Tips: 23
Codes: 3
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Quick Tips

The Castle Maps

Maps contributed by Amar Youkai
Dracula's Castle
City of Haze
Sandy Grave
Nation of Fools
Forest of Doom
Dark Academy
13th Street
Burnt Paradise
Forgotten City
Nest of Evil


Extra Heroes

Portrait of Ruin's team mechanic is so interesting, the game's developers thought, why not take it even further and offer the player one of the best extras a series title has ever known? Following on the heels of Dawn of Sorrow's "Julius Mode" is Portrait's answer in the form of unlockable duos, which utilize the team mechanic as used by Jonathan and Charlotte but whose missions are without much in the way of consequence--a staple of the series' unlockable heroes. If you hope to enjoy this extra, you'll first have to do some work by playing through Jonathan and Charlotte's mission and earning the game's best ending by defeating the considerable combo of Dracula and Death; after the credits roll, your data saved to the game's memory, you can start a new mission by selecting a file, which will now present you four separate options--four sets of heroes with whom you can play through Portrait of Ruin's game-world.

Your four options are Jonathan and Charlotte (of little interest at this point), Richter and Maria, Stella and Loretta, and Old Axe Armor. For the information on how to unlock these characters, check under "Codes" for "Unlocking the Extras."

If you've played a modern series title, you know how this works: The characters controlled in special modes are not bound by narrative and storyline-based progression and are designed specifically for straightforward, classic action. They're afforded mostly free reign as they plow their way through the castle en route to the castle heights, where they'll face respective final challenges (Dracula and Death for Richter Mode and Old Axe Armor, and the breaching of Brauner's portrait in Sisters Mode). Heroes gain levels as governed by an unseen RPG system; their health is depleted just as it is in Jonathan and Charlotte's mission, with the magic meter acting as the trailing character's health. They can otherwise power up by collecting HP and MP Max Up symbols. Because they're somewhat controlled and have no inventory, there are some things to remember:

If you put in the effort to gain levels and defeat bosses in kind, you'll find that these heroes are more than equipped to handle Castlevania and its many dangers. Still, success depends greatly on your managing of team abilities and your strategy therein. You'll have to answer some questions: Is it a good idea to double-team a boss when the surrounding obstacles are a threat to drain your AI-controlled partner's health, the magic meter, when you desperately need to use sub-weapons? When's the right time to switch heroes during a battle, and which of the two is better suited to dealing with a boss in its current form? How do I handle the crazier fights with Old Axe Armor, who has no such safety net? Start by knowing the basics--mainly that the "A" button summons your partner onto the battlefield and dispatches him/her all the same, and "X" quickly swaps between heroes. Know, also, your characters' moves.

Richter Mode

Richter and Maria, who starred together in three prior games, are an interesting pair in that they're ripped our from separate games. Richter is pulled right from Symphony of the Night, controlling just about identically to how he did in his very first unlockable excursion, while Maria is taken directly from Rondo of Blood though a bit more controlled. Their moves are as follows:

Richter Belmont
Maria Renard
Normal Attacks:
Normal Attacks:
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: Crawl
Down plus B: Slide Kick Up plus Y: Use selected animal
B while sliding: Dropkick Y: Throw dove
Up plus Y: Throw selected sub-weapon Rapidly push Y thereafter: Throw doves one after another
Y: Swing the whip Y while crouching: Throw doves
Hold Y thereafter: Brandish the whip Rapidly push Y thereafter: Throw doves one after another
Y while crouching: Swing the whip Y while jumping: Throw doves
Hold Y thereafter: Brandish the whip Rapidly push Y thereafter: Throw doves one after another
Y while jumping: Swing the whip Select: Swap magic spell
Hold Y thereafter: Brandish the whip A: Summon Richter
L while grounded: Super Jump R: Coax Richter to use his currently selected sub-weapon
Down plus L while airborne: Backflip L: Back-dash
L while airborne Super Jump X: Switch to Richter
Select: Switch sub-weapon Up, left, down, right plus Y: Cast illusion spell
A: Summon Maria
Animal Friends:
L: Back-dash
Bird: Maria releases overhead two red birds, which then return
R: Coax Maria to use her currently selected animal friend Cat: Maria tosses out a small cat, which runs along the ground and nips at enemies along the way
X: Switch to Maria Turtle: Maria encases herself in a shell, which protects her from attacks and diminishes the effect of those strongest
Right, down, left and right plus Y: Spinkick -Dragon: Maria release a large dragon, which flies forward and devastates enemies in its path
Up, left, down, right plus Y: Airdash
Right, down, left, up, right plus Y: Combo attack (spinkick, uppercut, airdash) -
- -
Axe: Richter arcs through the air a powerful axe -
Dagger: Richter quickly throws forward two daggers  
Holy Water: Richter throws to the ground a vial that explodes and causes flames to wave forward -
Holy Book: Richter unleashes the power of the Bible, which rotates around him in a protective shield  
Boomerang: The boomerang strikes enemies both coming and going -
Cross: Around Richter burns a giant flaming cross that repeatedly damage enemies that near it -

