Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin - multiplayer hands-on

At this point, there's not a lot left to say about the next classic-in-the-making Castlevania. You'll run, jump and whip a path through a gory, gothic castle while discovering secret areas and new abilities, just like the past four handheld games. This time, however, you've got two vamp hunters to control and a series of haunted paintings that warp you out of the castle into environments most Castlevania games have never seen.

The single-player game may sound familiar, but the Wi-Fi enabled co-op mode is a brand new attraction that's got us stoked about slaying monsters again. No, you can't play the whole adventure with a friend (that would just be a little too cool, apparently), but you do get to run through a teeth-and-fang-filled gauntlet of unholy creatures together - this time from anywhere in the world. Besting this test of skill will net you rare items and of course, bragging rights.

Initially only Jonathan and Charlotte are selectable for this corridor hunt, but plenty more are unlockable - who could possibly show up for some sweet cameo action? Konami's not saying just yet. For the time being, we jumped in with two Jonathans and started cracking away.

The multiplayer mode's essentially a boss rush, tacking in old and new enemies from the series. Whatever goodies you have equipped in the solo game are transferred over, so our fancy-pants'd Jonathan wasn’t exactly loaded for an extended massacre. Still, since fighting's his specialty (with magic-user Charlotte staying behind casting spells), we made it though a couple of screen-filling monsters before succumbing to their rotting maws.


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