The Illustrated Story of Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow (Gameboy Advance)

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 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 childhood friend.

I started making my way to the shrine to see the solar eclipse with Mina. But, for some strange reason, the stairway leading up to the shrine seemed longer than usual, as if something was trying to keep us from our destination.

When I finally managed to get through the shrine gate, and my senses began to dim...

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

Game Highlights

Inside Dracula's Castle

Soma Cruz wakes up from his torpor holding his bruised head. He perceives that he is not alone. Mina is here, accompanied by a guy who she introduces as Genya Arikado. What is surprising is that they are somehow on Dracula's castle grounds, and Genya clarifies that they are also inside a solar eclipse. Mina tries to prevent Soma from starting a fight with Genya for speaking such nonsense, but the fight is soon directed somewhere else as monsters crawl out of the castle in their direction.

As dust from this first battle settles down, Mina lies unconscious on the floor. While Soma learns the skill to throw spears after watching a winged skeleton do it, he finds out that he always possessed a dormant power to absorb his enemies' powers, and it has now awakened. Genya casts a barrier around Mina, and instructs her still confused friend to go forth to the Master's Chamber. Soma hurries along the castle's corridors, killing various enemies along the way, taking only a brief respite from the monsters when entering a holy room where the powers of good protect him.

The Chapel and the Study

The first person that Soma meets inside the castle corridors is Graham Jones. He tells him that they are indeed inside Dracula's castle, but Dracula himself has now long been destroyed completely, never to come back again. However, Graham also mentions a prophecy whereby a person will come and inherit all of Dracula's power on this very day's eclipse! After this encounter, Soma is off to fight some more demonic monsters, until he reaches the study. There he encounters Yoko Belnades, who identifies herself as a member of the church and a friend of Genya Arikado. She offers him her help should he desire, and gives him more details about his new powers. She also warns him to beware of Graham, as he is the person that is trying to inherit Dracula's powers.

As his enemies grow larger and tougher, Soma is lucky enough to find some powerful weaponry lying around the castle. He also happens upon a guy named Hammer. This quirky guy is an ex-soldier who, finding nothing better to do, sets up a shopping stand at the castle's entrance to sell more weapons and armor to Soma. Meanwhile Soma's powers continue to increase, and he becomes able to access new areas that were previously unreachable. He also manages to find some eerie shrines, which can be used to teleport himself to other similar shrines in the castle.

Dance Hall and Inner Quarters

Our hero starts going further up into the castle. In the dance hall he encounters some ghost dancers who seem happy enough going about their dancing. Soon after Soma meets J, another odd-looking man who seems to have lost his memory, but has recently felt an attraction towards the castle. J also confides with Soma that he also feels that he also has magical powers that have been rekindled since he entered this mysterious place. Wanting to fight alone J moves on, and feeling the same way Soma runs off to fight the huge golem, a hard-shelled ugly monster made of soil and bound with magic. Soon after, Soma has to take on a spooky headhunter monster that can change its powers by replacing its head from the collection it has on the mantlepiece and in the rest of the room.

The next power that Soma receives is that of walking on water, allowing him to now reach the floating garden and the clock tower. There he meets Graham once again. This time Graham admits that his objective is to become powerful because he is Dracula. Dismissing Soma as only an insignificant threat, he hurries away towards the throne room. Soma tries to follow, but only manages to meet Yoko instead. He tells her about Graham's plan, and she tells Soma that they must trap him now since they have an advantage over the vampire who is now getting anxious to finish his work.

Escaping Death

Soma must still overcome a number of life threatening obstacles before reaching Graham, the first of them being Death itself. Death tries to take Soma to the afterlife with him, first with his traditional everyday scythe, but when he gets angry he sends an all out attack with his souped up double-edged scythe of doom. Death still ends up in flames though by means of Soma's Ascalon sword and then gets sucked into a vortex, leaving Soma to carry on with his mission which now takes him underwater. After fending off some creepy crawlies, mines and Triton, ruler of the water kingdom, in the caves and flooded passages under the castle, Soma arrives just in time to save Yoko from being killed by Graham. The evil missionary, now wielding the power that the castle has given him, still manages to stab Yoko once with his dagger.

With Yoko lying unconscious on the floor, Arikado appears once again to reassure Soma that everything is just fine, but he urges him to hurry up and defeat Graham. The underground passage leads to a cemetery, where more hideous beings lurk. Balore, a giant man, is waiting outside a cave where he catches Soma by surprise and tries to squash him with his huge hands, but fortunately he does have a weak spot. After this battle, a pallid J walks in, revealing that he has just regained all of his memories, and that his real name is Julius Belmont, descendant of the Belmont ancestry of vampire killers, he himself being the last one who trapped Dracula in this castle 36 years earlier. It is the destiny of a Belmont to defeat Dracula, but Julius needs his whip, the mythological Vampire Killer, in order to banish the vampire.

To the Cemetery

With the acquired power to shape-shift into a bat, Soma now travels to the cemetery where corpses are rising from their graves to walk forth as if someone is calling them. In fact the monster known as Legion surrounds itself with the corpses and uses them as a shield to defend itself from any unwanted visitor's blade. Killing this monster, Soma makes his way through the forbidden area, finally succeeding to find the throne. There Graham waits, boasting about his powers and daring anyone to oppose him.

Graham accuses Soma that he has been stealing the souls from his castle, and a fight ensues. The two battle each other for a long time, but in the end an amazed Graham watches Soma absorb his power and turn into Dracula. Arikado appears once again to deliver his wisdom to an unimpressed Soma. He reveals to the novice vampire that he has to now travel to the chaotic dimension and confront his own self. However, Julius now comes to stop him from going further, but shows compassion a minute later when he senses that the will of Soma is still strong.

Unweaving the Spell

Stepping into the chaotic portal, Soma must at first adapt himself with his new surroundings. He succeeds to make it to the end of this psychedelic experience, only to see a vision of his friends rooting him on towards his final encounter. As he shatters the chaos core, the very fabric of time and space around the castle is undone, and Soma finds himself back in the arms of his friend Mina, in the safety of the shrine. The world is saved once again, but Soma knows that something unpleasant lurks somewhere within his body.

1 comment

Comment by Anonymous on
Wow. Impressive narrative.

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