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   Castlevania: Lament of Innocence - Reader Retroview  

Hunt vampires in full 3D
by Waterfiend33

BATTLE SYSTEM
INTERACTION
ORIGINALITY
STORY
MUSIC & SOUND
VISUALS
CHALLENGE
Moderate
COMPLETION TIME
25 to 80 hours
OVERALL

3.5/5

Rating definitions 

   This goes out to all of you Castlevania lovers: "I want to kill vampires in full 3D / It's like playing the same game since 1993 / With your whips and your subweapons, oh can't you see / that I love you Castlevania; you're the only one for me."

   Riiiiight.

Fight tough enemies and bosses Fight tough enemies and bosses

   Castlevania: Lament of Innocence is the first in the series for the PS2 and diverges from most other Castlevanias by providing three dimensions of movement. While not the best in the series, it is a decent all-around game, providing hours of hack-and-slash fun with many areas to explore, bosses to kill, hidden goodies to find, and extras to unlock.

   The story: does it matter? You don't play a Castlevania game for the story, silly! The plot of Lament of Innocence is similar to almost every other Castlevania game: you are Leon Belmont, a vampire hunter, who must hunt down the vampire lord who took your beloved Sara. You are helped by only one other person: Rinaldo, the shopkeeper who's anger at the vampire forces him to keep living in a forest of eternal night. Most of the game's character development takes place at the beginning and end of the game, with a few intermittent blips to move the story along.

   The game does have some originality though. Of particular interest is that the game attempts to finally explain why torches in the series contain hearts and money... but I won't spoil anything for you. Other than that, it's true: the game is extremely similar to other Castlevania games. Puzzles in the game are also generally easy to solve.

   Battles are quick and fun, taking place in real-time. Players frequently find themselves trapped in new rooms upon entering and forced to kill the monsters. Over time players unlock different combo moves; none are flashy, but do help keep monsters at bay and protect Leon from damage. The game's battles are never too hard; stocking up on items alleviates the difficulty of the tougher enemies and bosses.

Navigate puzzles with the whip Navigate puzzles with the whip

   Menus are pleasantly easy to navigate, though players may be frustrated to learn that functions like switching out items must be done on the field rather than in the pause menu. That means during battle, players can't pause to change weapons, armor or items; instead players use the directional pad or shoulder buttons while dodging enemies with the analog stick. The pause menu itself, surprisingly, is only for inventory purposes. Though cumbersome at first, switching out items during battle becomes instinctive and reflexive; once you get used to it, it's pretty simple, and adds to the game's realism.

   Navigating through the different areas of the game isn't hard. But players will be hard-pressed to find all of the games hidden areas, several of which include items that increase health or magic points. The labyrinthine structure of most areas in the game make maps all the more helpful. Character control is solid and easy to use - you'll never have to worry about your character responding poorly when trying to reach high or far-off ledges.

   The music is also decent; you won't be buying the soundtrack, but it does its job, and there is variety. Voice acting in the game is actually not bad, though its use is limited to the handful of cutscenes that occur in the game. Sound effects for monsters are fairly limited.

   Visually the game is decent. It features several areas that are unique and different (usually puzzle rooms), and many more which are identical (rooms with monster battles). The game's environments are typical Castlevania fare: gothic and foreboding, with a touch of dark beauty. Sometimes the repetitive use of the same environments can become boring, but the game's developers did a fairly good job of avoiding this.

   A nice thing about the game is that players can beat the game relatively quickly if they choose. Still, it's easy to spend hours exploring the game for hidden areas, optional bosses, and even a tough secret boss. In addition, once players beat the game, they can go through again in hard mode, or play as a completely new character from the story.

   In the end, Castlevania: Lament of Innocence is a good hack-and-slash action game with added story elements, and hidden items and extras thrown in. For players who liked other games in the series, and don't mind the occasional repetitiveness, it can be a very fun game. Players who enjoy exploring and battling over a deep plot and incredible visuals, will definitely enjoy

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