Review by glass_soul
"For some reason, not as good as its predecessor"
I liked the first Castlevania for the N64. I'll admit that it had some short comings (read my review on that game if you'd like more details) but all and all I thought it was a pretty good game. Sadly, though improvements in graphics and some other extra goodies were added, I don't quite think as highly of Legacy of Darkness, and I'll tell you why.
The start of Legacy only gives you one character to choose from at the start; a were-wolf martial arts dude named Cornell. Cornell's sister gets kidnapped by agents of Dracula, which sends our sometimes-furry hero on a quest to get her back. So it's the tried and true "save-the-maiden-in-distress" formula which has worked at least since the ancient Greeks dreamed up the legend of Orpheus. So far, so good.
The levels in the game are, for the most part, pretty much re-mixed versions of the original CV64, except this time you have to travel through ALL of them instead of just the nine that was required from the first game, plus several new areas like the Tower of Art and the Tower of Ruins (I think that was it's name). The revamped levels do provide some hidden surprises, and the brand spanking new ones also give you a feeling that this is more than simply a powered-up version of the original. Bosses are more abundant and more difficult to overcome, plus there's a bonus psycho-drama going on between Cornell and Ortega, who also happens to be a were-beast and rival of our hero. The final battle is much, much more difficult as well, and when you finally come out of it alive, you will really feel like you've accomplished something.
As I've said, so far so good. Ready for the bad? Beating the game unlocks three "new" quests and three new characters to use on them; Reinhardt Schneider and Carrie Fernandez (the heroes from the first installment), and Henry (a boy you meet and save as Cornell, all grown up). Now why is this bad? Because Reinhardt's and Carrie's quests are essentially exactly the same as they were in the first cart. But, since you'll have already played through every single level as Cornell, there are virtually no surprises when using either of these character. Personally, I think it would have made for a more interesting experience to new players if they had included their original quest levels from CV64 rather than having you tromp back around in the exact same levels that you just spent hours getting through. Also, they fight the same, lame final Dracula that graces CV64 as well. This was a major let-down for me; I had really wanted to see how Carrie and Reinhardt stood up to the new and improved Drac that killed me as Cornell about a dozen times.
The only breath of fresh air here is Henry. In his little adventure, your objective is to rescue six children before the passage of six days. The kids are fairly scattered about and you do have the ability to backtrack to comb over areas where you may have missed picking one of the tykes up. Also, though dressed kind of like a knight, Henry packs the coolest weapon ever to grace a Castlevania game: a gun!
Graphically, the game does make use of the 64's expansion pack this time, and the result to the environments are breath-taking. The scenery was good in the first CV, it's that much better here. Also the enemies are quite detailed, as you'd might expect, this time around. However, as with many of the expansion-enhanced 64 titles, the game can suffer serious slow-down when too many things are happening at once. This can change the tempo and intensity of some fights, and not for the better.
Musically, Legacy of Darkness carries over all of the old tracks from CV64 as well as adds some new ones. As I've said, I liked the orchestration in CV64 then, and I like them here now. Plus the added tracks are pretty good too (I think the Tower of Art is actually the same tune as the Old Sinking Sanctuary level from Bloodlines for the Genesis, but don't quote me on that).
And last but not least, and this is going to have to be screamed because it was the major flaw in the first game, THEY DIDN'T FIX THOSE STUPID CAMERA ANGLES!!! This game suffers from the exact same mid-air angle switches that would send you careening off in the wrong direction, usually into a pool of toxic death, that the first game did. This time, since most of the areas are considerably more complex, precision jumping is a must if you want to survive. The camera apparently wants you to die. Truly, the camera is your worst enemy throughout the entire game.
Legacy of Darkness boils down to a nice attempt to dress an older game in different cloths and re-sell it to the public. I think it only does a fair job in this endeavor. But hey, this is only one man's opinion. You could do worse than pick this one up.
Reviewer's Rating: 2.5 - Playable
Originally Posted: 06/20/06
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