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An October 2008 release for the Nintendo DS, Konami's Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia is the latest in the long-running series that pits gamers in a no-hold-barred battle against the vampire lord Dracula. As has been the case with several of the other recent Castlevania titles, the game features Metroid-style level exploration as well as leveling-up as well as several roleplaying game staples, such as the ability to increase in level and become more powerful as you play. Even with that ability, though, this is one challenging game. Luckily, we're here to help you get started in your quest to find Albus, recover the stolen Dominus rune and finish off Dracula once and for all.
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Following the introduction and some short training levels, explore the Ecclesia building, save and exit. Once you get to the world map, you'll see that only one location is currently available to you, and that's the Monastery, so go there. Explore the level thoroughly, taking special note of rooms that contain the bubble-like objects. Those are warp rooms, and they can come in handy in case you need to save, heal or exit the level in a hurry. I came across three glyphs in this level, and while two of them are rather easy to find (in fact, Magnes is required to advance), the third is left behind by the Bone Scimitar monsters. This is the Secare sword-type glyph. Make sure you get it as it will definitely come in handy during the battles ahead.
The boss here is a large scorpion-like creature called Arthroverta. During this fight, you need to occasionally jump and use Magnes to adhere to the magnets at the top of the room to avoid his rolling attack. Be careful not to accidentally hit it when you release, as it will damage you, and don't hang around too long or it will use its giant claw to knock you down. It will also use its claw occasionally while you're on the ground, and be on the lookout for its green web attack as well. Both are pretty easy to dodge, fortunately. Once you beat it, you'll encounter Albus and after a scene, you'll discover that he left behind a map with a village marked on it. That clue will point you to your next destination, so use the warp room in the upper right corner to return to the bottom floor, exit, and head to Wygol Village.
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Wygol Village - Kalidus Channel
As soon as you enter, you'll find and have the opportunity to acquire the Torpor glyph, which incapacitates enemies. In absorbing it, you'll free Nikolai, who asks you to free the other villagers, who have been kidnapped by Albus and taken to a place called Prison Island. To get there, though, you'll first need to traverse Ruvas Forest. Before you exit the village, however, heal your hearts and save, and check around the village to find some healing items. Then exit and another new location will be added to your map. Obviously, this is your next destination. Enter and fight your way to the statue, which you can break to reveal the Macir hammer-style glyph. Equip it if you wish, but I found that it is less effective than Secare against some enemies, particularly the flying Nominon creature. You can also acquire the Fidelis Caries glyph (which summons zombies) from the Necromancer, but you have to do it while he's casting his spell and before you defeat him, as well as the Ascia axe glyph from the Axe Knight.
Continue on until you reach the exit, and then go to Kalidus Channel. The Ascia glyph will serve you well against the aquatic enemies of this level. Eventually you will find another trapped villager, Jacob the shopkeeper. Like with Nikolai, absorb the Torpor glyph and he will be freed. Proceed to the exit of the level, then return to Wygol Village to purchase better armor from the general store before continuing on to Prison Island. You may also want to revisit previous areas to level up some.
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Once you decide to move forward, enter Prison Island, where you'll face the game's next box, the Giant Skeleton. The fight isn't too tough if you play your cards right. Equip the Macir glyph and use Magnes and hang from the top of the screen, then pound the boss with Glyph Union attacks. Skeleton-type enemies are weak to blunt force attacks, so this should to a ton of damage. Once you run out of hearts and can no longer fire off your powerful hammer attacks, switch to Ascia, which is the only standard weapon in your arsenal with the range to hit the Giant Skeleton. Ascia isn't as effective as Macir, but it does allow you to maintain your defensive perch and keep out of harm's way. Once you finally defeat him, you may want to retreat and return to town to heal and save the game before continuing.
There are several different glyphs and items to be had in Prison Island, so take your time and explore the level thoroughly. Eventually, you will encounter Albus again, who will willingly part with one part of Dominus, the Dominus Hatred glyph. That's not the end of the level, however. Deeper still you'll find another trapped villager, this one a healer named Abram, and more items and glyphs to be had, including the powerful Level 2 lighting glyph Vol Fulgur and the hidden Strength Ring (which requires to go to the final area of the level, get yourself caught in the spotlight, and then defeat the difficult enemy that appears). Once you reach the end of the level, exit and return to Wygol Village once more, where you'll find Abram has the first of many villager-initiated side quests for you. Complete it if you wish, level up some more if you deem it necessary, and head to the next level, the Lighthouse, once you're ready.
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The Quest Continues
You've successfully completed several levels, overcome some difficult bosses and recovered the first part of the Dominus glyph, but there are still many more trials ahead. As always, make sure you explore new areas thoroughly, seeking out new glyphs and helpful items. You'll need all the help you can get. Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia is a very challenging game, but with persistence, patience, the proper glyphs and equipment, and a little good old-fashioned common sense, you should be able to recover Dominus, learn Albus's true motives and eventually put an end to Dracula's tyranny, hopefully for good. Once you do manage to complete the game, you'll be rewarded with a New Game + option that allows you to start the restart the game with your level, equipment, money and most of your glyphs in tact, as well as Hard difficulty. Furthermore, if you manage to save all of the villagers, you can unlock Albus Mode, which allows you to replay through the game as Albus instead of Shinoa. There are some other cool rewards for those who manage to complete the game on Hard as well.