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[Rated M] Let's 100% Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow! [COMPLETED]

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Old February 6th, 2016 (2:09 AM). Edited July 15th, 2017 by Rainbow Chara X.
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Rainbow Chara X Rainbow Chara X is offline
Impossible to gauge!
     
    Join Date: Nov 2015
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    Age: 22
    Gender: Male
    Nature: Serious
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    Would you look at that, it's a game I actually like and own! Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow is the third of the Gameboy Advance Castlevanias... which doesn't really matter given how none of them are directly connected to each other.

    Aria is the best of the GBA Trio and a fine Metroidvania in its own right, with Metroidvania being a term for a kind of game that utilizes Metroid-like exploration and map design with RPG elements. The trend was born with Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, renowned as one of the best games of all time. (I thought it was great, anyway)

    I would definitely recommend this as an entry game into the series due to it being just right in terms of difficulty. (Circle of the Moon is punishing and Harmony of Dissonance could be broken with a simple well-aimed poke. That bad.) Aria and its DS sequel Dawn of Sorrow have some unique gameplay features that, in my opinion, are hella rad.

    I'll admit. Going from a relatively easy to LP game like Pokemon to a straight-up action RPG like Aria of Sorrow is going to take some getting used to. Then again, this game is much shorter and bearable than something like Snakewood (which, in hindsight, was a hell of a first LP) so that's good. Let's slam jam.

    Chapter #1 - Black Sun
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Spoiler:




    [Current audio in-game: Name Entry]

    I'll start this off by saying that Aria of Sorrow is actually one of my least favorites when it comes to soundtracks in the Castlevania series. It's not bad by any stretch of the imagination, because the soundtrack is still good at giving the appropriate atmosphere. However, there's only a handful of tracks in the game that I really like... so you got me.



    Oh yes, I should probably explain. The Belmonts are a clan of vampire hunters that wield a holy whip called the Vampire Killer. They are one of the constants in the Castlevania mythos along with Dracula and his castle.


    They're primarily the main playable characters in the Classic Castlevanias (aka. stage-to-stage platformers with no RPG elements) with the biggest exception being John Morris and Eric Lecarde in Castlevania: Bloodlines. Aria of Sorrow plays around with these two concepts, but saying any more would probably spoil the game.

    Naming the file "Belmont" does nothing, though. I put it in because I felt uncreative, but in the process I wound up becoming the exposition fairy. How about that.



    [Current audio in-game: Prologue]

    "The year is 2035. Japan. Crowds of spectators are gathering around in anticipation of the first full solar eclipse of the twenty-first century. My name is Soma Cruz, and I am a high school exchange student studying abroad in Japan."

    I should mention that Aria does something interesting with the setting: It takes place in the goddamn future. Other games in the franchise take place in the far past, like in the 1500s and the 1700s. This game is also the most "animesque" of the series, given how we're starting off with a foreign exchange student that's bound to have special magic powers.

    The solar eclipse thing is real, by the way - NASA is predicting it'll happen in 2035 and apparently the game creators got their idea from this.

    Narration: "I live near the Hakuba shrine, an ancient shrine with strong ties to Japanese mythology.Mina Hakuba, the only daughter of the shrine's caretaker, is both my classmate and my only childhood friend."

    ... The only way I can make sense of this is if Soma met Mina in the past and went to Japan because of her or something. I mean, they're both 18.



    "The pitch black sun is holding chaotic darkness together, trying to rouse a sleeping soul as if looking for its missing other half..."

    Soma is oddly poetic with his descriptions sometimes. Then again, he's about that age to be making really flowery prose.



    [A bat flies into the moon, with the shadow of a castle fading in and out]

    ... Oh. This is gonna be one of those days, isn't it.



    [Current audio in-game: Sacred Cave]

    Well then. We're inside a European castle in the middle of Japan. Can't get any better, can it?



    Take a look at that character art. Shame that the next few games don't have the same artist, because Soma (and friends) look absolutely fabulous.

    (Mina): "Hey, looks like he's coming to."

    : "Where am I? Whoa! What...happened?"



    Wow, what an ass.



    At least Soma has the sense to ask questions, unlike some other white-haired teenagers I could name.

    : "It's okay, Soma... His name is Genya Arikado."

    : "Skip the introductions. I have a few questions, and I need answers now."

    : "Go... go ahead..."

    I can't really blame Soma for being intimidated by a man in black with a no-nonsense attitude, especially given how we're in unfamiliar territory.

    : "Why have you come here?"



    : "We're in Dracula's castle."

    what

    : "Huh? Dracula's castle? Are you telling me we are in Europe?"

    : "No. We are inside the solar eclipse."

    HOW?!

    Well, this situation has certainly escalated to say the least.

    : "Inside the eclipse?! You're insane! Do you think I'm a fool?!"

    Soma reacts like any normal person would in this situation, as bizarre as it may be.

    : "Listen to him. He's telling the truth!"

    MINA YOU'RE NOT HELPING

    : "What the heck are you talking about? Give me an explanation!"

    I like this guy already.

    : "Well, it's like..."



    [Current audio in-game: Confrontation]



    HOT DAMN ARIKADO IS A BADASS

    Also, uh... we turned around for one second and suddenly monsters surround us without warning? Man, good thing this guy was around otherwise we would have been brown bread for sure.



    Oh come on. You can't even take out this one, Aluc--I mean, Arikado?

    : "Yaaaaaah! Go back to where you came from!"

    Soma, you cheeseball.



    [A red sphere flies out of the skeleton's body and Soma absorbs it. He lets out an agonized yell]



    Soma just beat up a skeleton in Dracula's Castle in the middle of an eclipse and absorbed the skeleton's soul.

    What a start, huh?



    [Current audio in-game: A Premonition]

    : "So it has awakened."

    : "What? What has?"

    : "The spirit of the creature you killed has just entered your body. You have the power to absorb the abilities of the monsters you kill."

    That's an interesting power to have, actually. This is the main gameplay feature of the Sorrow duology, but I'll explain more after this cutscene.

    : "Wh... why...why would I have that power?"



    : "For what reason?"

    : "Do you not wish to return with your friend to your own world?"

    : "Of course I want to go back."

    : "Go to the master's chamber. Then you will understand everything."

    Okay dude, we get it. We don't need to be told over and over, boss man.

    : "But I can't just leave Mina here like this."



    "But death will most certainly find those who stay here too long."

    : "The... then I..."

    Poor Soma just wanted to go on a date with his obvious girlfriend. Too bad he got cockblocked by the forces of darkness.

    : "Yes, only you can save her from a painful death."

    : "And you, what will you do?"

    : "I too have things I must do within these castle walls. Go set forth! Both your own life and hers are at stake."



    Alright, now that I've got control of Soma, I should show off some of the mechanics in the game.



    Soma is probably one of the most interesting Metroidvania protagonists in the franchise.



    He has the ability to absorb monster souls! They come in four flavors:

    - Red Bullet Souls that serve as projectiles. They can be activated by pressing Up+B, and their damage calculation is based on Strength.

    - Blue Guardian Souls that summon a familiar or do a special attack by pressing R. Their damage calculation is based on Intelligence, strangely enough.

    - Yellow Enchant Souls that either provide a passive boost to Soma's stats or allow him to do certain feats such as dive underwater indefinitely...

    - And finally Gray Ability Souls, mobility upgrades such as double jumping or dashing backwards that can be turned on and off.

    Monster souls are randomly dropped whenever you kill an enemy, and there are some monsters that have very low drop rates. However, there's also plot-related souls and ones that are hanging out in the open for you to take, so don't worry about being stuck.



    The equipment screen is more of your standard fare, but I have serious questions for Soma's equipment.

    First, this 18 year old high school student going to see the eclipse with his girlfriend had a pocket knife with him. I can't be the only person that sees anything wrong with this.

    Secondly, casual clothes?



    Yeah, let's just go with that.



    [Current audio in-game: Castle Corridor]

    Anyway, enough messing around. Let's get this party started.

    Castle Corridor is probably one of my favorite tracks in the game, and how appropriate that it's the first level theme you hear.



    Name: Zombie
    HP: 18
    EXP: 1
    Strength: Darkness
    Weakness: Holy, Weapons
    Drops: Cloth Tunic (common), Baselard (rare)
    Description: "A rotting corpse animated by magic."
    Soul effect (): "Become stronger when poisoned."
    Soma's Thoughts: "I'm not scared of zombies!"

    Oh no, zombies! Bah, they're no real threat though. Just smack them twice and they'll go down in a snap.

    Each new enemy I come across will get a short summary of their stats and what their Soul does if you manage to get it. The Zombie soul reverses the effects of Poison - in this game, Poison reduces all of your stats by a considerable amount but doesn't actually reduce your HP. Since I can only really name one enemy where the zombie soul would be useful, it's just a novelty if I get it.



    The zombies don't just fall over and die, they explode into guts and a shower of blood. It's tipped off with one of the coolest splatter noises I've heard too. (god I must sound sadistic)



    Showing off the Winged Skeleton soul. It's actually pretty good since it hits twice if you get it in the right spot.

    That and it's stronger than our suspicious crummy knife.



    Ah yes, the mysterious candles. See, in the entire Castlevania series, you can break candles and get either hearts (which in this game restore MP) or money if your MP is full.

    I have no idea how you get such things from candles or why we would possibly need money in a place like this, but it's that old Castlevania magic.



    Name: Bat
    HP: 1
    EXP: 1
    Strength: Nothing
    Weakness: Weapons
    Drops: Nothing
    Description: "A bloodsucking bat that lurks in the castle."
    Soul effect (): "Attacks using supersonic waves."
    Soma's Thoughts: "I've never liked bats."

    Bats are the weakest enemy in the entire series and only serve to annoy you. The soul is just as impressive, as it's a small sound wave that surrounds Soma's body. You'd get it once and forget it even existed.



    Hey, an actual weapon! Good thing these are just lying around everywhere for me to take.



    Name: Merman
    HP: 20
    EXP: 2
    Strength: Ice
    Weakness: Weapons, Fire, Curse (It makes enemies move slower)
    Drops: Nothing
    Description: "Lives close to the shore and attacks anything that comes near it."
    Soul effect (): "Fires a water pistol."
    Soma's Thoughts:"Fish-men are real? Just what is going on in this castle?"

    Mermen, like zombies, spawn infinitely. They're just as dangerous, meaning you could walk past them without a second thought. Their soul, on the other hand, is pretty good as it gives Soma an early-game elemental attack. Plus, it looks hilarious due to Soma looking like he spit out a giant loogie.


    ... I'll take it!

    Anyway, see that bronze-like statue with a soul inside it? It's free of charge.



    Many of these souls in statues reference monsters from other games in the series, but let me tell you about backdashing.

    See, you can cancel out your jumping attack animation if you land and do another attack instantly. Backdashing also cancels out the attack animation, which translates into mega damage if you get the rhythm down.


    I've seen TASes of this game where they could annihilate a boss in short order just by using a sword and the attack cancelling thing. It's crazy. Oh, and it's cool looking too.



    What's all this about? The Virgin Mary holding some sort of orange fire...



    Believe it or not, these are our save rooms for the game. Save rooms in the Castlevania series are the most reliable way to restore all of your health and magic, as there aren't usually enough consumable items to go around. They're a godsend (cough) even when I have savestates to back me up.



    Just a heads-up. If you see doors and hallways like these, you're going to transition into an entirely new area.



    [Current audio in-game: Underground Reservoir]

    Have a peek of this place before it's time to actually make progress in here.

    Name: Tiny Devil
    HP: 20
    EXP: 8
    Strength: Darkness
    Weakness: Holy
    Drops: Mind Up (rare)
    Description: "This demon is quite terrifying, despite its small size."
    Soul effect (): "Fires a blade vortex at its foes."
    Soma's Thoughts:"Aww, this little guy looks cu- oh crap, did he just shoot something at me?"

    The Tiny Devil is pretty annoying to hit due to how it zooms across the map, even more so if you don't have an overhead weapon like you probably will for most of the game. Thankfully, they're rather squishy and the soul they have is neat. It shoots three crescent blades, which could be useful for the early game as you won't really have good overhead weapons at this point.



    Name: Skeleton
    HP: 20
    EXP: 3
    Strength: Darkness
    Weakness: Holy
    Drops: Nothing
    Description: "A magically animated human skeleton."
    Soul effect (): "Throws bones."
    Soma's Thoughts:* Resists urge to sing the Spooky Scary Skeletons ditty *

    Look at this dapper fellow. The Skeleton is one of the most common enemies in the entire series and have the most variations, rivaled only by the Armor enemies. They can throw either a nondescript bone or they could pop off their head and throw it at you. If you hit their head while it's in mid air, it has an audible conk sound effect and flies off at mach speed. It's hilarious.

    The soul is simple but effective, as the bone goes up in an arc. It could be nice if you don't have an alternative to get rid of airborne enemies.



    Luck is another curious stat in these games. It helps calculate Soul and item drops, but it doesn't really matter how much you raise your Luck. As it turns out, maximum Luck (99) only leads to a piddly 2.97 percentage increase. (Or something like that)

    Maxed out luck barely increases the drop rate. That's just sad.

    I'll use other stat boosting equipment, thank you.



    Name: Killer Fish
    HP: 25
    EXP: 10
    Strength: Ice
    Weakness: Fire
    Drops: Tasty Meat (rare)
    Description: "A large man-eating fish. Rumored to be quite tasty."
    Soul effect (): "Attacks enemies underwater. Perishes when out of water."
    Soma's Thoughts: "Hey, this actually looks pretty good to eat... I just need a barbecue."

    Killer Fish are deceptively annoying. The only way you could hit them now is by jumping in and out of the water and they're not much of a threat.


    The soul is funny though. If you use it out of water, a tiny Killer Fish appears but goes pbblt and spontaneously combusts.



    Remind me to come back here when I have Double Jump. I'm serious, I forgot this existed on some prior playthroughs of the game.



    How is there a plate of cooked meat in here? Did someone drop it down here? I'm curious as to how it's not soggy...



    Oh well, mine!



    If you press Select, you can bring up the map. This shows the entire castle, not just the area you're in. That 2.9% at the top right is how much we've uncovered, which means we've got a ton of exploring to do.



    Oh, and I got the Skeleton soul on my way back.



    This entire hallway just has Skeletons. See what I mean by common?



    Name: Axe Armor
    HP: 60
    EXP: 10
    Strength: Nothing
    Weakness: Electricity, Stone
    Drops: Leather Plate (common)
    Description: "An armored soldier that wields an axe."
    Soul effect (): "Throws axes at enemies."
    Soma's Thoughts:"... Who's inside the armor?"

    Compared to the other guys, Axe Armors are bodybuilding maniacs. They hit relatively hard and are kind of bulky. They can throw axes that shoot forward and come back in boomerang fashion, so be careful.



    Oh, and this happens when you kill them. Metal.



    If you see a door like this, it's a boss. The design varies throughout the other games, but there should usually be a save room nearby to prepare yourself.



    : "Damn, I timed that."

    Name: Skull Archer
    HP: 42
    EXP: 5
    Strength: Darkness
    Weakness: Holy
    Drops: Nothing
    Description: "A skeleton archer."
    Soul effect (): "Fires enchanted arrows."
    Soma's Thoughts:"I've always feared the day of having to fight archers. Let alone skeleton archers."

    Skull Archers are as simple as their name implies. That said, don't attack them with close-quarter weapons. I'm talking from experience.

    If you use its soul intelligently, it could be useful. Then again, it fires too slowly to be of any real use even if you jam Up+B.

    Anyway, let's go through the boss door.



    : "... What have I gotten myself into?"

    [Current audio in-game: A Formidable Foe Appears]


    : "Oh god!"



    (Backdash in action)

    Name: Creaking Skull
    HP: 240
    EXP: 110
    Strength: Darkness
    Weakness: Holy
    Drops: N/A
    Description: "A giant corpse whose body collapsed under its own weight."
    Soul effect (): "Supports a battle from behind."
    Soma's Thoughts: "How does this thing exist?!"

    Say hello to Creaking Skull, the first boss in the game. It's not hard to dodge his attacks because he leaves himself wide open, but he hits hard. He hits for 58 damage. To compare, Axe Armor only does 17 or so.

    Funnily enough, despite being the first boss you fight, Creaking Skull's soul is one of the most useful in the game. It's a Guardian soul that summons a giant skeleton arm out of your back that can hit as hard as Creaking Skull himself and works in tandem with your own attacks. It's pretty great, but it's a random chance if Creaking Skull drops it.

    I don't think it's a spoiler to say that he reappears later on as a regular enemy, right? Because that's definitely something that happens.



    He can shoot fire out of his mouth somehow, which hits just as hard as the giant bone club that could crush a normal person. Soma is not a normal person.



    Leveling up is not usually accompanied by this blinding flash of light, but it's still cool.

    [Creaking Skull's body falls apart and a glowing orb materializes out of thin air]


    That orb appears every time you kill a boss and heals you back to full. It's nice, especially if you're in the middle of a dangerous area and haven't saved yet.



    Little touches like the map in front of the Save Room are great. It sort of guides you into there without being told anything.



    Anyway, that's enough Castlevania for one night. See you next time for the next chapter!
    __________________

    Check out some of my screenshot LPs!:

    One Offs | Pokemon Snakewood (#1) | Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow (#2) | Pokemon Dark Rising 1 (#3) Final Fantasy Tactics Advance (#4- on hold) | Pokemon Dark Rising 2 (#5) | Pokemon Dark Rising: Order Destroyed (#5.5) | Sailor Moon: Another Story (#6 - current)

    Something that isn't an LP but still might be worth your time: Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Legacy of Hatred
      #2    
    Old February 8th, 2016 (9:33 AM). Edited July 15th, 2017 by Rainbow Chara X.
    Rainbow Chara X's Avatar
    Rainbow Chara X Rainbow Chara X is offline
    Impossible to gauge!
       
      Join Date: Nov 2015
      Location: *cough*
      Age: 22
      Gender: Male
      Nature: Serious
      Posts: 69
      I have no idea what I would have done if I didn't have a hotkey for taking screenshots.

      Chapter #2 - Small Fry
      ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Spoiler:




      Alright, we beat up a giant light blue skeleton the last time we were here. I can imagine if Soma ever got back home, he'd keep his mouth shut about all of this and go on with his life as if nothing happened.



      We get the Bat soul... out of novelty, I guess.



      Name: Peeping Eye
      HP: 38
      EXP: 8
      Strength: Nothing
      Weakness: Nothing
      Drops: Nothing
      Description: "The castle's designated 'watch dog'."
      Soul effect (): "Identifies breakable walls."
      Soma's Thoughts: ("What is this, some sort of scorpion eye thing?")

      Peeping Eye, aside from being a creeper, is ultimately harmless. It's like Dracula's underpaid sentry officer.

      Remember what I said about "some monsters have very low drop rates"? Peeping Eye is one of those monsters and I hate him for it. The soul lets you identify breakable walls, which is nice but Aria of Sorrow has some really obvious breakable walls. The effort doesn't match the reward, sadly.



      To emphasize my point...



      I find it somewhat hilarious that the guy whose soul is "identifies breakable walls" has one right behind him.



      Inside was a Mind Up, which are little red potions that restore your MP by 100. They're nice now, but they're ultimately outclassed in the long run.



      Would you look at that, the Killer Fish has babies. Oh well, that's one more fryer to rev up.



      Remind me to come back here too.



      The primary purpose of going down here was for the Flying Armor soul... because you can't actually progress upward until you get it. Non-indicative? Yes.



      That is one giant moon.... But wait. Aren't we supposed to be in the middle of the eclipse? How... are we seeing the moon?

      Bah, it's Castlevania. They always do some weird **** with the moon in these games.



      Name: Blue Crow
      HP: 25
      EXP: 2
      Strength: Nothing
      Weakness: Weapons, Stone
      Drops: Nothing
      Description: "A blue crow that nibbles on rotting corpses."
      Soul effect (): "Attacks by flying crows at enemies."
      Soma's Thoughts: "It doesn't look that dangerous. Wait, is it eating an arm?!"

      Blue Crows are one of those enemies I would readily describe as "there because they have to be". They're not a threat and their only practical purpose is for you to get their soul.

      Yes, the soul is literally just Soma throwing a Blue Crow in a short distance and having it come back to his hand like if it were a boomerang. It's as strange as it sounds.



      Name: Buer
      HP: 20
      EXP: 6
      Strength: Nothing
      Weakness: Poison
      Drops: Nothing
      Description: "A lion with five legs."
      Soul effect (): "Creates a revolving wall of flame."
      Soma's thoughts: "... Now I've seen everything."

      What the hell is that?

      That, my friends, is a reference to an Ars Goetian demon... who is recreated in full glory here. Yes, that is exactly what Buer looks like. Buer has the following things under his belt: "Teaches natural and moral philosophy, logic, and the virtues of all herbs and plants, is capable of healing all infirmities (especially of men) and bestows good familiars."

