Guest Author - Lisa Shea
Castlevania - Portrait of Ruin is a classic side-scrolling adventure pitting Jonathan and Charlotte against vampires, skeletons and other baddies.
If you haven't played the other Castlevania games you might be a little lost going into this. They don't spend a lot of time on plot development or letting you know who is who. It really comes down to Jonathan Morris being the 'fighter' while Charlotte Aulin is the 'magic user'. You can have one or both of them on screen at any given time. Not only do they fight together as a team, but they can puzzle solve as well.
For example, you can have one of them stand on a pedestal, and use the other one to push the pedestal along to a new ledge. There aren't tons of these puzzles, but enough to keep things interesting.
The graphics are engaging enough to keep you interested without getting overly complicated. They do a good job portraying the skeletons and other monsters with the pixels they have available.
One of the fun aspects of Castlevania games is the level design. Levels have multiple tiers to each area and you go up, down and around trying to figure out how to progress. It's a logic puzzle to figure out how to get past blocking obstructions.
If you're addicted to three dimensions then this old-school fun might not be quite your cup of tea. However, there really is a simple elegance to a side scrolling adventure. It's a puzzle, how to navigate through the maze, how to use your pair of skills to overcome different types of enemies.
Also, the music and sound is rather well done. It helps draw you into the atmosphere of the game.
The game is super for what it offers. Monster-killing fun. Side-scrolling puzzles. A good team of characters. If this is the kind of game you tend to enjoy, then Castlevania will be right up your alley.
Buy Castlevania - Portrait of Ruin from Amazon.com