Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow

released on May 06, 2003

The year is 2035 and Soma Cruz is about to witness the first solar eclipse of the 21st century when he suddenly blacks out -- only to awaken inside a mysterious castle. As Soma, you must navigate the castle's labyrinths while confronting perilous monsters at every turn. But beware, you must escape before the evil consumes you!

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An immensely satisfying game with a rich, dark atmosphere. The sprites are all phenomenal, especially for the bosses, which are some of the coolest I've ever seen- the buildups to Legion and Balore are fucking incredible. The Souls system is really fun and makes enemy encounters so much more exciting- it reminded me a lot of collecting espers in Final Fantasy VI, which shares a similar aesthetic design. There are so many different abilities which almost all have the amazing animations (some extraordinarily goofy, like Cagnazzo and Creaking Skull) Collecting all the enemy souls makes backtracking and late game wandering a lot more fun, even if it does get pretty grindy. I really really loved this, but to be fair i do have to point out that the dialogue is very silly and the "plot" suffers for it.


Favorite Castlevania thus far. Absolutely addicting the whole way through and never stops being fun. Ain't perfect but I greatly enjoyed my time.

super solid but i feel like the true final boss prerequisites were a little silly in this game

Castlevania Aria of Sorrow is "cool". It is cool in how the spritework gives you a set of stylish animations and enemies to overcome. It is cool in the music having a trend of being upbeat yet spooky to make one feel heroic. It is cool in despite having minimal story the characters are all bad"sses in their own right with their own motivations for traversing such a dangerous place. The only downsides to the game is that the progression feels rather tame in such a sprawling labrynthian castle. New paths rarely feel like it is because you got some unique movement option like Ori or Metroid, but instead because you decided to travel one of the many routes that branched off of the one you chose earlier.
Note: I played this game on an emulator console and used a cheat to make enemies drop souls (abilities) way more often so I didn't have to grind for hours on end.