Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow is a video game released on the Nintendo DS in 2005. The game is the first of three Castlevania video games released on the Nintendo DS and is part of the wildly popular series of sidescrolling action/RPG video games that star a host of different characters, this games' being Soma Cruz. The game's platforming and RPG elements were also present in previous installments, and collecting the souls of killed enemies and using them to your advantage was found in the Game Boy Advance game Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow.

Most of the game is not controlled via the DS's stylus though certain portions require the player to draw spells using the touch screen by tracing them. As you progress, the different spells will become harder to master.

The game was critically acclaimed, having an average of 90% on It almost received the Nintendo DS game of the year awards on multiple accounts, with that title going to Mario Kart DS on most gaming sites and magazines.


The game is seen through a third person perspective and is entirely 2D - with only a few backgrounds and an enemy or two being rendered in 3D. The main character can level up by battling enemies, with tougher enemies giving the player more experience points once defeated than easier ones. When a character level ups, he will become stronger, have more health, get better luck and so fourth.

While fighting enemies, there's also a slight chance that you'll come in possession of that enemies' soul, which when equipped will give Soma a new power. Souls have three levels of rarity, which are separated via stars. An enemy with a higher amount of stars indicates that its soul will be harder to obtain. You'll get a boss's soul no matter what once defeated.

The different weapons in the game range from swords, axes and spears, each one having plenty of types. Axes are the strongest of the bunch though are slow and won't always attacks smaller enemies that are stationed between the axes' head and Soma. Swords are oftentimes weak, though, depending on the sword you are in possession of, are usually fast, while spears, while fast and slightly powerful, won't attack enemies above the players' head. The player can also equip handguns and even grenades.

Dracula's Castle - the setting of the game, is separated into a variety of different levels, each with its own theme and types of enemies. As you progress through the game, the new levels will get relatively more challenging than the last, requiring the player to level up. While going through the game's multiple different levels, the player will probably come across areas that are inaccessible. These areas will probably become open to the player once they come in possession of new souls or abilities. For example, one room may have two mirrors, with both being divided by a wall. When the player gains the ability to go into mirrors, then he or she'll be able to walk to the other mirror though gaining access to the other side of the room. Or maybe a ledge is too far up; if this occurs, then the player will probably have to beat a boss that has the double jump in order to gain higher grounds.

The game includes multiple boss fights that are found throughout the game's multiple levels. After you defeat a boss, the player must use the stylus to draw a soul that will ultimately defeat it, giving you its soul. If the player doesn't manage to trace the spell on the touch screen correctly or fast enough, then they'll have to harm the boss some more until they'll be given another chance to do so. As the game progresses, the enemies will construct more challenging spells to make it harder for them to perform.


Souls are some of the more appealing offensive and defensive items in the game. Every single enemy has a soul, each with its own ability. To come in possession of a soul, Soma must continually defeat an enemy until a soul will be released. It may happen automatically, or it may take hundreds of tries. The higher Soma's luck is, the better chance he'll get a soul. The more souls of an enemy he has, the better that soul will work - though this isn't always the case.

Souls are separated into three categories - yellow, blue and red, and three rarities - 1 star, two stars, and three stars (with the highest number of stars being the hardest souls to get). The different colored souls indicate:

  • Red souls: These souls, which are also called bullet souls, are souls that give Soma the ability to shoot, fire, throw or even spit out projectiles or streams of something. To perform a soul in this category, the player must press up while pressing the Y button.
  • Blue souls: These souls, which are also known as guardian souls, are souls that will spawn an enemy or give you a new ability. Some, such as the Flying Armor soul, will give you access to new areas.
  • Yellow souls: These souls, which are also known as enchant souls, won't give the player any new attacks, but will rather boost their stats or give them a new ability (such as being able to eat previously unpalatable foods).


As players level up, their stats will increase. The following are a list of stats and what they indicate:

  • HP: Soma's health points. His HP can increase if the player uses HP boosting items or finds a save spot.
  • MP: Soma's mental points. His MP will increase over time though to make the process quicker the player can use special MP boosting items, find a save spot or even use a Treant's soul to make it boost faster than normal. MP will decrease once the player uses souls that he's acquired.
  • ATK: Soma's attack power.
  • STR: Soma's strength, which will make his attacks stronger.
  • DEF: Soma's defense.
  • CON: Soma's constitution.
  • INT: Soma's intelligence. Intelligence will make Soma's soul power stronger.
  • MND: Soma's Mental Strength. This is Soma's defense against magical attacks.
  • LCK: Soma's luck. This will affect the frequency of item and soul releases.

Julius mode

In Julius mode, the player takes the role of three of the side characters in the game - Julius Belmont, Yoko Belnades and Alucard, each with their own unique abilities. This mode is more challenging than the previous mode, and can only be accessed once the player beats the game. The story takes place after the second ending, which featured Soma turning into Dracula. The entire game's layout is the same, excluding the final boss which takes place against the new Dracula. Of course, this story doesn't exactly have to be canon, as if the player gets the best ending, he won't succumb to the dark power.

Enemy Set mode

In this mode, players can create their own scenario in which they place enemies they've encountered in a set number of rooms. Following this, they can either attempt to master the area or get a friend to do so and try to beat the high score (which is calculated on how fast you manage to beat it). In all, three different rooms can be made in the game, with one going to each file. The weapons and souls used in each scenario are the weapons and souls found in the game's file, as is the level the player is at.

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