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The year is 1944. World War II is in full effect; death is common and souls are restless. It is therefore unsurprising that Dracula's castle has revealed itself at this time.

Enter Jonathan Morris, vampire hunter and son of John Morris of Castlevania: Bloodlines fame, wielding the legendary Vampire Killer whip. At his side, Charlotte Aulin, his childhood friend and a talented witch, especially for her age. With these two working together, Dracula may not stand a chance.

There's just one thing. Dracula's not around.

A new vampire has taken control of this castle: a Mad Artist by the name of Brauner. And things are different under his rule. The castle keep is unassailable; it is blocked by magic produced by a large number of magical paintings positioned around the castle. Brauner is almost impossible to find, and the main evidence of his presence is the occasional appearance of his twin vampire daughters. A mysterious ghost has been spotted, and he seems to be completely immune to Brauner's influence. And not even Death is happy with this sequence of events. (No, wait, make that "Death's especially unhappy with this sequence of events".)

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And to top it all off, Jonathan can't even use his whip correctly.

Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin is a Nintendo DS game released in 2006 to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the Castlevania series. It boasts a two-character tag system that allows the two characters to work together frequently, an experience-based subweapon system for Jonathan and casting time-based magic system for Charlotte, and a number of non-castle venues accessible via the various portraits. Extra characters and level limits extend the replay value, including one mode controlled entirely with the touchscreen.


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Portrait of Ruin provides examples of:

  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: Vincent is incredibly ungrateful for Charlotte rescuing him from vampirism. About the only thing that changes is his dialogue in the ending, he doesn't have the courtesy to reduce his prices for items.
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Brauner if you defeat the Sisters rather than purify them and trigger the bad ending. He gets on his knees and outright begs you not to hurt his "daughters" more.
  • Alien Geometries: The circus levels are both ring-shaped, and while gravity for the playable characters and items is always down, everything else is oriented based on its position in the level. In fact, from her perspective, Medusa is bending over backward for her boss fight, and when she dies, she collapses to the ceiling. If you fight Medusa in the Boss Rush mode, she collapses to the floor instead.
  • American Kirby Is Hardcore: Interestingly, Eric AKA Wind looks closer to how he did in the US version of Bloodlines than the original and PAL ones (see here and here). This is probably the result of him being 27 years older in Portrait of Ruin.
  • And Now For Something Completely Different: The basic exploratory nature of the Metroidvania titles remains the same, except that now you can enter paintings with their own mini-world levels in them. Some of the paintings depict settings that just don't normally occur in Castlevania, such as a massive underground pyramid full of Egyptian mummies, a twisted war-torn carnival of the damned, or an early 20th Century European city.
  • Another Side, Another Story: After the main game, the Sisters' story ends the only way it could end.
  • Arrange Mode:
    • Sisters Mode, unlocked by beating the game, is a prequel to the main game that features Stella and Loretta, who attack using the touch screen.
    • Richter Mode, unlocked by beating the "Whip's Memory", has you control Richter and Maria, who use their sub-weapons from Castlevania: Rondo of Blood.
    • Old Axe Armor mode, unlocked by killing at least 1000 Old Axe Armors in normal mode and beating the game, is a mode where you play... an Old Axe Armor. Just one, who's very weak, and can't use items, and has only two subweapons.
  • Art Attacker: Brauner. When you fight him, he paints on an easel with blood, making a pattern on the screen that damages you when you touch it. He also uses Art Initiates Life to summon monsters by painting them.
  • Ax-Crazy: Lerajie
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: Averted so much. True, we don't see our heroes or the main antagonists naked, but some monsters, like the Harpy, are completely nude, complete with nipples!
  • Barrier Change Boss: Death can change his cloak color from the standard black (in which he's weak against spells and resistant to physical attacks) to white (in which he resists spells but is weak against physical attacks) and back again throughout the battle.
  • Bar Slide: The Skull Bartender enemy does this as its attack.
  • Bash Brothers: Charlotte and Jonathan, Stella and Loretta, Death and Dracula.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: The vampire Brauner is the one and only Victor Brauner, a Jewish Romanian surrealist artist.
  • Bewitched Amphibians: Charlotte learns how to turn herself and Jonathan into toads. This is required to progress and is also the first step to reaching the true ending.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The true ending, in which Dracula is defeated and Stella and Loretta are free of the curse, but Eric's spirit must pass on.