      Which definitely explains why Soma stabbing him in the face kills him in one hit - he's a doctor. An evil doctor, but still.



      Anyway, this is why we need the Flying Armor soul.



      Soma even gets a cute little winged armor guy holding him up.



      Name: White Dragon
      HP: 95
      EXP: 20
      Strength: Darkness
      Weakness: Holy
      Drops: Nothing
      Description: "The magically animated remains of a dinosaur."
      Soul effect (): "Increases Constitution by 4."
      Soma's thoughts: "Dinosaurs?! This sure is a weird castle."

      The White Dragon breathes fire and lunges at you, on top of being hard to hit due to how often he zig-zags around. He is technically one of those souls that provide a passive boost to Soma's stats, specifically Constitution.

      Constitution is the "natural" defense of the character (as in, without armor), so getting the soul would be a nice little defense boost. In Aria of Sorrow, the stat boosting souls are split across different enemies. However, in Dawn of Sorrow, all you have to do is collect more of the same monster to increase the effect... which, to be honest, is a lot better.

      The blue potion on the ground there is a Potion that restores 100 HP. Unlike Mind Up, Potions would probably serve you well no matter how far into the game you go.



      Name: Zombie Soldier
      HP: 46
      EXP: 9
      Strength: Darkness
      Weakness: Holy, Weapons, Stone
      Drops: Rotten Meat (common), Combat Knife (rare)
      Description: "Animated corpse of a soldier who marched off to his death 36 years ago."
      Soul effect (): "Throws hand grenades."
      Soma's Thoughts: "Man, poor guy..."

      Well, that's gruesome. Apparently there was a war inside of Dracula's castle, which makes me seriously wonder what the hell even happened that got the government involved.

      The soul is incredible, though. You throw up to three hand grenades that do a tremendous amount of damage, but the catch is that they don't explode on impact or hit flying enemies.



      Name: Ghost
      HP: 10
      EXP: 1
      Strength: Darkness
      Weakness: Holy
      Drops: Nothing
      Description:"A small spirit doomed to wander the castle grounds for all eternity."
      Soul effect (): "Summons a spirit that will fight evil."
      Soma's Thoughts: "It looks surprisingly adorable for a tortured soul."

      The Ghost is just a fodder enemy, but the soul it has is disproportionately great. It summons two spirits that hit for holy damage and track enemies. I question how a creature of darkness and regret shoots light, but it's still amazing because straight out-holy damage is rare and 90% of the enemies are Dark.



      Since we need an upgrade from our Winged Skeleton spear, I went to get the Zombie Soldier soul. * evil cackle *


      Finally, a protective piece of armor.



      Name: Skeleton Knight
      HP: 48
      EXP: 12
      Strength: Darkness
      Weakness: Holy
      Drops: Rapier (rare)
      Description:"The magically animated skeleton of a dead swordsman."
      Soul effect (): "Boosts Strength by 4."
      Soma's Thoughts: "This guy looks like he wants a fight." [rolls up sleeves]

      Skeleton Knight is one of the few enemies that swarmed us back at the entrance, but they're not that hard to beat. You just have to pay attention to what it does, seeing as they're actually proficient with their swords.



      I blew him to high Hell.



      Oooh, if only I had the ability soul to get that armor. This is like staring at 200$ brand name chocolate while you only have 5 dollars.



      Soma gets his face scorched off by this White Dragon... for a measly scarf.



      After what just happened, Soma doesn't need to be warm. Oops, I forgot to equip the Leather Armor.



      I don't like how that Peeping Eye is looking at Soma.



      This is a room I can't do anything about until endgame, surprisingly enough.



      Name: Rock Armor
      HP: 72
      EXP: 24
      Strength: Nothing
      Weakness: Lightning, Stone
      Drops: Hammer (rare), Copper plate (rare)
      Description:"An armored soldier that throws boulders."
      Soul effect (): "Tosses boulders at enemies."
      Soma's Thoughts: "Okay, this guy looks pretty beefy. Or is it a lady? I can't tell with these empty suits."

      The Rock Armor is a roadblock not because it's a threat, but because it takes a fair amount of punishment. The rocks they throw can easily be broken, and the Soul is Skeleton but worse as it can't even go through ceilings and walls. (Like how it would in... real life)



      That katana up there is also end-game material. I think it's silly that Soma can't get it because he's too wimpy to do a pull-up and crawl up to it.

      The room on the right is a save room if you need it.



      These were in the rooms to the bottom left. The Potion is nice and the bag of 500$ makes me jealous of Soma.

      But enough messing around, we have some plot!



      Now that's a face you can trust.

      [Current audio in-game: A Premonition]

      : "Uh, h-hello. Y-you're human, aren't you?"

      I can sort of understand Soma's hesitation here. While we haven't encountered any of the humanoid enemies yet, we're still in the middle of a monster-infested castle.

      : "Relax. My name is Graham. Let's just say... I'm a missionary."

      : "Oh. I'm... Soma. Soma Cruz."

      : "You weren't here in this shrine before, were you? How did you get here?"



      ... Wow. That's some high-class dialogue right there. Never change, you tremendous goofball.

      : "I see..."

      : "Uh, can I ask you a question?"

      : "Go ahead, I don't mind."

      : "Is it true that this is Dracula's castle?"

      : "It most certainly is."

      : "But isn't Dracula's castle in Europe somewhere?"




      I should mention this too - Castlevania is the name of Dracula's Castle, apparently. I know, so creative. It's referred to as a "creature of Chaos that takes many forms", which is why the layout of the castle changes every new game... except for the entrance, strangely enough.

      : "His true castle?"

      : "Yes. It's a well known fact in the underworld. Do you believe in vampires?"

      : "Well, uh, no. I thought the story of Dracula was made up, actually."

      Can you blame him?

      : "No, it's all true. It was leaked to the outside world. Usually, the church handles these things with utmost secrecy..."



      "When people lost faith... and craved chaos and destruction."

      He's not joking. Although Dracula either winds up being brought back prematurely (Dracula is revived every 100 years) or has just woken up.


      Order of Ecclesia is the only game I can note where Dracula has spent enough time building up his power thanks to the absence of a Belmont and he's practically invincible in that one.

      : "So... are you trying to tell me that Dracula has been resurrected?"

      : "No. Dracula perished in 1999. You do know of the prophecy of 1999, don't you?"

      Oh ****, that's a new one.

      : "Nostradamus' great prophecy?"

      : "That's right. Dracula was resurrected exactly as he predicted. But vampire hunters destroyed him completely."




      "The symbol of his demonic power, inside the darkness of an eclipse."

      This is the reason the castle always comes back in every new game despite the fact it crumbles to the ground each time Dracula is defeated.


      Some people figured out killing Dracula isn't enough to stop him and the castle from coming back and went straight for the source, hence why the castle is inside the eclipse now.

      : "And that eclipse is where we are now?"

      : "Yes, but there's still more to the story."

      : "There's more?"

      : "In the year 2035, a new master will come to the castle and he will inherit ALL of Dracula's powers."

      ... Totally trustworthy.

      : "But that's...!"

      : "Yes. That time is now! I better get going... is that all then?"

      : "Oh, yes. Thank you."

      : "Farewell, and be careful."

      : "Yes, you too."




      Well, we'll leave that guy to his own devices.



      For now we have exploration to do!



      [Current audio in-game: Chapel]

      This song is alright, I guess. Dawn of Sorrow had a much better theme for its chapel area.



      This is a good place to grind for Ghosts if you really want to.



      Whoa... I forgot to make a gif of it, but the background moves really fast in-game. Would you believe me that this isn't even the most intense sky background they have?



      It'd be incredibly lucky for someone to find a free dollar bill on the ground. Soma finds 100 bucks just like that.



      Name: Bone Pillar
      HP: 75
      EXP: 9
      Strength: Darkness
      Weakness: Holy
      Drops: Mind Up (rare)
      Description:"The skeletal remains of a dinosaur neck animated by magic."
      Soul effect (): "Radiates flame."
      Soma's Thoughts: "More dinosaurs. Was Dracula a fan of dinosaurs or something?"

      Bone Pillars have been a mainstay of the series ever since the first Castlevania on the NES. In the Metroidvania titles, they're there to impede your progress and shoot fire at you.

      As for the soul, you shoot fire out of your hands. It sounds pretty neat but the downside is that you're stationary, aka. something you don't want in a game where the action is always moving.



      Mind Ups are probably one of the least necessary items in the game thanks to all of the candles with Hearts in them and your naturally regenerating MP.



      Curse you single jump for not allowing me to get these!



      Name: Giant Ghost
      HP: 75
      EXP: 22
      Strength: Darkness
      Weakness: Holy
      Drops: Nothing
      Description: "Transformed into a giant ghost by exposure to the castle's magic."
      Soul effect (): "Provides a protective barrier."
      Soma's Thoughts: "OH GOD DON'T LET IT EAT ME!"

      Behold the Giant Ghost! The poster boy of "looks scary but doesn't do a damn thing". Sure, bumping into him hurts a bit, but he's no real danger.

      His soul is actually really good, though. It envelops Soma's entire body and prevents any projectiles from hitting him. On top of that, it returns the attack as a beam of light which could be very useful if you get swarmed by enemies.

      I go up the stairs instead of down like we're supposed to and look at what I found:



      Name: Durga
      HP: 34
      EXP: 15
      Strength: Darkness
      Weakness: Weapon, Holy, Stone
      Drops: Gym Clothes (rare), Coffee (rare)
      Description: "A monster that feasts on the flesh of its victims."
      Soul effect (): "Throws katanas."
      Soma's Thoughts: "Alright, a scantily clad woman with four arms wielding rapiers. I don't see anything wrong with this."

      Durgas are pushovers even if they can multi-stab you with those four arms. They're based off of the Hindu goddess of victory, destruction, creation and so on, which is cool and all but why is she a monster that works for Dracula? I don't know, man.

      By "throwing katanas", it means throwing giant rapiers. It's actually one of my favorite abilities in the game because they're strong projectiles and I can imagine Soma casually throwing them at enemies without even looking.



      Short, sweet and to the point. The Rapier is faster than the Short Sword too, which is magnificent.



      There's a save room down here - that's how you know there's trouble ahead.



      Name: Une
      HP: 10
      EXP: 10
      Strength: Nothing
      Weakness: Fire
      Drops: Nothing
      Description: "Plant-like monster that assaults its prey with thorn-covered leaves."
      Soul effect (): "Buries land mines throughout its turf."
      Soma's Thoughts: "This is some funky plant..."

      Unes have been a staple monster since Super Castlevania 4 as these annoying little plants... that hit like dump trucks. They do just as much damage as Creaking Skull (if not more) despite how tiny they are. That's the only real notable thing about them, however, because they go down with a simple poke from any weapon.

      Their soul is... situational at best. You can shoot out five Unes at a time and they hit three times per Une, but they cost 20 MP and they're apparently really slow / can't hit flying targets. That's sort of a dealbreaker for me.



      Next boss! What's it going to be?



      [Current boss theme in-game: Confrontation]

      Name: Manticore
      HP: 440
      EXP: 250
      Strength: Nothing
      Weakness: Weapon, Curse, Stone
      Drops: Gladius (rare)
      Description: "A monster with the body of a lion, the wings of a bat and a scorpion's tail."
      Soul effect (): "Transforms into a magical beast that rushes at enemies."
      Soma's Thoughts: "Okay, what would I do if I were a lion tamer? Then again, this is... uh... clearly not a normal lion."

      Hi, kitty.

      But seriously though, Manticore isn't much of a threat. The stinger can poison you, but that only makes the battle last longer more than endanger you. He likes to hop around the area, which is why I'm thankful there's platforms on the sides.



      Much like Creaking Skull, he can fire out a spicy meatball at Soma. Then again, I have grenades and a rapier. Guess who wins?



      Yep, you guessed right. Putting in a game over screen would have been funny, though.



      Dandy. Oh yes, about Manticore's soul - see, there's different Guardian souls that allow Soma to transform into a giant monster to rush at enemies. They're as awesome as the effect entails, but they come at a steep price - 30 MP per second. That's bound to deplete your MP bar immediately.

      They're necessary for entering one bonus area, but aside from that they're just too cool to use.



      There's also these things. They're completely invulnerable to any attack, so they're more to annoy you if you want to get anywhere.



      Silk Robe increases your Intelligence, which is completely useless right now as we have no Guardian souls.

      Although how a robe increases intelligence I'll never know. I get that it's wizard stuff, but that's a bit silly.



      Name: Ghost Dancer
      HP: 25
      EXP: 22
      Strength: Nothing
      Weakness: Nothing
      Drops: Tea (rare)
      Description: "The elegantly dancing ghost of an aristocrat"
      Soul effect (): "Increases Luck by 4."
      Soma's Thoughts: "Aww, they're just dancing."

      Ghost Dancers are probably the best example of a monster that exists to be part of the background. They aren't trying to hurt you and even if you collide with them, it doesn't hurt that much. I think they're an adorable enemy, even if their soul is pretty much useless.



      Name: Quezlcoatl
      HP: 60
      EXP: 42
      Strength: Darkness
      Weakness: Holy
      Drops: Ancient Belt (common)
      Description: "A reincarnation of the ancient snake god."
      Soul effect (): "Increases Constitution by 8."
      Soma's Thoughts: "Okay, the bouncing around thing is getting really annoying, stop."

      Quezalcoatl is an upgraded version of White Dragon that bounces around all over the place. Pleasant. (note: these things can burn in hell)



      Name: Fleaman
      HP: 10
      EXP: 15
      Strength: Nothing
      Weakness: Weapon, Poison, Curse
      Drops: Cloth Tunic (common)
      Description: "Creature that hops around like a flea."
      Soul effect (): "Hops around madly."
      Soma's Thoughts: "Is this a castle or a freak show?"

      Ah, the Fleaman. Usually some of the most annoying enemies in Castlevania due to how they constantly hop around.

      I guess it's payback when you summon your own Fleaman to annoy the other enemies.



      Hot damn, I can't believe I got this!

      See, the Hammer is a rare random drop from Rock Armors and look at how much it increases my attack! The downside of all of this power, though?

      The swing speed is like taping a piece of paper with "hit me" to Soma's forehead. Yeah, that slow. Thank you, but I'd rather stick to my really fast stab-happy sword.



      Name: Zombie Officer
      HP: 150
      EXP: 40
      Strength: Darkness
      Weakness: Weapon, Holy, Stone
      Drops: Combat Knife (rare), Army Jacket (rare)
      Description: "Animated corpse of a lieutenant who marched to his death 36 years ago."
      Soul effect (): "Jumping while taking damage restores health" - which is a damn lie
      Soma's Thoughts: "This guy looks like he crawled out of old Resident Evil or something. What happened to him?!"

      Zombie Officers are a very strange enemy. They're supposed to be the lieutenants of the soldiers that fought alongside the Belmonts in the war of 1999, but what the fresh hell even happened to them? That aside, their beef is legendary among the early enemies and their drops are nice. I want them.

      The soul, on the other hand, is a victim of bad translation. What it really does it let you cancel your knockback animation if you get hit in mid-air and let you fall down immediately.... Not that we ever need such a thing. There's better souls to put in the Enchant slot than that.



      [Current audio in-game: Study]

      Wow, a new area already? Neat.

      This is where Winged Skeletons first pop up outside of the entrance cutscene:

      Name: Winged Skeleton
      HP: 20
      EXP: 3
      Strength: Nothing
      Weakness: Light
      Drops: Spear (rare)
      Description: "A skeleton that has been given wings of bone."
      Soul effect (): "Throws spears."
      Soma's Thoughts: "They look cool, but they're not that tough."


      ^ What it looks like when I try to grind enemies for their souls



      Name: Student Witch
      HP: 80
      EXP: 28
      Strength: Nothing
      Weakness: Weapon, Poison, Stone
      Drops: Mind Up (common), Cream Soda (rare)
      Description: "A witch-in-training. Can sometimes land her broomstick without crashing."
      Soul effect (): "Releases a lethal cat that runs full-speed at enemies."
      Soma's Thoughts: "... Why is she looking at me like if I dumped her or something? Oh no, she's pouting. Definitely a tsundere."

      The Student Witch, while ineffective (again, she's only learning), is a cute little muffin. She flies on her little broomstick and summons cats to maul our face off.

      The soul involves summoning said cats ourselves, so you know what that means. Soma is a magical boy. Yes, I went there.



      When you "kill" Student Witches, they turn into cats themselves and scurry away. See what I mean by adorable?



      As tempted as I am to ram this into some monsters, I'm sticking with the Rapier.



      Another rare item drop?! I wanted the soul, but this is a good substitute. The Gym Clothes are actually better than the Leather Plate somehow, despite not being actual armor.



      Name: Evil Butcher
      HP: 112
      EXP: 30
      Strength: Nothing
      Weakness: Weapon, Poison, Curse
      Drops: Baselard (Common), Spoiled Milk (Rare)
      Description: "Loves to slice things with his well-used butcher knives."
      Soul effect (): "Throws sharpened butcher knives."
      Soma's Thoughts: "This guy looks like he came straight out of a crappy slasher movie. Then again, this is actually happening so it's not just some guy in a costume."

      Evil Butchers are another sturdy monster, much like the horror cliche they're based off of. Their soul is an inferior version of Durga's as they're weaker and don't pass through terrain like Durga's rapiers can. They could serve as a handy replacement to Durga's rapiers if you don't manage to get the latter, but you're probably grinding for Durga anyway.



      This block puzzle will have to wait until I get double-jump.



      Oh, a twofer!

      Name: Arachne
      HP: 100
      EXP: 32
      Strength: Nothing
      Weakness: Weapons
      Drops: Potion (common)
      Description: "This beast appears to be part woman, part spider."
      Soul effect (): "Ensnares enemies using a sticky web."
      Soma's Thoughts: "There are a surprising amount of strange monster women hanging around in this castle. I just hope these spider ladies don't eat me or anything."

      Arachne seem to only appear in this one room, strangely enough. They spit machine-gun webs at you and dash away from you if you hit them - combine that with the Ectoplasms and the Fleamen in the same hall, and it makes for an annoying experience.

      Their soul is pretty much Winged Skeleton but stronger and with a slowdown effect as it traps the enemy with a web.

      --

      Name: Ectoplasm
      HP: 30
      EXP: 15
      Strength: Dark
      Weakness: Light
      Drops: Uncurse Potion (Common)
      Description: "Cotton-like substance that oozes from the corpses of men with regrets."
      Soul effect (): "Immunity to curses."
      Soma's Thoughts: "Ugh... Just looking at this thing gives me chills. It's so unnerving."

      Ectoplasms are different from other fodder enemies in that they can inflict the Curse status on you. Curse completely depletes your MP and disables MP regeneration for a bit, so it's hilarious that their soul renders you immune to curses.



      Name: Catoblepas
      HP: 200
      EXP: 40
      Strength: Nothing
      Weakness: Weapon, Poison, Curse
      Drops: Milk (Common)
      Description: "This ox-like beast's breath turns living things to stone."
      Soul effect (): "Breathes a petrifying cloud into the air."
      Soma's Thoughts: "Is that an armored ox? Why is everything around it turning to stone?"

      Catoblepas is based off of the greek monster of the same name who has the same abilities. They're probably the most durable monster we've encountered yet, on top of having the ability to petrify us. The soul is a petrification version of Bone Pillar's ability, which means it's just as useful.



      This hidden room holds a watermelon slice inside of it, which is actually the second best healing item in the game as it restores 600 HP! I should mention that the highest amount of health I've ever gotten in this game has been at least 1000.

      There's only one Melon in the game, but that's still crazy.



      Look in the background of the save room. Do you see the coffin in the rubble? That's actually a reference to Symphony of the Night - the save rooms in that game involved activating some weird object that turned into a coffin, which made sense seeing as Alucard was part-vamprie.



      In the room outside of the save room, you might see this book. Don't worry, it's not necessary to collect. It's more to give you a hint of what to do later on.

      With that information in tow, let's go onto more plot.



      Oh hey, an actual person!

      : "Y-Yes, but... who are you?"

      Soma is still reeling after getting smacked around by those Student Witches.

      : "Oh, forgive me. I'm Yoko Belnades. I'm a member of the church."

      The church is actually not evil. They're legitimate good guys for most of the series. That, or I'm misremembering. Oh well.

      : "How would a member of the church recognize me?"

      : "You've met Aluca... um, I mean, Genya Arikado right?"

      : "I did meet him, but..."

      : "He told me about you, and asked me to help you if you were in trouble."

      : "Arikado said that? That's hard to believe."

      Ouch.

      : "Well, he may seem cold at first, but he's actually quite a decent guy. He may be looking out for you because you share the same dark powers."



      If I were told my powers were "dark", I'd probably ask this same question too.

