Hunting down powerful souls has to be one of our favourite methods of improving in a Castlevania game. Having innovated to limited success with the DSS and elemental buff systems in the GBA titles, Konami returned to a system similar to SOTN and created the masterpiece that is Aria of Sorrow. Here, the player can collect ‘Souls’ from almost every enemy in the game, each of which offer an ability that the player can use to improve their chances of castle-conquering success. Some of these Souls however, have a very small percentage chance to be found, so we’ve put together a small selection that we believe are essential in the early portions of Aria of Sorrow.
Skull Archer Soul
- Fires an enchanted arrow after a short animation delay.
- Powerful early ranged damage.
Souls, sub weapons or spells almost always take the same form in the early portion of a Castlevania title; they’re weak, limited in their scope and tend to be surpassed in damage by skillful application of regular attacks. Enter the Skull Archer soul, which thanks to its delay can be used to accompany your normal assault on a target. Where something like a regular knife sub weapon will instantly flick across the screen, this soul will take a small period of time before dealing a good chunk of damage, during which you can move in to do the same. This is a great way of keeping your distance in the early game, and not being locked into spamming the same animation to deal damage makes it ultimately more malleable, especially versus bosses.
Peeping Eye Soul
- Reveals hidden or breakable walls.
The amount of use that you’ll get out of the Peeking Eye soul, which plainly and simply reveals hidden areas in the game, really depends on the type of player that you are. Some of you will have experience of previous titles in the series, and like us might spend a great deal of your time slashing at every single wall you see, on the off chance that it reveals a hidden area. If this sounds familiar then the Peeking Eye will do little more than save you some time, however for a new player that’s yet to understand just how much content tends to get hidden in these games, it’s nice to have an alert system in place. If this is indeed your first rodeo, there’s often loot, enemies and even entire zones hidden behind breakable walls in these games.
Medusa Head Soul
- Allows the player to literally stop still in midair.
- No descending or directional movement at all whilst held.
Upon first inspection, it’s very easy to dismiss the Medusa Head soul as something worse than the Flying Armor soul that you already possess, however it’s worth noting two key differences that exist; the Medusa Head does not require a directional input to function, nor does it cause your character to float down towards the ground. It’s no coincidence that this soul becomes available before a difficult boss fight versus Death, in which you’ll require a way to stay above ground for longer than a single jump will allow. Given that this particular encounter has a tremendously powerful scythe nipping at your heels, having a soul that doesn’t cause you to float downwards is much, much better at ensuring your survival in said battle. Uses outside of this are limited, but new players often find Death to be a wall that they cannot get over, and the Medusa Head soul will make it a little easier to deal with.
Giant Worm Soul
- Grants health regeneration whilst stationary.
If there was one complaint about Symphony of the Night from fans, it was that the game was a little too easy. You could argue that this wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, after all it did allow players to explore its incredible double-world and appreciate its entirety, however one of the main contributors to this was the ease of gathering consumables. It was not unusual to find your inventory filled with potions and food, to the point where restoring your health wasn’t much of a concern.
The developers were clearly keen to avoid such things in Aria of Sorrow, where restorative items are few and far between, and you can often find yourself stranded with little to no recourse but for a perilous journey back to the save room. Grabbing yourself the Giant Worm soul then, which slowly restores your health as you remain stationary, is a nice way to give yourself a bit of a safety net. Find yourself a safe spot, equip the soul and put the game down for a minute, only to return with full health. Paired with an MP restoring accessory, this can even be used as a bit of a mobile save room in the latter portions of the game.
Lightning Doll Soul
- Fires lightning from your fingertips. Can hit twice.
- Second hit depends on the ‘depth’ of the strike into the enemy.
Key to our final recommendation here is the final element of our description, that it can hit twice. This is because the animation for firing out the electricity seems to linger for a little longer than it should, and if the hitbox of the enemy is still present then a second instance of damage is applied. This actually makes the soul one of the most powerful attacks for a good portion of the game, certainly throughout its midsection at least, and its ease of use and application almost makes it feel a little too powerful. This, combined with the Medusa Head soul above, will give you the best chance to take down difficult early bosses.
Categories: Castlevania - Aria of Sorrow