The year is 1999 and Dracula’s Castle rises as it does every century. For hundreds of years, the Belmont clan and those affiliated with the family have taken on the challenge of defeating Dracula and stopping him once again. This time, during the Demon Castle War, Dracula is killed.
Little is known about this war, other than the stories that survived it, as there was never a game in the Castlevania series that took place during the time period to tell the story. There was only reference to the war in two games that occur during subsequent years in the timeline.
Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow is the first game set in this post-Dracula world, and begins a two-part story that would later unfold in the Nintendo DS game, Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow. Aria of Sorrow was first released for the Game Boy Advance on May 6, 2003, and follows the protagonist Soma Cruz as he tries to stop the dark powers of Dracula from falling into the wrong hands. It is set in 2035, thirty six years after the Battle of 1999.
Aria of Sorrow carries in typical fashion of many of the games created under the reign of Koji Igarashi. Six of the Castlevania games created after Symphony of the Night continued the exploration based platforming style that we’ve all come to call “Metroidvania,” including Aria of Sorrow. It is the third game in the series on the Game Boy Advance, and the first to reunite composer Michiru Yamane with the series after the particularly disappointing score in the previous title Harmony of Dissonance.
This month, as we celebrate thirty years of Castlevania, we’re playing through the GBA classic to find out what life without Dracula would be like. Join us in playing and listen for our conversation about the game every week on The Free Cheese Podcast.