Review by Djih`Ef
"The way Castlevania 64 was meant to be...almost."
First of all, I have to say that being a Castlevania fan, I never doubted I'd like this game, especially since I loved the first one; Legacy of Darkness is that first game, but definitely improved.
You begin with Cornell, a man-beast (read werewolf) and you have to make your way through 14 stages. There's ennemy fighting, platorm jumping (a tad bit more than enough), and the usual Castlevania stuff.
Cornell fights with his claw (short range) and a "Sonic Boom" like attack. The "Sonic Boom" covers a lot of distances and packs a lot of punch when on the third level and especially in werewolf.
That's right, in werewolf! As usual, the normal sub-weapons (axe, holy water, knife, and my favorite, the Cross) use jewels. With Cornell, you press the L button and ZAP! Voilà! You're a werewolf.
The werewolf is a lot stronger than Cornell but isn't really needed in the Normal mode. To fully appreciate the power of the werewolf, use him against boss and on the Hard mode.
Most of the stages are new, and even the one recycled from the first version are changed enough so you never really know what to expect (except for a few stages with Carrie and Reinhardt).
After playing the game with Cornell, you unlock Henry. Henry's quest is simple: find six children hidden in six stages. Well if you look around a bit, you'll find them in no time. The problem (which isn't really one), is that you only have 7 days.
Anyway, each child unlocks something. Hard Mode, Cornell's 2nd costume, Reinhardt, Carrie, Reinhardt's 2nd costume, and Carrie's 2nd costume. And you are now ready to play the "original game".
Both Reinhardt and Carrie have new costumes and their 2nd one is the original. The major change here is Reinhardt's upgrade. Instead of having the same bland brown whip, it upgrades into the classic chain whip and then into a "lightwhip" which is pretty neat.
Their quest is pretty much the same as in the original, but most of the stages are different (except for the Tunnel (Reinhardt), Underwater Path (Carrie) and Castle Center (both...that's the dynamite one.) And the run-thru-the-maze-while-being chased-by-Frankenchainsaw-and-two-evil-dogs is still in the game.
Gameplay: 8.5/10. I have to put controls in another category because here they must be separated. The game is a lot of fun to play and any Castlevania fan (who doesn't mind the 3D take on the serie) will love it. If you liked the first version, you'll love this one. In terms of difficulty, the Normal mode is rather easy but has some challenging points. Hard mode is THOUGH and you'll probably be restarting a few boss a few times. But it's still possible and the challenge is welcome.
Even though frustrating at times (like the old Castlevania), you'll eventually beat the boss or end up starting a game at normal. Replay value is quite high (especially if you are the type of player who replays their game) with four characters and the evil Hard mode. Although you don't get anything special for beating the Hard mode, beating Dracula Ultimate with Cornell is a very fun challenge.
Controls: 7/10. Legacy suffers from exactly the same problems that plagued Castlevania 64 (on a smaller scale though). A sometimes slow-responding control (instead of turning, you back jump into poisonous water) and a crappy camera. They aren't that bad though, meaning that you can get used to it, but they could have been improved. Still it doesn't ruin the gaming experience. The learning curve for the game isn't too bad, it's mostly due to the controls. You have to know how to calculate the distances and you'll sometimes fall due to a miscalculation. Stages with obstacles are approached gradually (Torture Tower is the best example).
Graphics: 8/10. In my opinion, the game looks great, especially with the expansion pak. But I don't really care much about graphic so I have to be a little objective here. The game, in high-res, is sort of slow. A few reviews said it was unplayable but I think you get used to it and the textures (especially the main characters) are pretty neat.
On the other hand, in low-res, the game runs very smoothly. It's true that the game as a first generationish look, but it fits with the game by creating a nice atmosphere.
Sound: 10/10. Ok, they bring back some classic Castlevania themes (even for a few seconds), the boss music from Dracula X (or Symphony)is also back. Sound effects are great and if you can play on a nice sound system, it's even better. While being no Symphony of the night in the music department, it's still great and Cornell's intro is worth the price of admission musicwise.
Overal: 8/10. This game is true to the Castlevania spirit and is a lot of fun. Controls and camera are what makes this game frustrating at time but it's not so bad that you won't want to play anymore. If you liked the first game, then this is even better. Graphics that goes well with the game, nice music, and a challenging game makes this Castlevania worthy of the name and a must to any fans of the serie. (If you didn't like the first Castlevania on the N64, then stay away.)
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 12/22/99, Updated 12/22/99
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