  • Black Magician Girl: Charlotte and Loretta. The former is a more obvious example of this trope - A bratty, cute, young girl who uses a magical spell book.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Brauner or his "daughters" could easily kill both Charlotte and Jonathan at any time during the game, and even state as such when the protagonists meet Brauner, but rather than just doing that and then getting on with their evil plans, they just leave the protagonists to break through Brauner's painting worlds. As a result, by the time the villains do decide to actually fight the protagonists, the heroes have become strong enough to beat them.
  • Bonus Boss: Whip's Memory, which takes the form of Richter Belmont and serves as the training needed to unlock the Vampire Killer's true power. The Bonus Dungeon is also full of them.
  • Boobs of Steel:
    • Stella has the biggest boobs of the game, and she's also the strongest female character (and the only female in the storyline who uses physical attacks a lot).
    • It appears to be a scale for all female characters, as Charlotte while she isn't exactly large in the chest, she is still more developed than the borderline flat Loretta. Charlotte does some physical activity such as physically move for her Tome attack and is able to push objects (though not as well as Johnathan). Loretta does NO physical fighting and she is easily the smallest in the chest department.
    • Pretty much all female enemies aside from Loretta are more developed than Charlotte in this area and do more physical activity than her. Astarte has some physical attacks, and the vacuum maid Persephone, while mostly using a tool, can be forced into physical hand on hand combat.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Stella and Loretta.
  • Broken Aesop: One of Wind's missions, "Abandon Greed", requires you to have no money. The most reliable way to "abandon your greed"? Dump all your cash into Conspicuous Consumption, then greedily pinch pennies until you can afford exactly one more cheap item.
  • Brutal Bonus Level: Nest of Evil. It's a completely optional area full of the hardest enemies and some of the toughest bosses. Even a well prepared player is prone to dying a lot there.
  • But Now I Must Go: Eric in both endings.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Charlotte calls the name of fully-charged magic spells, and the duo engage in this together when using a Dual Crash.
  • Canon Discontinuity: This game's pre-order bonuses removed Castlevania: Circle of the Moon and the N64 titles from this status (while preserving Legends's status as this).
  • Cannot Spit It Out: John could've saved his kid a lot of angst if he told him about the drawbacks of the whip right off the bat instead of keeping him Locked Out of the Loop.
  • Cerebus Retcon: The Vampire Killer is an Artifact of Doom that drains the life of those who wield it, at least if one is not a Belmontnote .
  • Challenge Run: Hard mode, which makes certain enemies stronger and enforces a Low-Level Run by reducing the level cap (including an option to set it to 1 for a no-level run). Beating the game on Hard rewards you with special items that grant large stat boosts.
  • Chest Monster: They can't fool anybody, because in this game, unlike Dawn of Sorrow, there are no regular chests, just those mimics.
  • Church Militant: Charlotte Aulin was trained by the Church as a spellcasting witch.
  • Circus of Fear: Two of the levels are twisted war-torn circus wastelands. It makes some sense thanks to the time period the game's set in.
  • Climax Boss: Stella and Loretta. Either Jonathan and Charlotte kill them, resulting in a Downer Ending that amounts to a Non-Standard Game Over or, if they have the requisite spell, free them from Brauner's control and the second half of the game's portraits become available for entry.
  • Combination Attack: Lots of them. Both Jonathan/Charlotte and Stella/Loretta have some potent ones. And that's without mentioning the final battle against Dracula and Death.
  • Continuity Nod:
  • Cute Monster Girl: Like the other DS titles of the franchise, there are plenty of these, so much that the promotional wallpaper for Portrait of Ruin was the entire female bestiary in adorable chibi form.
  • Cute Witch: Charlotte, but she doesn't like to be identified as such. Loretta may count as an evil version, though. And the mook witches.
  • Daddy's Little Villain: Played with. Stella and Loretta act independently of Brauner to attack the heroes, despite him insisting they stay somewhere safe. They're also Brainwashed and Crazy and not really his daughters.
  • Devour the Dragon: Dracula does this for the final phase of his boss fight, at the suggestion of the Dragon himself — Death — who is the one "devoured" in this case.
  • Disc-One Nuke:
    • The discontinued Nintendo WFC shop mode allowed you to obtain powerful equipment (such as the Rose Stem Whip) much sooner than you'd get them offline. Ditto for local wireless shop mode, which can still be used, if you happen to know someone who also has the game is further along in their save file than you.
