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42. Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia
DS (2008)

Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia marks Castlevania's final entry into the much beloved (albeit unfortunately niche) Iga-vania/Metroidvania direction of games. Symphony of the Night (PS/Saturn) started it all, and it continued on with Circle of the Moon (GBA), Harmony of Dissonance (GBA), Aria of Sorrow (GBA), Dawn of Sorrow (DS), Portrait of Ruin (DS), and finally Order of Ecclesia. I've been fortunate to play them all, and while SotN remains the favorite of many 'Vania fans, I have to say that Koji Igarashi's final game takes the crown. The game starts out actually taking a page from the earlier, side scrolling action titles of the NES/SNES with its more straightforward and diverse locations, but ends the adventure in a classic labyrinthian setup we've all grown to love. It also marks the first time in the series where the main protagonist is female, and Shanoa has stolen my heart from that day on. What can I say? I appreciate a lady who can take down the undead. So while the Castlevania series has moved on from the vision that many of us loved (and to be honest, I've actually enjoyed the Lords of Shadow games!), I'll still look back fondly at a series that took my imagination far and wide.

*raises goblet*

What is a man?

*tosses goblet to the floor*

A miserable little pile of secrets! But enough talk, have at you!

(Yeah, it's not from OoE, but it seemed fitting)

And quintessential picture of Shanoa! (<3)