Video Game Review

Mania Grade: B

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  • Platform: PlayStation 2
  • ESRB: Teen
  • Genre: Action
  • Players: 1
  • Online: No
  • Developer: Konami
  • Publisher: Konami
  • Suggested Retail: $49.99
  • Graphics: B-
  • Sound: A
  • Gameplay: B
  • Replay: C+
  • Fun Factor: B
  • Reviewer’s Wild Card: B


Does Konami's latest installment in their horror franchise live up to its predecessors?

By James Stevenson     November 04, 2003

One of the most heralded series of videogames all time is that of CASTLEVANIA. Many levels from the first few NES games in the series are burned into gamers' retinas. This isn't without good reason, as they are some of the highlights of the lifespan of the granddaddy of all consoles.

That said, as the industry moved into the era of 3D video games, the series didn't really fare too well. The first game to take the CASTLEVANIA franchise into that realm on the N64 wasn't very good at all. On the PlayStation, SYMPHONY OF THE NIGHT, restored some faith in the franchise, but it was a 2D side-scroller. The series was dormant for a while, until the Game Boy Advance revitalized it with three new CASTLEVANIA games all side-scrollers, all most excellent.

Finally though, there is a new 3D CASTLEVANIA for gamers to try. LAMENT OF INNOCENCE is the latest in the long running series, and is brought by the internal Konami team responsible for SYMPHONY OF THE NIGHT. The game focuses around Leon Belmont, who goes off to rescue his lover. The game has one of the longest cutscenes to start a game, ever. I started this title around 2 A.M. one night and almost fell asleep.

Once the game


starts though, you'll get right into the whip-swinging action found in the other titles in the series. As you begin, gamers who have played the DEVIL MAY CRY series will quickly note that the gameplay seems very similar. And to some extent, that's very true. This is much more of an action game than the other recent CASTLEVANIA games; in fact, hardcore fans of the series may be disappointed at the lack of RPG elements in the game.

The castle itself is rather simple, as simple as the game itself. While the game looks similar to the other CASTLEVANIAs in visual style, this lends to a lot of similar looking hallways in the game. The best way to get around is to use the map, but even then you just feel like you're running from point A to point B. There isn't a large variation of enemies in the game.

As a whole, the game feels like "Castlevania Lite". It's got all of the story, the visual style, the whip, the weapons, and the enemies. What's missing is the rich fulfilling satisfaction of the rest of the game the RPG elements, the total depth that has been established since the PlayStation and Game Boy versions of the game. It's just not what it could have been.

From a graphical perspective, the game takes care of business in presenting the look and feel of the series. However, while the graphics are well done and adequate, they don't really do anything to make me jump up and down in delight. They're just kind of there.

On the other side of that, the soundtrack is phenomenal. This is one of the best soundtracks to be made for a videogame in a while; the music sampler CD is something I've had in my CD player just to listen to the music of the game. The sound effects are also well done and sufficient.

CASTLEVANIA: LAMENT OF INNOCENCE does a lot of good things, and there is a lot to build on. The hardcore fans will lament the lost RPG elements but that shouldn't prevent you from giving it a try.


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