COLUMN: Aaron’s Backstage Pass: Castlevania Lords of Shadow: Mirror of Fate Review

Updated: 03/06/2013 10:08 AM KSTP.com By: Aaron Chalich

“Castlevania” by KONAMI was one of the first games that I owned for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) back in 1986 and it is still one of my favorite games and series.

I will admit that I actually faked an illness to stay home from school to play “Castlevania” the next day after I got it.

I have played just about every “Castlevania” game that has been released by KONAMI and I have enjoyed most of them. I was very excited when I received a review copy of KONAMI’s “Castlevania Lords of Shadow: Mirror of Fate” for the Nintendo 3DS earlier this week.

“Mirror of Fate” is a very exciting and thrilling game that I know all “Castlevania” fans will love.

“Mirror of Fate” takes place 25 years after “Castlevania: Lords of Shadow” and you get to learn the history of the Belmont family. Gabriel Belmont has become a very powerful vampire and is now called “Dracula.” Gabriel’s son is Trevor Belmont and he must try and stop his father before he destroys the rest of the Belmont family.

Each level of the game is a specific event that has led up to the final confrontation between Trevor and Gabriel. You also get the chance to play as some of the different members of the Belmont family such as Trevor, Simon, and Alucard.

I really liked the story a lot and thought that it was great. I also really liked the fact that it made sense and it tied all of the “Castlevania” games together. I also really liked the fact that you got to play as multiple characters especially Simon Belmont. Simon was the main character in the original NES “Castlevania,” Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest,” and “Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse.”

The controls were very easy to learn and anyone will be able to pick up the game and play it. Whenever you learn a new skill or find an item a menu will pop up and tell you what buttons you need to push to use it. Also at any time during the game you can bring up a menu to look at all of your attacks and moves and also what buttons you need to push to do them. I thought that this was very helpful.

The graphics are amazing and you have to play “Mirror of Fate” in 3D. The 3D effects are brilliant and it is hard to describe how awesome the game looks.  You have to see it for yourselves. The creatures and characters are very detailed and the backgrounds are stunning.

The animated sequences look great and are very unique. I really liked the animation because it was so different. It was very well done and also very creative.

The bosses look amazing and are huge. They all have their own unique way you have to defeat them and it is really fun trying to figure out what you need to do to beat them. 

Once you are close to beating them you will go into a cinematic sequence where you will have to push a specific button sequence to continue on with your attack.

There are so many different features that I really enjoyed a lot in “Mirrors of Fate” that I don’t know where to begin.

As you make your way through the many different levels you gain experience points by defeating monsters and creatures. Once you gain enough experience points you will learn a new skill or a new attack that you can use to defeat your enemies.

Your main weapon is your whip called “The Beast Hunter” and you will eventually find upgrades that will allow you to grapple high cliffs or swing to ledges. There are several upgrades and the trick is to find out where they are.  You will need some of these upgrades in order to advance through the level or to find secret things hidden within the level.

You will also find secondary weapons that you can use such as an ax or a potion. You can use these weapons anytime, but you will need “weapon hearts” to use them.

Once your “weapon hearts” are gone you can’t use your secondary weapon until you find more. Creatures will drop them once they are defeated so you don’t have to worry too much about finding them.

One of my favorite things to do is that when you are fighting a creature you can do a special move to defeat them. When a creature is about to be defeated they will turn a silver color and if you push the “R” button you will do a special move like take your cross and stab them in the chest. Each creature has a different cinematic movie when you attack them like this.

It looks amazing and it is really fun when you encounter a new enemy to see what you will do to it to finish it off.

You also have the ability to use magic to help you. Each character has their own unique magic powers that they can use. For example, Simon can use a spirit that will protect him from taking damage. I won’t ruin everything but some of the magic abilities are amazing and very helpful.

“Mirror of Fate” is a side scrolling game, but you are free to explore many different areas in each level. You can see the map of the level on the lower screen and as you go into a new room or area it will light up. To gain access to certain areas you will need an upgrade and you will not be able to access the areas right away. However, if you do find the upgrade, you can go back and access the area you were not able to before.

Another really cool feature is that you can make notes on the map. For example if you get to an area and you need the Combat Cross to grapple up a wall, you can drag a marker on the map and write “Combat Cross” or whatever will help you remember what you need to do. Then the marker will show up on the map and if you tap on it with the stylus your message will show up. I thought that this was very helpful.

At any time during your gameplay you can access your skills and weapons. You can click on each weapon or skill and learn more about them.

There are many different things hidden in the game that you must find and I really thought that this added a lot to the game. There are scrolls that tell you more about the story of the game, there are weapons, health, magic, and weapon heart upgrades. These were really fun to find and I think people will have a great time trying to find everything.

Before you start your game, you can view a few different extras. You can watch all of the cinematic movies that you have viewed so far. You can jump to different levels once you have completed them. You can also view different creatures you have encountered in the game. You unlock the creatures by finding different scrolls that are hidden in the game. You can view a 3D model of the creature and also read some information about them.

I really enjoyed KONAMI’s “Castlevania Lords of Shadow: Mirror of Fate” a lot. The story is great and the graphics are truly amazing. I really liked the fact that you got the opportunity to play as different characters that were very unique. The bosses and creatures looked amazing and creepy. 

The map system was a great addition and also the fact that there were so many different things to find. “Mirror of Fate” is rated “M” for blood, gore and violence. I really thought “Mirror of Fate” was amazing and I know that fans of the “Castlevania” series will really enjoy this a lot.

Aaron Chalich is a columnist for KSTP.com blogging about the latest entertainment news.