      : "Oh, you mean you didn't know that!?"

      : "Uh..."

      : "Oh, no... did I say something... I... well... what's said is said. Essentially, you have the power to rule over and command monsters."

      : "Rule over monsters? I have no desire to do that..."

      Dude, do you realize the absolutely kick-ass power that people would kill to have is a natural ability of yours? You can do anything with it.



      "Although I called it a "dark power" it doesn't mean its evil. It's like a weapon. Its user decides whether to use it for good or evil."

      That's actually pretty smart. Although, to be honest, we should really be glad Soma was the one who got such an ability instead of some evil prick.

      : "Well, when you put it that way, I feel a little bit better. Since I got this power I've began to lose my sense of self."

      : "You are yourself. There's no one else you could be. Don't second guess yourself. Be confident. That's most important."



      Awww. I like Yoko.

      : [Giggle] "I'm not used to being thanked by people. Oh, I forgot to ask you. Have you seen a man named Graham?"

      : "Graham? Yes, I met him earlier."

      : "Be wary of that man. I believe that he will inherit Dracula's powers."



      Soma, if you meet a man with slicked back hair, an immaculate suit and a smile like this:



      DON'T TRUST HIM.

      : "Right, and I've got a bridge to sell you! Don't be fooled by his appearance! He's not who you think he is."

      : "Al... Alright."

      : "Well, I must be going. I've got to find Graham! See you around!"



      Hmmm. Who to trust? A creepy televangelist-looking dude or a hot church chick that is genuinely looking out for us? Hmmmmm.



      Oh, and if you walk back in here, you'll find a Buer waiting for you. Like he pops into existence.



      Name: Minotaur
      HP: 200
      EXP: 60
      Strength: Nothing
      Weakness: Weapon, Poison, Curse
      Drops: Battle Axe (common), Meat Strip (common)
      Description: "This mixture of man and bull possesses superhuman powers."
      Soul effect (): "Increases Strength by 8."
      Soma's Thoughts: "Alright, I'm legitimately intimidated."

      Minotaurs are indeed bodybuilding maniacs. They attack relentlessly and their beef guarantees them at least one shot at you. More Strength is a good thing, though, so getting their Soul could help you a lot.



      The boss door may be there, but let me just get something first.



      ... Okay, what the hell is that?



      oh god that's creepy

      Yes, to enter this demon skull mouth thing, you have to backdash into it.



      Instead of getting eaten, you are instead rewarded with a special sword.



      Yep. This is just as cool as it sounds and it's stronger than the Rapier.



      Oh man, the things we can do with this. Let's go cut **** up.



      [Current boss theme in-game: Confrontation]

      Name: Great Armor
      HP: 650
      EXP: 250
      Strength: Nothing
      Weakness: Lightning
      Drops: Iron Plate (common), Great Sword (rare)
      Description: "A heavily-armed soldier built out of the corpses of great warriors."
      Soul effect (): "Strength is increased by 120%."
      Soma's Thoughts: "To think I could be sitting at home watching my favorite show right now. Instead, I'm going to get crushed by some giant armored monster."

      The Great Armor is tough. It has solid defenses and hits pretty hard even with our new equipment.

      Its soul effect is misleading. It doesn't increase your strength by 120% - it only increases it by 20%, which isn't... a lot... Oh well.



      This is the Great Armor's gimmick - the upper half of its body is guarded by that shield. You have to hit the legs while keeping your distance, which is as fun as it sounds.



      Grenades and the whip sword serve me well, however.



      I should mention the background windows are rapidly glowing red. It's kind of weird.


      Nice.

      He sure messed me up for an otherwise easy boss.


      Hey, another human! That's a new record!

      [Current audio in-game: Hammer Company]



      : "A child? You're rude, grandpa."



      : "Oh, my apologies. My name is Hammer. The army ordered me to come here."

      You are officially one of the best characters yet.

      : "Hi, I'm Soma."

      : "I thought I was inspecting a shrine. But suddenly I was in a castle. Don't ya think that's a mean thing to do to a guy?"



      You should be glad you wound up in Dracula's Castle. At least you have a good excuse.

      : "What do you mean?"

      : "There were a bunch of strange people gathered at the shrine. I thought they'd be good customers, so I opened up a shop."

      : "Ah...good for you..."

      I love how Soma is just brushing this guy off like "yeah, you're a weirdo."

      : "There's weapons all over this castle and no monsters at the front gate."



      Great. We can finally use the money we've been saving up to now! Hammer's Shop has some pretty good stuff too, so I'll be looking forward to that when the time comes.



      Soma is doing surprisingly well after all of the stuff we've seen.



      Double Jump, I've missed you.

      Anyway, that should be it for this chapter. Next time on Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow, we explore more of the castle!
      __________________

      Check out some of my screenshot LPs!:

      One Offs | Pokemon Snakewood (#1) | Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow (#2) | Pokemon Dark Rising 1 (#3) Final Fantasy Tactics Advance (#4- on hold) | Pokemon Dark Rising 2 (#5) | Pokemon Dark Rising: Order Destroyed (#5.5) | Sailor Moon: Another Story (#6 - current)

      Something that isn't an LP but still might be worth your time: Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Legacy of Hatred
        #3    
      Old February 12th, 2016 (12:34 AM). Edited July 15th, 2017 by Rainbow Chara X.
      Rainbow Chara X's Avatar
      Rainbow Chara X Rainbow Chara X is offline
      Impossible to gauge!
         
        Join Date: Nov 2015
        Location: *cough*
        Age: 22
        Gender: Male
        Nature: Serious
        Posts: 69
        Despite all of the ragging I did on the Luck stat, I was blessed by the Random Number Goddess multiple times in this chapter alone. Fancy that.

        Chapter #3 - Fortune Smiles On Me
        ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

        Spoiler:



        I've played this game a million times and I still can't remember how far we're in.



        Regarding the block-pushing "puzzle", going up gets you the Heart Pendant. I'll pass.



        Going down gives you the Broadsword, which is a bit different than the other swords we've gotten.



        It's an overhead weapon. While the broadsword itself isn't that impressive, keep this in mind when we get the ultimate weapon of the game.



        Excellent. Now we can be Dio Brando.

        (fun fact: there actually is a Jojo's Bizarre Adventure reference in both this game and Dawn of Sorrow)



        This was literally the instant I came out of the study

        What is going on


        The Combat Knife is not only a rare drop, but it's really good compared to most of the other stuff we have. Sure, it may be shorter than Soma's arm, but it's strong and fast.

        This will be my default weapon for some time.



        Our first Enchant Soul and it happens to be Ghost Dancer. When I was playing and got this, I brushed it off like "oh whatever it's just luck". But then I realized this was a coded message about all of the phat lewt I would be getting later on.

        Pretty sneaky, game...



        What's happening in this screenshot is that the Unes were sending out more of themselves. I had to stop it immediately before it got stupid, but pay attention to the item we just got. Anti-Venom cure poison, which plays a greater role in this segment due to the boss at the end.

        Yes, the same boss that I would have recommended that you have the Zombie soul for. (increases stats when poisoned)



        Believe it or not, this is your Warp room for the game. All of the Metroidvania titles have these scattered across their levels and they're godsends. It's a really smart idea given how actual Metroid doesn't even have warp points.



        Since there's no other spots we can go, it takes us back to the Castle Corridor.



        OH GOD SOMA NO


        Well, that was a bit intimidating. You can tell you're supposed to come here now-ish given how they throw a Zombie Officer at you... which is really weird, given that this is directly above the fodder zombie hallway at the beginning of the game.

        Speaking of the entrance...



        Hammer really did set up his shop here. We'll check out his wares in a second, but first we have to talk to Mina.



        : "What?"

        : "That man over there..."

        : "Who? You mean Hammer?"



        Hammer? Scary? Please, he's a marshmallow.

        : "No, I think he's a decent guy."

        : "But look at all those weapons he has over there..."

        : "He told me he was opening up his own shop."

        : "Here!? He's opening a shop in this castle? He's weird..."

        : "Yeah, it's pretty strange."

        I just love how we both agree that Hammer is a freaking weirdo.



        A nice little benefit to talking with Mina is that she completely restores your HP and MP somehow. I guess the peace of mind was all Soma needed.



        : "Is this where you've opened your shop?"

        : "Yes, yes, it is. By the way, that cute young lady over there... she's staring at you is she yer friend?"

        Hammer, Soma and Mina already think you're a weirdo so you're not helping your image.

        : "Yeah."



        : "H-Hey, its not like that!"

        : "Don't be shy now, ya hear? It's good to be young! It's a good thing! Alrighty back to business... Take a look around friend!"

        Hammer, your cheeseball tendencies make you one of the best.



        If his larger and more detailed mugshot wasn't enough to tell you that he's serious about his shop, his merchandise upgrades at certain intervals and eventually he'll have a special item that is far more expensive than anything in the entire game, bar none. For now, though, we're just gonna get some Potions and leave.



        If you go directly above Mina and Hammer, you'll find the Lucky Charm which might as well be sold off to Hammer as vendor trash.



        I'm just staring at the oversized moon in the background.



        Name: Killer Doll
        HP: 110
        EXP: 40
        Strength: Nothing
        Weakness: Fire, Stone
        Drops: Nothing
        Description: "A figurine possessed by the soul of a mass murderer."
        Soul effect (): "Mesmerizes the enemy."
        Soma's Thoughts: ("I am positive I've seen this guy from a series of horror movies.")

        Aside from being a reference to Chucky from Child's Play, Killer Doll is a joke in many respects. Its only real attack is slowly lumbering toward you, so getting hit is a non-issue if you're paying attention. Killer Doll absolutely hates Zombie Soldier's grenades, as even one does 90+ damage to it!

        The soul is just bad. It throws a doll that's supposed to stop enemies from attacking you... Problem is, this doesn't even stop enemies from attacking you, so it fails its own purpose. I'm convinced the only useful application the Killer Doll soul has is for achieving 100% soul completion.


        The Cestus is the first of the fist-based weapons, although technically you could take off the weapon you have now and just use your bare hands. That sounds cool but Soma's not meant for bare-hand fighting.

        At least without the souls that give him super punching techniques.



        This is in the room before Creaking Skull, just so you know.



        The Lance is much like the Hammer in that it hits hard but is slow as piss. The Combat Knife is king around here.



        Name: Siren
        HP: 50
        EXP: 20
        Strength: Nothing
        Weakness: Weapons, Poison, Curse
        Drops: Nothing
        Description: "A beast whose beautiful singing voice has the power to mesmerize."
        Soul effect (): "Song casts a spell on enemies."
        Soma's Thoughts: ("To think, outside of this castle, a singing harpie woman would be a big deal. Here she's just another monster.")

        The Siren is as fragile as she looks, so one poke from any weapon of yours could probably kill her. Her soul consists of Soma creating musical notes that fire at enemies, accompanied by him making a funny little noise each time he makes a note. It doesn't do anything aside from straight-out damage, but it's the only Bullet soul in the game that can pass through screens... oddly enough.



        [Current audio in-game: Dance Hall]

        The Dance Hall has what might be my favorite theme in the entire game. It's sinister but playful, on top of being super catchy. It definitely fits the area we're going into, even if said area is the basement of the actual dance hall.



        (Whoa, this guy looks cool.)

        [Current audio in-game: A Premonition]

        : "It is rude to ask questions before introducing yourself."

        Yeah, tell him Soma.

        : "Yes, you're right. I can't give you my name, but people call me J."

        : "People call you "J"? Why hide your real name? Are you a criminal?"

        Soma, sometimes you're as subtle as a sledgehammer.

        : "No. I have amnesia. I'm told that I was in an accident in 1999. When I woke up in the hospital, I had forgotten my name and my past."

        Another amnesiac. Oh joy.

        : "Oh, I see... well my name's Soma."

        : "Your dark power... were you born with it?"

        : "I don't really know. I first noticed it when I entered this castle..."

        "Yes, I definitely noticed I had dark power when I could throw spears out of nowhere."

        : "I see... I guess I was mistaken."



        * snicker *

        : "Call me J. I am filled with fear when I hear the name Dracula. I came here because of the prophecy. I also thought my memory might return in fact, since my arrival, I felt my memory is returning."

        : "And your accident occured in 1999? Maybe Dracula was involved...?"

        : "I fear you are correct... Especially since I have magical powers..."

        : "J, are you an exorcist?"

        If exorcists used whips and threw boomerang crosses, then yes. He's definitely one.



        "I must be going now. I'm sure we'll meet again."

        : "Yes, see ya."

        [J walks offscreen]



        Well, that was interesting. We'll definitely be meeting that guy again, but for now we have more important things to worry about.



        Since Soma can't just crawl, we can't do anything in this room yet.



        That's some high class pixel art. On the right is a save room, by the way.



        You see this painting in the background? That's actually what the game over screen looks like.

        It's hard enough trying to comprehend what's going on in the painting, let alone the meta-ness of it.



        I found this breakable wall by accident thanks to the Durga soul.



        No way.





        Now all we have to do is get that katana Soma was too much of a wimp to get and we'll be complete.



        Name: Waiter Skeleton
        HP: 120
        EXP: 38
        Strength: Darkness
        Weakness: Holy
        Drops: Beef Curry (rare)
        Description: "A skeletal waiter that carries a bowl of delicious curry."
        Soul effect (): "Sling hot curry at its foes."
        Soma's Thoughts: ("Damn, I am really hungry. Maybe I can convince that guy to give me some curry.")

        Yes, Waiter Skeleton attacks you by throwing food at your face. Curry is a running gag in the Castlevania series, and in this game it restores over 800 HP. It could be worth farming the Skeleton Waiter to get the Beef Curry, even if the soul is admittedly not that great outside of the hilarity.



        You've got to be kidding me. That's the Zombie Officer's other drop! There's no way I could have gotten both in one chapter!

        Too bad it had to come after the Samurai Armor, though.



        Mana Prisms are the ultimate Mind Up, as they restore all of your MP. I can imagine it being handy for one situation and that's it.



        Anyway, this is the eponymous dance hall with Ghost Dancers everywhere. One thing I've always wanted to know regarding 2D games like these: Where exactly are we in the foreground? Like I know we're in the dance hall itself, but where are we walking through?

        Bah, that's just me rambling.



        That weapon is the Cutall. Combat Knife already outclasses it, so the only reason you'd get the Cutall is for cash. See what I mean?



        Name: Nemesis
        HP: 170
        EXP: 75
        Strength: Nothing
        Weakness: Nothing
        Drops: Nothing
        Description: "An angel who hunts and slaughters man-beasts."
        Soul effect (): "Cloaking shield makes you invisible before enemies' eyes."
        Soma's Thoughts: ("Oh great, now even the ghost girls are going after me.")

        Nemesis is a variation on invisible enemies that attack via their swords. She occasionally shows her true form when she attacks and when she's defeated, but the point you have to attack is the sword itself. The soul itself is pretty bad as it costs a lot and you'd probably spend your time killing enemies more than running away from them.



        At the bottom of that room is this warp room. That's neat I guess.



        Well, look who it is. Creaking Skull returns as a regular enemy and is not the last. Although with how strong we are now, blitzing past him is easy.



        Name: Wooden Golem
        HP: 250
        EXP: 200
        Strength: Nothing
        Weakness: Fire
        Drops: Grapes (rare)
        Description:"A man-like figure built of wood and animated by magic."
        Soul effect (): "MP recovery rate is increased."
        Soma's Thoughts: ("Who has the time to make these things? They're cool, though.")

        The Wooden Golem is the first of many Golems types, and is particularly notorious for being so damn bulky. More MP regeneration is nice, but having to fight a lot of these guys would probably get on my nerves after a while.

        Oh yeah, and I have to show this off:



        I could watch this all day.

        Seriously though. If you're paying attention to the health numbers, you'll notice it does double damage. That's another reason why fighting these guys would give me a tremendous headache.



        The only thing at the end of this gauntlet was more money, which is... good, right?



        Whoa, hello. This area looks pretty spooky with the mist and the skinned pig meat.



        And would you look at that, I somehow managed to get the Fleaman soul. As tempting as it is to unleash an army of them on these guys, I don't have the MP.



        There's a save room behind us... you might need it for this next bit.



        [All the bosses from now have Confrontation as their theme, barring a few.]

        Name: Big Golem
        HP: 1200
        EXP: 1000
        Strength: Nothing
        Weakness: Nothing
        Drops: Milican's Sword
        Description:"A man-like figure molded out of soil and animated by magic."
        Soul effect (): "Punches enemies."
        Soma's Thoughts: ("This guy is as big as a house! How am I expected to beat him?!")

        Big Golem is arguably the most tedious boss to fight so far. His arm blocks any attack that comes at him, so that leaves me with very little options outside of the Whip Sword and Zombie Soldier's grenades.



        One of his attacks is ralphing up his dinner and another is poking you.

        I should mention: If Soma gets hit with a strong enemy attack and gets flung back, he has a voice clip to go with it:

        (Jyoutou!) - How dare you! or Bring it on!

        Aria of Sorrow (and Dawn) are so animesque that they kept in the original Japanese voice acting (which, for a GBA game, is pretty great).



        After a long, drawn out battle of grenades and an extendable sword, Big Golem finally goes down.

        His soul is Creaking Skull but slightly better as it involves Big Golem shooting a giant ****-you fist at whatever's behind Soma. It's great.



        Our reward is -- what the hell was that? Eh, whatever.



        Soma seriously needed a monster soul to be able to slide. That's kinda pathetic.



        Oh ****, I actually got it to appear.

        Name: Tsuchinoko
        HP: 300
        EXP: 80
        Strength: Nothing
        Weakness: Curse
        Drops: Nothing
        Description: "A mythical snake proven to exist by Soma Cruz in 2035."
        Soul effect (): "Allows you to buy goods at cheaper prices."
        Soma's Thoughts: ("I found a goddamn cryptid. Even if I get out of this castle alive, I'm positive nobody would believe me on this.")

        The Tsuchinoko is a rare enemy in the game that you'll probably never encounter without prior knowledge. You have to constantly re-enter the room to make it appear, and it's a really tough enemy to kill with my current moveset. It can poison you too, so you'd be doing even less damage.

        It'd be very impressive if you could get this guy's soul, as having to pay less money at Hammer's Shop is a godsend.



        The High Potion restores over 400 HP, which is great considering how it becomes a buyable item later on.



        ... You're serious. I've completely bled the Zombie Officer of all of his drops, and I wasn't even trying to do so. That is goddamn amazing.



        My real goal was to get Creaking Skull's soul, however. The Zombie Officers were just window dressing.





        Yeaaaaaah, now we're talking business.

        Now we are the bone brothers. As suggestive as the ability seems, it's not actually coming out of Soma's nads. So be glad for that.

        That's enough of the Dance Hall for now, though.



        [Current audio in-game: Inner Quarters]

        The Inner Quarters have an oddly soothing theme considering that we're in Dracula's Castle. This area is unique as the only enemies you'll encounter here are female (barring three exceptions at least), as if this place was where Dracula kept his harem of monster girls.



        Name: Persephone
        HP: 150
        EXP: 55
        Strength: Nothing
        Weakness: Weapons, Poison
        Drops: Scarf (rare), Strawberry (rare)
        Description: "A demon maid that served a noble master."
        Soul effect (): "Absorbs enemies' HP with a magical item."
        Soma's Thoughts: ("Oh, she looks pretty cute. Why are we fighting again?")

        Persephone is cute. She bows, says hello (in Japanese)... and pops a ****ing roundhouse kick in Soma's jaw! Yes, she is ninja maid. Persephone is best enemy.

        Her soul summons an evil vacuum cleaner that steals health for you, so that's good too.



        I came in here expecting treasure. I instead got a high heel to the face.



        Name: Chronomage
        HP: 80
        EXP: 30
        Strength: Nothing
        Weakness: Nothing
        Drops: Pudding (common)
        Description:"Rabbit that uses a clock to stop time. Strict in regards to tardiness."
        Soul effect (): "Ability to stop time."
        Soma's Thoughts: ("Why does everything around here look so cute? Wait... haven't I seen this thing before? I should not have this much deja vu already.")

        Chronomage is an interesting enemy. His time stopping ability prevents him from being harmed by anything, and he throws us out of the room he's in if we get close. Not even throwing a Durga rapier offscreen would escape his notice.

        As such, we can't do anything with him unless we suddenly get the power to control time ourselves. But that's just crazy.



        We're reaching the boss room, so I should note that there's a save room behind Soma.



        [Current boss theme: Confrontation]

        .... Oh no, what are we getting ourselves into now?



        "I will add you to my collection." (she says this in Japanese)

        Name: Headhunter
        HP: 700
        EXP: 3000
        Strength: Dark
        Weakness: Weapon
        Drops: N/A
        Description: "This demon collects the severed heads of their victims.."
        Soul effect (): "Collect souls to increase strength."
        Soma's Thoughts: ("Okay, I'll admit. This is incredibly disturbing.")

