Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow is a 2005 action-adventure game developed and published by Konami. It is part of Konami’s Castlevania video game series and the first Castlevania game released on the Nintendo DS. The game is the sequel to Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow and incorporates many elements from its predecessor. Dawn of Sorrow was commercially successful. It sold more than 15,000 units in its first week in Japan and 164,000 units in the United States during the three months after its initial release.
Dawn of Sorrow continues the story of Aria of Sorrow: Dracula has been defeated, with his powers assumed by his reincarnation, Soma Cruz. With the help of his allies, Soma avoids becoming the new dark lord. A cult forms to bring forth a new one by killing Soma. Soma and his allies move to ensure that does not happen.
Dawn of Sorrow incorporates many features from earlier Castlevania games: the combination of elements from platform games and role-playing video games, the “Tactical Soul” system featured in Aria of Sorrow and a dark, gothic atmosphere. Dawn of Sorrow introduces gameplay elements, like the “Magic Seal” system, which requires the use of the DS stylus to draw a pattern to defeat powerful enemies, a distinctive anime character design, and a multiplayer mode, where two players compete for fastest times on a prerendered level. The game received high scores from many video game publications, and was considered one of the best games on the Nintendo DS for 2005. The game was re-released in Japan in June 2006, and later in North America during 2007 as part of the “Konami the Best” line.
The player controls the onscreen character from a third-person perspective to interact with people, objects, and enemies. Like previous games in the series, and most role-playing video games, characters level up each time they earn a set number of experience points from defeating enemies; each level gained increases the character’s statistics, thus improving their performance in battle. Statistic examples include hit points, the amount of damage a character can receive; magic points, which determine the number of times a character can use magical attacks; strength, the power of a character’s physical attacks; and intelligence, the power of a character’s magical spells. Upon encountering an enemy, the player can use a variety of weapons to attack and defeat the enemy. The weapon choices are largely medieval, including swords, axes, and spears, although handguns and a rocket-propelled grenade are available. These weapons differ in their damage output, their range, and the speed of the attack.
Dawn of Sorrow, like most games in the Castlevania series, is set in a castle, which is divided into various areas. Areas of the castle differ in their composition, including monsters and terrain features. In addition, each area has its own unique piece of theme music which plays while the player is in that area. The character moves around the environment based on the player’s choices; however, the items the player has restricts the areas the character can move into, like most platform games. Progression, however, is not linear, as players are free to explore the parts of the castle they have access to, and can backtrack or move forward as they see fit.