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Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow is a 2005 Metroidvania game and part of the Castlevania series. It's a direct sequel to Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow and the first installment to be released on the Nintendo DS.

The box, manual and introduction make no effort to hide Soma's status as Dracula's reincarnation. The game starts with Soma living a normal life with his not-girlfriend Mina when he is suddenly attacked by cult leader Celia, who wishes to create a new Dark Lord. After the fight, Soma charges into the cult's base with nothing but a rusty pocket knife and the clothes on his back. Oh, and he doesn't have any of the souls from Aria, having dumped them in the Chaotic Realm to reseal Castlevania and all. This time, the castle is somewhere in Europe and is made to be a similar substitute to the sealed Castlevania.

Unmarked spoilers ahead.


Dawn of Sorrow provides examples of:

  • 11th-Hour Superpower: The Black Panther (Sonic Dash) soul. Allows you to run at ridiculous speeds. Combine this with the Valmanway and you can cut through and clear out many areas fast. You receive this very late in the game right before the finale.
  • Advanced Movement Technique: Like in Aria of Sorrow, you move faster with your Diving Kick in both games' Julius Mode.
  • Affably Evil: Dmitrii Blinov as well. His main motive is curiosity about his abilities.
  • Already Undone for You: Justified. Julius is running ahead of Soma, yet Soma still has to fight the bosses. Turns out Julius can't use Seals for some reason and only killed them for long enough in order to leave before they could regenerate. Soma isn't too convinced, as it is impossible for the player to leave a boss room until the enemy is dead and sealed.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: For no clear reason, Celia's skin is light gray.
  • Another Side, Another Story: Julius Mode. Unlike Aria of Sorrow where it had no plot, this is where the titular character focuses on getting stronger so he could fulfill his promise to kill Soma if he ever becomes Dracula.
  • The Anti-God: Dawn of Sorrow elucidates the idea—first indicated in Castlevania: Lament of Innocence—that Dracula (or whoever holds the Dark Lord title) is the foremost figure opposed to God in this series, replacing the traditional role of Lucifer/Satan/the Devil.
  • Arrange Mode: Julius Mode, but this time, he's joined by Yoko Belnades and Alucard, in a Call-Back to Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse. The Final Boss is also altered as well.
  • Art-Shifted Sequel: The character portraits of Aria were drawn in a gothic style (the style of Ayami Kojima fans have grown used to since Castlevania: Symphony of the Night). Dawn went for a more Animesque style in an attempt to emulate Rondo of Blood.
  • Artifact Title: The game does not take place in Dracula's Castle (aka Castlevania).
  • Avenging the Villain: Subverted. When Soma kills Dmitrii, Dario at first appears to be pissed because his comrade died, appearing to set up the trope. But he quickly reveals that he just wanted to beat Dmitrii himself.
  • Background Boss: The Puppet Master and Aguni. However, the latter subverts it; while he can normally only be seen inside the background mirror during your rematch with Dario, Paranoia's soul allows you to enter the mirror and battle Aguni directly to continue towards the best ending.
  • Badass Longcoat: Soma's was redesigned to look like a Ky Kiske-style trenchcoat.
  • Bag of Spilling:
    • Partially justified : Since Soma didn't have any reason to use his Power of Dominance for a long time, all of the souls he collected were released... though it doesn't explain what happened to all his gear and loot from the previous game. That said, he retained the ability to slide and backdash from the very start of Dawn, whereas in Aria he needed the Skeleton Blaze and Grave Keeper souls to perform each skill respectively.
    • Similarly, he requires the Kicker Skeleton soul to perform a drop kick after a double jump in Aria. While this power isn't immediately available in Dawn, reacquiring the Malphas soul also restores the ability to drop kick.
  • Bait-and-Switch Boss: Just as it seems that you're gonna fight Dmitrii again, his stolen Power of Dominance didn't quite work out, and all of the monster souls he absorbed fuse and break out to become the real final boss. A bit of a Giant Space Flea from Nowhere, that.
  • Balance Between Good and Evil: Both Arikado and the cultists in appear to believe that the universe requires an embodiment of perfect Evil (whether that be Dracula, Soma as Dracula's reincarnation, or someone else) in order for God to embody perfect Good. The cult tries to force the issue, while Arikado and Soma come to the conclusion that the universe will balance things out on its own by providing a Dark Lord when one is needed.
  • Barrage of Bats: With the soul of the Bat enemy, Soma can release up to three bats (if the player maxes out this ability) that circle behind him and attack enemies.
  • Battle Theme Music: Soma uses Dracula's fight music, "Dance of Illusions".