        The Headhunter is a very interesting boss. There's a ton of heads in the background (of all ages... ew), but the ones we have to focus on are the ones in the middle. The female head is arguably the easiest of the three as she doesn't have a real strategy aside from jabbing at Soma's jugular with a knife.

        This boss is a reference to a character from Return to Oz, head-collecting and all. Apparently people in Japan really liked that movie and that's the reason why Headhunter is even in the game at all. I dunno.



        Like so. If you attack her directly, she goes back and yells (odore!) - "Dance!"... which I find adorable for some reason.

        Also, looking at the sprites, she's hella tall. Soma just barely reaches up to her chest, and I'm positive he's like 5'8 (or around that range).



        Damn, that was a perfect shot! It doesn't matter what you use to finish off Headhunter's first stage, but I just had to throw that in.



        "Not yet...!"

        Now it's time for the old wizard phase.



        He has two attacks: A fire lizard attack and a thunderbolt spell. Poor Soma always becomes the punching bag in these scenarios.

        The most annoying thing about this form is that Headhunter zigzags around the room, which makes hitting them a pleasant experience.



        Now onto the final phase of the fight.



        Headhunter's true form: this lizard monster. She is at her worst here, as the lizard form is easily one of the most agile enemies in the game. She can cling to the walls and the ceiling almost instantly and makes leaps across the room with ease.



        She has a Yoshi tongue and poison breath on top of all this. If you notice my health in the two screenshots, you'll see that I got my ass whupped. Headhunter is definitely not messing around, and while I should have played a bit better, she's still really annoying to deal with.



        Durga soul, I love you.

        I was poisoned, so my attacks weren't doing a lot. Not only that, I only had enough MP to shoot one rapier. When I saw this happen, my jaw dropped to the ground. Like hot damn.



        With that, Headhunter has been slain once and for all. The heads burn away along with her... for some reason, and we get our prize.



        (note: bosses that aren't regular enemies later on will give you their soul 100% of the time)

        Headhunter is a boss that has a lot of style and substance. The soul is the best example of this, as it could potentially be the most broken stat-booster in the entire game. It boosts every stat (excluding Luck because who cares about Luck) by 1 for every sixteen souls and caps at +32 for each stat. To compare, even the most powerful individual stat boosting Enchant Souls are +18.

        That's some killdozer level ****.



        We end the same way we started: In a save room.

        Next time on Aria of Sorrow, we'll tackle more Castle, more danger and more cute monster girls. See you later.
        __________________

        Check out some of my screenshot LPs!:

        One Offs | Pokemon Snakewood (#1) | Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow (#2) | Pokemon Dark Rising 1 (#3) Final Fantasy Tactics Advance (#4- on hold) | Pokemon Dark Rising 2 (#5) | Pokemon Dark Rising: Order Destroyed (#5.5) | Sailor Moon: Another Story (#6 - current)

        Something that isn't an LP but still might be worth your time: Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Legacy of Hatred
          #4    
        Old February 14th, 2016 (1:45 PM).
        Judge Mandolore Shepard's Avatar
        Judge Mandolore Shepard Judge Mandolore Shepard is offline
        Spectre Agent
         
        Join Date: Mar 2014
        Location: Marysville, Washington State, United States
        Age: 30
        Gender: Male
        Nature: Serious
        Posts: 9,433
        As a fan of the Castlevania series, I am really enjoying this walkthrough. I am certainly looking forward to the next part.
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        OSO STRONG

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          #5    
        Old February 16th, 2016 (9:22 PM). Edited July 15th, 2017 by Rainbow Chara X.
        Rainbow Chara X's Avatar
        Rainbow Chara X Rainbow Chara X is offline
        Impossible to gauge!
           
          Join Date: Nov 2015
          Location: *cough*
          Age: 22
          Gender: Male
          Nature: Serious
          Posts: 69
          Hey! Thanks for tuning in.

          I sort of figured the game being so generous would lead up to something bad.

          Chapter #4 - Death, Destroyer of Worlds
          ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

          Spoiler:



          Let's get to the point.



          Name: Witch
          HP: 180
          EXP: 75
          Strength: Fire
          Weakness: Weapons, Poison, Stone
          Drops: Melon (common), Gabolg (rare)
          Description: "She is so thrilled to become a witch."
          Soul effect (): "Repels bullets with shield."
          Soma's Thoughts: ("... I can't stop looking.")

          Would you look at that, it's a full-grown Witch. They're a fair amount tougher than their younger counterparts, but still not enough to be a threat.



          They can summon a shield to protect them from frontal attacks along with a giant fireball.

          That, and their pixellated breasts jump up and down. God damn you, Konami.



          ... That was the first try. This is even better luck than the last episode.

          The Witch soul summons a barrier in front of you that returns projectiles as beams of light. It's great and inexpensive (3 MP per second). I also really need it for what we're going to fight ahead.



          Name: Curly (should be Kali)
          HP: 90
          EXP: 67
          Strength: Dark
          Weakness: Weapon, Poison, Stone
          Drops: Skull Necklace (common), Flame Necklace (rare)
          Description: "A demon that uses all four of its arms to smash things."
          Soul effect (): "Transforms into a demon that rushes at enemies."
          Soma's Thoughts: ("This lady looks a lot like Durga. I'm not imagining this, right?")

          Ah yes, that's one thing I forgot to mention about the Castlevania series: It absolutely loves recycling old enemies with a fresh coat of paint. There's not much Curly can do differently than Durga, but her soul is a different beast altogether.

          She's one of the "transform into a giant monster" souls. The too-cool-to-use ones. I'll definitely be coming back to get her later.



          Oh my god, look at that background.

          This... is in the same area, right?



          Name: Valkyrie
          HP: 55
          EXP: 80
          Strength: Light
          Weakness: Weapons, Dark, Curse, Poison
          Drops: Partizan (rare), Iron Plate (common)
          Description: "A female warrior with a pretty face and a wicked heart."
          Soul effect (): "Slashes enemies with its sword."
          Soma's Thoughts: ("Angels?! How did Dracula get ANGELS on his side?!")

          Valkyries have one of the best souls in the game. It has a giant area of effect and hits for holy damage to the point where it outclasses everything we have. Alas, trying to get the soul is an issue because Valkryies are really stubborn.



          Wow, you're serious. The Partizan is stronger than anything we have, but it has the same problems as the Lance.



          REALLY?!

          You're so nice, game.



          Name: Disc Armor
          HP: 240
          EXP: 150
          Strength: Nothing
          Weakness: Electricity, Stone
          Drops: Iron Plate (common)
          Description: "An armored soldier possessing spinning razor-sharp discs."
          Soul effect (): "Shreds enemies to bits with a spinning disc."
          Soma's Thoughts: ("Alright, giant bladed yo-yos. This is certainly something that's okay.")

          The Disc Armors are annoying. They shoot out their "disc" in a swooping motion over your head, and they can take some punishment before they go down. The soul is actually pretty neat because the disc Soma summons goes pretty far.

          However, now that we have the Curly soul...







          At the top of the tower is Undine's soul. This and Double Jump will allow us to get to places we couldn't before.

          [A distant yell echoes in Soma's head]

          : "... What the hell was that? Oh well, I'd better keep going."



          On the left tower is the Hrunting sword, our new weapon of choice until we get something that's even better. It can poison and has a really cool slashing effect - like if the sword is covered with thick purple miasma.





          It's official: This game is now brown bread.



          ... Uh, hello?



          Jesus, that was close.

          Name: Kyoma Demon
          HP: 220
          EXP: 60
          Strength: Dark
          Weakness: Holy
          Drops: Nothing
          Description: "This demon leaps out of mirrors and attacks his prey."
          Soul effect (): "Temporary invincibility."
          Soma's Thoughts: ("You know... given how there's so many monster girls around here, I can't help but think this guy is the local creeper.")

          The Kyoma Demon is a neat enemy. He hides in mirrors and jumps out to gut you, which is kind of frightening when you think about it. His soul sounds great, but it's really not: Temporary invincibility for 80 MP a pop, and it doesn't even last more than a few seconds.


          Valkyrie soul in action. Notice how it nearly does double Kyoma Demon's health.



          Soma is now our lord and savior Jesus Christ.



          Name: Imp
          HP: 52
          EXP: 60
          Strength: Dark
          Weakness: Holy, Stone
          Drops: Nothing
          Description: "A tiny demon who loves mischief."
          Soul effect (): "Summons "Imp" the familiar."
          Soma's Thoughts: ("I've already learned my lesson with these little guys. I don't want any more near me.")

          The Imp is annoyance made into physical form. It doesn't hurt you, but instead it tries to possess you. It'll make Soma keep attacking or make him run in a specific direction just to mess with you, but one hit should kill it. Summoning familiars is a neat idea, but not really worth it considering we already have stuff that's stupidly overpowered.



          Name: Lilith
          HP: 220
          EXP: 60
          Strength: Dark
          Weakness: Weapon
          Drops: Pendant (rare)
          Description: "Sucks away your soul as you dream. Appears as a beautiful woman."
          Soul effect (): "Increases intelligence by 8."
          Soma's Thoughts: ("Whoa! Hello! Full frontal assault, much?")

          Lilith is a doozy. She can curse you by blowing a kiss, and can dash forward to jab you in the neck.

          And yes, she is completely naked. It's a very good thing the pixel art isn't detailed, otherwise this would definitely have turned into an M-rated game. Intelligence is cool, but it's her pallate swap counterpart I'm more interested in...



          [Current audio in-game: Top Floor]

          ... No way. We can't be at the end already!



          Oh. You got me for a minute there, game.

          Well, now that we're back in the Castle Corridor, we should go put the Undine soul to use.



          It makes you think: If Soma needed both Double Jump and the Undine soul to even reach this part, how were people meant to get up to it normally?

          ... Then again, this is the castle that always changes.



          [Current audio in-game: Floating Gardens]

          The names for area songs in this game never cease to amaze me. Anyway, the Floating Gardens have a nice theme - it's not great, but I like it.



          Name: Cockatrice
          HP: 380
          EXP: 120
          Strength: Nothing
          Weakness: Weapon, Curse
          Drops: Potion (common)
          Description: "One glare from this bird-like beast will turn you to stone."
          Soul effect (): "Fires a beam of petrification."
          Soma's Thoughts: (* Is holding back making a really immature joke*)

          The whole "petrification beam" thing sounds cool, but when you use it it aims at an almost 70 degree turn downward. It's practically useless.

          Cockatrices are big and fat enough to stop you from progressing, and the whole petrification thing is always fun.



          Name: Dead Warrior
          HP: 110
          EXP: 100
          Strength: Dark
          Weakness: Holy
          Drops: Samurai Armor (rare)
          Description: "The horse-riding ghost of a dead samurai warrior."
          Soul effect (): "Deflect normal attacks by pressing Up + B."
          Soma's Thoughts: ("Whoa, I sort of want to know what this guy's story is about.")

          Dead Warriors are simple - they go back and forth on their horses and wave their little naginatas around. The soul is another victim of bad translation, as it actually allows you to interrupt your attack animation with a Bullet soul. Since the only practical application this would have would be with slow weapons like Hammers and Lances, I'd rather not.



          Name: Red Crow
          HP: 70
          EXP: 44
          Strength: Nothing
          Weakness: Weapons, Stone
          Drops: Nothing
          Description: "A vicious crow dyed red by the splattered blood of wounded men."
          Soul effect (): "Increases Intelligence by 4."
          Soma's Thoughts: ("Wow, these guys smell awful.")

          Red Crow is Blue Crow's older brother, and isn't much more impressive. Moving on...



          ... Guys, that's another first encounter soul. But what the hell, I'm not complaining.



          Save room just in case you needed it. (then again, playing along would mean you actually have to own the game too!)



          Oh nice. How appropriate, considering we're going to enter one of the least straight-forward areas in the game yet.



          Name: Gorgon
          HP: 320
          EXP: 95
          Strength: Nothing
          Weakness: Weapons, Poison, Curse
          Drops: Meat Strip (common), Milk (common)
          Description: "An ox-like creature with hardened skin of iron."
          Soul effect (): "Constituation is increased by 12."
          Soma's Thoughts: ("Wait, these things are called Gorgons? They don't resemble anything I've read.")

          The game is absolutely crazy about its palette swaps all of a sudden. Gorgon has just as more beef than Catoblepas, and I'm sure +12 Constitution would be nice... if I cared enough to get it.



          Oh boy, here we go. These rooms.

          See, in this part of the Floating Gardens, you will randomly teleport across five different rooms. They're all giant square rooms and don't really have much in them aside from some rare enemies.


          Name: Devil
          HP: 300
          EXP: 200
          Strength: Dark
          Weakness: Light
          Drops: Skull Necklace (common), High Mind Up (common)
          Description: "Creature spawned from the deepest abyss of hell."
          Soul effect (): "Transforms into a demon that rushes at enemies."
          Soma's Thoughts: ("An honest to goodness demon. If you asked me these guys were real a second ago, I would have told you no.")

          It's not the Devil, by the way. Just one of his many underlings. Dracula and Satan are technically different entities, but they still call the former the Prince of Darkness... so...

          One swipe from the Valkyrie soul kills him instantly, though. That's how much firepower we have now and I love it.



          Name: Mandragora
          HP: 200
          EXP: 100
          Strength: Nothing
          Weakness: Nothing
          Drops: Nothing
          Description: "Insanity overcomes all who hear his cry."
          Soul effect (): "Kills enemies with scream."
          Soma's Thoughts: (* plugs ears and runs away*)

          Mandragora is an interesting enemy in that if he gets his attack off, he hits the entire screen. The same thing applies to his soul too. It's a great attack, but it costs 110 MP. To compare, the Valkyrie soul only takes up 50 MP.

          I'm positive you have to strike Mandragora while the skeleton is pulling him out of the ground otherwise you don't get the soul. I think, anyway.



          Is the money in Dracula's castle even legal tender? Cause that'd be some **** if it were.



          Oh hey, another twofer.

          Name: Altair
          HP: 30
          EXP: 10
          Strength: Nothing
          Weakness: Weapon
          Drops: Nothing
          Description: "An atrocious eagle that carries Ripper with it."
          Soul effect (): "Summons and hurls eagles."
          Soma's Thoughts: ("Is that eagle carrying a little man?")

          Altair exists only to drop off Ripper enemies. That aside, their soul consists of shooting off multiple Altair for 22 MP a pop and (apparently) do really good damage.

          --

          Name: Ripper
          HP: 80
          EXP: 80
          Strength: Nothing
          Weakness: Weapon, Poison
          Drops: Crimson Cloak (rare)
          Description: "This fiend enjoys slaughtering people with a knife."
          Soul effect (): "Stabs enemies with a blood-soaked knife."
          Soma's Thoughts: ("Okay, these guys jump around and throw knives. It's the worst of two worlds.")

          Rippers are essentially Fleamen that have learned to use weapons. They're just as annoying to hit and can throw knives your way.

          Their soul, however, is amazing. It manages to take Evil Butcher and actually make something out of it. Ripper's soul lets you shoot blood-soaked knives that stick to your opponent and do continuous damage that you can add onto with normal attacks, effectively making it a nightmare for whatever low-defense enemy you're fighting.



          God, it's like me and the game are going out or something. I keep getting all of these nice gifts and I don't have much to give in return.



          Name: Kicker Skeleton
          HP: 200
          EXP: 80
          Strength: Dark
          Weakness: Light
          Drops: Red Scarf (rare), Ancient Belt (common)
          Description: "Flying kicks are this skeleton's specialty"
          Soul effect (): "Kick during a double jump by pressing Down + A."
          Soma's Thoughts: ("Damn... This guy's good. There was so much manliness in that kick that I can't even comprehend it.")

          Kicker Skeleton, on top of being one of the coolest enemies yet, is the only enemy in the entire game that gives you an Ability soul instead of the other three types. The soul allows you to kick while in mid-air, which becomes a regular feature when you get Double Jump in future games... so there's that.



          The room right behind us is a Save Room, by the way, just in case Kicker Skeleton was wrecking your ****.



          ... That solves that. Soma is now One-Kick Man. (well... he would be if this were Dawn of Sorrow)



          Going into the room below Kicker Skeleton takes you here. We can't do anything about that shadow-covered door until endgame, so let's just leave.



          Manticore is recycled as a regular enemy.



          Anyway, you see where we are? The Floating Gardens takes you to those disconnected squares randomly whenever you go through the rooms. I don't know how they work, but they're a thing.

          (also hot damn, we've nearly uncovered half of the game's map already)



          Name: Werewolf
          HP: 290
          EXP: 110
          Strength: Nothing
          Weakness: Weapons, Curse
          Drops: Black Belt (rare), Milk (common)
          Description: "A wild man that transforms into a wolf."
          Soul effect (): "Creates a fountain of magical fire."
          Soma's Thoughts: ("This guy looks pretty tough. I'd rather not mess with him any longer than I have to.")

          The Werewolf is one of the first few Were- enemies in the game - He shoots fire, jabs at you, the works. His soul is a vastly inferior version of another monster's soul that we'll see in a future chapter.



          Name: Golem
          HP: 200
          EXP: 180
          Strength: Everything
          Weakness: Nothing
          Drops: High Potion (common)
          Description: "A man-like figure molded out of soil and animated by magic."
          Soul effect (): "Strength is increased by 12."
          Soma's Thoughts: ("This guy is a bit tougher than most.")

          Regular, plain-ass Golem is sturdier than every other enemy we've met so far. It is resistant to everything and takes scratch damage from everything that isn't Valkyrie. More strength is definitely a godsend, but grinding Golem for his soul doesn't sound too appealing.



          WOW SERIOUSLY



          OH AND YOU TOO

          Anyway, that's enough fooling around in the Floating Gardens.



          [Current audio in-game: Clock Tower]

          The Clock Tower, at last. This is a staple location in many Castlevania games, usually with the Grim Reaper inside of it. I like the theme better than Castle Corridor, actually, and it was one of the few things that attracted me to Aria of Sorrow to begin with.



          : "Good to see you, too. Uh, I've got something I want to ask you."

          : "Sure, go ahead."

          : "Someone told me that YOU are to inherit Dracula's powers..."

          : "I take it that lady from the church told you that, didn't she?"

          : "It's not true, is it?"

          You can imagine Soma crossing his fingers, hoping that Graham isn't a bad guy due to his horrible judge of character.

          : "The term "inherit" is incorrect."

          : "It's true then!"

          : "I was born on the very day that Dracula was destroyed..."



          Pretty sure that's not how it works, boyo. If that were the case, then there should be at least a thousand people that have Dracula's powers too.

          : "That can't be right! You've been so kind and friendly to me!"

          Oh my god, Soma.

          : "That is because I don't consider you a threat to my mission. But that being said, you have made it this far... I sense a power within you. Do tell me... what kind of power has awoken within you?"

          Wow, that's blunt.

          : "...The power to rule..."





          I mean come on, the explosive reaction and the over-the-top dialogue makes this hilarious. If there's anything Graham inherited, it's Dracula's acting skills.

          : "Huh?"

          : "I can't remain here any longer. I must get to the throne! Your name is Soma, right? You are wrong, Soma! I will not allow you to rule!!!!"



          I have no words for how damn silly that was. In a good way.



          Poor Soma still has no idea what's going on in this game.



          The Clock Tower looks neat with all of the spinning gears and stuff.



          Name: Lightning Doll
          HP: 170
          EXP: 130
          Strength: Electricity
          Weakness: Fire, Stone
          Drops: Nothing
          Description: "A doll possessed by the spirit of an electrocuted prisoner."
          Soul effect (): "Discharges lightning from its fingertips."
          Soma's Thoughts: ("Oh... That doesn't look fun. The other doll enemy at least looked relatively harmless.")

          The Lightning Doll is a bit more than a palette swap because it actually tries to attack you. Its soul is infinitely more useful than its lesser cousin because the lightning hits hard and hits fast. It could potentially be better than Valkyrie if there weren't so many enemies that were weak to Light.



          Name: Medusa Head
          HP: 30
          EXP: 10
          Strength: Dark
          Weakness: Holy
          Drops: Nothing
          Description: "A creature mass-produced from the head of Medusa."
          Soul effect (): "Ability to stop in mid-air."
          Soma's Thoughts: ("There seem to be a lot of these little head things flying around...")

          Medusa Heads are another classic Castlevania enemy, only in here they come in two flavors: Blue ones that merely bump into you, and yellow ones that can petrify you. They exist to annoy players and knock them into the spikes, so watch yourself around them.

          The soul is useless in Aria. However, in Dawn of Sorrow, it becomes one of the most broken abilities in the game. The more time you stay in the air, the more damage your kick will do. Essentially, you could charge up a kick to be so intense that Soma leaves a smoking crater where the monster used to be.

