The Castle Maps
The most interesting development in Dawn of Sorrow is the discovery of "Julius Mode," which will be unlocked after receiving the second-worst ending (see below) or better. After the credits roll and your progress is saved, on the title screen will have appeared "Julius Mode." When you select the option, you'll be able to establish a new file that can then be selected and played by backing out and selecting "Game Start." It's in "Julius Mode" where you'll take control of Julius Belmont, who plays almost identically to how you'll remember from his special appearance in Aria of Sorrow. "Julius Mode" is a fantasy scenario where Julius Belmont must honor his promise to destroy Soma Cruz, who has apparently given in and succumbed to the chaotic forces within.
Though, this isn't just your typical "pointlessly run about the castle as the unlockable guy" mission; this mode has to it a Dracula's Curse-like ally system that allows Julius to meet with and utilize the services of Yoko Belnades and Alucard (known until then as Genya Arikado). After defeating the Flying Armor, Julius will locate Yoko in the same place where in Soma's mission she opened shop; thereafter, the duo will together locate Alucard after entering into the Demon Guest House. The trio of allies will then go about their mission to hunt down Soma Cruz, the new Dark Lord.
You'll notice, also, that the heroes aren't exactly afforded the free reign to which secret characters have become accustomed; all three are controlled in their own ways (mostly by the castle design, which doesn't feature many wide-open spaces). Also in contrast to past secret modes: The three heroes can gain levels by the unseen RPG system that governs them, and during the adventure, their collectively shared level will increase in a natural process. They share, also, the same energy and magic meters. Because they're therein controlled and have no inventory, there are some things to remember:
To reach the Abyss and thus Soma Cruz, you'll have to utilize the three characters' special abilities and find which works best in certain scenarios: Which character can easily tackle this boss? Which one is equipped enough to counter its attacks? Which can navigate and maneuver around this particular obstacle? They all present the player respective advantages that should be considered. Since you can only control one hero at a time, you'll have to push the "X" button to switch to an ally, which works only in the following order: Julius, Yoko, Arikado, Julius, etc. There's during a switch a virtual time-out so that you can't be ambushed, so don't be discouraged that you can't get from Julius to Arikado in one shot. The heroes have the following abilities (minus "Start," which for all characters simply pauses the game; "Select" does nothing):
|B: Jump||B: Jump|
|B while airborne: Double Jump||B while airborne: Double Jump|
|Down-left/right plus B while airborne: Jump Kick||Down plus B: Slide Kick|
|Down plus B: Slide Kick||Up plus Y: Use selected spell|
|Up plus Y: Throw selected sub-weapon||Y: Swing the staff|
|Y: Swing the whip||Y while crouching: Throw a High Kick|
|Hold Y thereafter: Brandish the whip||A: Swing the staff|
|Y while crouching: Swing the whip||A while crouching: Throw a High Kick|
|Hold Y thereafter: Brandish the whip||L: Flipping Dack-dash|
|Y while jumping: Swing the whip||R: Swap magic spell|
|Hold Y thereafter: Brandish the whip||X: Switch to Alucard|
|A: Swing the whip||
|A while crouching: Swing the whip||Holy Flame: Yoko fires at short range a powerful fire blast|
|A while jumping: Swing the whip||Ice: Five ice shards form a half circle above Yoko and then blast outward in five respective directions|
|L: Back-dash||Lightning: Releases three heat-seeking electric currents that repeatedly damage enemies as they pass through them|
|Up plus L: Uppercut||-|
|L while airborne: Throw an uppercut that acts as a third jump||-|
|R: Swap sub-weapon||-|
|X: Switch to Yoko Belnades||-|
|Axe: Julius arcs through the air a powerful axe||-|
|Holy Water: Julius throws to the ground a vial that explodes and causes flames to wave forward||-|
|Boomerang: The boomerang strikes enemies both coming and going||-|
|Cross: Around Julius burns a giant flaming cross that repeatedly damage enemies that near it||-|
|B while airborne: Double Jump|
|Down-left/right plus B while airborne: Jump Kick|
|Up plus Y: Use selected relic|
|Y: Swing the sword|
|Y while crouching: Swing the sword|
|A: Magical Sword Dash|
|A while crouching: Swing the sword|
|Up plus L: Super Jump|
|L while airborne: Super Jump|
|R: Swap relic|
|X: Switch to Julius Belmont|
|Soul of Bat: Alucard transforms into a bat|
|Hellfire: Alucard opens up his cape and releases a three-directional fireball blast|
The "Boss Rush" Mode
To unlock this mode, an additional side-mission for Soma Cruz, you must finish the game by defeating the gigantic Menace for the best ending. To get to this point, you must by equipping Mina's special talisman bypass the storyline sequence where Celia Fortner executes a fake Mina, a doppelganger, and plays upon Soma's hatred. The story will thus continue, and Soma can thereafter head to the Abyss where there awaits a final battle. After the credits roll, your progress will be saved into the game's memory. When the game resets, you'll find on the title screen an additional option called "Bush Rush Mode." Once selecting the mode, you must select your completed regular-mission file in order to begin. Simply put: This mode consists of successive battles against all of the game's bosses (sans poor Malphas, who seems to have been forgotten).