  • Big Bad: Celia is trying to create a new Dark Lord (a separate role from Dracula) under the misguided belief that God needs it in order to embody perfect Good.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The Cursed Clocktower Slotmachine door is labeled "573", which in Japanese is pronounced "Go-Na(na)-Mi." Doubles as a Stealth Pun.
  • Black Blood: For some reason, any non-scenery blood, whether it comes from you or your enemies, is orange. It's possible that this was an attempt to make the blood look more realistic that backfired.
  • Bodyguard Crush: Very subtly implied in Dawn while using the Alura Une soul. She adds -sama to Soma's name and seems to almost lovingly embrace him. Observe.
  • Body Horror: After absorbing every single monster soul to become the Dark Lord, the massive power Dmitrii got turns out to be too much for him since, while he did successfully copy Soma's power of dominance, he did not copy the Required Secondary Powers needed to properly contain the souls he absorbed. This results in a skeletal, monstrous fusion of an abomination emerging from Dmitrii's back as he dies in sheer agony.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • Jump kicking damage is based on air time rather than distance. Guess what Medusa Head lets you do with the kick.
    • The Axe Armor soul is your garden variety Castlevania overhead throwing axe. And as usual, it's one of the most useful weapons in the game.
    • The Skelerang Soul increases both the power and speed of throwing weapons like the Boomerang, and also allows you to have two of them on-screen at the same time. Since throwing weapons don't have any animations, you can easily use them to clear enemies at range with no cost to anything.
  • Boss-Altering Consequence:
    • Dario (2nd round) is the boss in Castle Keep. He can be defeated normally, but this just ends the game at this point. However, the player can defeat a boss named Paranoia in another area of the castle to obtain a soul that allows Soma to enter mirrors. Getting the Paranoia soul and using it during the 2nd Dario boss fight makes the player enter the background mirror and fight the source of Dario's powers, a fire demon named Aguni.
    • The fight with Dmitrii has him copy your attacks by using a Lv. 1 version of your current soul, though he's unable to copy any souls that allow you to shapeshift. Depending on which souls you use during the fight, Dmitrii can either be a Wake-Up Call Boss or a Breather Boss because he'll copy your current soul regardless of how weak it is, which the player can use to either give themselves a challenge or turn Dmitrii into a joke.
  • Call-Back: The Final Boss of Julius Mode (plus Soma's Bad Ending in Aria) is one large reference to the first Dracula fight in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. The hero(es) enter to find Soma slouching on his throne with a wine glass in hand, which he then hurls to the ground after a brief exchange of words. In Dawn, Soma's phases also match up with Dracula's phases — though he mixes it up with a few of his souls as well.
  • Captain Ersatz: Zephyr in Dawn is basically a palette swap of Dio Brando from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, with the same abilities and everything. You even fight him outside of the clock tower, much like the final battle between Dio and Jotaro. If that wasn't enough, he shouts Dio's iconic "TOKI WO TOMARE!" before freezing time.
  • Chaos Architecture: Somehow Dawn of Sorrow completely ignores this, taking place in an "exact replica" of Dracula's castle, completely ignoring its status as a creature of chaos. The need to have this plot point is unclear, as the story behind the castle (except possibly what is under it, and even that may be a creation of the cult) has no meaning at all.
  • Circles of Hell: The Abyss consists of several different themed segments, including a traditional fire-and-brimstone area and a bloody meaty area. There's also an area that's frozen over.
  • Cleavage Window: Celia sports one on her otherwise conservative robes.
  • Cliffhanger Wall: Dawn of Sorrow is chronologically the last game in the original series, with the franchise producing only prequels for a few years before being completely rebooted with Castlevania: Lords of Shadow.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Dmitrii can absorb certain Guardian souls, some of which, when you use them, force you to stand still. However, when he uses them, he can walk around and even keep attacking with his Bullet soul all he pleases. This can get especially silly when Dmitrii is strolling about in the midst of a tornado spewing massive swarms of indestructible locusts at you.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Several to Aria of Sorrow. Most notably, many areas in Dawn of Sorrow's castle (which is claimed to be a replica of Dracula's Castle — not the actual one, which was sealed in an eclipse and destroyed with Chaos) match up to certain areas in Aria's castle. Full details 
    • Soma's NPC allies all have a counterpart in Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse. Genya is Alucard, Yoko is a descendant of Sypha, Julius is a descendant of Trevor, and Hammer shares many physical and personality traits with Grant. None the least of which is his crush on Yoko, a Belnades witch. In fact, Julius Mode basically is Castlevania III again but having new playable characters instead, with Julius standing in for Trevor, Yoko taking the place of Sypha, and Arikado resuming his role as Alucard. In addition, the final boss is Soma, who has fully become Dracula, with his own rendition of Dance of Illusions playing in the background and the classic transformation phase. Pity they didn't get Hammer to stand in for Grant, though.