    • The Shuriken subweapon, which is one of the best skills in the game. It can easily be bought before the first portrait, and mastered before the second one is finished.
    • There's quite a few, actually, in addition to the Shuriken and Ice Needles mentioned above.
    • The humble Long Spear. A weapon as strong as the fully-powered Vampire Killer (ignoring the other benefits the whip has), but it's the common drop of the Armor Knight, which you can meet in large quantities as early as the second portrait! Nothing outclasses it until the first four Portraits are completed, which means it can hold out as the king of damage for two entire areas.
    • The Heaven's Sword, which you can get in the 3rd portrait. It has great range and can hit multiple times, not to mention that a jump-cancelling technique allows you to spam them really easily. You can easily laugh your way through the first fight with Stella with this weapon.
    • The Medusa Whip, also found as early as the 3rd portrait. Mediocre in terms of pure attack power, but anything weak to Earth will be petrified with a hit from this (with any hits afterwards doing double damage), making a lot of nasty enemies later on trivial.
  • Distracted by the Sexy:
    • Astarte, one of the female bosses, has an attack that makes either Johnathan or Richter fall in love with her. In gameplay terms, this means that the player loses control of them and is automatically forced to control the female partner (Charlotte for Johnathan, Maria for Richter). If the player is controlling a girl, the attack has no effect. The charmed male character will help Astarte fight Charlotte or Maria.
    • For Zacchino, he always does Touch Damage, but he has an action if he gets too close. If he gets close to Johnathan he will kneel and take out a sword saying "DIE!". If the player is controlling Charlotte he will do the same action but take out a harmless flower. If Charlotte leaves he says "Don't Ignore Me" but doesn't turn any more hostile than he was before.
  • Dreadful Dragonfly: Giant, acid-spitting dragonflies appear throughout the game as enemies.
  • Dual Boss:
    • In a series first, Death and Dracula fight together for the Final Boss battle and prior to that, Stella and Loretta.
    • Also in Nest of Evil, the first room on one of the lower floors has two of the Frankenstein's monsters you fight in Dark Academy.
  • Expy: The Lecarde sisters are Suiseiseki and Souseiseki. Same dispositions/demeanors, same style wardrobe, same heterochromatic configurations, same associated weapon themes (except they exchanged, and the water is frozen).
  • Fake Difficulty: Double Creature. Have a boss that's already cheap anyway because it can shoot lightning at anywhere in the room from anywhere in the room, and throw in another one. Enjoy getting shocked, shot, and blown up from off screen because you can't see what the other one is doing, and obviously can't fight back from that distance because your projectiles disappear for no reason, while the enemy's shots can go from one wall to the other with no problem whatsoever.
  • Four Is Death: Death himself has 4444 HP, which has been a trend for him throughout the Metroidvania titles.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: Aside from the occasional freeze glitches, there's a glitch that makes the game Unwinnable by Mistake if you skip the dialogue after you battle Death.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: The boss of the Egypt stage can use a Charm spell on Johnathan. As the boss is female, and Charlotte is straight, benching Johnathan takes part of the difficulty out of the fight.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • Averted with the Sanctuary spell, which is described as curing all abnormal status conditions of anyone within range. This would make it a useful spell to keep handy, but it has a long casting time and an obscene MP cost. Once you have it, your only other hint that it's the way you cure the twins of their vampirism is when Charlotte mentions that she might be able to help now. And, as part of the aversion, you now have to pull the spell off in the middle of a boss fight.
    • The Vampire Killer. The story makes a big deal as to how the whip's power is important, but unlocking its power is entirely optional and has no effect on the ending, although unlocking it at some point is required to unlock the Richter and Maria Renard extra mode. Additionally, using the Vampire Killer is stated to drain the life of the user if they're not a Belmont, which is how Jonathan's father died; however, once you unlock its power there is absolutely no penalty to using it as much you want. (Then again, John Morris didn't show the symptoms of his (eventually fatal) whip overuse until some time after he defeated Dracula.)
  • Glass Cannon: Richter and Maria during Richter Mode. They can at least level up this time, but there's still almost no health.
  • Guys Smash, Girls Shoot:
    • While a rather loose example as Charlotte can use (magic-assisted) special attacks, Charlotte is more useful using spells that all have a sort of horizontal reach. Johnathan is usually better equipped to fight close range and has higher defense. Johnathan can also be unequipped with a weapon and he will fight bare fisted, an action that can't be duplicated with Charlotte.
