually, within about 10 seconds or so, I am freed.  Just for good measure, I hit my attack button as well.
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« Reply #25 on: October 16, 2005, 10:51:10 PM »

Thanks to those that replied - it was the D-pad, and you do have to flail on it for 10+ seconds before going back to normal.  

Man, I love this game.
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« Reply #26 on: October 17, 2005, 01:50:34 AM »

Doing my soul hunting.  I currently have 76.5% of them, with 13 known enemies still lacking their corresponding souls.  I think I'm pretty close to tackling the end but want to try and find secrets via the Peeping Eye and get these lost souls.  I've enjoyed the 12 hours I've put in so far (12:02:31 / 86.8%).  I could use a longer weekend!
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« Reply #27 on: October 17, 2005, 08:40:32 PM »

Well, the game has officually frustrated me to the point where I'm considering not picking it up again.  It mostly comes down to I hate repeating things multiple, multiple times, and this game seems determined to make you do just that.  The main problem is that a lot of creatures hit fairly hard, or have some attack that's difficult to avoid, and there is not way to get back lost health short of using some kind of potion or otherwise purchased item.  

Currently, I just got the double-jump after about a dozen tries, and I'm completely out of health items, and I have no easy way to get back to the shop to stock up.  I'm pretty much down to desperately trying to make it through the same series of rooms without being hit too often, and restarting if I do.  I don't seem to remember the previous Castlevania games having this much of a negative effect on me.

Also, can anyone tell me what the heck the hearts do for me?  The only thing I can imagine them doing is giving you back some magic points, which is even more frustrating, because they regenerate fairly quickly anyway.
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« Reply #28 on: October 17, 2005, 09:19:00 PM »

Hearts recharge mana, yes.

I haven't had anywhere near as hard a time as you.  Have you been keeping your weapon and armor upgraded?  Have you been using the best weapon/armor/accessory combination availible?

How about engaging enemies at a distance with good ranged soul attacks?  There are plenty out there, and are a great alternative to going toe-to-toe with some of the nastier melee enemies.

Remember, Save rooms completely recharge your HP.  You don't even have to save in them -- just walk in, activate, choose not to save.  Bingo, full HP.

Another fantastic source of HP items I've found are Ghouls.  They look like Zombies, but are blue instead of brown/gray.  They drop something called Rotten Meat -- which you either can't eat or which actually hurts you.  However, a Ghoul soul lets you eat unedible stuff!  So farm these for awhile and you'll have a healthy supply of Rotten Meat, and a Ghoul soul that lets you eat it to restore around 200HP!

On an unrelated note:  has anyone else found the strange "Crown" usable item?  I was in the Demon Guest House and sat down in a chair in one of the side rooms, and this 8-bit looking Crown materializes.  So I pick it up, go into my inventory, and it's there under usable items, with the description "5000 Points."  Is this a reference to an older Castlevania?
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« Reply #29 on: October 17, 2005, 09:19:09 PM »

Yes the hearts do act as magic restoration.

I haven't had too much of a hard time at all.  What I suggest is to just level up!  Go to somewhere by a save room, kill some enemies until you're fairly low on health, go into the save room, restore your life/magic to full, and repeat.  I haven't had to do just STRAIGHT leveling yet and I've found the difficulty pretty medium/easy.

But yeah.  Your woes would be corrected if you were to spend some time leveling.  What's your level now?  And maybe find/use a better weapon?
*Edit* BAH LE beat me to it   biggrin   But yeah, I echo exactly what he says.  Rotten meat tastes good with the right soul equipped.  And do have good armor/weapons - that helps a lot.

No clue about that crown thing LE.
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« Reply #30 on: October 18, 2005, 07:04:45 PM »

Little secrets/abnormalities discovered so far:

-the Crown is indeed a reference to old Castlevania games.  It's one of three (known) secret items in the game.

-If you equip the Skeleton Archer support soul and the Aramaic Sniper bullet soul, and then use the Skeleton Archer support, the Aramaic Sniper appears to fire along with you at no additional mana cost.  I wonder if there are any other synergies like that?