  • Creepy Doll: Puppet Master uses them.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Dmitrii Blinov suffers one of the most horrifying in the entire series. After his Thanatos Gambit that allows him to copy Soma's Dominance ability and return to life from his first death, Dmitrii loses control of the power and all of the monster souls he's absorbed coalesce into a horrible Eldritch Abomination... that swells from and bursts from his back, tearing his body to pieces in the process in his clear agony.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!:
    • Those who play Aria followed by Dawn may find it confusing when the "jump" button becomes the "special attack" button. Unless you've been playing SNES games all your life, then this trope has suddenly been played in your favor. (In fact, SNES games using B for jump and Y for attack is likely the reason it is that way in Dawn and all DS Castlevania games, ironically an attempt at averting this trope.) This is especially an issue if you play Aria on a Nintendo DS, due to the way the Game Boy Advance's A and B buttons translate to different positions.
    • The game lets you change out the controls... Too bad you can only do it for Soma Mode; Julius Mode is stuck with the defaults, as he can't access the menu and thus the options.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Despite his background, personality, and black suit, Arikado is your most helpful ally. Even when he unseals his powers in one ending, he still acts the same instead of losing his mind, a common side effect to such actions. It's probably no accident that the Big Bad in the first game wears white. Soma himself, despite having dark powers, isn't inherently evil. In fact, Yoko explicitly invokes this trope to Soma when she explains the nature of his powers.
  • Deal with the Devil: The Devil Soul. It's a Guardian soul — press R and you will begin to lose twenty HP per second in exchange for much higher power, though it'll stop draining your health before it kills you (but still provide the power boost). Great if you're good at not getting hit and/or doing the Boss Rush.
  • Degraded Boss: The game averts this trope entirely, which is very unusual for a Castlevania game. This is a necessary consequence of the special nature of bosses in Dawn of Sorrow, which (unlike standard enemies) require a Magic Seal to defeat.
  • Demonic Possession: Soma ends up unknowingly sharing his body with Dmitrii's spirit and, when Arikado reveals that the "Mina" that Celia murdered was actually a doppelganger to trick him into going evil, Dmitrii then leaves his host after he finished copying his abilities — painfully, it should be noted as well. It is also implied in the neutral ending (the one where Dario is killed without killing Aguni).
  • Devil Complex: Like Graham in Aria, Dmitrii and Dario also think they are Dracula's reincarnation.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: The Final Guard soul returns from Aria. Though it has a short delay after you turn it off before you can move again in Dawn, proper use of it effectively gives Soma the ability to parry almost every attack in the game.
  • Disc-One Nuke:
    • The Mandragora soul. Like the Nightmare soul in Aria, it's acquired early and powerful.
    • Bhuj, an axe, in Dawn. Not entirely for its damage, either. The true magic is the fact that it's a tier 3 weapon that takes Axe Armor and Manticore Souls to create, which are both common enough, and sells for 10,000G. The absolute earliest you can make it is midway through the Wizardry Lab (the second area), but there are no convenient Axe Armors up to that point. No worries, just carry on a little bit to the first accessible part of the Demon Guest House, and you'll find a room with two, both of which you can kill in one shot with a maxed Skeleton soul, while the Manticore in the Wizardry Lab near a room transition on the floor to a hallway with a Stone Golem in it is perfectly placed for farming. Get nine each of their souls, plus the axes the Axe Armors are liable to drop (buy more from Hammer if you didn't get 9 in the first place), make a bunch of Bhuj, and then sell them for an easy 90,000G. Repeat it a few times and you'll have no trouble whatsoever footing the bill for that Soul Eater Ring. It even works great later in the game, too.
  • Do Not Run with a Gun: Subverted with a combination of a few select Bullet souls (like Killer Clown) and the backdash or front dash (Werewolf) ability. The Front dash cancels the animation of the bullet soul and allows you to instantly use it again while simultaneously retreating/charging at them. While this CAN be devastating and capable of clearing rooms, it eats through your MP like crazy and it really is not recommended until you get the Chaos Ring. However, the ability to set up 9 Amalaric Snipers at once is awe-inspiring.
  • Double Jump: Again with Malphas' soul like in Aria. Soma does a flip on his second jump.
  • Driven to Suicide: Dmitrii kills himself after his fight with Soma and allows him to absorb his soul. However, he takes the time to copy Soma's Power of Dominance and later takes over the body of the doppelganger Celia tries to trick Soma with, allowing Dmitrii to resume a human form.
  • Dumb Muscle: Dario Bossi. While physically strong and an equally powerful fire mage, he's rather brutish and lacks the intelligence to plan things out.