    • This is more straight with Richter and Maria. Maria has no physical attacks and only has projectiles.
  • Harder Than Hard: There's Hard Mode, which is unlocked by beating the game, and then there are maximum level caps varying from 50, 25 to 1. To make things worse, the lower the level cap is, the greater is the fixed attack bonus enemies will get, and on Level 1 Cap, even the smallest Bat can deal over 100 damage.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: The only reason that this comes as a surprise at all is because Dracula's explicitly mentioned as being absent at the start of the game. The end of the game makes it clear that he was never absent, just suppressed by Brauner.
  • Hitbox Dissonance: All of the bonus characters except for Richter have hitboxes one tile tall, a fraction of their sprites' height. This is necessary so that they can get through narrow paths without the abilities Jonathan and Charlotte would need to unlock, but it's still quite jarring.
  • Holy Hand Grenade: The Holy Water, Cross, and Bible are still this trope, along with several spells, and the unlocked Vampire Killer.
  • Homage: The Lecarde sisters, as mentioned previously. Neither of them says "Desu", though. That would be a different character altogether.
  • An Ice Person: Loretta specializes in Ice magic. While her method of attack is indeed ice-elemental in Sisters mode, you don't get access to either of the sisters' boss form attacks.
  • Incompatible Orientation: Charlotte is straight, and the boss in the Egypt stage is female. Naturally, unless you're really good, you'll treat that as a Designated Girl Fight to No-Sell the boss's charm spell.
  • Infinity -1 Sword:
    • The Royal Sword is a reward for an easy sidequest midway through the game, and is not only very strong but boosts several other stats as well. It can quite handily carry the majority of the game for Jonathan.
    • The Golden Axe is the literal strongest weapon in the game and can be bought from the shop, and like all axes can hit enemies twice. The tradeoffs are its slow speed and the fact that, unlike the powered-up Vampire Killer and some other weapons, doesn't inflict elemental damage, only physical.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: The full-powered Vampire Killer, which requires defeating the Bonus Boss. It isn't the strongest weapon in the game (an honor belonging to the aforementioned Golden Axe), but it's extremely fast, has a wide range, and inflicts Holy damage, which most enemies, including the Final Boss, are weak to.
  • I Let You Win: Death claims to have held back. If so, that "I see your death" attack of his may have been a bit over the top.
  • Just a Kid: A Running Gag with Charlotte, who doesn't like being treated like a child. Jonathan also takes offense when Wind calls him a "boy".
  • Lag Cancel: The backdash and land cancel still exist from previous games. Many of the subweapons can get a crazy rate of fire.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Dracula does this, commenting about how he and Death should get to double team too.
  • Large Ham: Brauner, particularly in his boss battle.
    Brauner: BLOOD-ART TECHNIQUE! A PAINTING OF THE SOUL!! I'LL MAKE YOU MY MASTERPIECE!!! THIS... IS ART!!!!!
  • Last Disc Magic: The Greatest Five Dual Crush, which summons, in order, Richter, Leon, Trevor, Juste, and Simon Belmont. Trevor and Simon would also appear in their original NES sprites once in a while.
  • Lethal Joke Item:
    • The Cream Pie, once mastered. It is very effective against the Whip's Memory (Richter Belmont), as it does Dark damage, which is his elemental weakness, as well as being easy on the MP (allowing for spamming) and having decent range.
    • Ancient Armor, a very rare drop from Old Axe Armors. It forces every damage hit to deal 10% of the player's health, regardless of their defense. While this doesn't seem to be useful on a normal playthrough, it becomes extremely valuable for players planning on venturing in Hard Level 1 difficulty.
  • Lighter and Softer: Compared to Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, the first Metroidvania. Alucard is a loner, while in this game, Jonathan and Charlotte are trusted partners all the way through. There's even way more funny moments and dialogue here thanks to the protagonist duo's interactions.
  • Like Brother and Sister: At the beginning, Jonathan Morris states that his childhood friend Charlotte Aulin is like his dear sister, much to her displeasure, since she doesn't like to be treated like a child.
  • Line-of-Sight Name: The ghost who helps Jonathan and Charlotte seemingly has no name (until he turns out to be Eric Lecarde), but names himself after the first thing that comes to mind. In this case, blowing Wind.
