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Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is a game in which you hunt vampires. It is rather dark because your character battles monsters and spirits constantly during which blood spurts occasionally. The story includes draining the blood of humans. There is a lot of reading involved, most of which is dialog between the main character and the characters she meets.
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What's it about?
Konami's Castlevania series usually sees a new release around Halloween, and this year is no exception. CASTLEVANIA: ORDER OF ECCLESIA introduces a female vampire hunter for the first time, supposedly due to public demand. Shanoa is a raven-haired beauty who's a member of the group Ecclesia. She's been given the daunting duty of ridding Dracula from the world. It's no small task, but she has the help of Dominus, a combination of weapons and magic.
Order of Ecclesia is an old-fashioned 2D adventure sidescroller with an RPG essence that doesn't use any of the DS' touchscreen capabilities. Instead you use the buttons to arm Shanoa with her weapons and magic (called Glyphs) and you use the buttons to strike and jump as well. You employ the Start button to go to your cache of powerups and to arm Shanoa with Glyphs. The D-pad navigates the menus, absorbs new Glyphs when you find them, and lets you talk to characters.
Is it any good?
This vampire offering can be truly difficult, so much so that you'll probably die a lot. Small creatures are always attacking and the large ones are very smart. Jumping to a new platform sometimes has to be oh-so-precise. Larger creatures appear form nowhere in this game which features 20 creepy map areas to explore and conquer: some of these areas include over two dozens room to explore. You'll meet villagers along the way and to unlock and truly finish the game, you have to complete every mission they give to you. Get enough Glyphs and you'll have the ability to perform 100 attack combos to help you in your various quests.
In addition to being a serious challenge, the game is somewhat bloody and dark. Blood oozes when you die and the story includes draining the blood of humans. Finally, the plot includes the sad death of a key character. Yet because of the depth and yes, the difficulty, there's no denying this is an undeniably gripping game. There are some twists, too, including bosses that show up at the beginning of a level, not the end. Order of Ecclesia also includes a Wi-Fi versus mode and the ability to unlock new items when you hook it up to the upcoming Wii game, Castlevania Judgment.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the myth of Dracula and of vampires. Does this game tell you anything about vampires that you didn't already know? Would you want to be a vampire or a vampire hunter? Are vampires too scary or are they just scary enough to keep you interested in their lives?