          I wish I were exaggerating.



          Hey, someone that's not trying to kill us or an asshole!



          : "Hey, Yoko, I just ran into Graham."

          : "REALLY? Which way did he go?"

          She sounds so eager it's adorable.

          : "He was in a rush to get to the throne..."

          : "Just as I thought. There is something important in the throne room."

          : "I'm sorry, Yoko."

          : "Wha...what's wrong with you all of a sudden?"



          "He was kind to me only because he thought I was powerless..."

          Oh my god, Soma sounds so heartbroken about this. Poor muffin.

          : "I see..."

          : "But his attitude changed suddenly when I told him about my power."

          : "Well, in his mind, he thinks everything in the castle is his."

          Soma is eventually going to loot everything of value in the castle. What then?

          : "So that's the reason?"



          : "What is?"

          : "The fact that he sees you as an enemy means you're my comrade."

          : "Does it?"

          : "What? You don't want to be on my side?"

          yoko please

          soma just wants to go home

          : "No... that's not what I meant..."

          : "Ha ha ha. It's so much fun to tease you. But this is not the time to be fooling around."



          : "What sort of chance?"

          : "Using his cunning mind, he's been able to evade us up until now. I don't think anyone has ever seen him panic before."

          If that was him panicking, then I want to see more of it.

          : "I get it. Circumstances right now are making him act this way..."

          : "That's exactly right. This is an excellent opportunity to trap him. Well, I must be on my way. See you."

          [She walks offscreen]

          Well, that sure was a conversation. Boy, who knew all it took to turn Graham from "cunning mastermind" to sneering ham-lord was Soma?



          Name: Bomber Armor
          HP: 200
          EXP: 200
          Strength: Weapons
          Weakness: Electricity, Stone
          Drops: Steel Plate (rare)
          Description: "An armored soldier that throws bombs."
          Soul effect (): "Astounding amount of destructive power."
          Soma's Thoughts: ("Oh crap, he's packing!")

          The Bomber Armor is simple but effective: The bombs it throws at you hurt a lot. The soul is also accurate because the bombs are definitely a tier above Zombie Soldier's grenades... even if they take a lot of MP and explode kind of slowly. I... don't recommend it, actually.



          Name: Harpy
          HP: 150
          EXP: 100
          Strength: Nothing
          Weakness: Weapons, Curse
          Drops: Nothing
          Description: "A bird monster with the upper body of a woman."
          Soul effect (): "Shoots out razor-like feathers."
          Soma's Thoughts: ("Oh no, not more bird ladies. It's hard enough trying to climb up this stupid clock tower!")

          Harpies are basically the big sister to the Siren, but their gimmick is shooting out their razor-sharp feathers. Not hard to kill, really.



          That's... the Valkyrie's second drop... Well, chalk that one up to the second enemy I've bled dry of all valuables.



          Name: Gremlin
          HP: 70
          EXP: 90
          Strength: Nothing
          Weakness: Fire, Stone
          Drops: Nothing
          Description: "A creature who loves to fiddle with machinery."
          Soul effect (): "Increases Luck by 8."
          Soma's Thoughts: ("The only thing I can think about are those weird monsters that appeared in a movie.")

          Gremlins exist to be another enemy that's part of the background. I don't think it even has anything that stand-out about it compare to other enemies.



          Yes, keep the souls coming. I need to 100% this game eventually.



          The Top Floor music is playing but we can't seem to get in from this side. I'll keep this in mind for later.



          Great Armor's here... alright, now all we need is Big Golem to complete the list of demoted bosses.



          I recommend saving here because the next boss is arguably the second hardest in the game.



          I'm worried, are you?



          [Normally I would put up Confrontation, seeing as that's what actually plays in the game, but Death is so cool he needs his own theme]

          Name: Death
          HP: 4444
          EXP: 4444
          Strength: Dark
          Weakness: Nothing
          Drops: N/A
          Description: "Dracula's confidant."
          Soul effect (): "Attacks enemies using sickles."
          Soma's Thoughts: ("THE GRIM REAPER?! ARE YOU SERIOUS?!")

          Death is one of the hardest enemies in the game. Sure, his first form isn't much, but just wait until you see the second.



          Death can summon smaller sickles to attack you. They can be deflected if you have either the Witch or Great Ghost souls and merely whacking them can counter them.


          He can throw the bigger scythe at you and summon pillars of light as pictured above. All in all, if you prepared, you shouldn't have much trouble.



          [Death lets out an evil laugh]

          What the hell are you chuckling for?



          .... Oh, we are sooo ****ed.
          That dual-edged scythe isn't for show - it has a giant hitbox and hits for 90+ damage even with all of our fancy armor. It's nightmarish how quickly this battle can go sour if you're not paying attention.



          One of his attacks in this phase is making the scythe tear through the ground and ceiling, so you have to jump to dodge it.



          He also charges forward to slice you in half, but the most dangerous part about it is his sudden backwards movement. It could catch you off guard if you don't expect it.



          When I got to this screenshot, I had gotten about three game overs. The only character in the game to kill me multiple times, and it's the Grim Reaper. How appropriate.

          I had to eat the Tasty Meat and use my last potion to stay alive in the fight this long.



          If you persevere long enough, you'll finally be able to kick his bony ass and send him into the deepest pits of Hell.

          A word of caution: Death drops the giant dual-bladed scythe when he dies, which can still hurt you if it touches you. Someone I've seen has actually gotten a game over from that, not even kidding.



          So, we just absorbed Death - the Grim Reaper's soul. We beat up Death like it's no big deal. Man, that is so that I don't even know where to start.

          The soul itself is pretty useful too, because it lets you summon the sickles he uses in the boss fight to annoy you. I can imagine a really wicked combination with the Ripper soul and the fastest melee weapon in the game to tear apart any bulky enemy that's not strong against weapons.



          Your reward for beating Death is the Skula soul, which lets you dive infinitely underwater.



          Oh, and on the way back, I somehow managed to get the Great Armor soul. Hooray.



          Name: Needles
          HP: 1
          EXP: 10
          Strength: Nothing
          Weakness: Nothing
          Drops: Tasty Meat (common)
          Description: "A giant mutant sea urchin."
          Soul effect (): "Tosses mines into the air that explode at fixed intervals."
          Soma's Thoughts: ("A... giant sea urchin. Well, it looks pointy enough to not bother it.")

          Needles exist. That's the most interesting thing about them. Oh, and they give you Tasty Meat.



          ... I'm still amazed that I keep getting these on the first few tries.



          This is supposed to be the Blutgang. It's hidden across all of these spikes, so it must be good.



          Correction: It's goddamn amazing.

          This sword is stronger than Hrunting and has the speed of the Combat Knife. This translates into: "My new favorite weapon of the game."



          I had to travel through a labyrinth of spikes to get this. Let's see the stats.



          Definitely keeping it on. The best part about it, Soma must look dapper as hell with his new Crimson Cloak and Pitch Black suit.



          Oh, man, you cannot believe what I had to just do. I had to make it all the way back to a safe place, seeing as all of my health-restoring items ran out except for the Melon (it's too good to use) and I hadn't saved yet. Imagine being surrounded by instant death spikes and enemies that can poke you into them with a simple tap: That's basically how this segment felt.



          Anyway, we're finally back in a safe place. This is also where I'll end off the chapter, so see you guys next time on Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow.
          __________________

          Check out some of my screenshot LPs!:

          One Offs | Pokemon Snakewood (#1) | Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow (#2) | Pokemon Dark Rising 1 (#3) Final Fantasy Tactics Advance (#4- on hold) | Pokemon Dark Rising 2 (#5) | Pokemon Dark Rising: Order Destroyed (#5.5) | Sailor Moon: Another Story (#6 - current)

          Something that isn't an LP but still might be worth your time: Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Legacy of Hatred
            #6    
          Old March 1st, 2016 (11:58 AM). Edited July 15th, 2017 by Rainbow Chara X.
          Rainbow Chara X's Avatar
          Rainbow Chara X Rainbow Chara X is offline
          Impossible to gauge!
             
            Join Date: Nov 2015
            Location: *cough*
            Age: 22
            Gender: Male
            Nature: Serious
            Posts: 69
            Well, that's enough breaks for a while. This game isn't even as long as Snakewood, so...

            Chapter #5 - We Are Legion
            ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

            Spoiler:



            We start off this chapter with Soma nearly bleeding to death in front of his girlfriend, but no need to worry. A quick chat with her will fix us right up.



            : "Hey, Mina..."

            : "What's up?"

            : "It's kind of late to ask, but what kind of shrine is the Hakuba Shrine?"

            : "Soma, do you know the story of the Amanoiwado shrine?"

            : "I think I've heard it before."

            : "In the story, Tensho Doijin hides herself in the shrine to calm Susanoo down."

            : "Yeah, I remember now."

            : "Tensho Doijin is the sun. The act of hiding symbolizes an eclipse. By hiding herself away, she was able to contain Susanoo's anger."

            I can't be the only person that feels this is incredibly weird given the setting of the series, right? Like the Shinto gods are myths but Dracula and all of the other crazy creatures we've seen are real.

            Still, give them credit for being on-topic with the whole "eclipse" thing.

            : "For that reason, eclipses are thought to confine anger and evil intentions."

            : "Yes, people have prayed to eclipses for centuries. And the Hakuba Shrine is a shrine for this very purpose."

            : "I understand now..."

            : "And usually, we only conduct ceremonies for Japan's eclipses, but..."



            : "Yes... that's what I was told."

            : "And that's when Dracula's castle was sealed inside it..."

            Bonus points for actually being plot relevant.

            : "That's why I know the things that Mr. Arikado said were..."

            : "Yes, I know now that he spoke the truth."

            : "I'm sorry I haven't been much help to you."

            Sweetie, you just saved Soma from the brink of death just by talking. That's the most amount of help I've ever seen someone give the player, especially if they're the love interest character.



            Awww, you two are precious.




            : "Yeah, sort of."

            : "That weird fella a friend of yours too? Yer more popular then I thought. Don't know much people like that! So, what can I sell you?"

            Hammer, you just keep being you.



            Hello, primary healing item for the rest of the game.



            THIS. This is the thing I was talking about that was so expensive.

            This is by far one of the priciest items in the game, and for good reason. The Soul Eater Ring increases the appearance of soul drops and, to my knowledge, actually does work. You know I'm gonna get this bad boy sooner or later.



            Anyway, now that we have the Undine soul, let's see what's up here.



            An army of Mermen and armor that's worse than what we currently have? No thank you.



            ... I want to know what the hell that is, but I sort of don't want to get near it.



            JESUS!

            Name: Man Eater
            HP: 666 per "eye"
            EXP: 444
            Strength: Nothing
            Weakness: Weapons
            Drops: Rahab's Sword (rare)
            Description: "A worm that subsists on skulls."
            Soul effect (): "Shoots a Ripple laser."
            Soma's Thoughts: ("That's just plain disgusting.")

            The Man-Eater enemy is pretty weird, but not that threatening. It's really durable for a regular enemy, but a few swings at this point should be enough to get rid of it. The soul is average at best as it's a slow ring that hits for ice damage.

            ... Which is also a reference to the Gradius Moai heads, also made by Konami.



            For being the rare drop of the Man-Eater enemy, they waste no time giving us a Rahab's Sword without having to grind for it. Personally, it's pretty good... just not at this moment.



            Take a look at that background. There's also a dinosaur skeleton somewhere in there... but man, for a Gameboy Advance game this looks great.



            Name: Dead Crusader
            HP: 180
            EXP: 380
            Strength: Dark
            Weakness: Light (okay screw it, calling it Holy is getting on my nerves)
            Drops: Estoc (rare), Blocking Mail (rare)
            Description: "Skeleton swordsman with strong defense."
            Soul effect (): "Constitution is increased by 16."
            Soma's Thoughts: ("Okay, now this guy looks like he's trouble.")

            Say hello to one of the most annoying enemies in the game, period.



            This is why. Dead Crusaders actually use common sense and block your attacks. They raise their shields at everything you throw at them, no matter what it is, and the only way to hurt them is to goad them into attacking. It is very likely that you're gonna get hit trying to kill them.

            The Blocking Mail is a unique piece of armor that occasionally makes you invulnerable to attacks. Tool Assisted guys make it so that it always works, which is absolutely insane.



            Name: Triton
            HP: 400
            EXP: 300
            Strength: Nothing
            Weakness: Fire, Curse
            Drops: Trident (rare), Potato Cake (rare)
            Description: "Ruler of the water kingdom."
            Soul effect (): "Strength increased by 16."
            Soma's Thoughts: ("Triton? As in sea god Triton? This is so freaky.")

            Triton is not threatening in the slightest. Sure, he has one of the best monster designs yet with the fish for legs and all, but he only really exists to get in your way with his 400 HP. His soul, on the other hand, is incredible as it's just an instant boost to your attack.

            I'd wager it's even better than Headhunter due to it not having any real set-up to make it good.



            Name: Fish Head
            HP: 280
            EXP: 100
            Strength: Dark
            Weakness: Light
            Drops: Nothing
            Description: "Dead fish reanimated to protect the sea."
            Soul effect (): "Shoots fireballs."
            Soma's Thoughts: ("This enemy seems very familiar...")

            Oh for ****'s sake, it's literally just Bone Pillar with fins! Sure, it's a Bullet soul as opposed to a Guardian soul, but it's not even a good one as you only shoot one fireball. There's even a soul later on in the Underground Reservoir where we get to shoot like three at once.



            Oh snap, this is the first time we've run into one of these. Super Potions are the best healing item in the entire series as they restore your health to max no matter how strong you get. They're infinitely more valuable than Mana Prisms to the point where they're sadly members of the Too-Cool-To-Use Club.



            Just throw yourselves at me. Make my job easier.



            Name: Nightmare
            HP: 260
            EXP: 280
            Strength: Dark
            Weakness: Light
            Drops: Lance (rare)
            Description: "A demon that takes residence in one's dreams."
            Soul effect (): "Summons nightmares to use as weapons."
            Soma's Thoughts: ("Man, that just looks so cool. I need to get a Nightmare horse of my own.")

            Nightmares are cool. They come in two variations: Armed with a knight and riderless. That said, though, they're pretty annoying to hit due to them constantly moving.

            Their soul is shooting a mini-Nightmare that pierces through enemies. It could come in handy fighting guys that are weak to Dark. (the few of them that do exist)



            Name: Flesh Golem
            HP: 2000
            EXP: 400
            Strength: Nothing
            Weakness: Weapons
            Drops: Rotten Milk (common), Spoiled Meat (common)
            Description:"A man-like figure built from the body parts of corpses. Animated by magic."
            Soul effect (): "Enjoys eating the oddest things."
            Soma's Thoughts: (*gagging noises*)

            The Flesh Golem is, by all accounts, one of the most durable regular enemies in the game that don't have a real gimmick to them. They're no different than Golems before them, wind up punch and all, but damn it if I don't want to spend my entire life trying to kill just one.

            Their soul allows you to eat unhealthy food (Spoiled Milk, Rotten Meat, etc.) and heal as much health as High Potions and Melons. Honestly one of the most effective healing methods if you can get it. It doesn't work in reverse and make "good" healing items hurt you, so it's pretty great.



            This is a bit of a timing puzzle. You have to push the boat and immediately get on top of it as it falls down the ramp.



            Fortunately I got the timing down, but it went a bit too fast for me to screencap what happened.



            Name: Slime
            HP: 200
            EXP: 200
            Strength: Weapons, Ice
            Weakness: Fire
            Drops: Nothing
            Description: "A creature whose body is made up of a gelatinous substance."
            Soul effect (): "Hurls slimeballs at enemies."
            Soma's Thoughts: ("I'm starting to really hate things that bounce around.")

            I hate these things. Slimes poison you and resist your attacks well enough that you might get hit in return. At least in Dawn they have relatively low HP, but damn.



            Name: Arc Demon
            HP: 500
            EXP: 400
            Strength: Dark
            Weakness: Light
            Drops: High Mind Up (common)
            Description: "Uses the power of darkness to wreak havoc upon the world."
            Soul effect (): "Restores MP as damage is inflicted on him."
            Soma's Thoughts: ("This guy looks metal. If I didn't have magic powers, I'd definitely be screwed.")

            Arc Demon is a tougher version of the regular Devil enemy and has the frills to prove it. He can fire out a giant spiked fireball and smack you with his claws, but as long as you're moving he won't be much trouble.

            His soul is pretty neat as it allows you to regenerate more MP the more you get hit.



            Ah yes, these books. See, they're supposed to be hints towards the souls you need to collect to get the best ending. They come in three colors (Red, Blue, Yellow) and little descriptions matching the monsters you need to go find.

            Collecting the books themselves are not necessary if you already know what said monsters are, though.



            Oh, and I just had to show this off because Triton has some mad tunes. This forces his trident to chase after you, but that's about it.



            Money is no issue in this game unless you're going for the Soul Eater Ring, I swear.



            You're letting this happen, aren't you?



            Hello, semi-permanent Enchant soul spot. (I swear if Undine and Skula weren't required, I'd have Triton on all of the time)



            Name: Giant Worm
            HP: 100
            EXP: 80
            Strength: Nothing
            Weakness: Fire
            Drops: Cream Puff (rare)
            Description: "Transformed into a giant insect by exposure to the castle's magic."
            Soul effect (): "When motionless, HP are gradually restored."
            Soma's Thoughts: ("There's so many gross things in this castle, I swear.")

            The Giant Worm is an absolute joke. Despite its size, it goes down with a simple poke. The soul, on the other hand, is incredible. It allows you to regenerate health as long as you stay still, which could be a godsend if you have a good camping spot.



            The Rune Ring! Combine this with the Arc Demon soul and it could be pretty busted. It's also a vastly inferior version of the ultimate accessory in the game, so keep that in mind for later.



            Break the wall here and you get another new weapon. It's not as strong as Balmung but it's a bit better.



            Overhead, fast swing speed, not that much weaker... the poor Balmung didn't even get a chance.



            Oh, and another Super Potion just in case you needed it. Nobody should ever need to use a Super Potion, though.



            A way back into the Castle Corridor just in case you were curious.



            A Killer Fish ripe for the eating soul farming. I find it hilarious that it got this far out of the water just for Soma to come along.



            Big Golem makes a reappearance but is old news by now.



            Name: Cagnazzo
            HP: 180
            EXP: 220
            Strength: Nothing
            Weakness: Weapons
            Drops: Uncurse Potion (common), Onikiri (rare)
            Description: "Picky, underworld fiend."
            Soul effect (): "Punches enemies."
            Soma's Thoughts: ("Whoa, hello! That was a bit too close for comfort.")

            Cagnazzo is a pretty cool enemy. He has a neat design (that's shared with two other enemies) and a hilarious Soul that I just have to show off - but at the same time he ziplines towards your location. The trident curses you if he hits you with it, so watch out for that.



            Name: Ukoback
            HP: 80
            EXP: 180
            Strength: Fire, Dark
            Weakness: Water, Light, Stone
            Drops: Nothing
            Description: "One of Hell's cauldron demons with a blazing red hot body."
            Soul effect (): "Sets fires."
            Soma's Thoughts: ("I can't tell if I'm supposed to be intimidated or not.")

            Man, to think I called the other monsters "background enemies". The only purpose for this little guy's existence is to place fires that can easily extinguished from a poke from any weapon. It may be a unique enemy, but it's kinda meh.



            This room had a Giant Worm inside of it, and it was generous enough to give me its rare drop. Although how a giant worm even had a Cream Puff is something I'll never know.



            Ukoback shows his relevance by adding to my soul collection.



            Another Mana Prism to add to the millions we already have.



            HOLY **** I ACTUALLY GOT IT ON SCREEN!

            Name: Sky Fish
            HP: 100
            EXP: 3000
            Strength: Nothing
            Weakness: Nothing
            Drops: Nothing
            Description: "A creature that moves at high speed. Invisible to catch with the naked eye."
            Soul effect (): "While praying, both Luck and Strength increases for a moment."
            Soma's Thoughts: ("What even was that? It went by too fast.")

            The Sky Fish is another secret enemy. That "invisible to catch with the naked eye" thing isn't a bluff either - most people don't even know the thing exists without consulting a bestiary. The only way to even kill it is to use Chronomage's soul - the time stopping soul.

            Problem is, if you don't time it perfectly, you'll miss the Sky Fish altogether and have to reset the room.

            The worst part about it is that Sky Fish comes at different speeds, which could seriously screw with your Chronomage Soul timing. Chronomage also takes up 90 MP per use, so it's very costly.

            For someone doing a 100% Souls run, Sky Fish is the cruelest enemy in the game as it still takes multiple tries to get the soul. It can seriously go burn in hell.



            ... I managed to get the rare drop for Big Golem somehow. Oh well, more money.



            Sweet! Now I can show it off.



            Look at that.

