Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Castlevania: Lament of Innocence Review (PS2)


If ever there was one game to show off a love hate relationship with its fans then this is it. For a large proportion of Castlevania players this 3D adventure is just a continuation of the flawed N64 titles. For the rest us more accepting gamers Lament of Innocence is a great, if short, action adventure game.

The game starts with Leon Belmont heading into a dark castle to rescue his fiance from a vampire lord (not Dracula yet). Not ground breaking by any means but this marks the start of the Belmont family's story in the fight against evil. Once inside the fortress you have to guide Leon through five dungeons containing all sorts of ghouls and monsters.

Enemies you come across range from tiny imps and weak skeletons to hulking golems and huge boss creatures. Fighting off the hordes with your whip is a joy as Leon leaps and rolls around easily which helps you forget that the camera sometimes isn't quite where you want it. As you progress and kill monsters you learn new moves, skills and gain a number of magical spells and weapons.

A high point of the game is the excellent tone set by the graphics and sound. Each area of the castle is moody and forbidding with it's own visual style. The music pumps away with a synthetic orchestral sound and enemies whale and shuffle as they march, float and limp towards you. The game may have detractors but no one could ever accuse it of not looking and sounding like a classic Castlevania title.
The game is short, lasting between five and six hours on a first play through.

There are however, secrets to be found and once completed you can play through again with a couple of over characters (one of which is especially nice). If you are feeling brave you might even feel like venturing down to the basement for one hell of a one on one.

It really is a struggle to see where all the bad feeling comes from. Castlevania in 3D may be a step too far for many but this title has the right feel and style. Anyone out there looking to see how the Belmont story started should have no fear of stepping out of the second dimension. Above everything else this is a fun adventure that has more than enough variety in terms of dungeons and enemies to see you through to the end.

8/10

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