Sisters Mode

These are the sisters as encountered during the main mission, their vampire powers ever-present. However, the sisters' mission is unique in that it's tackled using touch control, which is the DS' specialty. While the sisters, themselves, are moved using the d-pad, their attacks are controlled by applying the stylus to the touch screen. The sisters aren't bound to ground travel and can use magic to hover through the air; the meter drains rapidly during this time, so the sisters will have to return to the ground in order to replenish the magic meter; since both sisters are always present, the one trailing is always susceptible to damage even though she isn't actively participating in battle. Their moves are as follows:

Normal Attacks:
Normal Attacks:
Slash stylus along touch screen: Slash Attack Touch anywhere on the touch screen: Ice Spell
Press up on the d-pad: Hover Press up on the d-pad: Hover
X: Switch to Loretta X: Switch to Stella
L: Switch to Loretta L: Switch to Stella

Old Axe Armor

Old Axe Armor makes its second appearance as an unlockable hero and does so without any in the way of help. The old series standby is on its own as it treks through the castle in search of the Dark Lord. Though limited in comparison to those above, this is no ordinary axe armor--it has abilities at least on par with standard heroes and will have to rely on the strongest of such if it hopes to survive.

Old Axe Armor
Normal Attacks:
B: Jump
B while airborne: Double Jump
Up plus Y: Use sub-weapon
Y: Swing the voulge
Y while crouching: Swing the voulge
Y while jumping: Swing the voulge
Hold Up : Extend axe (hurts enemies and blocks projectiles)
Select: Switch sub-weapons
L: Back-dash
L while airborne: Super Jump
Quickly press right twice plus Y: Axe Charge
Up, left, down, right plus Y: Axe Dive
Right, down, left, up, right plus Y: Axe Flail
Puppet: Toss forward and change places with a puppet, which can be thrown through certain barriers

The "Boss Rush" Mode

To unlock this mode, an additional side-mission for Jonathan and Charlotte, you must finish the game by defeating the dreaded combo of Dracula and Death--this for the best ending. To get to this point, you must allow the quest to continue beyond the Stella and Loretta battle by having Charlotte use her "Sanctuary" spell to cure the sisters of their ailment. The story will thus continue, and the heroes can thereafter head into the inverse portraits plus Brauner's domain and in following to the Castle Keep for the 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 you select the mode, you must choose your completed regular-mission file in order to begin. Simply put: This mode consists of successive battles against randomly paired minor enemies and almost all of the game's bosses.

There are three separate courses, each with a unique set of challenges. They are the following:

Course 1
Course 2
Course 3
Room 1: Two Skeletons and an Axe Armor Room 1: Dullahan Room 1: A Dead Warrior and a Demon Head
Room 2: Two Mermen and a Golem Room 2: Behemoth Room 2: The Creature
Room 3: Balore Room 3: Keremet Room 3: Two Old Axe Armors and a Minotaur
Room 4: Two Armor Knights and a Great Armor Room 4: Astarte Room 4: Medusa
Room 5: A Dragon Zombie Room 5: Legion Room 5: A Heavy Armor and a Malachi
Room 6: Gergoth Room 6: Dagon Room 6: Mummy Man
  Room 7: Stella and Loretta Room 7: A Ruler's Sword
  Room 8: Brauner Room 8: Werewolf
    Room 9: Two Cave Trolls
    Room 10: Death

This instance of "Boss Rush" fun doesn't put into action a largely unprepared heroic duo; rather, in accordance of selecting the mission file, they'll begin the excursion with all of their status intact plus the armor, weapons and abilities that they were able to attain. When "start" is pressed, the pair will find itself within a lone safety room wherein they can take the time to equip the weapons they'll need; thereafter, there's no time to rest--there are no safety rooms found after clearing a given room. After they defeat a boss, though, it'll release a crystal that'll restore their lost energy and magic power. 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 the item will transfer over to your regular mission. The following awards can be procured:

After you collect your new item, your score will be tallied and you'll be given the option to try another course or return to the title screen.

