• Publisher: Konami
  • Release Date: Dec 5, 2006

Generally favorable reviews - based on 51 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 47 out of 51
  2. Negative: 0 out of 51
Buy On
  1. 100
    I'm simply astonished at the fact that Konami has created two of my favorite DS games in only a year apart from each other.
  2. Konami delivers once again another fantastic Castlevania game that will not only please fans of the DS, but Castlevania fans as well.
  3. The consistent level of quality has never been a question with the series and the addictive nature of the gameplay always leaves you wanting more...You can bet that Portrait of Ruin will be one of my top-10, DS picks of 06.
  4. It’s just as good as Dawn of Sorrow, and has the online modes to help promote the longevity.
  5. A game that stays true to the Castlevania series. [JPN Import]
  6. While it doesn’t innovate that much, it adds just enough and gives you a more than satisfactory amount of new areas to explore to make it a worthy sequel.
  7. A great example of what's possible on the DS, despite the fact that the game really doesn't go out of its way to utilize many of the DS' marquee technologies. The game is wonderful simply because it delivers a pure unadulterated classic Castlevania experience that looks great and plays like a dream.
  8. Nintendo Power
    Portrait of Ruin provides a whole lot more of a very good thing, and Castlevania fans won't be disappointed with the results. [Jan. 2007, p.114]
  9. 90
    A game that not only reaffirms the series' greatness, but is easily once of the best handheld games released this year.
  10. Putting two characters in the player’s hands proves to be an ingenious way of expanding on Castlevania’s bread-and-butter action. It’s been done before, but Portrait of Ruin’s system is particularly smooth in execution.
  11. The only thing to really rag on Portrait for is its length. Seven-ish hours is pretty short, no matter how you slice it. But, as with all the other Castlevania games, there are so many bizarre things to do once Drac's down that they totally make up for the main quest's length.
  12. 90
    Look up "video game" in the dictionary, and Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin should be pictured on the page.
  13. 90
    Easily one of the best handheld games of the year and quite possibly the best Castlevania portable title yet.
  14. If you’ve yet to play a Castlevania game, I’d recommend Dawn of Sorrow over Portrait of Ruin because it’s a more appropriate entry into the series as future games will likely not feature the portraits.
  15. In terms of action gaming on the DS, Portrait of Ruin is second to none.
  16. The best bits of the best games have been stuck together in one wonderful Castlevania cake.
  17. The gameplay manages to successfully merge the two Castlevania play styles, while retaining a firm hold on excellent design and presentation.
  18. Official Nintendo Magazine UK
    This has to be some of the most impressive enemies you'll ever see on the DS. [Feb 2007, p.70]
  19. 89
    Even though the sequel's doesn't offer as strong an original design as the initial DS game, it's still immensely fun with a lot of legs thanks to multiple endings, additional unlockable characters, and a focus on multiplayer that, while not as awesome as it could have been, is a really solid secondary mode.
  20. Games Master UK
    A bold experiment; far from "Ruin," this Portrait is the Mona Lisa of Castlevanias. [Feb 2007, p.64]
  21. If the handheld Castlevania games are part of a long-running machine, it's well-oiled and in no danger of breaking down just yet.
  22. Electronic Gaming Monthly
    Predictably slick graphics, haunting tunes, challenging bosses, and pinpoint control once again make this a perfectly engrossing DS quest. [Jan. 2007, p.110]
  23. Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin tosses out the clunky touchscreen functions of the previous title and replaces it with a new dual-hero gameplay element. In the end, the game is a worthy addition to the Castlevania lineage, if only the game lasted a little longer.
  24. It has slick visuals and a more-than-memorable soundtrack. It’s too bad the whole dual-player thing wasn’t played up a bit more but it’s still an enjoyable title that’s worth a buy.
  25. This is another very solid entry into the Castlevania series, and is one of the best games of the year. But where is the innovation?
  26. 85
    As for the visual experience and the orchestral musical score, I have to say I'm impressed - more-so with the music than the graphics, though both are certainly impressive.
  27. For hardcore gamers the addition of the second character and Wi-Fi multiplayer are two great additions that set PoR apart from other games in the series.
  28. Play Magazine
    Twenty years and still pretty much the way it was the first time you laid the smack down on flying medusa heads and shambling mummies. [Jan. 2007, p.77]
  29. 85
    Overall, this is a Metroidvania game. Get it if you like Metroidvania games. Otherwise, find something else to do with your time. This game does well for what it is, and does not stray even an inch outside.
  30. The game keeps up a great pace and maintains a steady stream of new enemies and new swords, maces, whips, and magic spells to kill them with.
  31. The side-quests add a lot of replay value to the game even after completing the story mode.
  32. Portrait of Ruin is a great game not because of what it does differently, but because it stays true to the familiar Castlevania design and delivers a fun, lengthy adventure.
  33. netjak
    A serviceable entry in the Castlevania series. While it's not going to ever contend for best game of all time, and while it also isn't even the best Castlevania on the DS, it's certainly better than a lot of other things out there.
  34. 83
    As someone who loves the ‘Metroidvanias” and the new tradition of tons of unlockable features, I’m very satisfied with Portrait of Ruin.
  35. This is yet another solid Castlevania game, but the series is starting to tire out thanks to a lack of worthwhile change. What changes this game does make simply don’t cut it, and while Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin is still a decent title, it happens to be far too much like the last decent title in the series.
  36. 80
    All the focus on the game's details comes at the expense of its questionable design and overall lack of cohesion. It's here that the latest Castlevania comes up short.
  37. The two-character system is magnificent and very easy to get into, and the presentation makes proper use of the DS.
  38. 80
    That attitude pervades Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin: the idea that a definitely well-done safe idea is better than a possibly flawed risky idea, no matter what stagnation may follow.
  39. All in all, Castlevania Portrait of Ruin is very short, fairly slapdash and kind of easy, but this doesn't stop it from being a worthy addition to a fantastic franchise.
  40. Edge Magazine
    Full of bravado, packed with features and brimming with invention, this 20-year-old veteran is as vital and relevant as ever. [Jan 2007, p.84]
  41. Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin is a deep, enthralling game but the presence of some flawed elements mean it's not as good as the previous "Dawn of Sorrows."
  42. AceGamez
    Had this game followed through with more of its new features other than with the dual characters, it would have set itself apart from Dawn of Sorrow. Instead, it simply falls in line behind it as well, letting many of its individual traits fall short of their full potential.
  43. Though it may not be the best example of whip-cracking fun in Castle Dracula, it’s got a damn sight more in its favour than a great many other games out there at the moment.
  44. 80
    Portrait of Ruin delivers a solid, exciting trip back into the walls of Dracula’s Castle without too many new systems to learn first. However, for the casual fan, Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin delivers little more than its handheld predecessors. A fun experience, certainly, but the same experience they’ve had before.
  45. games(TM)
    With its array of improvements and considered removals, Portrait Of Ruin feels like the best Castlevania in an age. Its slick 2D gameplay has been honed to perfection through the last five handheld instalments, leaving every 3D incarnation hanging its head in shame. [Feb 2007, p.110]
  46. 80
    Another well produced handheld Castlevania, and with at least a few new features for once.
  47. Nintendo Gamer
    Excellent for beginners, looks great, has masses to do, but doesn't really improve on previous games. Shame, really, with some adjustment this could have been a work of art. [Feb 2007, p.70]