  • Dwindling Party: Despite the reputations of the supporting cast, this happens in a non-lethal sense over the course of Aria and this game, aside from Julius Mode itself. Hammer goes AWOL and becomes a shopkeeper as soon as we meet him. Yoko is stabbed by Graham in Aria and becomes a non-combatant in Dawn. Julius is fought to a stalemate by Soma in Aria and defeated by a post-ritual Dario in Dawn. And just before Dawn's final boss fight, Dmitrii kills Celia as part of a sacrifice for more power and takes down Arikado.
  • Earn Your Bad Ending: Julius Mode. Soma ends up becoming Dracula as he feared, causing Julius to fulfill their promise and kill him.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Final Boss, Menace, which is a fusion of all the souls that Dmitrii absorbed.
  • Eldritch Location: The Abyss, working the same as the Chaotic Realm in Aria.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: What? You think Dracula('s reincarnation) would be completely okay with his loved one getting killed in front of him? Especially after Elisabetha and Lisa's deaths? Celia finds this out the hard way in the bad ending.
  • Everyone Can See It: Soma's relationship with Mina. Especially in the Golden Ending. However, Celia also seems aware, and exploits it to try and force Soma to become the new Dark Lord by killing a doppelganger of Mina in front of him.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: The bad ending. Bullying a Dragon + Strike Me Down with All of Your Hatred! = this trope. Just ask Celia... oh wait, you can't because she's dead.
  • Evil Laugh: Soma gets an epic one as the Final Boss for Julius Mode. Unfortunately, he really only has the one voice clip...
  • Final Boss: Dracula is not the final boss; it's Menace. In Julius Mode, however, Soma is fought instead, having truly become Dracula, technically making him the final boss for that mode.
  • Flanderization: In Aria, Hammer makes one mention about what he thinks of Yoko, saying that she is his type. In Dawn, Hammer is completely smitten by Yoko, but he Cannot Spit It Out and about half of his dialogue is pumping Soma for information about Yoko and what exactly her relationships with Arikado and Julius are.
  • Flash Step: The special move for high level daggers. Great for activating switches from the wrong side.
  • Flunky Boss: The Puppet Master (creates floating doll enemies), Abaddon (directs the movements of a colossal swarm of insects), Menace (spawns creatures that look a lot like Langoliers) and Soma/Dracula (brings a Gaibon familiar for his first phase and swaps it out for a Harpy in his second.).
  • Generation Xerox: The cast of protagonists bears a striking similarity to the cast of Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse. Alucard was a playable character in that game. Julius and Yoko are descendants of Trevor and Sypha, respectively. Certain unused assets suggest Hammer was also intended to be playable at some point, filling in the role of Grant. All the while, Soma plays the role of "Dracula if Lisa hadn't died", and indeed becomes villainous if Mina shares her fate.
  • Gender Bender: The Valkyrie soul briefly turns Soma into the female enemy.
  • Glass Cannon: Using the Devil soul eventually turns Soma into this. It stops draining health if Soma doesn't have more than 10 HP without revoking the power boost... but you still don't have more than 10 HP, so just about anything will likely kill you.
  • Good Needs Evil: Celia believes that in order for God to embody perfect Good, there needs to be an embodiment of perfect Evil to stand opposite of Him. This is why she wants Soma to become the Dark Lord. Arikado believes in this trope, too, yet his opinion is the universe will provide a Dark Lord when one is needed, and that no one must fill the role.
  • Grand Finale: Chronologically, Dawn of Sorrow is the final game in the mainline Castlevania series. In the good ending, Soma refuses the mantle once again despite being told that the Balance Between Good and Evil demands that he become the Dark Lord. So even if the universe truly needs another Big Bad down the road, it won't be Dracula again.
  • Guns Are Worthless: Averted, the handgun is a great early weapon if bought from Hammer when first available (you can also find it a bit later) with its high firerate (if combined with any form of Lag Cancel), and the Silver Gun works great for a bit after that, but the lack of upgrades after the Silver Gun make it worthless for endgame. Then again, the guns have an attack range across the entire screen and do Hitscan damage, and don't require using any mana (as well as having infinite ammo), so they're not totally useless.
  • Hoist by Her Own Petard: In the bad ending, Celia fakes killing Mina. Without Mina's talisman to absorb the darkness spawned by his rage, Soma becomes Dracula, just like Celia wanted... and then brutally kills her in revenge. Nice work, Celia. Rest in peace.
  • Holy Hand Grenade: The Erinys soul and a handful of others.
  • Hot Witch: Celia, the cult leader, is possibly an Evil Is Sexy example.
  • Improbably Female Cast: A single room has a similar theme. As it so happens, it's a bedroom.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: Dawn of Sorrow had a great balance with the weapons and souls, but the three weapons that stand out as the best weapons are the Claimh Solais, Death's Scythe, and the Valmanway.