Despite what was said about this being an extra mission for only Jonathan and Charlotte, you can actually play through as two other sets of characters plus a lone warrior: Richter Belmont and Maria Renard, as you remember them from Symphony of the Night and Rondo of Blood, respectively; Stella and Loretta, who put touch-control to good use; and an Old Axe Armor, which you once controlled inthe very same Symphony of the Night. You'll have to clear their normally assigned missions before you can take any of these heroes into the Boss Rush mode. Each grouping has its own unique abilities, strong points and weaknesses, so the experience will be a bit different each time; though, the level status attained in their respective normal missions will carry over to here. Playing as any such group is its own reward, since the collected item can't be carried over to their inventory-less main missions.

Hard Mode

Portrait of Ruin has available from the start a "Hard Mode," which is out of the norm when in past titles you had to unlock such a mode. While it's no secret as to what you can expect when playing on this difficulty, it's worth doing so for the rewards you can earn. By meeting certain conditions, you'll begin reaping such benefits:

Belmont descendants have been known to lend their services to many a Konami crossover; they've helped save Wai Wai World, flown the danger-filled skies, raced wild tracks, and have taken part in other activities like extreme bouts of mahjong or titanic man-to-man slugfests with Barbie's female friends. The favor is finally repaid in Portrait of Ruin, where a select group of Konami all-stars will find their way into the heroes' inventory as trophies as per their level-cap achievements; the trophies, earned by clearing the Hard Mode under certain conditions, will remain in said inventory, where they'll reside only for the purpose of permanent stat-boosting. Complete Hard Mode with (a) a Level 1 Cap. to earn a Konami Man trophy, (b) a Level 25 Cap. for a Twin Bee trophy, and (c) a Level 50 Cap. for a Vic Viper trophy. (Thanks to Mister Mattias and Amar Youkai for this information.)

Sound Mode

The Konami Sound Test returns once again for your listening pleasure. To unlock this mode, simply defeat the duo of Dracula and Death 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.

The Magus Ring

The Magus Ring is one of the more difficult (if not more tedious) items to acquire, as it requires that you complete all Wind's "quests." Once you satisfy all of the conditions, Wind will reward you with the Magus Ring, which when equipped will quickly replenish your lost MPs as they're being spent.

Return to Sender

Tired of being blown up and impaled by big, lumbering brutes who have nothing else to do with eternity? Jonathan Morris is just the man to turn the tables on these armor-clad ogres. Rather than straight-up assaulting a Crossbow or Buster Armor, simply strike their ordnance as they fly in your direction (high in the air if you're at a distance, low if you're in close range), redirecting it back toward the respective shooter; the blast that results will heavily damage the Armor. (Contributed by Danny.)


The Lag That Isn't

It would seem during solo-character play that switching to the partner character comes with a short stall. In truth, you don't have to let the character-switch action slow you down at all. If you input a press of the attack, jump or backdash buttons while switching, you can seamlessly transition to a partner who has already started the action. The technique is most useful if you switch right when an attack strikes. (Contributed by Amar Youkai.)

The Codes

Unlocking the Extras

As discussed earlier, you can play through the main and Buss Rush modes with any of the game's three extra hero sets. If you wish to do so, though, you must first unlock any such group by meeting certain conditions, as listed below:

For more on these new modes, be sure to read "Extra Heroes," under which the unlockable characters' fighting moves, special abilities and mission incentives are listed.

Jonathan the Linguist

Do you enjoy hearing the characters' painful and boisterous cries when done so in their native tongue? Need a crash course in the vampire-hunting sector of Japanese? It's your lucky day: Upon selecting any mode from the game's menu while holding down the "L" button, you'll hear Jonathan's voice yell out "Showtime!" This is more than a simple parlor trick, of course--the result, in following, is that the game's voice-acting will be switched back to its original Japanese setting. (Contributed by Amar Youkai.)

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