Awards & Rankings

#14 Most Discussed DS Game of 2006
#5 Most Shared DS Game of 2006
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 96 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 76 out of 96
  2. Negative: 4 out of 96
  1. Jan 22, 2015
    Castlevania Portrait of Ruin in my Opinion is the best Metroidvania I've ever played. First off the music is some of the best in the entireCastlevania Portrait of Ruin in my Opinion is the best Metroidvania I've ever played. First off the music is some of the best in the entire series with fantastic remixes of songs like Cross your Heart(known as crucifix held close in the game), Iron Blue intention and Simon's Theme. They also have great original pieces like Invitation of a Crazed moon, Gaze up at the Darkness, The Hidden Curse, and Jail of jewles. Even though this is not my favorite Castlevania soundtrack its pretty up there.

    Now that I've established the soundtrack but now let's dive into the gameplay. Now since this is a Metroidvania so there is a lot of familiar territory but there are some welcome changes . First off Side quests, for the first time ever you can undertake special tasks in different areas of Portrait of Ruin to get a stat boost, money, a new and powerful item or weapon ETC.. These range from punching butcher's meat, to entering button combos, or mastering a skill. Each new quest has a different fun and uniqe maybe a little difficult task. Unlike Order of Ecclesia most of these tasks are not endless Grind-fests and boring fetch quests and they feel more rewarding as you go on completing them. Now the core gameplay of explore the castle kill enemies collect relics, armor , weapons and leveling up hasn't changed much. Except now you have two chracters to play as that you can switch freely between them at anytime. They each have their own weapons armor and accseories. You can also obtain crush attacks that sap your mp like nothing else but they deal a lot of damage. All these things accounted for this game is actually not very easy especially towards the end. Thankfully unlike games like Harmony of Dissonnance and SOTH this game does get harder and thats a good thing.

