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Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin - updated hands-on

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We all know that Dracula's castle returns every 100 years, but what happens when all kinds of crazies try to bring him back sooner? Plenty of chances to see why Castlevania is the king of 2D adventure, that's what. A mad artist (and his undeadly attractive daughters) has created possessed paintings that need to be vanquished, and it's up to Jonathan Morris and his gal-pal Charlotte to dive in and tear 'em up from the inside out.

Fans of the series already know how Portrait of Ruin plays - run around an expansive castle searching for a way through the waves of monsters, traps and hidden passages, all while powering up your character. Unlike vampire hunters of the past, John and Charlotte aren't exactly veteran fighters, so their path to greatness will unfold a little differently than last year's Dawn of Sorrow.



Instead of finding power-ups lying around, these two tag-teaming hunters get missions from a trapped spirit named Wind. For each task you complete, you're rewarded with a new move - these missions may be as simple as buying an item from a shop or killing a set amount of monsters. We bought some trinket and gained the ability to slide under narrow passages, a basic move present in pretty much every Castlevania game of the past eight years.

We're not totally sold on this "do as I say" method of leveling up, but there's a good chance something happens along the way to liven things up. It appears not all of Wind's whimsies are necessary to finish the game, though completists will always want to come back for more.

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