  • Internal Homage: Fittingly, the final battle against Dark Lord Soma in Julius Mode serves as one to both Rondo of Blood and Symphony of the Night. Soma, assuming the classic Slouch of Villainy favored by Dracula, throws a glass of wine to the ground before the battle begins. He spends most of the first phase making liberal use of Dracula's Villain Teleportation skills, complete with Hikaru Midorikawa performing an Evil Laugh that would make Norio Wakamoto proud. Then there's the matter of his One-Winged Angel form, which is identical to the one Dracula assumes to fight Richter Belmont. If that wasn't enough, the boss fight sees the return of what is likely Dracula's most well-known theme, "Dance of Illusions."
  • Item Crafting: Yoko's primary gameplay role is to fuse souls you're willing to part with with weapons to create upgraded weapons. This is the only way to get most of the better weapons in the game. Sort of a mixed blessing, as if you want to make the best weapons, you'll have to spend significantly more time grinding for rare souls than you otherwise would. On the other hand, buying cheap weapons, grinding for certain common souls, using them to make moderately good weapons, and selling the now much more valuable weapons back to Hammer is an excellent way to make money.
  • It's All My Fault: At the end , after Arikado explains what a "Dark Lord" is, Soma starts blaming himself for not becoming Dracula because that means there will be someone "next in line". Arikado assures him that if a Dark Lord is needed, the universe will provide one on its own. No one has to be forced into it.
  • Jerkass: Dario. Just before you first fight him, it seems he's genuinely angry with Soma for killing off his comrade... and then brushes it off when Soma tries to apologize, claiming he just wanted to do it himself.
  • Kaizo Trap: If you kill and seal a boss during an attack, the attack will keep going during the boss's death animation. Death's skull attack is by far the worst offender. As if the seal system needed any more reasons to be the Scrappy Mechanic...
  • Kill the Cutie: Mina Hakuba gets crucified to a tree and shot with a laser. Except not.
  • Knight Templar: Celia's cult, With Light. Believing that God Is Good, they reason that in order for God to embody perfect Good, the Dark Lord, embodying perfect Evil, must stand opposite of Him. And since Soma rejected his status as such, Celia's going to offer him up as a sacrifice to create a new one, or failing that, attempt to force his hand. In the ending, Arikado affirms that the cult's way of thinking was right, but that if the world truly needs a Dark Lord, nature will respond of its own accord.
  • Lag Cancel: The werewolf soul in does a strange forward dash, which is very spammable for lag cancelling, and filling the screen with soul attacks.
  • The Legions of Hell: While the series as a whole has featured devils and imps as enemies for some time, they're especially plentiful and varied in this game. The game provides a possible explanation. (See Planet Heck below.)
  • Lethal Joke Item: Yorick. The novelty of the soul is that it does pitiful damage even compared to the Skeleton soul, its miniscule reach, and the fact that it is required to be kicked in order to deal any real damage. The lethal factor is that it does 10x the amount of damage if the kick is successful. While its range makes it an utterly terrible weapon against a lot of creatures, it can turn several enemies and bosses into jokes when used correctly due to how absurd the damage gets when it gets strong enough.
  • Level Grinding: Dawn of Sorrow has a perfect leveling curve — if you don't avoid enemies, you should always be around the right level.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Soma has this problem. Subverted with the ending, where it is Soma's thoughts of Mina that prevent all of the souls released by Menace from overwhelming him and turning him into the next Dark Lord. In other words, this is a two-sided case that persists in the Dracula character; losing his loved one makes him turn to evil, but as long as he has her, he can maintain being good.
  • Main Character Final Boss: In a unique twist on the extra character modes -which had become series standard by this point-, Julius Mode is unlocked via the bad ending, and continues on from it. In the bad ending, Soma fully embraces his inner darkness and becomes Dracula, upon which Julius, Yoko, and Alucard resolve to stop him. Julius Mode swaps to the perspective of Julius and his companions, and upon making it to the centre of the Abyss, they confront Soma, and are forced to fight him as their final enemy. In a rather dark take on this trope, not only are they forced to Mercy Kill Soma, there is also the implication that he will eventually resurrect fully as Dracula, starting the vicious cycle all over again.
  • Meaningful Name: More like initials, and it's possible this is entirely unintentional, but the initials of both Dmitrii and Dario, D.B., are an inversion of what Dracula's initials would be in Japan: B.D.: Burado Dorakyura.
  • Mercy Kill Arrangement: Soma asks Julius Belmont to kill him in the event that Soma fully becomes Dracula. The final battle of Julius Mode is essentially Julius, Yoko and Alucard performing a Mercy Kill on Soma/Dracula.