  • Looks Like Orlok: Brauner fits this vampire design, despite his dignity, formal attire, and monocle.
  • Lost Forever: Remember that generic longsword you picked up at one point? Better hope you held onto it, because if you got rid of it, you are permanently locked out of getting the Assassin's Blade that run.
  • Love Makes You Evil:
    • Brauner was driven to evil when his daughters were killed in World War I.
    • The boss Astarte can seduce Jonathan to her side, resulting in Jonathan attacking Charlotte relentlessly.
  • Mad Artist: Brauner. The whole haunted architecture is his doing, which applies to almost the entire game.
  • Mana Shield: When your partner takes damage, it goes to MP. If you run out of MP this way, your partner goes back to your pocket. An equippable item allows you to set it back to HP.
  • Monster Clown: The aptly named Killer Clown.
  • Multiple Endings: Like most Metroidvania games, there's more than one ending. It is also the first game in the series in which the bad ending results in a Game Over screen rather than a credits roll.
  • Mythology Gag:
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: After Jonathan and Charlotte defeat Brauner, Death comes in and finishes him off, revealing that the last obstacle to Dracula's resurrection has been removed.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Brauner made two grievous errors. First, he didn't keep Stella and Loretta on a tight enough leash, and second, if he had to brainwash them, then he should not have allowed them to enter his headquarters.
  • Noblewoman's Laugh: Stella's implied to do this in some of the extra bonus artwork.
  • Non-Lethal K.O.: Getting reduced to 0 HP by the Whip's Memory/Richter Belmont will simply boot you back to the castle's dining room with all HP and MP intact instead of causing a Game Over. Any items you use during the fight will not be restored.
  • Non-Standard Game Over: Killing Stella and Loretta rather than curing them results in an ending where Brauner gets away, followed by the Game Over screen.
  • Not Completely Useless:
    • Sanctuary and Undead Killer. The former takes a long time to cast and the other does relatively little damage, but the former is required to get to the endgame, and both can render the Red Skeletons and Red Armours Deader Than Dead.
    • Undead Killer is also arguably the second best whip to the fully powered Vampire Killer, being mostly similar but downgraded in power and with the aforementioned Red Skeleton and Red Armour killing ability.
  • Of Corsets Sexy: Stella wears a loose-fitting corset as part of her costume.
  • Onee-sama: Loretta calls Stella this in the Japanese version, either using "Stella" or "Sister" in the English version.
  • Over 100% Completion: The maximum map completion rating is 1000%. There's 10 maps in all and each map is worth 100%.
  • Panty Shot: Charlotte can get a few of these, especially if the vacuum Persephones are nearby. You can get even by casting Tempest near the said enemies to blow up their skirts in turn.
  • Party in My Pocket: Apparently, this isn't just visual shorthand. Go stand next to Vincent, put away your partner, and hold Up for a while. Likely related to how Trevor does it.
    Vincent: No... They—... They killed Jonathan?!
    Jonathan: Nah, I'm still around.
    Vincent: What? You're still here? But I thought...
  • Peek-a-Bangs: Jonathan's hair is like this.
  • Permanently Missable Content: Some items obtained in the course of exploration are unique. In particular, the Long Sword, an otherwise unremarkable weapon found in the first portrait, is required much later for one of Wind's quests. If you sell it, there's no way to get another one. Other items that can be lost forever prior to their quests include the Amanita, Thick Glasses, and the entire set of Nun's equipment.
  • Personal Effects Reveal: After the first fight with Stella, you obtain a locket that reveals that she and Loretta are Wind/Eric's daughters.
  • Pie in the Face: Johnathan gets cream pies (literally not metaphorically!) as a subweapon. They do heavy "Dark" damage, and thus at a suficient level, will completely smear the "Light"-aligned Bonus Boss.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: The vampire sisters wear fancy dresses. Charlotte gets several as armor, although they don't show up on her sprites.
  • Pink Girl, Blue Boy: Inverted, Jonathan's outfit and menu options are red/pink, while Charlotte's outfit and menu items are blue.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: The monk-turned-shopkeeper Vincent Dorin fills this role. He is bitten by a vampire and slowly succumbs to a similar fate, and it's played for laughs.