            It even goes "ora ora ora ora!" like in Jojo's Bizarre Adventure! It's great. Soma would make a great Stand user.



            Here's another place to get Mandragora's soul just in case.



            Name: Poison Worm
            HP: 100
            EXP: 120
            Strength: Nothing
            Weakness: Fire
            Drops: Anti-venom (common)
            Description: "A large insect that spits poison."
            Soul effect (): "Immunity to poison."
            Soma's Thoughts: ("Okay, I thought the other worm monster looked gross but this is just ridiculous.")

            Poison Worm is just a purple recolor of Giant Worm that can poison you. Yawn.



            [SFX: Yoko's sharp gasp of pain]

            Oh damn, the plot snuck up on me.



            ... Graham, you could have just left the knife in there instead of...

            [He teleports away]

            Well, I guess that's just how scared of Soma he is. Even without the ultimate weapon we can still total his dumb ass.



            What would have happened if we weren't conveniently around for this? Yoko would have died. Jesus.



            : "Graham, that bastard! What has he done?!"

            : "He has... absorbed this castle's power... and he's gotten much stronger. Oww... ahh... my plan has...failed..."

            : "Save your strength! There's no need to speak!"



            Good advice. I've nearly died because of how careless I've gotten lately. Now... just see what Soma says in the next shot.



            I love this delivery. They didn't even space it between two dialouge boxes, so it's like Soma's yelling... but immediately he just figures out that she's okay.

            Like come on, he's already a cheeseball.

            [Arikado walks in from the right]



            : "Don't just stand there mumbling! Yoko's in a bad shape!"

            : "GO! I will see to her wounds."

            : "I can't just leave her like this! She's my friend!"

            Soma, you make friends very easily. That's kind of worrying.

            : "Do not worry about her. I believe there are other things you need to do."

            : "Graham went to the throne. What's there? What are you hiding from me?!"

            ^ Reasonable questions

            : "I cannot say. You must go there yourself and if you don't... you will lose Mina... and Yoko as well! Their fate is in your hands..."

            ^ Told right off



            "I feel as if I'm being manipulated. I don't like it, but I'll do as you say. But if we ever escape from this castle alive, I want to know everything."

            : "Fair enough, now be on your way."

            This man better give us an answer when we get to the throne.



            [Current audio in-game: The Arena]

            Going to the left of the Yoko-gets-shanked-scene takes you here. But I'd rather not touch this place yet. Let's go down instead.



            Name: Gargoyle
            HP: 70
            EXP: 240
            Strength: Nothing
            Weakness: Light
            Drops: Nothing
            Description: "A grotesque monster with the wings of a bat."
            Soul effect (): "Immunity to petrification."
            Soma's Thoughts: ("This guy rubs me the wrong way for some reason.")

            Gargoyles are just upgraded Gremlins. Immunity to petrification would be nice against yellow Medusa Heads, but that's literally all it's good for.



            The music doesn't change, but you can tell this place is going to be... a bit of a departure from the rest of the Underground Reservoir.



            Hey, look at that.

            Name: Werejaguar
            HP: 380
            EXP: 260
            Strength: Nothing
            Weakness: Weapons, Poison, Curse
            Drops: Mach Punch (rare)
            Description: "Works on his straight punch so he can defeat Weretiger."
            Soul effect (): "Packs an extremely powerful straight punch."
            Soma's Thoughts: ("Werejaguar? Now they're getting creative.")

            Another were- enemy, and honestly kind of a cool one. They can trap you in a multi-hit combo before smashing Soma's face in, and they move pretty fast. The soul requires no explanation and will be shown off in a gif with the other two "punching" souls.

            --

            Name: Biphron
            HP: 380
            EXP: 280
            Strength: Fire
            Weakness: Weapons, Poison, Curse
            Drops: Nothing
            Description: "Spirit creature whose glow illuminates dark graveyards."
            Soul effect (): "Shoots out a series of exploding fireballs."
            Soma's Thoughts: ("Kinda spooky. Maybe he's the gravekeeper of this place.")

            Biphron (or rather, Bifrons) is another Ars Goetian demon - I could readily describe him in demonology as a sort of alchemist that also deals with gravekeeping, hence why he's hanging around this place. His soul makes the already-unimpressive Werewolf soul look like complete garbage, as it's not only stronger but shoots flame pillars that go across the entire screen. It's pretty great.



            Name: Flame Demon
            HP: 500
            EXP: 400
            Strength: Fire, Dark
            Weakness: Ice, Light
            Drops: Laevatain (rare)
            Description: "A fiend born from hellfire."
            Soul effect (): "Burns enemies to a crisp with its ultra-hot flames."
            Soma's Thoughts: ("Why is it so warm all of a sud-- oh, it's this guy.")

            Flame Demon is pretty much a red recolor of the regular Devil enemy, but his importance is far greater. See, he's one of the required souls for the best ending. Yeah, this is something I wish they didn't do because it's forced grinding, but still.

            The soul itself is nice, seeing as it's a triple fireball attack.



            [The background music stops, and is replaced by... THIS]

            ... Well, that's... disturbing. What's going on in here?



            Oh hey, a new mon-- wait. We can't even hurt it.

            Yes, folks, the cemetery has zombies running around in the background but they don't do anything. It's pretty creepy how they're just... there, along with the "music" that's playing.



            There's money here along with some Werejaguars, but that's all we can do on this side. I sort of want to know why 2000$ was lying on a pillar in the middle of a haunted cemetery.



            All of the zombies seem to be going through the boss door... I don't have a good feeling about this.



            WHAT THE **** IS THAT

            WHAT AM I LOOKING AT



            Name: Legion
            HP: 5000
            EXP: 12000
            Strength: Dark
            Weakness: Light
            Drops: N/A
            Description: "He is many, he is one."
            Soul effect (): "Fires an array of lasers."
            Soma's Thoughts: ("HOW DOES THIS THING EXIST?!")

            Legion is honestly one of the freakiest monsters in the game aside from the final bosses. It's a giant ball of corpses, and it's been a part of the series ever since Symphony of the Night (called Granfaloon there). Not only that, it's one of the sturdiest enemies in the game, bar none.


            The core has 5000 HP, but so do the 4 segments surrounding it. Not only that, to get his soul, you have to destroy the segments and expose the core.

            Way easier said than done. Also, I can't be the only person who sees the fetus outline in how Legion is shaped, right?



            Legion's primary method of attack in this form is to drop zombies from his body. Unlike the ones from before, these ones can actually be destroyed. Legion also slowly tries to go to where you are, which could be really annoying if you're trying to break off a segment of his.



            Once you've done enough damage, the segments will break off to reveal... a cage with something red inside of it. When you free a bit of the core, it'l start attacking you with lasers.

            ... Imagine the therapy Soma would need to get over this: "I fought a giant fetus-shaped corpse ball that shot lasers at me."



            When the core is completely exposed, it will either shoot lasers at you or bounce around the room like it were an exercise ball.

            Still a lot less tedious than the rest of the fight.



            Finally, when you -- oh my god that background -- ahem, defeat Legion with all of his segments destroyed, he'll give you his soul. If you don't, you lose out on it forever.

            ... Yeah, don't come into this fight without taking precautions.



            This is what Legion's soul looks like. It's impressive-looking, but it does dark damage unfortunately. Not only that, I feel there's a far better laser soul coming up soon that's less expensive (Legion's is 66 MP per use) and quicker on top of that.



            ... I guess I could show this off too.



            Pretty nasty, all things considered. It's a shame that there's even better souls later on - I'd keep this on for the rest of the game if I could.



            Ah, yes. This will allow us to ignore Chronomage's time-stopping abilities and kick his fluffy ass.

            Galamoth was originally a character that debuted in a cutesy Super Deformed Castlevania spinoff called Kid Dracula as Dracula's draconic time lord rival. However, people know him better as the most grueling, pain-in-the-dick bonus boss in Symphony of the Night with 12,000 HP and ridiculously powerful lightning/dark attacks. He looks the part, too.
            .


            The Gold Ring allows us to get more money from enemies, which is really good for getting the Soul Eater Ring.



            Name: Alura Une
            HP: 800
            EXP: 400
            Strength: Nothing
            Weakness: Fire
            Drops: Melon (common)
            Description: "An Une raised on warm blood."
            Soul effect (): "Restores health."
            Soma's Thoughts: ("More cute monsters girls... wait, isn't that the same grass monster from back in the Chapel?")

            I take back what I said about Persephone. Alura Une is the cutest enemy in the game. (Well, in Dawn of Sorrow, at least...)

            She's resilient and can summon vines to hit us, but the worst thing about her is that she can hide in her flower bud to take no damage. All in all, not that intimidating. Her soul, on the other hand, lets us regenerate health at the cost of a lot of MP... which could still be very useful as it's a straight out healing ability.



            1 out of 3 required souls obtained!



            Back in the Arena, let's -- oh my god that was too close for comfort.

            Name: Beam Skeleton
            HP: 400
            EXP: 320
            Strength: Dark
            Weakness: Light
            Drops: Nothing
            Description: "Skeleton wizard whose powers come from the hole drilled into his head."
            Soul effect (): "Fires a deadly beam."
            Soma's Thoughts: ("I can feel the heat coming off of this.")

            Ah yes, the Beam Skeleton. My favorite enemy in the game with my favorite Bullet soul. This little guy actually made an appearance in Symphony as the Nova Skeleton, whose spritework made him... well, look like he was having way too much fun shooting lasers.



            Name: Skull Millione (Scarmiglione)
            HP: 250
            EXP: 300
            Strength: Nothing
            Weakness: Weapons, Curse
            Drops: Kunitsuna (rare), Poison Fist (rare)
            Description: "Hell spawn with poisoned claws."
            Soul effect (): "Weakens its enemies with its poison claws."
            Soma's Thoughts: ("Hey, it's the brother of that other guy. He doesn't look too friendly...")

            Skull Millione is a serious mistranslation of the name Scarmiglione, a demon taken from Dante's Divine Comedy. (Cagnazzo and another one we're gonna meet soon are also based off of Divine Comedy demons)

            He doesn't have a cool trident like his brothers, so instead he tries to rush you with his claws. Not that difficult to dodge, honestly, but the poison from when he does hit you is annoying enough. His soul summons poison claws in front of Soma, but it's not very good.



            Another rare item drop. How do I have the luck to keep getting these things?



            I had to retreat back to the Castle Corridor because... uh, look at my health. I couldn't even follow my own advice of not getting hit by Skull Millione's claws, so that egg's on me.



            Name: Gladiator
            HP: 600
            EXP: 1000
            Strength: Dark
            Weakness: Light
            Drops: Nothing
            Description: "Though he's dead, this warrior still seeks out battles."
            Soul effect (): "Throws wheels at enemies."
            Soma's Thoughts: ("Man, these guys won't stop even when they're just bones.")

            Gladiators are an interesting enemy - they go back and forth through the same area and shoot fire arrows at you. Their sprite is huge for a regular enemy, so getting hit by them is very likely. Their soul is just... silly. Instead of shooting fire arrows or summoning a platoon of enemies... you throw a damn wheel. Not only that, the wheel does a fair amount of damage.

            How do the guys at Konami do it?



            Name: Weretiger
            HP: 400
            EXP: 320
            Strength: Nothing
            Weakness: Weapons, Poison, Curse
            Drops: Whip Knuckle (rare)
            Description: "Works on his uppercut so he can defeat Werejaguar."
            Soul effect (): "Packs an extremely powerful uppercut."
            Soma's Thoughts: ("Hey, this is the guy Werejaguar wanted to fight. I'd pay big bucks to see a match between them.")

            They're the same enemy in many respects, only Weretiger has an uppercut instead. That's all I got, ladies and gentlemen.



            No, seriously, that's all I got for this episode. See you next time, guys.
            __________________

            Check out some of my screenshot LPs!:

            One Offs | Pokemon Snakewood (#1) | Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow (#2) | Pokemon Dark Rising 1 (#3) Final Fantasy Tactics Advance (#4- on hold) | Pokemon Dark Rising 2 (#5) | Pokemon Dark Rising: Order Destroyed (#5.5) | Sailor Moon: Another Story (#6 - current)

            Something that isn't an LP but still might be worth your time: Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Legacy of Hatred
              #7    
            Old March 2nd, 2016 (5:01 PM). Edited July 15th, 2017 by Rainbow Chara X.
            Rainbow Chara X's Avatar
            Rainbow Chara X Rainbow Chara X is offline
            Impossible to gauge!
               
              Join Date: Nov 2015
              Location: *cough*
              Age: 22
              Gender: Male
              Nature: Serious
              Posts: 69
              I didn't expect this to become a three parter, but oh well.

              Chapter #6 - Soma's Fate
              ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

              Spoiler:



              We begin this chapter... with me already having killed a new enemy without documenting it. Damn it!

              Oh well, here's the stats:

              Name: Killer Mantle
              HP: 200
              EXP: 345
              Strength: Nothing
              Weakness: Nothing
              Drops: Ramen (rare)
              Description: "An evil cloak that assaults humans."
              Soul effect (): "Ability to swap the HP and MP of enemies."
              Soma's Thoughts: ("Did that cloak just grow an arm and try to shank me?")



              The Killer Mantle is a strange enemy as it's literally just a flying cloak that tries to stab you. However, its ability is one of the raddest in the entire game - see, every enemy in the game has an invisible MP meter that can only be affected by Killer Mantle.

              For some enemies, one use of Killer Mantle's soul wipes them off the face of the earth. With others, it gives them a truckload of health to the point of becoming boss-level enemies. It's also the only way to kill the ultimate golem in the game, but we'll get to that one later.

              ... And yes, I really did just get its rare drop and its soul already. Ramen is pretty good as a healing item.







              I've missed you, buddy.

              To elaborate, Beam Skeleton not only hits for strong fire damage twice in one go but it can be fired instantly for a pittance. You can also attack as it's firing, making it my absolute favorite Bullet soul in the game. Nothing else compares.



              What kind of door is this? It's certainly not the boss door, but still interesting enough to investigate.



              Whoa, holy crap!

              Name: Lubicant (should be Rubicante)
              HP: 500
              EXP: 550
              Strength: Nothing
              Weakness: Weapons, Curse
              Drops: Muramasa (rare)
              Description: "An always angry minion of hell. Not enough calcium in his diet."
              Soul effect (): "Gains strength as it loses HP."
              Soma's Thoughts: ("... Someone else already beat me to the joke.")

              Cagnazzo is the only one that escaped having his name mangled by a bad translation, and man poor Rubicante got the worst of it.

              "Lubicant" is the strongest of the Divine Comedy-based demons and is also the most aggressive. He's faster than Cagnazzo and sturdier to boot, which makes trying to kill multiples of him a lovely experience. However, his soul is amazing as it gives you incredible boosts, to the point where it outclasses every other boost soul at critical health.

              I've seen a tool-assisted speedrun where some dude combined Blocking Armor (occasionally negates an attack) with Lubicant at 1 HP, and they wound up becoming a completely unstoppable game breaking monster. If only I had that kind of luck, haha.



              Oh yeah, the god statues in the back will try to slap and kick you for some reason. It's hard enough for Soma to walk around without getting assault by Lubicants. (*snicker*)



              We destroy a wall by hitting it with a goddamn wrecking ball of all things, which has to be amazing considering Soma is still an 18 year old.



              Oh, but don't get too greedy otherwise you'll get mauled by this spiked bar. Who designed this place?



              Soma gets a fancier suit and we walk off feeling like a baller. Olrox is another character that appeared in Symphony of the Night, as a sort of vampire lord that worked under Dracula. He could turn into a giant lizard man and shoot fireballs out of his mouth...

              Which only reminds me why Castlevania is one of my favorite franchises out there.



              God, seeing all of those enemies get reamed in record time is therapeutic to watch.



              The second door leads to the worst room in the game. You see those yellow Medusa heads and all of those spikes? Yeah, it's gonna be one of those challenges.

              Oh, and new enemy:

              Name: Erinys
              HP: 200
              EXP: 500
              Strength: Light
              Weakness: Weapons, Dark, Poison, Curse
              Drops: Ronginus's Spear (rare)
              Description: "The goddess of revenge."
              Soul effect (): "Increases experience points by 120%."
              Soma's Thoughts: ("So give Valkyries an upgrade and they become this?")

              Erinys is... literally just a red Valkyrie. In Dawn of Sorrow, they at least give her a different (if ineffective) attack and a new soul that outclasses Valkyrie... but come on. The soul effect here is also a typo as it doesn't really increase experience points by 120%.

              Ronginus's Spear is what I would classify as the "second best" weapon. It's not as fast or as effective as the real ultimate weapon, but it's a good substitute if you don't know where it is. (It is also a mistranslation - it's supposed to be Longinus's Spear)



              god, it begins



              You're supposed to step on this switch to reverse the tracks, as you'd just get pushed into the spikes otherwise.



              I went into this room with 700+ health and now I'm almost dead! God damn! Yellow Medusa Heads and spikes should never be placed next to each other, as you take double damage from petrification!

              Is this sword even worth it?



              A 62 point increase in attack sounds badass, but what does it do?



              ... It's as slow as the lance.

              It looks really cool and has high attack, but it'd take me forever to do anything with this. You are vendor trash.



              SKELETON.

              This is a perfect place to grind for Beam Skeleton's soul, which I intensely urge everybody to do. (nah you can do whatever i don't care)



              With this room, you have to go in the direction of the button inputs. It's incredibly simple and the only way you'd mess it up is if you were doing it on purpose.



              Our reward for clearing the Nuclear Bonetrousle room is the Rare Ring, which increases the appearance of rare item drops. Very nice, all things considered.

              Now that all of the bonus rooms are done, let's go straight to the boss.



              Come on, we've already fought Legion. Now we have to fight one for bats?



              ... Well, ****.



              [Current boss theme in-game: A Formidable Foe Appears]

              Name: Balore
              HP: 4000
              EXP: 16000
              Strength: Nothing
              Weakness: Nothing
              Drops: N/A
              Description: "Demon with a fear-inducing gaze."
              Soul effect (): "Packs a deadly punch."
              Soma's Thoughts: ("Oh, I am soooo screwed.")

              Ah, see, they tried to fake you out with the Giant Bat there. Balore is the real boss of the Arena and one of the most devastating enemies yet. He can crush you by slamming his fists down and he can hit you full-force with his knuckles, with both moves capable of leaving Soma as a bloody smear on the wall.

              His arms are invincible, so you have to hit his eye... which has to be really painful when you think about it.



              "You bastard!" (jap. voice clip of Balore when he opens his right eye)

              Oh boy, this is gonna be great. See, when you do enough damage to Balore, he opens up his right eye... that shoots laser beams. It takes more damage than the left, but this is where it gets intense. See, if you don't kill Balore quickly, the laser volleys will get faster and faster until you'll be unable to jump out of the way in time.



              I like to imagine Soma jumps straight onto Balore's face and jabs a giant ****ing katana straight into his eye, killing him in the coolest way possible.



              [A loud thud shakes the screen, followed by Balore's soul going into Soma]



              Sweet.



              Oh, and the game was generous enough to give us the Giant Bat soul after killing Balore.

              That's also 2 out of 3 required souls for the best ending.



              Huh? What's J doing here?




              : "J, what's wrong? You look pale."

              : "D-Don't worry... Just now... all of my memories came flooding back."

              : "What?!"

              : "It seems that your dark power triggered the return of my memories. Just like I guessed... I have quite an extensive history with Dracula."

              : "I thought so..."



              "I am a descendant of a clan that has fought against Dracula for ages."

              Raise your hands if you saw this coming from a mile away.

              : "And the person who destroyed Dracula in 1999 was..."

              : "Yes. It was me... But there were others who assisted me..."

              : "So, if Dracula is revived again, just as it is written in the prophecy..."

              I never thought it even was a prophecy that the Belmonts were there to kick Dracula's ass. They always seemed to be there at just the right moment for a game to start.

              : "Then I must destroy him! It is my destiny."

              : "You haven't met a man named Graham yet, have you?"

              : "Graham? Uh, you mean that missionary right?"



              Of course, considering the person we're dealing with...

              : "He told me that he was Dracula."

              : "I did sense Dracula's powers at work within him... But it's difficult to believe that he's Dracula... rather... I think... No, forget it. It is nothing more then a hunch."
              : "Huh?"

              : "Assuming that he is Dracula, I won't be able to kill him yet."


              : "Why not?"


              : "I need my weapon."

              : "Your weapon?"



              "In 1999, I sealed it in this castle to weaken his spirit and magical powers."

              So you mean to tell me that Julius has gotten through the entire castle using nothing but his bare fists and his sub-weapons. Holy ****, this man is good.

              : "That means it's in this castle somewhere?"

              Soma, he just said it was in the castle. Aren't you paying attention? He's talking about THE VAMPIRE KILLER, BOY - THE RADDEST OF THE RAD WHIPS

              : "Yes. And I know exactly where it is. I'll go and get it now."

