Currently scheduled for release toward the end of this year, Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin is the second game in Konami's long-running Castlevania series to be developed exclusively for the Nintendo DS. We first got our hands on the game shortly before the Electronic Entertainment Expo in May, and although we gleaned plenty of information on that occasion, we were left with a number of questions unanswered. Earlier today, during an informal meeting with Castlevania producer Koji Igarashi at the San Diego Comic-Con, we got a few of the answers that we were looking for, and we also got a brief look at the latest work-in-progress version of the game.
The demo of Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin on display at Comic-Con is similar to the one that we played before E3, but we did notice a few new features that are worthy of mention. Set in two distinct locales--a castle and a city--the demo let us switch between the game's new characters on the fly as we progressed. New in this demo was the ability to change the equipped items on each character, as well as a kick attack for vampire hunter Jonathan Morris and some new spells for magic-user Charlotte Orlean. We also spotted a new magical weapon in the game--a rock that ricocheted of walls and such when it was thrown. The most interesting new details on Portrait of Ruin came from our conversation with Iga.
When asked about Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin's wireless features, Iga explained that the game will offer a two-player cooperative mode that can be played either locally or online. Cooperative games will be played on special stages, which, although the translation wasn't entirely clear, we're assuming refers to levels different from those found in the single-player game, and the monsters contained therein will vary according to whether the game is online or local because of technical limitations. Also supported locally and online will be a shop mode, where you can buy, sell, and trade items with other players.
Finally, Iga told us that although the bulk of the in-game music is being composed by Castlevania veteran Michiru Yamane, at least five pieces of music will come courtesy of Yuzo Koshiro, whose soundtrack credits include such classic games as Streets of Rage, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Shenmue. We look forward to bringing you more information on Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin as soon as it becomes available.