  • Polite Villains, Rude Heroes: Brauner and Death see each other as the main threat to their own goals, and between that and their Affably Evil natures, they don't put much effort into antagonizing the protagonists beyond petty dismissal. Meanwhile Jonathan tends to overcompensate for his issues and these snubs by acting overly confident and aggressive against his enemies. This reaches the point that Death's boss battle is one that Death explicitly does not want to have, and he is literally goaded into it.
  • Portal Picture: Each portrait leads to a different world.
  • Post-End Game Content: Depending on the ending, you may get more or less, but Sisters and Richter modes are this, as well as Boss Rush.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Brauner, when he does his turn-into-a-portrait-and-attempt-to-ram-into-you attack.
  • Previous Player-Character Cameo:
    • The Whip's Memory is Richter.
    • In the Nest of Evil, you fight copies of Trevor, Grant, and Sypha.
    • Also, the Greatest Five Dual Crash, which makes cameos of the previous wielders of the Vampire Killer - in order, Richter, Leon, Trevor, Juste, and Simon Belmont.
  • Purple Is Powerful: Brauner wears a purple suit, while Death's robe is also purple shaded.
  • Puzzle Boss: The Dullahan does massive damage to your level 7 or so characters with their minimal equipment, and it is unrealistic to dodge everything he throws. The solution? He'll never use his most damaging attack if you focus your attacks on his head. Alternatively, one may notice that this boss, like every other in the game, telegraphs every single major attack.
  • Random Drop: Money, spells, and subweapons can be obtained from the corpses (or, seeing they're undead, "recorpses") of your enemies. Have fun getting the drop from the Peeping Eye, an object that lets you see breakable walls. It starts at 0.69% of a chance. Be ready to get Luck boosting items if you want it.
  • Ship Tease: Charlotte seems to have a hidden crush on Jonathan, but we only see it in the bad ending. Some of the items you can find, like the wedding dress (which happens to be one of Charlotte's best armours) and the engagement ring, are bound to give some fans ideas. From the way Jonathan and Charlotte interact with and tease each other so often — including in the good ending — it is already way too obvious that they are more than just close friends, hinting that they have sincere feelings toward each other. Someone apparently forgot to tell the manual writer, though, since the manual outright says their relationship is "platonic".
  • Shared Unusual Trait: Stella and Loretta have one green and one red eye while under Brauner's control, but which eye is which color is different for each sister.
  • Shout-Out: A number of references to other Castlevania games exist.
    • One of the most surprising is the music in the second desert level, all of which is taken from the MSX game King's Valley II.
    • Dracula's appearance in this game is based on Bela Lugosi's version, which was rarely used after the 3rd and 4th generation games.
    • One of the most useful weapons in the game is Nebula, a chain whip that homes on enemies and can form a protective shield with its special attack. Nebula. Chain. Nebula... Chain... Nope, doesn't ring a bell!
    • The Knee Strike was "inspired by legendary martial artists."
    • The three award items, Vic Viper, Twinbee, and Konami Man, are references to The Goonies video game for the Famicom. The description for these items are "5000 points", which is the amount the player receives if he/she catches the item before it disappears.
    • The description for the fedora says it just feels right with a whip. The leather whip's description as being for a warrior with panache could plausibly be a reference to the same.
    • The description for the tinned spinach says it may give the illusion of increased muscle mass, likely a reference to Popeye.
    • That Griffon Wing Jump is unmistakably a Shoryuken. Specifically a Ken-style one, as it includes fire.
    • Salamander, Charlotte's most Awesome, but Impractical expensive spell, summons a fire lizard. It runs around just like the titular creature.
    • The Axe Bomber "dual spell" is the Cross Bomber, one of the Hell Missionaries' tag-team finishers in Kinnikuman, complete with "Magnet Power" effects.
    • The boss of the London-esque 13th Street is the Werewolf. Hm... That seems familiar...
    • Jojos Bizarre Adventure references turn up in Portrait of Ruin:
      • If you hold up for a couple seconds, Jonathan and Charlotte will strike fabulous poses. Charlotte in particular strikes a pose similar to one of Jolyne's poses, while Jonathan appears to use a mirrored version of one of Jonathan Joestar's poses.
      • If you activate the Stopwatch subweapon to freeze time and throw knives, they will stop dead in the frozen time after leaving Jonathan's hands the same way Dio does it in Stardust Crusaders. Also, Charlotte has a time-stopping spell and shouts "Subete yo, tomare!" ("Everything, stop!") when activating it, referencing Dio's classic "Toki yo, tomare!" ("Time, stop!") line.