    Overall after you beat the game you unlock 2 other sets of chracters a hard mode with 3 sub difficulties and a boss-rush mode. SO all in all for what ever you can find this game at its a really good deal. I will say there is a boss later on that will make you ooze with nostalgia if your a long running fan and its one tough cookie so be ready. But besides that Portrait of ruin is filled with content with 10 maps to cover, a boss rush mode, a total of 5 difficulties, and 3 sets of chracters to play as your gonna be here for a while.
    Full Review »
  2. Aug 21, 2014
    I believe in all rights this is one of the best Castlevania I've ever played, and I've played just about every one of them. (This includesI believe in all rights this is one of the best Castlevania I've ever played, and I've played just about every one of them. (This includes Castlevania 64.) As far as the level designs go it's pretty much Castlevania. Some areas with tons of floating platforms and a segment that always has giant turning cogs. This of course isn't a problem as it just feels like a Castlevania. (Much unlike Lord of Shadows which feels like a God of War wanna-be.)

    The two main roles of the game, Jonathan and Charlotte are both interesting characters who play off of one another. Like Charlotte's way of playfully nagging at Jonathan or his insecurity that she helps him with. Charlotte has an adorable way to point out his flaws, and he has an adorable way to point out the horribly obvious. I believe that these two characters are better fleshed out then most Castlevania characters who just kind of waltz around and smack things with a whip in a silent stupor.

    As far as the story goes it breaks away from the generic Castlevania storyline which is nice to see. The main protagonist for the longest duration of the game (Brauner) has entirely different goals then most other enemies. (Who are not Dracula.) Of course for the sake of not spoiling anything I'll refrain from going any further. It was just nice and refreshing to see a new idea for Castlevania instead of some cult raising Dracula. Or some cultist priest raising Dracula. Or some other cult derived from the past cult of cultists who worship a cult of resurrecting Dracula. (See the pattern?) Pretty much...there is no cult.

    Then we boil it all down to the gameplay. Switching between Charlotte and Jonathan is a nice addition. Charlotte's spells make grinding for items much quicker, and everyone who's played Castlevania will be grinding for items. As for Jonathan he's the man you use for the boards you'll be traveling to. Then you switch back to Charlotte to annihilate the bosses. All in all, it's not a gimmick but a new way to play your Castlevania. In the end...the gameplay is pretty much Castlevania. Before it got bad of course. (Insert lame God of War wanna-be title here with giant roided out meathead as the protagonist.)

    So, with that said...if you like Castlevania, if you like interesting plots, if you like engaging characters, and if you like that good old Castlevania soundtrack then this is the game for you. If you own a DS you should definitely get this title. Also, I forgot to mention but the sprites look very nice as well. Pretty game for the DS.

    If you like mashing the square button a hundred times without having to worry about dying...then I feel for you.
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  3. Mar 6, 2012
    At a distance Portrait of Ruin smells good. But when you give it a bite it isn't really that tasty.

    The Good: Great replay value since it's a
    At a distance Portrait of Ruin smells good. But when you give it a bite it isn't really that tasty.

    The Good: Great replay value since it's a long-lasting adventure (with many unlockables to go for besides a whole bunch of items); amazing soundtrack, well worthy of the tradition of Castlevania's melodies; good animation, especially in Dual Crush moves and in some boss battles.

    The Bad: Replay value is all based on doing the same things over and over; stupid dialogue, and story/plot running faster than it should; stretched rooms just to make a bigger castle.

    This new installment in the Castlevania series has the right ingredients: two different characters to switch between or to play together, a huge map to explore, many--really, many--items to get, relics to collect, side quests to solve, skills to learn and master, a superb soundtrack, and good animation/voice acting. So, after all, what's wrong with PoR? The problem is that under all this stuff rests buried a lazy production.

    The main question is about the replay value. OK, it may last for weeks or months, but what for? By unlocking some features you can play with other characters and under new difficult levelsâ
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