The order is as follows: Flying Armor, Balore, Dmitrii, Puppet Master, Dario, Rahab, Gergoth, Zephyr, Bat Company, Paranoia, Aguni, Abaddon and Death
This instance of "Boss Rush" fun doesn't put into action a largely unprepared Soma Cruz; rather, in accordance of selection the mission file, he will begin the excursion with all of his status intact plus the armor, souls and abilities that he was able to attain. When "start" is pressed, Soma will find himself within a lone safety room wherein he can take the time to equip the weapons he'll need; thereafter, there's no time to rest--there are no safety rooms after boss fights. After he defeats a boss, though, it'll release a crystal that'll restore his lost energy and magic power (with the exception of the defeats of Dario and Dmitrii, whose souls can't be absorbed). When you've defeated the final boss, you'll find a nice reward based on how long it took you to reach and defeat it, and it will transfer over to your regular mission:
After you collect your new item, your score will be tallied and you'll be returned to the main screen.
Despite what was said about this being an extra mission for only Soma, you can actually play through as another set of characters: Julius Belmont and the allies gathered during "Julius Mode," which is unlocked after receiving the second-worst ending or better. You'll have to finish this fantasy mode, too--by defeating Soma Cruz and his Dracula forms--before you can select to play your mission file in in "Boss Rush" mode. Each of the three allies has his or her own unique abilities, strong points and weaknesses, so the experience will be a bit different; though, the level status attained in the "Julius Mode" mission will carry over. Playing as the trio is its own reward, however, since the collected item can't be carried over to their inventory-less main mission. (Thanks to Mister Mattias for some of this information.)
In the earlier games, which relied on stage-by-stage action, you could play through a second time, wherein the challenge would be increased by more enemy resistance and decreased means defense. Dawn of Sorrow is a particularly difficult game, but you can try hand at still-tougher mission via the "Hard Mode," which is unlocked when Soma Cruz defeats the Menace to receive the game's best ending. When thereafter starting a new mission, you'll be given the option of playing in this, the Hard Mode.
The Konami Sound Test returns once again for your listening pleasure. To unlock this mode, simply defeat the gigantic menace to receive the game's best ending, under the same conditions you used to unlock the "Boss Rush" mode. This may be redundant, since both modes unlock at the same time. From here, you can without restriction listen to all of the game's outstanding tunes.
There have in recent titles been different endings depending on the conditions surrounding your battle with certain boss creatures, and this trend continues--there are three possible endings for Soma Cruz in Dawn of Sorrow. The first ending, considered "bad," is received if you simply defeat the Dracula-like Dario in the Pinnacle. The second ending, surprisingly, has attached no boss battle; rather, the true test is your memory of earlier events and how through this process you bypass a normally game-ending storyline sequence. The best possible ending is based purely on your bypassing of this sequence, where thereafter you'll track down in the Abyss the game's ultimate evil.