  • Money Grinding: There are certain doors that unlock when the last three digits of your gold match a target: 777 for the room contaning the Three 7s armor; 573 for a room in the Cursed Clock Tower; 666 for one in the bottom-left area.
  • The Mothman: Mothman is one of the game's three elusive cryptids, and can be summoned by turning on a giant spotlight using an electrical attack.
  • Multi-Stage Battle: Something similar happens with Gergoth, you fight him on the top floor of the Condemned Tower, and during the fight you and he end up falling all the way down to the bottom floor once he Turns Red.
  • Musical Nod: The theme of the Mine of Judgment, Basement Melody, is originally from Haunted Castle.
  • Nerf:
    • The Rycuda and Great Axe Armor souls are replacements of the powerful Lightning Doll and Red Minotaur Souls from Aria, and both are heavily weakened. The former no longer multihits, has reduced attack power, and while it has a unique Splash Damage effect that still allows it to hit multiple enemies, the initial hit has reduced range. The latter also has reduced range and power unless leveled up, and even then it doesn't quite have the same destructive power it did in the previous game.
    • The Luck stat is severely nerfed, reducing its effectiveness greatly.
  • Noblewoman's Laugh: Celia Fortner does this.
  • Non Standard Game Over: How badly did you mess up? Enough that getting the bad ending unlocks another play mode where the other characters team up to take down the now evil Soma.
  • Not Completely Useless: The Balore soul allows you to break chunks of ice that may block your path. There are only two rooms with ice that block your path, and both are next to the place where you find the soul.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Depite being Dark Lord candidates, Dario and Dmitrii are treated mostly like jokes. Dmitrii looks especially weak, that is, until the climax...
  • Nostalgia Level:
    • The Silenced Ruins, an area that looks exactly like a rather run-down version of the first level of Castlevania, although since it's deep underground, you can see caverns (and in a couple of places lava) through windows and holes in the wall. It even has a "Vampire Killer" arrangement as its background music. Of course, this isn't the first time this has been done; Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse and Super Castlevania IV had similar levels at the start of its castle, although it wasn't underground.
    • As noted under Continuity Nod, if you look carefully, the areas are like in Aria in terms of map location.
  • Older Hero vs. Younger Villain: Julius Mode only; 56-year old Julius Belmont vs. 19-year old Soma Cruz.
  • Old Save Bonus: If you start the game while Aria of Sorrow is in your GBA slot, you'll start with a Rare Ring, which makes getting those rare drops more likely. Also, Yoko's shop gets a Mina doll in the background.
  • Permanently Missable Content: Certain boss souls can be fused to make a powerful weapon; as these bosses do not respawn, doing this will lock you out of 100% souls completion and the Chaos Ring if you hadn't gotten it already until New Game Plus.
  • Planet Heck: The final stage, the Abyss, very obviously takes place in Hell. Apparently the castle the cult uses as its base has a Hell Gate below it.
  • Post-End Game Content: Julius Mode is how the game continues after the bad ending.
  • Power Copying:
    • Besides Soma himself, Dmitrii Blinov has the ability to use any enemy ability he's hit by. In your fight with him, he'll mimic any Bullet and Guardian Souls you use against him, but he'll only utilize what you hit him with last, so you could... say... use the Student Witch soul and throw an easy-to-dodge cat at him, forcibly locking Dmitrii into a laughably easy attack pattern (all you'd really need to worry about then would be a simple stabbing attack). If you want to make him look even more ridiculous, hit him with the Cave Troll soul: any enemy ability he copies is restricted to level 1, meaning that instead of the long-ranged tongue attack with half screen range Soma gets at Level 9, he'll be stuck with an ineffectual mildly rude gesture that has an even shorter range than his knife.
    • After his initial defeat, he seemingly dies and his black soul enters into Soma — but it's not Soma gaining dominance over a human soul, it's just Dmitrii inserting himself into Soma so he can copy Soma's basic ability to copy other powers by absorbing souls. Unfortunately, this double level of Power Copying overwhelms Dmitrii and he transforms into a massive abomination or, rather, said abomination rips its way out of his body, killing him in the process.
  • The Power of Love: Soma's friends — particularly his attachment to Mina — are the main reason he is able to fight off Dracula's influence. In one ending, when he thinks Mina has been killed, he Face-Heel Turns to get revenge for her death.
  • Power Up Letdown: Ascalon. The problem is that the weapon preceding it, Dainslef, confers boosts to STR, CON, and INT. Even ignoring the INT boost being good on its own, the STR Boost causes Dainslef to wobble between matching and slightly beating Ascalon's raw ATK, resulting in Ascalon being strictly inferior. Insult to injury, the weapon that follows Ascalon is Balmung, which while stronger than the preceding weapons also requires the one-per-playthrough Gergoth Soul in order to create it. Since the Chaos Ring requires having every soul in the game on hand at once in order for it to spawn, that presents a problem.
