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The Glyph System is the resident special move and accessibility granting system in Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia. It is primarily associated with Shanoa, and to a lesser extent, Albus and Barlowe (the latter of which is not a playable character in any of the series' titles). Monsters and other minions of Dracula can also sometimes be seen casting glyphs, but only in titles in which Shanoa is playable (namely the aforementioned Order of Ecclesia and Harmony of Despair).
In execution, the Glyph System isn't much different than the collecting of souls in the Sorrow titles (as expressed by Soma Cruz). If anything, it represents a fusion of conventional weapons and special, sub-weapon-like, techniques (such as Soma's Power of Dominance). The Glyph System has three slots, one on Shanoa's back, and one on each of her arms. The player can absorb glyphs by holding up on the D-Pad near a glyph on the field. Shanoa then holds her hair upward to reveal the large tattoo on her back, which then acts like a vacuum to absorb the nearby glyphs. However, any interruption during this process will render the absorption a failure. Glyphs can be found lying about, dropped by monsters upon death, or by smashing certain statues. Some glyphs have to be absorbed while a monster is attempting to cast them. It must be noted that glyphs do not always appear on the screen even if the triangle holding them is visible. Absorbing glyphs also restore 10 Hearts. Lastly, most glyphs disappear after a few seconds if not absorbed in time.
- Main article: Glyph
The kind of glyphs that the player can use vary. Some glyphs serve as weapons, such as swords, axes and rapiers (to name a few). Shanoa can also use spell glyphs, such as shooting fireballs, lightning or ice spikes. Shanoa can also summon familiars to aid her in battle, or transform into creatures like a werebat, a panther lady or a robot.
The glyphs on Shanoa's arms are used by pressing the Y or X buttons on the Nintendo DS, and the glyphs on her back are activated by pressing the R shoulder button. The player can also use glyph combos (known in-game as Glyph Unions) by pressing Up + Y or X. The glyph combos vary depending on what glyphs the player has equipped, and consume Hearts instead of MP (Hearts and MP are once again considered to be separate commodities in Order of Ecclesia). For example, the result of combining a sword glyph and a flame-spell glyph is a flaming sword; a frozen-over sword results from combining a sword glyph and an ice-spell glyph. The player can also combine two of the same spell for a stronger version of that spell, such as a flame-thrower spell when two Ignis glyphs are equipped, or an ice storm tornado when two Grando glyphs are equipped.
- Main article: Attribute Points
Using a glyph of a specific damage type or element raises Shanoa's Attribute Points. These points are then calculated to give a damage boost for all glyphs belonging to the same damage type or element. Every 327 Attribute Points increases damage by 1%. The player can view the amount of Attribute Points he/she has earned in the pause menu.