Castlevania for the Nintendo DS is a reality and will be a direct sequel to Game Boy Advance title Aria of Sorrow, Konami has revealed in the February 2005 issue of American magazine Electronic Gaming Monthly, according to reports.
It should be out in the US this autumn, so we'd expect to see it come out in Japan sooner and Europe later.
According to the preview information, players will take on the role of Aria star Soma Cruz, who will be joined by other surviving members of the cast, and will pick up one year after the original game as Soma journeys to the headquarters of cult-founding perfectionist Celia Fortner, who seeks to bring Soma down because he didn't become the reincarnation of Dracula. (Which certainly puts our fretting over MOTs into perspective, anyway.)
Perhaps disappointingly however (you be the judge), producer Koji Igarashi has revealed that the touch-screen functionality will be limited to the tail end of traditional boss fights - having stripped an enemy of his hit points, the player will have to draw a particular "Magic Seal" to kill him off completely, and failure to do so will give the enemy back a little bit of health. Igarashi believes that limiting stylus use to boss fights is a good way of avoiding the confusion and interruption switching control schemes regularly would inflict upon the general flow of the game.
The rest of the game will be played using the traditional Castlevania-style controls, as the action unfolds in an equally traditional 2D side-scrolling affair on the touch-screen. The top screen will be reserved for the map (which ought to be a handy reference-point) and status information.
Castlevania DS (as yet untitled) will take most advantage of the system's wireless networking, by the sound of it, using it to exchange souls with other DS users - an extension of the Enemy Soul system, which also returns from Aria - while players will also be able to trade customised maps, although details on that are apparently unknown.
We'll bring you more on Castlevania for the Nintendo DS when we hear it. In the meantime, here are a few screenshots borrowed from The Magic Box that show you the action taking place on the touch-screen.