    • A subtle one, but the duo's "JONATHAN! CHARLOTTE!" banter references Rugrats - a character named Charlotte Pickles keeps on calling Jonathan.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Jonathan to Brauner.
    I don't care! Being a family means being connected by heart. Ties of blood and soul is insignificant. When I learned why my father did what he did, I understood. You used a curse to manipulate your "dear daughters!" Now THAT'S sad!
  • Sibling Seniority Squabble: While Stella and Loretta are twins, Stella was born first and acts as the older sister. After Stella breaks down sobbing as their father passes on, Loretta promises to become stronger so she will not have to take as much of the burden.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Stella is a more emotional swordswoman, while Loretta is a more detached spellcaster.
  • Sprite/Polygon Mix: For some reason, the Peeping Eye enemy is the only one in the game rendered with polygons instead of the usual sprites. Also, the intro is done in CGI. Similar in quality to that of Final Fantasy Tactics, the War of the Lions, but it's less noticeable.
  • Stellar Name: The Stellar Sword, once owned by Maxim, which is one of the last quest rewards.
  • Super Move Portrait Attack: When activating a Dual Crush, Jonathan and Charlotte's portraits briefly flash on-screen while shouting the incantation.
  • Suspend Save: It also resets the enemies in an area when you restart, which helps getting Randomly Dropped items in the Bonus Dungeon, as that area doesn't allow Backtracking.
  • Sword and Sorcerer: Two pairs of this, actually; Jonathan and Stella as fighters and Charlotte and Loretta as witches.
  • Trainstopping: One of the first and most memorable moments of 13th Street.
  • True Blue Femininity: Charlotte, who wears blue and uses magic over brute force.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: While Vincent says he's grateful if you cure him of his vampirism, he sure doesn't show it. He refuses to give the heroes a discount despite everything and to twist the knife further, his spoken dialogue changes if you enter his shop while he's a vampire, with him begging, "I'll lower the price... I'll lower the price!", of which he does no such thing.
  • Unique Enemy:
    • The two giant sandworms in the two Egyptian-themed levels. Sure, they are just Palette Swap of one another, but each one has its own entry in the bestiary, and they never reappear after having been killed. Well, the one in the first desert level does, but it's at the opposite side of the level.
    • The dodo, the giant ghost, and the king ghoul, all required for sidequests. The dodo behaves exactly the same as it did in Symphony.
  • Unwinnable by Mistake: Whatever you do, DO NOT skip the cutscene after defeating Death. Thankfully, this bug was fixed for the European release.
  • Victor Gains Loser's Powers: Defeating the enemies may grant you with new subweapons for Jonathan and new spells for Charlotte.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss:
    • Dullahan, the very first boss. Mostly because his attacks are hard to dodge and he can nail you in 3-4 hits. Using Charlotte can make him easier with the right spells, which serves as a helpful reminder that you have another character to use.
    • Astarte as well: going in with just Jonathan is suicide due to her Temptation attack, and at the same time, Charlotte can barely scratch her due to her towering magical defense. If Dullahan is the game's way of reminding the player that they have multiple characters for different situations, Astarte is the game's way of forcing the player to learn to switch them back and forth on the fly.
    • The first round of combat with Death. Up to this point, the player may not have exactly had much in the way of hard bosses aside from the two above. Death? Makes the aforementioned two bosses look like toddlers in comparison. Simply put, the player needs to mix up their attack elements as appropriate for the enemy if they wish to have a fighting chance. Even with that in mind, prepare for a long fight. Heavens have mercy on those who venture into this fight in Hard Mode without Ancient Armor...
  • With This Herring: The game starts Jonathan with the legendary Vampire Killer, but he can't use it, so it's pathetically weak. It can be upgraded later, though.
  • Wizarding School: The Dark Academy is one of these, and similar rooms make up part of the Forest of Doom.
  • Wolfpack Boss: The Dracula's Curse protagonists (minus Alucard) who, much like their appearance in Symphony of the Night, show up as bosses, though here it's in the optional Nest of Evil area. With all of them attacking at once, that makes this a trio boss.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: The vampire sisters have purple hair.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: The barrier at the top of the castle should be a giveaway that Brauner isn't the Final Boss.
  • Zettai Ryouiki: Charlotte. Oh so very much, but it's close to the trope's Grade A variant.

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