Welcome to Portrait of Ruin, another inspired installment into the Castlevania series. Getting used to the system and style of play can take a bit of work, but it's relatively painless. These notes aren't a mandatory read, but here's a few good pointers if you just want a bit of advice.
Portrait of Ruin includes a partner system, where you can play as both Jonathan Morris and Charlotte Aulin. If you want, you can play as one character the whole time, although due to certain puzzles and suchlike, there are a few problems you have to solve via switching between player characters.
- You can play entirely on your own, as either Jonathan or Charlotte.
- or, you can play as your player character with either Jonathan or Charlotte as your back-up AI-controlled character who will fight alongside you. This is often very useful in monster-infested dungeons, but remember that when they get injured it takes out MP, and when your MP falls to zero, they will turn transparent and won't fight for you until you gain back some MP.
- Note that you don't have to choose which character to play as throughout the entire game. Unlike Sword of Mana, you can change between player characters and gain the full advantages of each character.
Of course, being a whip-bearing career Vampire killer and being a bookish young witch are two very different things, and so you have to analyse a situation as to whether it be Jonathan's whip-twirling heroics or Charlotte's lethal magic that be used for certain areas. Generally speaking:
- Jonathan is very good at simple hack-and-slash enemies where brawn is the main attribute of the foe.
- Charlotte, meanwhile, is better for the amorphous-glob type enemies, where it takes more than 3 swipes of Jonathan's weapons to kill, or if the enemies are flying. Usually, it's best to use her magic, as her strength attributes will always be significantly lower than Jonathans' (what do you expect, she attacks with a book).
Statistics and Levels
Oddly enough, Portrait of Ruin has a stat system. If you press 'Select' while playing, you get your characters current statistics to come up. The statistics abbreviations and their meanings are as follows:
|MND||Mental Strength (Magic Defence)|
|INT||Intelligence (Magical Attack Strength)|
|LCK||Luck (e.g., likelihood of foes dropping stuff, the greater your luck, the more likely it will happen)|
|Gold||Money, how much you have of it.|
|Next||How many more EXP points you require to level up.|
Getting Things in Portrait of Ruin
- Money (Gold!)
- This one is relatively easy. In every level, there are things such as lamp posts in City of Haze, or torches in Dark Academy that can be broken. It is surprising the amount of stuff you can break in Portrait of Ruin, and you can get gold from it.
- The amount of money you get from a breakable object varies. To tell how much money you get, a blue coin means you get a measly 1 gold, a bronze coin means you get 10 gold, silver means you get 50 gold, and a gold coin gives you 100!
- There are a few moneybags spread throughout the game, but these are few and far between, so don't rely upon them.
- One of the best options for getting money is by retrieving items off enemies and selling them off, and also selling your defunct or useless equipment - just make sure you don't sell them all, though, as they are sometimes required for sub-quests.
- You soon realise that MP is very important in Portrait of Ruin, whether it be to power Charlotte's spells or Jonathan's subweapons. Luckily for you, when your MP is not entirely full, whenever you break any of the said breakable objects you get an MP heart that will give you MP. You can naturally recover MP, but this takes a lot of time. When your MP is entirely full, you go back to receiving money.
- Of course, you can also recover all your HP and MP at save points.
- A very important thing in Portrait of Ruin, you are equipped with stuff at the beginning, but it soon becomes obsolete. You often find stuff just lying around the various levels, although sometimes they are hidden in secret rooms.
- You can often buy stuff off that conniving, money-grabbing priest Vincent, and it updates on a relatively regular basis, but you are rarely in need of buying a weapon off him.
- Enemies often drop equipment. For example, the Minotaur drops the axe the 'Bullova' and the 'Hercules Ring' if you are patient enough to kill them over and over again. Once you have one, you can sell the spares for some extra gold and you have a relatively powerful axe in Jonathan's hands.
There & Back Again - Traveling Around
- You soon realise that Dracula's Castle and the various portraits are, to put it mildly, huge. It would take a lot of time just to get from the Tower of Death back to Wind and Vincent, so there is a Warp System.
- Warp points are those large, floaty, green-coloured monuments you see on the first screen once you enter a portrait that takes you from Dracula's castle to the City of Haze. You use them to travel around, but you have to find them first. There usually isn't one far from the entrance to a level. On the map, warp points are marked out in blue.
- Note that you can't use a warp stone in a portrait to get to Draculas castle and vice versa, the warp stones can only be used with other warp stones in the area you are in.
- Another thing to note is maps. You can buy from Vincent three maps showing various segments of Dracula's Castle, but you can't get the maps for the portraits and parts of the Castle not covered by the 3 maps. When you walk around a level, you also gain a map percentage, and this adds up to your total Map Percentage (listed upon your pause menu as a percentage out of 1000), so it's wise to wander around and find secret passages and stuff. Luckily for you, there are maps showing where all the hidden rooms are.
- It is a very good idea to keep items that you only have one of, such as the item the Green Tea Cake, as there is only one of them in the entire game, and they are used for certain subquests. A good idea is to just keep them (don't eat them unless you have more than one of if it is an enemy drop), but if you eat or use or sell an item that is required for a certain subquest, you can get it off shop mode.
- Shop mode is where you open up your inventory for other people to buy things. The Fantastic thing about it is while you can sell items, you gain the money but you don't lose the item.
This is the end of the general hints walkthrough, so bring on the beginning!