  • The Promise: Julius warns Soma early on to be careful, otherwise he'll be forced to carry out his promise. In the bad ending and in Julius Mode, Julius keeps said promise.
  • Rare Random Drop:
    • Peeping Eye and Ouija Table are technically available in the very first area, but their abysmal drop rates ensure that most players won't get them until much later.
    • Iron Golem has 50 HP and resistance to every single attack type in the game, ensuring that you will only ever do 1 HP of damage with every attack (unless you attack it with Death's Scythe's special attack, which deals 2 HP), or using a multi-hit weapon like Laevatain to reduce that. The only relief to give oneself in this venture is to use the not-as-useful Imp Soul, "Astral Veil", which turns the screen black-white for a bit and switches HP/MP for a time. However, this Iron Golem STILL has 15 MP, which while more manageable, would still require 8 hits from Laevatain in order to defeat. Astral Veil doesn't last but a few short seconds and costs a pretty hefty 50 MP to cast. Soul Rarity is 3 stars (1%). Players are pretty likely to attempt farming this soul several times for the Chaos Ring and to forge Burtgang in the Sword forging list. The only other consolation is the fact that Iron Golem gives a pretty hefty 2000 experience points per kill.
  • Reaching Towards the Audience: Soma on the box art.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Soma gives one to Dario Bossi before their second battle.
  • Recurring Boss: Balore reappears, sporting a damaged eye from his last battle with Soma in Aria. Dario escapes from his first fight, only to be fought later when his powers have increased due to being bonded to the fire demon Aguni — who you need to use a particular hidden soul to enter the mirror and kill in order to progress in the story. Oh, and Death pops up too.
  • Religion of Evil: Cultist Celia and her minions try to recreate the Dark Lord in order to restore God's status as the embodiment of perfect Good.
  • Sad Battle Music: There's an air of melancholy in the rendition of Dracula's iconic theme "Dance of Illusions", mostly to remind the player that they are essentially putting Soma out of his misery.
  • Say My Name:
    • Soma's name is often called in dramatic moments.
    • Also, in Julius Mode, each character calls for one another when switching. Prepare to hear lots of "Yoko!" "Julius!" and "Alucard!" over and over again.
    • Soma as the Dark Lord pulls this on whichever playable character is active when you begin the final boss battle (with said character uttering a somber-sounding "Soma..." beforehand). Note that Yoko gets the Last-Name Basis treatment, whereas Alucard is referred to by his preferred alias. As for Julius, Soma starts out calm enough, only to crank up the decibel level once he gets to the family name ("BERUMONDO!!"). Old grudges die hard, apparently.
  • Scratch Damage: Can be subverted to a degree, as it has a soul that gives a flat damage reduction and with it equipped, all attacks that'd do 1 damage normally do 0 damage. This makes it so that Soma doesn't flinch when hit by such attacks, but he still bleeds like a stuck pig while shrugging them off, which makes it look pretty amusing.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Defeating Aguni bereaves Dario of his fire powers. Realizing he's completely emasculated, he hightails it out of the castle and effectively out of the rest of the game.
  • Sequence Breaking:
    • The Succubus glitch in Dawn allows you to turn a temporary Flash Step special move into a permanent change in location, allowing you to warp past solid walls. Even without canceling out of it, it can activate a few Doors To Before from the wrong side. (This type can even be pulled off in Julius Mode via Alucard.)
    • Large sections of the game can be skipped either after the first playthrough, or with some other method of accessing the cross-hilt dagger Cinqueda — because it has a special move that teleports you, it can trigger every single door-switch from the wrong side. Other tricks exist to bypass barriers meant to block you until you got a specific item.
  • Shared Life-Meter: All three characters in Julius Mode share a life and magic meter.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: Mina is totally not Soma's girlfriend. Totally. In the good ending, Mina also pulls a He Is Not My Boyfriend.
  • Shipper on Deck: Hammer and Yoko are fond of playing this role to Soma and Mina. In their defense, they're not exactly unjustified.
  • The Starscream: Dmitrii Blinov eventually sacrifices Celia in pursuit of even greater power.
  • The Stoic: Arikado and Julius again, although Julius is heard laughing at Soma and Mina at the end of the best ending with Yoko and Hammer.
  • Suddenly Shouting: Soma does this when you fight him as the final boss of Julius Mode.
  • Superpowered Evil Side: Soma if you play your cards wrong.