              : "Alright. Please be careful."



              [Julius walks to the right]

              ... Well, that's a sinister note to leave this conversation on.



              The Giant Bat soul turns Soma into a cute little white bat.



              Awww, here we go.

              Name: Succubus
              HP: 550
              EXP: 360
              Strength: Dark
              Weakness: Weapons
              Drops: Heart Pendant (rare), Pudding (common)
              Description: "This enticing beauty is really a nightmare in disguise."
              Soul effect (): "Absorbs enemies' HP when an ordinary attack is delivered."
              Soma's Thoughts: ("I can't help but get this awful feeling the more I look at this lady.")

              Succubus is an upgraded Lilith. A nasty thing she likes to do is latch onto you and steal your HP. It gets annoying when you have other monsters surrounding you.

              However, her soul is simultaneously important and one of the best in the game. See, she allows you to steal 5+ HP from anything you hit. You could potentially steal your entire health back from hitting candles and for no cost at all.



              The Black Cloak makes Soma look cooler and boosts his confidence.



              Aaaand that's 3 out of 3, ladies and gentlemen. We've got all of the tools to get the best ending now.



              Name: Bael
              HP: 300
              EXP: 380
              Strength: Nothing
              Weakness: Poison
              Drops: Nothing
              Description: "A demon that grants cunningness."
              Soul effect (): "Increases Intelligence by 12."
              Soma's Thoughts: ("Pretty sure this is supposed to be something different than Buer.")

              Palette swap of Buer that gives you Intelligence instead of firewalls. It's also another Ars Goetian demon, but... Ho-hum.



              Name: Giant Skeleton
              HP: 2000
              EXP: 1200
              Strength: Dark
              Weakness: Light
              Drops: Durandal (rare)
              Description: "A giant skeleton with no lower body that crawls along the ground."
              Soul effect (): "Throws giant skulls."
              Soma's Thoughts: ("What is with all of the giant monsters? Is this like their home or something?")

              Palette swap of the already-demoted Creaking Skull with a terrible soul. The only reason you'd waste your time with him would be for 100% completion.



              There is this, though. The candle at the end of this room will always have 1000 gold inside of it, and the candle respawns every time you exit the room and come back. The hallway is even designed for you to use the transformation souls, as every other candle or so gives you a big heart that restores a moderate amount of MP.

              Can anybody else smell the moolah?



              Name: Red Minotaur
              HP: 929
              EXP: 1000
              Strength: Nothing
              Weakness: Weapons, Poison, Curse
              Drops: Battle Axe (common), Tasty Meat (common)
              Description: "A red Minotaur that grew stronger during a recent trip to Hell."
              Soul effect (): "Swings an oversized axe."
              Soma's Thoughts: ("This guy looks... uh, pretty mad. Better be careful around him.")

              Red Minotaurs are a godsend. Killer Mantle completely pantses them and their soul is easily the most broken Bullet soul in the game. Sure, Beam Skeletons are my specialty, but this is just too much.

              You want to know how "oversized" that axe is? As big as the screen. Not only that, it hits twice if you get it in the right spot. Busted.



              Killer Mantle just poofs 'em away. It's amazing how much versatility an evil cloak adds to the game.

              The equivalent soul in Dawn of Sorrow is nowhere near as good.



              Laevatain is a fire version of Rahab's Sword, so it's amazing... as more money.

              Beam Skeleton is king around here, see.



              And that's all of the punch-based souls. Watch Soma become Saitama soon enough.

              Anyway, let's explore the rest of the Top Floor now that we have the Giant Bat soul.



              Damn, that's some metal scenery right there.

              You might be wondering: "Is that Mina lying on the ground there?" Actually, no. She yells out "Help!" in Japanese and everything, but it's just a Succubus that takes her shape. They have a... tendency of mimicking the heroes' closest friends.



              Name: Final Guard
              HP: 1200
              EXP: 2000
              Strength: Everything
              Weakness: Nothing
              Drops: Gold Plate (rare), Final Sword (rare)
              Description: "Specially chosen to defend important areas of the castle."
              Soul effect (): "Guards against enemy attacks."
              Soma's Thoughts: ("Oh boy, I can tell we're getting really close with a name like that.")

              Final Guard is... very final. They're the second sturdiest enemy in the entire game and powerful to boot. I love their gold design in this game and their soul.

              It may be impractical due to how it guzzles your MP like soda and makes you stand still, but it also allows you to block any attack in the game.

              They can also drop the Final Sword which is actually stronger than the ultimate weapon, but doesn't have its more appealing qualities. (fast swing speed, etc.)



              Name: Basilisk
              HP: 700
              EXP: 600
              Strength: Nothing
              Weakness: Weapons, Dark
              Drops: Milician's Sword (common)
              Description: "The offspring of a lizard and a bird. Its gaze can turn you to stone."
              Soul effect (): "Defensive strength increases and offensive strength decreases."
              Soma's Thoughts: ("The things they let people do for science.")

              Basilisk is the "older brother" of Cockatrice, and the soul is absolute garbage. I'm pretty sure people value being able to hit hard over surviving a hit in a game like this, just saying.



              Another Super Potion ripe for the taking. Also, holy **** look at the dragon statue in the background. That's amazing spritework for a Gameboy Advance game, jeez.



              I've been Monster Partied. (aka. there's absolutely nothing in here - no secrets at all.)



              Name: Stolas
              HP: 1500 (+9999 if you use Killer Mantle on him)
              EXP: 1500
              Strength: Dark
              Weakness: Light
              Drops: High Potion (rare)
              Description: "An aged, wise owl."
              Soul effect (): "Intelligence increases by 16."
              Soma's Thoughts: ("Man, imagine if all of these cool monsters worked for me. You know, instead of trying to kill me.")

              Stolas is a very interesting enemy, especially compared to a lot of the other palette swaps around here. On top of being another faithfully recreated Ars Goetian demon (yes, even the crown it's wearing is a reference to its original appearance), he has a neat gimmick.



              He can summon other enemies! Not only that, his incarnation in Dawn of Sorrow does it in such a cool way that-- man, I really need to play Dawn after how much I keep gushing about the advances.

              But yeah, Stolas can bring forth more enemies. This is actually a really good idea for grinding if you don't have the monsters that he summons.





              WELL OK



              S-Satan's Ring?? Is this okay? Is this a good thing? Are we allowed?

              There has to be a trick to this. Some sort of catch.



              ... Nope, there's no strings attached. You get the best stat boosting ring in the game just like that! Enjoy!



              Oh, that's cool. When you pass by, the torches light up. Nice touch.



              We finally got to open the way back to the Clock Tower, so that's good too.

              Let's go down to the basement of the "top floor", though...



              Name: Iron Golem
              HP: 9999
              EXP: 500
              Strength: Everything
              Weakness: Nothing
              Drops: Nothing
              Description: "A manlike figure made out of iron and animated by magic. Extremely tough."
              Soul effect (): "Withstand a lot of damage without flinching."
              Soma's Thoughts: ("Nothing I do works! I can't even scratch it! What is this thing made out of?!")

              Oh man. Behold - the Iron Golem! The absolute toughest enemy in the entire game, bar none. It has max health and takes 1 damage from any attack, no matter what it is. It is completely invincible. You're likely wondering "How do you kill it then?".

              Just take a look.



              And just like that, it's dust in the wind. The sturdiest enemy killed in one hit thanks to the Killer Mantle soul. I love it.

              Sadly, Iron Golem doesn't have the spinning punch like his companions and just slams the ground. Lame.



              Breaking the wall past Iron Golem will reward you with the greatest Ability soul (and description) in the game.



              ... Li... lid-jump. How do you **** that up? Seriously!

              Translation oddities aside, Hippogryph immediately obsoletes the Giant Bat soul and even Double Jump. It allows you to infinitely jump in the air as long as you keep pressing the L button. For free.



              Yeaaah! Look at Soma go! He's a natural Batman!



              The Kaladbolg is one of the few Dark elemental weapons in the game. Believe it or not, it's going to be very useful in the future so we're not going to sell it away.



              .... Ouch! Yeah, you even get a little animation for when Soma wangs his head against the ceiling.



              Just Mana Prisms everywhere. It's crazy how much they want to make MP conservation important.



              Sweet. Let's go heal up first before we do anything else.



              Actually... before we make our way towards the throne, I have a little detour to make.



              Yep, back here of all places.

              Name: Dryad
              HP: 350
              EXP: 200
              Strength: Nothing
              Weakness: Fire
              Drops: Mystletain (rare), Persimmon (rare)
              Description: "An evil tree spirit."
              Soul effect (): "Grows stronger by stealing HP from enemies."
              Soma's Thoughts: ("I'll admit, this monster lady looks kind of cool.")

              Dryads have a nice design and attack you by throwing a fruit that sucks your health away. This applies to the soul too, but only works with flesh and blood enemies. So you can't make it work on Skeletons and so on.



              [The music stops and only the sound of a waterfall can be heard]

              Alright, this room. This is the way to the secret area of the castle.



              What you have to do is to equip the Undine soul and one of the transformation souls, as long as you have one. The walls are even marked with little drawings of what the transformations even look like, which doesn't really tell you where the souls are located.



              You have to build up speed otherwise the waterfall rejects you like a rotten quiche.



              Your reward for doing so, aside from getting entrance into a brand new area, is the most anime armor I've ever seen. It has incredible defense, but lacks the boost and swagger of Olrox's Suit.



              [Current audio in-game: Sacred Cave]

              This place isn't hard by any stretch of the imagination and has a dump truck's worth of treasure. It's perfect.



              Name: Mudman
              HP: 200
              EXP: 400
              Strength: Nothing
              Weakness: Nothing
              Drops: Nothing
              Description: "The evil spirit of a man who drowned in a marsh."
              Soul effect (): "Slings mud at enemies."
              Soma's Thoughts: ("... I sort of want to poke him.")

              The Mudman is a unique enemy surprisingly enough. He can hide away from your attacks and throws mud (although if he didn't do that, that'd be weird). Kinda meh, but at least they didn't use another palette swap.



              Oh, and there's Alura Unes here just in case.



              Ooh, spooky pirate ship. What's this all about?



              There's a breakable wall...



              Oh lord. Here is is. The Ultimate Weapon.





              The Claimh Solais, at last. Just look at those boosts! We've officially broken the game in half just by getting this.



              It's an overhead weapon that's light elemental and swings as fast as the Osafune. It's like using the Valkyrie Soul with every swing but for no MP.

              I think that's pretty busted, wouldn't you agree?

              The Claimh Solais itself is a reference to Irish Mythology as the sword of light that belonged to the king of Ireland. It had the power to cut his enemies in half and is considered one of the Four Treasures of Ireland (along with the Spear of Lugh, the Dagda's Cauldron and the Stone of Fal.)



              There's treasure chests all around this place, and given how there's a sunken pirate ship around here...

              : ("Arrrgh!")

              : "What in the world was that?"

              ... Your guess is as good as mine as to what that was about.



              Oooh, this room looks neat. Let's just nab--



              What the hell?!

              Name: Mimic
              HP: 100
              EXP: 200
              Strength: Dark
              Weakness: Light
              Drops: Nothing
              Description: "Assumes the form of treasure and quietly awaits his prey."
              Soul effect (): "Increase money as damage is occured."
              Soma's Thoughts: ("Damn! That spooked me. I guess that's what I get for being greedy...")

              Boy, you ain't slick. If you let a Mimic hit you, it just sits there and laughs at you for being a dumbass. Well, guess what? I'm the one with the sword.

              His soul allows you to make your own money the more you injure yourself. A good spot for grinding is at the Clock Tower, as the spikes are guaranteed to give you big money bags.



              Now that we're properly equipped, let's finally go to the throne.



              To get the best ending, you must have these souls equipped before you fight. Just trust me on this.



              Christ, now that's a background.



              : "Dracula's power doesn't concern me! I came here to find a way out of this castle."

              : "With my new abilities, I can get you out of here quite easily... You, however, have some property of mine in your possession. The souls of MY demons are under YOUR control."

              : "Can I forgive such a crime? NO! NEVER!"

              Yep, he's definitely Dracula. Nobody else can be such a ham.

              : "If I knew how, I'd return them all to you right here and now!"

              Soma, no - DON'T GIVE AWAY BEAM SKELETON

              : "Even if you return them, you have still committed the crime of stealing. Don't you know that?"



              Wow, you asshole!

              : "You are one selfish bastard!"

              Yeah, tell him, Soma.

              : "You're guilty of grand theft. Therefore, I sentence you to death!"

              : "You're insane!"

              : "And as a special treat, I myself will deliver the punishment!"



              [Current boss theme in-game: Battle for The Throne]

              Name: Graham
              HP: 5000
              EXP: 0
              Strength: Poison, Curse, Stone
              Weakness: Nothing
              Drops: N/A
              Description: "A missionary gone amiss."
              Soma's Thoughts: ("I've had enough of this guy.")

              Graham fights you the same way Dracula would in the other games. Also, since he's a human, beating him doesn't give you his soul.



              "What's the matter?!"

              His first attack is shooting three fireballs ala Flame Demon's soul. You can swipe them away with the Claimh Solais.



              "Kneel!"

              His second attack are these much more evil looking lava balls that you have to dodge out of the way of.



              Finally, when you're chopped off a considerable amount of Graham's health, he starts summoning lava balls in a swirl around his body. You can cheese through this attack by ducking as the Claimh Solais would still reach him.



              Grinding, boyo.

              : "What do you mean by "those powers"?"

              : "I'm Dracula and you're not the one!"



              [Pained scream, followed up with "This is power!"]

              Oh sweet jesus, what the hell are we dealing with now? The angels have a halo pierced through their eyes and Graham's sitting in their heart... This design is simultaneously disgusting and amazing.



              In this form, Graham has two attacks. He can make the angels smash you with their giant hands and there's also the skull ring that shoots a giant laser at you. This fight can easily overwhelm you if you're not paying attention.

              But then again, if you're going for the best ending, you have the Succubus soul equipped and that heals you by 5 regardless of what you hit. You could camp under Graham's weird angel hands and hit him with the Claimh Solais as much as you want and the only thing you'd have to worry about is the laser.



              As long as you have patience, Graham and his freaky angel transformation finally go down from heartburn.

              (Also, they seriously forgot to capitalize "This cannot be!"? Come on...)



              [Graham screams "What the hell are you?!" as he vanishes into blue fire]



              [Black souls appear out of nowhere and pour into Soma endlessly]

              : "What... what's this? Whoa, something is flowing into me! NO, WAIT! PLEASE... STOP, NOOO!"

              Oh, this doesn't look good.

              [Soma falls to his knees and lets out an agonized scream]



              [Current audio in-game: Dracula's Fate]



              Holy ****, we were Dracula all along!

              ... Seriously though, this is huge. This explains everything about Soma's powers and why he was chosen to come to the castle. The song that's playing right now is the most somber in the game, and I absolutely adore it. Soma even looks intimidating now that he's like this.

              : "This is like a bad joke. Come on out, Arikado, I know you're there."

              [Arikado walks in from the left]



              : "Yes, you weren't supposed to come to this castle in the first place."

              : "Then why did you make me come here!?"

              : "Your soul and Dracula's magical powers are one and the same. No matter what we did, this day was destined to come."



              : "Huh? What do you mean? I don't understand."

              : "Because you are now one with him, an evil spirit must be flowing into you."

              : "Yes, it started not too long ago, and its slowly filling me up... I'm doing all that I can to keep him being consumed by it."

              Man, this is freaky. Is this even Soma anymore? It sounds like he's being possessed.

              : "Once you have finished absorbing all of it, his powers will be yours."



              : "Neither do I!"

              : "I know. That's why I chose the dangerous route."

              : "The dangerous route?"

              : "The evil in this spirit comes from those who seek chaos and destruction. So we need to cut off the source of the chaos influencing the spirit."

              : "Is that possible?"

              : "This castle is a product of Dracula's magic. It's a spiritual world. My point is this... a stream of chaos exists within this castle as well."



              By the way, if you didn't have the souls equipped, Graham would have yelled out "Impossible!" and Arikado would have just taken you out of the castle. That's boring, so I did this instead.

              : "I'll go. I'm not afraid... But what do I do once I get there?"

              : "You'll have to stop it using your own strength. You already succeeded in reaching the throne. I'm sure you can do it."

              : "If it will make me myself again, I'll do what it takes."

              : "As long as my powers continue to affect this place, the flow of the evil spirit into you will be slowed down. Go quickly!"

              : "I'm going... I appreciate your help..."

              I should take this time to mention that Arikado is really Alucard, aka. Adrian Farenheights Tepes, or Dracula's son. Yeah, that's a mouthful, so we just call him Alucard instead. He's the main protagonist of Symphony of the Night, and had to stop his dad from being resurrected there too.

              ... Their relationship is kind of strained, as you can tell.



              Go into the room Alucard came out of, and you get some fancy stuff.



              The first treasure is the Black Panther soul, a high speed ability that also damages enemies. Very nice, considering how we have to backtrack a fair amount to get to where we need to go.



              The second item is Dracula's Tunic which is by far the best armor in the game. It gives Soma the ultimate coolness upgrade.



              Black Panther soul also looks really cool, especially if you ram into a bunch of weak guys or have the Iron Golem soul. (aka. no flinching)



              Galamoth's soul completely neutralizes Chronomage and the only thing you have to worry about is him running away.

              Amazingly, I managed to get Chronomage's soul for that inevitable grind...



              But I think that's enough excitement for one chapter. See you guys next time for the ending!
              __________________

              Check out some of my screenshot LPs!:

              One Offs | Pokemon Snakewood (#1) | Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow (#2) | Pokemon Dark Rising 1 (#3) Final Fantasy Tactics Advance (#4- on hold) | Pokemon Dark Rising 2 (#5) | Pokemon Dark Rising: Order Destroyed (#5.5) | Sailor Moon: Another Story (#6 - current)

              Something that isn't an LP but still might be worth your time: Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Legacy of Hatred
                #8    
              Old March 4th, 2016 (9:38 PM). Edited July 15th, 2017 by Rainbow Chara X.
              Rainbow Chara X's Avatar
              Rainbow Chara X Rainbow Chara X is offline
              Impossible to gauge!
                 
                Join Date: Nov 2015
                Location: *cough*
                Age: 22
                Gender: Male
                Nature: Serious
                Posts: 69
                ... Wait, what? It's already over?!

                Chapter #7 (Finale) - Chaos Awaits You + 100% Soul Completion
                ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                Spoiler:



                Remember how there was a shadowy door preventing us from getting through here? Since we're Dracula (oh yeah, spoilers to anybody who didn't read chapter 6), we can finally go through.



                : "Julius?"

                : "So you were the one. I didn't want to believe it was true."

                Oh no.



                : "I must destroy Dracula at any cost. That is my destiny."

                : "NO, WAIT! I don't want to fight against you."



                There's no convincing him - we have to fight.



                [Current boss theme in-game: Heart of Fire]

                Name: Julius Belmont
                HP: 6000
                EXP: 0
                Strength: Light, Poison, Curse, Stone
                Weakness: Nothing
                Drops: N/A
                Description: "The most powerful Vampire Hunter. Recently regained his memory."
                Soma's Thoughts: ("So we meet again, Belmont. Very well, then - have at you!")

                Awww, here we go. A climactic showdown between a Belmont and Dracula... only this time in reverse. Julius is the hardest boss of the game, and his theme is kick-ass! He's also the reason why I said to keep a Dark elemental weapon, as the Claimh Solais is garbage against him.

                It feels kind of weird - we're technically good guys yet we still have to fight each other. I guess the threat of Dracula coming back into the world is just that immense.



                Although with a set-up like this, can you really blame Julius for thinking that we've become a villain?



                Julius has many attacks - the first and the most damaging is his whip, the legendary Vampire Killer. It hits for exactly 100 HP a pop, so it can kill me in about eight hits. That's brutal.



                Julius can also jump kick and do invincible backdashes to the point where it makes ours look like ****.



                "Go back to the darkness!"

                HOLY **** THAT'S COOL.

                If you get Julius down to a certain amount of health, he'll go to the center of the room and perform his ultimate Grand Cross attack. It is so powerful that just charging it up causes the buildings in the background to crumble off! It's amazing how well presented this fight is.

                Also, as you've noticed in the gif, Grand Cross pulls you toward Julius and even with the Black Panther soul I was barely able to get away! He is THAT determined to kill us!



                After Grand Cross, the second phase of the fight begins. Here, he'll start to use more of his sub-weapons like the Axe, the Holy Water and the Boomerang Cross. He'll use them intelligently, so be careful when fighting him. Having only 54 HP didn't inspire confidence, so I had to dip into the Too-Cool-To-Use club.



                Julius is tough, but he has to go down eventually.