-There are many ways to get around various obstacles in the game.  For example, it looks like you need the Hippogryph jump to reach several ledges and items -- well, you don't.  If you do a jump + double jump -> downward kick and hit an enemy or torch, you bounce off it and are able to do another double jump, which is often enough to get those items on ledges just out of reach.

Another example is a pit full of spikes way at the bottom of the castle in the 'Subterranean Hell' zone.  It looks like you need something special to get past, but I've found two methods that seem to be 'workarounds' as opposed to the real solution:

1.)  Turn off the soul that makes you sink in water.  You can float to the edge of the blockade this way.  Turn the soul back on and drop into a space with no spikes.  Then go back into the menu, turn the soul back off, and before you leave the menu, start holding left.  You'll take some damage as you brush against the spikes, but you'll make it under the blockade and be able to float to the other side.

2.)  Get the 'Skeleton Ark' soul.  It summons a litter, carried by skeletons, which carries you around (though this only works on flat ground, as they can only scale the smoothest of slopes.  You can be carried right across the spikes this way.

Other Mysteries:

-In Subterranean Hell, there is one of those carnival games where you hit a see-saw with a weight on the end, and the weight rings a bell at the top if you hit it hard enough.  The only weapon type that is effective against the see-saw is the Club family, any other type makes the weight barely move.  So far, the weight's 'jump' seems to be directly related to what tier of Club you have -- for example, I used the Club on it and got to Bell 1, then I upgraded the Club to 'Morgenstern' via synthesis and was able to get to Bell 2.  There are 4-5 bells.

-Morgenstern, the upgrade to the Club, doesn't show what it'll upgrade into next via synthesis.  There's just a picture of a crown in place of the weapon name, and the attack strength is listed as going down.  It requires the "Bugbear" passive soul to synthesize, which I've yet to even see...

-I feel like there's more to the slide-puzzle in the Demon Guest House than there seems.  I've yet to deduce a 'solution' to it, as it seems like it's more about temporarily moving it to get to a certain place.  And yet, I can't shake the feeling there is one catch-all 'solution' to it, or something secret about it.

-Also in the Demon Guest House, the Piano floor is mysterious.  It's got to do something... right?

-Mirrors seem like they do something, but I don't yet know what.

-What the hell is the Laser-Beam Support Soul for?  I got it from that (very tough) boss, but I don't see it opening any new paths.

-There's an absolutely bizarre room in the bottom of the castle (off of Subterranean Hell, again), where a cannon fires upon entering, and destroys a pillar... but then time stops, the graphics go monochrome, and the cannonball is stuck in midair, unable to destroy the next pillar which blocks access to the rooms beyond.  There's a little indentation of a bipedal bunny rabbit in the undestroyed pillar -- wasn't there a rabbit-like creature in Aria of Sorrow called the Chronomorph or something?  Has anyone seen the Chronomorph, or whatever it's called, in Dawn of Sorrow?

-How do the UMA news letters work, and what purpose do they serve?
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« Reply #31 on: October 18, 2005, 07:40:00 PM »

I could answer many of your questions, but I would consider it spoiling, so I don't want to spoil things for you.  In order to beat the game, you will definitely need to figure out the time stop thing.  With regards to mirrors, that part is optional.  Thanks for reminding me about the bell thing.  I totally forgot about it.

I have beaten the game and gotten the "Lame ending."  I have been grinding zombie souls to get enough money to buy the soul ring and I just did that last night.  (What I do is go in that one room near the vendors with like 5 zombies in it and get my max of 9 of their souls.  I then use them to turn brass knuckles (which you buy at the vendor) into cestusses (cestii?).  Then you seel them for a nice profit.  I did it over and over until I got the 300,000 I needed to buy the ring.  Now, I have been going back and collecting souls I don't have, but I think I will take a break from that and get the other two endings to the game.