  • Super Title 64 Advance: Dawn of Sorrow on Nintendo DS. The Japanese subtitle instead translates to Cross of the Blue Moon and has nothing to do with the initialism, though the "Dawn" part does allude to Aria of Sorrow's original Japanese title, Minuet of Dawn.
  • Targeted to Hurt the Hero: Played with; Celia kills a doppelganger of Mina to force Soma to become the next Dark Lord. It works if Soma isn't wearing Mina's talisman, leading to the Bad Ending/Julius Mode, but if he is, the game continues as normal.
  • "Test Your Strength" Game: Used as a puzzle. The solution is to strike it with a mace-type weapon, gaining a better prize the stronger the weapon used.
  • Took a Shortcut: Early on, Julius leaps over a drawbridge in order to enter the castle, leaving Yoko and Soma behind. Later you find out there was a switch right there to lower the bridge and he didn't have the decency of pushing it. You then come across him having trouble fighting Dario. Julius comments he had been able to kill the previous bosses despite not knowing how to use Magic Seals. Soma understandably thinks that makes no sense.
  • Turns Red: Death's second part, and a regular enemy — Gaibon. Both do it literally and metarophically, though Gaibon does that on his last hit points, while Death... well, you still have the other half of the fight to go.
  • Underground Monkey: Dawn of Sorrow is a little better about this than Aria (and also makes the Underground Monkeys' appearance slightly more different than a simple palette swap) but still has several examples.
  • The Unfought: No matter which ending the player is going for, Celia Fortner will not be fought against as a proper boss. On the average ending, Celia manages to escape the castle, although Arikado does state that he has agents tracking her whereabouts. On the bad ending, Soma turns into the Dark Lord and kills Celia immediately, thus forcing Julius Mode to occur and fulfill the classic destiny. On the road to the good ending, Dmitrii sacrifices Celia in order to reverse Arikado's powers and defeats Arikado.
  • Unintentionally Unwinnable: A bad throw with the Puppet Master soul can get you stuck inside a wall. The Suspend feature, thankfully, can allow you to escape, but it's not immediately evident.
  • Unique Enemy: Most notably the Flying Humanoid, the Yeti, and the Mothman.
  • Vampire Bites Suck: If Soma gains the "Blood Sucker" Bullet Soul from the Succubus, this allows him to regain HP by biting enemies. Soma does this by grabbing the enemy targeted, and a cloud of blood messily bursts out from them after he bites them.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: The Abyss. It's long and has a map screen separate from all of the previous areas in the game.
  • Victor Gains Loser's Powers: This is played much more straight than Aria of Sorrow and you get the soul of the boss you killed instantly.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Dmitrii's breakdown in the Golden Ending when he finds out the hard way himself that the power of dominance he copied from Soma isn't so easily contained by him and what would happen to his soul if he tried to use a power that intense. Even after forcing Arikado away, his condition only continues to get worse until the demons under his dominance burst out of his back, resulting in his death in the process as they come together to form the Final Boss.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: The Puppet Master. One of the first bosses to punish you heavily for the "Just beat him 'til he dies" strategy. If you don't destroy the puppets he uses to switch places with you, you're never gonna stand a chance. Once you figure out how he works, he easily becomes a Warm Up, though.
  • Warm-Up Boss: Flying Armor is especially noticeable, with his slow and weak attacks. He only has one attack that might surprise you, and after the first time, it won't surprise you again.
  • Waterfront Boss Battle: Rahab is fought in a pool, and there are no platforms for your hero to stand upon (he instead floats on the surface of the water), but the boss will frequently leap out of the water to attack in one of three ways. Defeating it nets you the ability to move around underwater.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Dario calls out Soma for apparently killing Dmitrii, prompting Soma to apologize for his actions. This (and Even Evil Has Standards) is then subverted, as Dario then snidely remarks that he wanted to be the one to kill Dmitrii.
    Dario: Ah, what are you talking about? I just wanted to beat that stuck up jerk to death with my own hands!
  • With This Herring: Once again, Soma starts with his casual clothes and a knife. It strains Willing Suspension of Disbelief a bit, as an evil cult has arrived, ready to kill Soma and/or turn him into the Dark Lord (hey, whatever works), attacks him and his best friend, and puts the world on the verge of plunging into darkness. What does Arikado toss to him to fight this menace? ... A knife. Really? You'd think between him and Soma, they'd have a better arsenal than that at their disposal. Soma then storms the castle, with nothing but this knife.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Soma. Kill Mina, and he will gladly embrace his destined power as the Dark Lord... and immediately put it to use slaughtering you in revenge.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Not alone, anyway.And if everything goes terribly wrong, there's a team ready to end you.
  • You Have Researched Breathing: Soma starts the game with the power to backdash and slide, and regains the drop kick alongside double jump despite having released all his souls at the end of Aria.


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