The Critical Art is an ability used in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow and Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin that works in a similar fashion to the classic Item Crush ability in other Castlevania games except that it is used for weapons. The user can do such things as improving the attack's speed, strength, range, or invoking a hidden power of the weapon. For example, the Gungner spear can launch a long range lightning blast or and the Vampire Killer Whip with the ability to set itself on fire and hit the enemy with a powerful flaming attack.
Castlevania: Symphony of the NightEdit
Only the rarer weapons have special attacks, but they are generally unique or have special effects. Weapons that have special attacks are activated with the inputs Down, Down+Forward, Forward + Attack (also abbreviated QCF+Attack, for quarter circle forward) or Away, Forward + Attack. The Shotel, for example, can be thrown using the QCF input, and the Sword of Dawn (now called the Daybreak) can summon minions to attack for you. Other, generally the most powerful or rare, weapons possess two different critical attacks. The Fist of Tulkas has a fireball attack and a flurry of punches attack that can be performed with the two different commands.
Some weapons also have special attacks that are invoked with weapons equipped in the other hand. For example, Alucard can equip a Heaven's Sword in both hands and invoke a special attack by pressing both the attack buttons at the same time. The Shield Rod is also well-known for activating special abilities based on the shield equipped in Alucard's other hand when both attack buttons are pressed.
Castlevania: Dawn of SorrowEdit
Super Attack (Game) or Special Attack (Manual) or Magical Strikes (DoubleJump Books Guide). Press A to have Soma deliver a powerful secondary attack based on your equipped weapon. Many weapons simply perform a more powerful strike, but certain weapons' special attacks have other properties; the Claimh Solais, for example, gains increased range and speed in addition to a damage boost.
Castlevania: Portrait of RuinEdit
Critical Art is a relic that allows Jonathan to use his weapon's critical move with the input Forward, Forward + Attack. It functions the same as the special attack system in Dawn of Sorrow.