By the time you near game's end, you may look over your soul list and notice that there at most three empty slots under "Ability" and one to which are likely oblivious under "Bullet." The three Ability Souls are easy to miss while the last Bullet Soul can be attained through special means. Below are the souls you are likely to have missed:
Soma could in Aria of Sorrow combine certain souls with that of the Giant Bat to pull off special moves while in bat form. Dawn of Sorrow takes the next step and allows for the mixing of souls from two separate categories for the increased effectiveness of both. Below (courtesy of contributor Mister Mattias) are the special combinations:
Hit the Jackpot
For many, a castle-exploration rate of 100% is important to the mission's ultimate completion, but their progress will surely by stunted by the castle-wide encountering of three slot machine-like doors, each marked with its own combination ("573," "666" and "777"). Upon contact, though, the spinners will rotate and undoubtedly land on the wrong combination. To force the doors' spinners to land on the proper combination, make sure the numbers displayed on them match the final three numbers of your gold total. For instance: A gold total of 12,573 will force open a door displaying the number 573. (Contributed by Mister Mattias.) You'll find behind these three doors the following items:
When you early on purchase Castle Map 1 from Hammer's shop, you'll see marked on the map some unexplored terrain that seems completely inaccessible. You'll find one potential entry point to it in the Subterranean Hell, in a water-filled room with a spike-lined floor and a giant divider in the room's center. You'll notice two vacant spots on either side, which seems like an invite to use your Puppet Master soul; however, you won't be able to throw it far enough to clear the distance. You can change this by equipping as an Enchanted Soul the Ape Skeleton, which will allow you to toss farther the place-switching puppet. Additionally (as Mister Mattias tells us), you can use the Bone Ark soul to procure transportation over the spikes and under the low-hanging divider.
Posing for Prizes
Konami always likes to nod toward the earlier games in its fine series, thus Dawn of Sorrow features a throwback to the NES' own Castlevania, which had a procedure of treasure-collecting I termed "posing for prizes." Castle-wide, you can in certain rooms uncover treasure by placing Soma in certain postures:
Note that these treasures, which remain in Soma's inventory, can only be collected for fun and nostalgia purposes, and they have no influence on the mission itself. The description for each reads: "5000 points."
The Ring of Chaos
Perhaps the most difficult item to attain is the Chaos Ring, which can only be found after Soma collects all possible souls. When this considerable challenge has been met, Soma will find in the icy area of the Abyss the Chaos Ring, which when equipped will work to quickly replenish Soma Cruz' drained magic meter. (Contributed by Mister Mattias.)
The Power of the Seesaw
You'll in the Subterrenean Hell find an abandoned vertical passage populated by a seesaw whose right side is occupied by a giant boulder. If you hit the right side with a normal weapon, the boulder will rise up only meakly. Rather, you'll need a weapon that has behind it a little oomph; the Mace, Morgenstern or Mjollnjr will fit the bill. When the boulder is then tossed high into the air, it will knock loose from the above coffers Potions, High Potions or Super Potions.
Killer Jump Kick
Sent in by Mister Mattias: "This is easy: Be at a high place and use the Jump Kick straight down. As Soma's sprite changes, the power level is increased. When the sprite stops moving after a collision with an enemy, it could do, say, 600 damage. It's not all that useful as there is only one area where it can used effectively. Instead, equip the 'Medusa Head' soul and activate it while you are hovering. Release it and watch your enemy die."
Off to See the Wizard
Sent in by Mister Mattias: "There is another way to early on enter the area beneath the Wizardry Lab. If you have either the Cutall or the Cinquedia weapon, go to the Wizardry Lab and head toward its southwest-most room; once there, use either weapon's special attack to reach the other side of the room and hit the switch, which will lower the barrier. The same thing can be done in rooms with similar switches. Alucard can in 'Julius Mode' do this with his Alucard Sword (with the special attack executed by pushing 'A')."
The Death That Keeps on Giving
Sent in by SaintofAthena: "The location of this event is the Mine of Judgment. In a room before the area's final save room (as depicted above), and before facing Death, there is a candle that drops money. In the case of the usual money-holding candles, you can only enter and reenter the room to collect the money a certain amount of times before the candle's content is replaced by only hearts. This candle, however, drops only money no matter how many times you reenter the room. Better yet: If you equip the Gold Ring, which acts as a multiplier, the candle will often drop 500-gold money bags. It's easy money, really."
One of the overlooked functions of the DS is its ability to read GBA cartridges as sort-of expansion paks. Konami allows you to use this function to your advantage. Before turning on the system to play Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow, insert into the GBA slot Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow. When you start a new mission, you can look to your inventory to see already present the Rare Ring, which would have been ordinarily collected much later on in the mission. Additionally, you'll also find in your inventory a Meat Strip and Spoiled Milk. For cosmetics, also, you'll find in Yoko's magic shop a cute Mina doll that waves its arms. (Thanks in part to lifeless312.)