180024b.jpgEver since Symphony of the Night, the Castlevania series has taken a heavy inspiration from Nintendo’s Metroid, particularly the portable entries. Even though they are all cut from similar cloth, the exploration-heavy format manages to keep itself fresh throughout each entry. The first DS entry in the series is no different. Springing from the events in 2003’s Aria of Sorrow, the game stars Soma Cruz, who must take down a cult out to resurrect Dracula. Once again players make use of the soul stealing system, which allows them to gain new attacks by stealing them from enemies. After beating a boss, players must quickly draw a arcane symbol in order to seal its power. If this isn’t done in time, then players must battle the enemy again. While this mechanic seems added in as an afterthought, it’s a fairly decent application of the DS’s touch screen capabilities. By now Castlevania fans will have made their way through this game’s sequel, Portrait of Ruin, so this review is dedicated to newer Castlevania players. This game is another solid entry in a solid franchise, but I long for the day when the series brings back the level-based format of the previous games.