This game rules, by the way. smile

Oh, you can also do that spike/water room in Subterranean by using the Bat Company ability to fly to the wall and dropping down.  The nyou equip skeleton ape + puppet master to throw your puppet the exact length needed to get to that other gap.  Then, you jump out of the water and hit the Bat Company ability again.
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-Lord Ebonstone-
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« Reply #32 on: October 18, 2005, 07:53:30 PM »

Ha, I just got Eversing, the best armor in Aria of Sorrow.  It's pretty damn good in Dawn of Sorrow too, but I'm not sure if it's the best or not.
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coopasonic
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« Reply #33 on: October 18, 2005, 08:57:25 PM »

I think you guys are going to get credit for selling a DS + Castlevania. I haven't played a castlevania game since the NES!
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Dimmona
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« Reply #34 on: October 18, 2005, 09:37:49 PM »

Dang, nice tips/observations LE!  I was just trying to figure out how to get through that subterranean portion with the spikes myself (I had assumed my newly acquired bat form would help, but alas that doesn't work in water).

Chaz, another very simple suggestion that helped me to just make sure you're always carrying around the max amount of health potions and don't be afraid to use them.  They are relatively cheap and using warp points its fairly quick to warp to the shop and buy more.

For some reason I've always had an adversion to using health potions in games - I tend to view them as a last ditch item to use when fighting hard bosses and such (maybe it comes from playing Ninja Gaiden?), but now that I'm using them liberally in Castlevania I tend to last much longer smile
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stiffler
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« Reply #35 on: October 18, 2005, 10:31:01 PM »

Quote from: "-Lord Ebonstone-"
Little secrets/abnormalities discovered so far:

-the Crown is indeed a reference to old Castlevania games.  It's one of three (known) secret items in the game.

-How do the UMA news letters work, and what purpose do they serve?


I got the crown thanks to a mention earlier in this thread.  I'm curious to know what the other secret items are.

The puzzle slider room took me forever.  I just tried to make sure I could enter every numbered room (make a list) to clear all the sections out.  Despite the way you choose to line them up they always take you to a specific room based on the number (ie, if 9 is the second block it will still take you all the way to the leftmost room when you go into that block).

Still harvesting souls.  Not many known souls left to get and grinding them has really made my levels go up!  I wonder if the monsters I haven't seen yet are in a seperate, secret area like at the end of AoS.  Most likely as I've got most the castle cleared out (as far as I can tell).

The UMA News just tell you about the different secret creatures you can kill for their souls.  I got two of the three.  One is pretty easy (once you get there) and the other was trial and error because I could always see him, just had to coax him out.

I am really enjoying it.  I am certainly milking it for all its worth going for 100%.

Oh yeah, the bugbear...not exactly as I remember the bugbear from the old D&D days!
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depward
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« Reply #36 on: November 06, 2005, 08:33:08 PM »

Just got done getting the lame ending.  Then went back and got the "good" ending.  I think I got about 65% of all souls and close to around 93% of the map completed.

But man what a fun game.  Put in about 13 hours.  And I'm planning on giving Julius mode and hard mode a shot as well.  Everything fit together nicely.  Being a Castlevania newbie, I liked all of the quite different powers I could equip and use.  I liked the frozen shards (or something like that?) soul where you would throw it on the group and a wave of ice would shoot up.  With about 7 souls on that, it packed a wallop.

I was confused as hell about that monochrome/time stopping place as well.  Then it all cleared up   biggrin

Really great game.  Really enjoyed it!  Might look into possibly grabbing some other Castlevania games.  Which would you all recommend?
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coopasonic
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« Reply #37 on: November 06, 2005, 10:00:05 PM »

Just curious, what level were you guys when you finished? I think I'm at the end now... just wondering. Oh and I bought the DS just to play this and very glad I did. smile
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« Reply #38 on: November 06, 2005, 10:54:30 PM »

Soma, for me, is level 57.  I'm actually at the final boss for the "great" ending or whatever - about 66% of all souls - 98.8% of the map completed.
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stiffler
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« Reply #39 on: November 07, 2005, 02:09:53 AM »

Quote from: "coopasonic"
Just curious, what level were you guys when you finished? I think I'm at the end now... just wondering. Oh and I bought the DS just to play this and very glad I did. smile


I was at level 65 when I finished the game (16:58:04/100%/100%).

I too bought a DS just to play this game. Cool
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