                : "Wh... why...why won't you finish me off?"

                : "You took it easy on me. I could tell. The strength of a Belmont... No... the strength of a vampire hunter is greater than this."

                That was going easy?!

                : "... When I fought you, I felt the evil spirit within you. But there's more... I also sensed Soma's spirit. And that's more then enough to stop me."



                : "What is it?"

                : "From here I will set off to fight against my own fate. If I lose the battle... and I become the reincarnation of evil, I want you to kill me."

                : "... I will... I promise."



                : "Farewell, my friend. Don't let me use that whip again."

                We won't fail you. But yeah, that's the hardest fight in the game done. It's a fair kind of hard. Not stupid kaizo bull**** hard.



                Make your way into the next room and you're greeted with... this?



                oh my god the screen is going red what do i--



                ... Huh? Where did we wind up?



                There's a save room to the left, conveniently enough.



                [Current audio in-game: Chaotic Realm]

                ... Whoa.

                That's definitely different.



                Believe it or not, we're in the heart of the castle - the source of the magic powers that make up its shape. I think it's neat that it shows a grayscale version of every area in the game, like this is how the castle keeps track of its locations.



                Soma dusts away an Iron Golem to get a Mana Prism...



                ... Blows away a Giant Skeleton in the middle of what looks like Headhunter's room...



                Wait a minute, that's not a re-used asset!

                Name: Alastor
                HP: 1200
                EXP: 1500
                Strength: Nothing
                Weakness: Nothing
                Drops: Nothing
                Description: "His vengeful spirit possesses a floating sword."
                Soul effect (): "Summons 'ALASTOR' the familiar."
                Soma's Thoughts: ("Ooh, you have a bigger sword. So what?")

                Alastor is pretty much Nemesis's tougher older brother. He hits hard due to his sword being an upgrade from a rapier, but not really an issue.



                Mimic, get out of here. You're like the friend nobody likes.



                Name: Demon Lord
                HP: 1800
                EXP: 3000
                Strength: Dark
                Weakness: Light
                Drops: Mana Prism (rare), Demon's Mail (rare)
                Description: "This dark king rules over most of the demon population."
                Soul effect (): "Unleashes a furious barrage of magic upon enemies."
                Soma's Thoughts: ("Take a look at this guy. He sure looks important enough to be a demon lord.")

                He is the ultimate of the Devil enemies and... still not hard to kill. Sure, he takes a few hits before going down and has a more elaborate design but again... not that much of an issue. His soul allows you to fire off the evil lava balls that Graham used.



                I neglected to show off the really beastly looking fireballs these guys throw at you, so there you go. I think I like Demon Lord's better because it's purple.



                Just a quick note: Killer Mantle doesn't work on Final Guard. You have to beat them up the old-fashioned way, which is why I was so happy when I already received the soul.



                And suddenly we're underwater now. Man, good thing Soma doesn't need to breathe, am I right?



                Name: Shadow Knight
                HP: 3000
                EXP: 3000
                Strength: Dark
                Weakness: Light
                Drops: Nothing
                Description: "This strong knight sold his soul to the Devil."
                Soul effect (): "His shadow fights beside him."
                Soma's Thoughts: ("Okay, I seriously want this guy to work for me. I want an evil story-high knight to be my friend.")

                Huh. Usually the Final Guard is the last variation of the "giant knight" enemies. The Shadow Knight has a lot of HP but is weak to Light... which is why we have the Claimh Solais.

                (Speaking of the Claimh Solais, I can't be the only person who thinks its weird that Dracula, of all people, can even use a light elemental weapon. Then again, we're still technically Soma at heart, hence why the monsters want to kill us)



                When a door is pulsing with energy like that, you know it's time for the final battle. Good thing there's a save room behind us.



                Alright, here we go.



                Soma, you have an inventory full of Super Potions, the ultimate sword in the game and some pretty busted souls. You're not dying any time soon.



                [Current audio in-game: You're Not Alone]

                (great song title there)

                : "Wha...what?"

                : "Everyone remaining in the castle combined their powers to contact you."

                : "Does that mean they all know... that I'm Dracula?"

                : "Yes, Arikado told us everything."



                Given how we defeated Julius, a person whose job is to kill Dracula, I can sympathize with Soma right here.

                : "No, not at all! At first we were shocked, but everyone believes you'll get through this. I'm going to send you a message from them now. Listen..."

                : "You'll visit my shop again, won't ya? I'll be waitin' for ya."

                Of course we will, buddy. I need that Soul Eater Ring eventually.

                : "Good morning, Soma, I just heard about what happened to you. I've told you this before: you are who you are, and you mustn't let him win."

                : "To the man who beat me... don't disappoint me now."

                : "This is your last chance and ours as well... I'm counting on you."

                Protonjon called this scene "the locker room pep talk scene", which is very accurate.

                : "They're all rooting for me. Mina..."



                Yeah! Let's kick some ass!



                OH GOD WE WEREN'T READY



                [Current audio in-game: Battle Against Chaos]

                What the hell am I looking at?



                OH, YOU ASSHOLES! They're stealing all of the souls I collected!



                Name: Chaos
                HP: ????
                EXP: 0
                Strength: Nothing
                Weakness: Nothing
                Drops: N/A
                Description: N/A
                Soma's Thoughts: ("I'm having a hard enough time comprehending what I'm looking at, let alone attacking.")

                Chaos is by far the trippiest boss in the game... True to his name, I suppose.

                Anyway, since the three statues take every soul you've collected (excluding the Ability souls for some reason), you only have your weapon to rely on. Since I have the Claimh Solais, that's no issue, but damn. Imagine doing this with a normal weapon.



                The kind of soul they've taken determines how they attack you. The Bullet soul one fires crystals at you, the Guardian soul one turns into some weird dragon monster that rushes at you, and the Enchant soul one creates a reticle that drains your MP.

                The crystals and the dragon hurt a lot and could potentially overwhelm you among all of the insane scenery, but you're not going to be using MP for this fight anyway so...



                I don't know how much health they have, but they should go down reasonably quickly. It is cathartic to see the souls pop back into you after you kill one of the statues.



                [Current audio in-game: Final Decisive Battle]



                Chaos's second form! Man, the fact they even pulled this design off for a Gameboy Advance game's final boss is amazing. Anyway, let's just go and--



                ... What?



                [Current audio in-game: Dracula's Fate]

                ... Oh no.



                Julius...



                ... We've let everybody down. We have completely become Dracula.



                The cycle begins anew.



                Well, that was... dark. Is this really how the game ends?

                ... Nah, not really. Losing to Chaos nets you that cutscene, a bad ending of sorts.


                The game went from hopeful to depressing in an instant, seeing as we failed and became Dracula again. But let's say that didn't happen and put up a proper fight.



                What you have to worry about in Chaos's second form are the four corner eyes. You have to destroy them in order to damage the core in the center, as it takes scratch damage otherwise.

                It likes to fire off those knives in every direction and that gets annoying to dodge after a while.



                You see that silver dragon thing that's flying around the area? It likes to fire off a giant energy ball that bounces around the room, whereas the smaller ones go into Soma and implode his body. All in all, the Chaos fight is a relatively tame version of Bullet Hell that can still overwhelm you if you're not paying attention.



                80 damage is the best you're going to do with all of the eyes destroyed, but don't give up just yet.



                That's the final boss gone! We've won the game, ladies and gentlemen!



                So we've just destroyed the source of the castle's power. What's going to happen to it now?



                ... Damn. It is never coming back. What a way to go, too!

                Considering how this is in the future of the Castlevania series, I'm content with this.



                [Current audio in-game: Purification]



                "I've got to another job that I must attend to, so I have to go now. When I first heard that YOU were Dracula, I was shocked... I was just waking up, you know. If you think about it though, everything turned out okay. Ha ha ha... I'll never forget your strength and courage. And I haven't thanked you yet for rescuing me so... thanks. You're like a younger brother to me. It was fun, and I hope we meet again! Goodbye."

                Aww, Yoko is nice.



                "Back at the castle, I realized my true calling. Fighting's not me. I think I'll quit the army and open up a shop sometime soon. Promise me you'll come. I'll give ya a good deal."

                Hammer is still the best.



                "When I fled the castle, I felt the power from the Vampire Killer fading away. I don't know what it means, but I won't have to do anything for the time being. Farewell, may we meet again."

                Julius is a cool guy. He has a sense of honor about him that makes him respectable, and for a man in his fifties (yes, really) he's really tough! I guess there's a reason why he's the most powerful Vampire Hunter.



                "For God to be good, evil is an absolute necessity in this world. In the future someone may follow again in Dracula's dark footsteps. At that time, perhaps we'll meet again. Farewell... In my mother's name, I send thanks to you."

                Alucard was stern, but a really good character at heart. He had to do what he had to do in order to prevent a disaster, and he's had experience dealing with this kind of situation in Symphony of the Night. It's pretty amazing how they didn't relegate him to just being a cameo because "well symphony is super popular so throw Alucard in there".





                Oh hey, we're finally out of the eclipse! Also, if you're paying attention, this is almost exactly how the game started.




                : "Uh... Ungh..."

                : "Soma! Thank god, you woke up."

                : "Heard you folks speak. You saved me again."

                : "Again?"



                "Everyone's kind words and encouragement led me to victory."

                (along with potions and the claimh solais, etc.)

                : "Yes."

                : "Remember. Inside of me, Dracula's power lies sleeping. It's not evil, but it's definitely changed me."

                Has Dracula's soul finally been redeemed?

                : "It's okay. If anything ever happens again, everyone will rush to your aid."

                : "That's right, I guess they will. Look, the eclipse has ended."



                [Fade to black]



                [Current audio in-game: Staff Roll]

                Thank you Mr. Igarashi for making these wonderful games.



                I had to throw this in here because a name like Curry the Kid is amazing.



                Miss Yamane makes the greatest songs, even if I feel Aria of Sorrow isn't her best work. Dracula's Fate and the Dance Hall are still the best, though.







                This would normally be where I leave off, but there's still a fair amount of content left to see.



                If you beat the game, you have the choice between Normal and Hard difficulty. In later games, they introduce Level 1 Hard Mode, which is as intense as it sounds given how you automatically take 100 damage no matter what it is and enemies are sped up.

                There's also something special waiting for you if you type in Julius at the naming screen...



                Yep. That's right. We get to play as the man himself, complete with his theme playing in the background.

                You have a maximum of 800 HP at all times, and all you have to rely on are your whip and your subweapons. You're essentially playing Classic Castlevania, as you don't even have a pause menu aside from bringing up the map with Select.

                At first you start off kind of weak, but you get more stats the more you absorb the orbs that bosses leave behind. It's a pretty neat addition, but it's even better in Dawn as you get to have Alucard and Yoko on your team as well.



                You also get Boss Rush and Sound Mode, the former of which gives you special items if you beat it at specific times.



                In Boss Rush mode, you have to re-fight every boss excluding Chaos. Creaking Skull, Manticore and Great Knight have considerable boosts, and you're locked at level 40. Graham is easily the most difficult boss in this mode as he does a lot of damage, and to get the best stuff you have to do it all quickly.



                Oh yeah, this a closer view of what the game over screen looks like. I figured I show it off while I'm here. Do you understand what's happening in it? I have no idea.



                Five to six minutes nets you the Excalibur, the sword in the stone... Literally. You swing the sword with the stone still attached to it. What a wacky ass game. (That or the timing's off.)

                Four to five minutes nets you the Positron Rifle, which is exactly what it sounds like. It even goes well when used with Beam Skeleton's soul.

                Anything above five minutes is just a regular potion.





                I have every soul in the game now thanks to the Soul Eater Ring. To you guys it was just one screenshot to another, but I spent days trying to 100% the soul counter. You even get a special reward for doing so - the Chaos Ring!

                What the Chaos Ring does is give you... oh, I don't know: infinite MP. That's right, we've officially snapped the game's difficulty in two as we can use every soul in the game for absolutely nothing now. It is glorious, even if it's sort of a bragging rights award at best.



                Oh, and to give you a frame of reference for how long this took me: I went into the Chaos boss fight at level 43. Grinding to get every soul in the game pushed me up by 33 levels! That's just crazy.

                I should also mention that if you have 100% souls before finishing the game, the ending is slightly different: Soma is cockier about how strong he is. That's about the only change, really.



                With our newly obtained Chaos Ring, I cheesed through Boss Rush Mode to get the most broken weapon in the game: The Valmanway. You can only get it if your time is below 4 minutes, and it's even more disgusting than the Claimh Solais!



                Just look at that. There was a similar item in Symphony of the Night called the Crissaegrim, only it was a random drop from a common enemy in a later part of the game. Not only that, Alucard could equip two at a time...

                So believe it or not, the Valmanway is actually toned down and it's still game-breaking.

                Anyway, that's enough of that. Here's a compilation of Soul animations that I thought were interesting!

                Bullet Souls



                The Saitama Combo. (Werejaguar + Weretiger + Balore)



                Siren's soul, which makes Soma create little music notes.



                ZA WARUDO! (Evil Butcher + Chronomage - come on, you know I had to)



                It's shameful how bad Werewolf's soul is compared to Biphron's.



                Mandragora's soul. Soma's ears have to be ringing after that.



                If you combine Flame Demon + Giant Bat + Succubus, you can do the fire attack while in bat form. Pretty cool.



                Lightning Doll's soul, which makes Soma look like a Sith Lord.



                And finally Red Minotaur's soul, which was too broken to not include.

                Guardian Souls



                Sky Fish's soul summons an angel lady that increases your Strength and Luck. The more you hold down the button, the longer the boost lasts.



                Shadow Knight's soul creates a little guy that attacks in tandem with you. It's not as big or as strong as the other souls, but I like it regardless.



                Persephone's soul creates an evil vacuum that steals 5+ HP from enemies.



                Big Golem punches things as efficiently as you would expect.



                Finally, there's the other two transformation souls that I neglected to show off. The Devil one looks like a Hollow from Bleach, to be frank.



                Well, that's the end of Aria of Sorrow! I had a great time and I hope you guys did too, so I guess I'll leave this off with this absolutely stunning piece created by Ayami Kojima herself (aka. the game's artist). My final thoughts will be coming up soon, but for now? See you later.
                __________________

                Check out some of my screenshot LPs!:

                One Offs | Pokemon Snakewood (#1) | Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow (#2) | Pokemon Dark Rising 1 (#3) Final Fantasy Tactics Advance (#4- on hold) | Pokemon Dark Rising 2 (#5) | Pokemon Dark Rising: Order Destroyed (#5.5) | Sailor Moon: Another Story (#6 - current)

                Something that isn't an LP but still might be worth your time: Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Legacy of Hatred
                  #9    
                Old March 5th, 2016 (2:40 PM). Edited June 11th, 2016 by Rainbow Chara X.
                Rainbow Chara X's Avatar
                Rainbow Chara X Rainbow Chara X is offline
                Impossible to gauge!
                   
                  Join Date: Nov 2015
                  Location: *cough*
                  Age: 22
                  Gender: Male
                  Nature: Serious
                  Posts: 69
                  I should experiment with more game types in the future.

                  Final Thoughts
                  ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                  (Rating scale: Excellent (84 – 100)
                  Good(70-83)
                  Average(50 -69)
                  Bad – also counts as B-Movie So Bad It’s Good in case I happen to enjoy it (35 – 49)
                  Awful (34 to 0))

                  Full Title: Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow

                  Originally published: May 6th, 2003, published by Konami for the Gameboy Advance (also released in a double pack that includes Harmony of Dissonance)

                  Type: Sidescrolling action RPG

                  Length: If you're going for just the story, about 7 hours. If you're going 100% completion, it'll take you at least 10 hours if the RNG loves you and drops a soul every so often.

                  Difficulty: It's fair. I consider this the most balanced of the Gameboy Advance Castlevanias.

                  Developers/Artists/Etc.: Koji Igarashi (Designer), Michiru Yamane (Composer), Ayami Kojima (Concept Artist), etc.

                  Overall Plot:
                  • It's the year 2035. A foreign exchange student living in Japan goes to see the eclipse with his girlfriend, only to get trapped in the shadow of Dracula's castle. He has to save himself and his girlfriend, but discovers that he can absorb the souls of monsters. As he makes it to the castle's throne, he learns of a dark secret surrounding his powers...
                  Pros & Cons

                  · The twists and turns it does with the Castlevania formula make this a very interesting story. (Taking place in the future, Dracula being reincarnated into a good guy, etc.)

                  · The graphics are amazing for a handheld, and the concept art is absolutely gorgeous.

                  · Soma, while a cheeseball, was a good main character. He takes risks and is savvy enough to not completely trust people like Graham.

                  · Speaking of characters, while not particularly developed, everybody was likable. Julius and Alucard are badasses, Graham is exceptionally hammy, and Yoko is nice. Mina is the best love interest character I've seen in a while, given how she and Soma actually act like friends and not just boyfriend and girlfriend.

                  · The music was good. There's not really a song in here I could call bad. Heart of Fire, Dracula's Fate and Dance Hall are my favorites.

                  · The difficulty was reasonably balanced. The only things I could call hard are Graham (in Boss Rush Mode) and Death, the former of which isn't even in the main game...

                  · The endings are very effective. The bad ending where you lose to Chaos and become Dracula is... very somber. I'm kind of a sucker for endings like those. The best ending where you destroy the castle and redeem Dracula's soul is on the other side of the spectrum - it ties up everything so nicely that it makes everything we do feel like it actually meant something.

                  · I enjoy shorter games over longer ones as long as they're higher quality, and Aria of Sorrow counts.

                  · The Soul System is amazing, to say the least. The fact that every monster has a unique ability for you to gain is very interesting, even if it was sort of rough on its first go with some lackluster souls. In Dawn of Sorrow, they improve on it by a large margin, but it's still perfectly fine here. Black Panther and Hippogryph are the best because of how much freedom they add to your mobility, much like the Space Jump and Speed Booster in Metroid.

                  · The monsters themselves are pretty well designed. Headhunter, Death and Balore are my favorites when it comes to the bosses, and Persephone, Valkyrie and Chronomage for regular enemies.

                  · The Chaos Ring is a neat little reward for 100%. I'd argue that it actually makes sense for what we were collecting, seeing as it allows us to use our new treasure trove of souls for free.

                  · I love it whenever games do Boss Rush Modes or Sound Tests. It gives me something to go back to on occasion.

                  · I like the little snippets of humor the game throws out from time to time, even if some of it is unintentional. It adds a certain charm to the experience."An always angry minion of hell. Not enough calcium in his diet" is probably the best example of this.

                  · By the end, with stuff like the Claimh Solais, all of the most broken souls like Valkyrie and Red Minotaur, Dracula's Tunic, the Chaos Ring... It really adds to the feeling of being invincible.

                  · I don't like how you have to grind for Flame Demon and Succubus's souls to get the best ending. I can tolerate the random drop thing when it's just to get a cool bullet/guardian soul, but when it's for plot? Doesn't work for me.

                  · Death is harder than he deserves to be. It's mostly due to how large the hitbox for his damn scythe was, as he was the only boss I had gotten a game over on (well, not on purpose).

                  · Despite how well-designed the final Chaos fight is, it kind of hurts my eyes.

                  · The game loves to recycle old enemies and bosses. I'm looking at you, Giant Skeleton.

                  · Grinding to gets souls can seriously get on my bad side sometimes due to how luck decides everything. For one, getting more levels than necessary is an issue because I don't want to accidentally overdo it. Secondly, killing the same enemy over and over gets boring. Even worse is if it's against a tough/annoying enemy like Final Guard, Sky Fish, Flesh Golem, etc.

                  Final Thoughts (90/100):

                  Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow is one of the best games for the Gameboy Advance, without a doubt. The platforming elements and difficulty are solid, the soul system adds a lot to the gameplay, and the story's pretty good for what it is.

                  However, it is kind of short and it has some things that keep it from being perfect. For example, stuff like the best ending and 100% soul completion are kind of tedious to do considering how much of it relies on soul drops being generous. The palette swaps of monsters are lazy, and not every soul is a winner.

                  Despite all of this, the game is a very pleasant experience - I occasionally pop it into my DS to listen to songs and do Julius mode.

                  Speaking of DS, I really should get to doing Dawn of Sorrow. It may not be entirely solid when compared to this game, but it has some elements that I feel it does even better than Aria. Anyway, that's all I have, guys. See you for the next game.
                  __________________

                  Check out some of my screenshot LPs!:

                  One Offs | Pokemon Snakewood (#1) | Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow (#2) | Pokemon Dark Rising 1 (#3) Final Fantasy Tactics Advance (#4- on hold) | Pokemon Dark Rising 2 (#5) | Pokemon Dark Rising: Order Destroyed (#5.5) | Sailor Moon: Another Story (#6 - current)

                  Something that isn't an LP but still might be worth your time: Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Legacy of Hatred
                   

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