Review by RageBot

"This is what Castlevania 64 should have been."

Castlevania 64 was such a bad game, Konami felt the need to fix it, making it officially their worst games. It's not controversial, unlike Simon's Quest or, say, Harmony of Dissonance. No, that game is inarguably bad. Hence came Legacy of Darkness, a game that leaves C64 completely redundant.

This game mainly fixes many things about the former game. Some stages, like the first stage, have been complete revamped. Others, like the castle wall, has only little changes here and there. Some stages are totally different for the new characters (Yes, that's right), but haven't changed at all for Reinhardt and Carrie. And completely new stages have been added to each character.

The main character is Cornell, a lycantrope, and a character developed originally for Castlevania 64, but cancelled because of Konami's decision to present a rushed, bad game instead of delaying the release date, which is what almost every good gaming company does. Another character was based on Frankenstein's Monster, and will probably never be playable, but an enemy in this game is based on that character's design.

Anyway, Cornell enters Dracula's Castle to save his step-sister, Ada. His plotline is a little more complex, as the one to kidnap Ada is his best friend, Ortega, who became jealous of Cornell's strength, and sold his soul to the Count. With Cornell, you play almost every stage in the game, including the new first stage, a ghost ship, the revamped forest, a much more complex trip to the villa, all five towers traversed by Reinhardt and Carrie (All stages redesigned to be longer and more challenging), as well as some stages that can only be played as Cornell. In the end, you fight Dracula, in a new form fought by Cornell only. The aftermath of the fight leads to the Dark Lord's soul transfer to the young fiddle player, Malus, thus starting the plotline of Castlevania 64.

Along the way, you rescue a young boy called Henry Oldrey, from the mansion of his father, who turned into a vampire. Eight years after the main game, exactly during the time of Castlevania 64, an adult Henry, working for the church, needs to rescue six children from the castle. He traverses only six stages: Forest, inner wall, villa, outer wall, waterway and tunnels. In each stage is a child, marked alphabetically. If that is not easy enough, Henry carries a pistol, and shoots with great accuracy, range and damage. This mode is similar to the Metroidvania alternate modes. For each child rescued, you unlock something: Hard difficulty, an alternate costume, or the ability to play as Reinhardt or Carrie.

This is the first time you can play the revamped tunnels and waterway. The levels have not changed at all from Castlevania 64, with the exception of a boss that has been added to each of them. Carrie now has to fight Medusa in the waterway, and Reinhardt fights an arachne queen in the tunnels. If you want, Henry can fight both those bosses as well, but it's not necessary.

This game features further, subtle changes: Many classic Castlevania enemies, lost in the rush, returns. Among them are the mermen, fleamen, mudmen and phantom swords, now invisible phantom knights. Items at Renon's place cost a little more, but the gold you find in torches comes in smaller amounts, while you receive more gold from enemies, such as motorcycle-riding skeletons and hell hounds. Take this into consideration if you wish to fight Renon in the end.

When you finally get to play as Reinhardt and Carrie, you'll find out there would be no reason to play as them, if you played Castlevania 64 before. The only stage not covered by Cornell or Henry is the castle center, and you'll be disappointed to find out that nothing has changed, except for adding some enemies. The order of events is completely the same, and even those annoying nitro parts are in place. I was sure those had been removed when I wrote my Castlevania 64 review. Also, the ending is completely the same. While many stages are revamped and added, you'd think that there's no reason for you to play. Then you'd think "So why should I play Castlevania 64?" The answer is easy. You shouldn't.

Many people had played Castlevania 64 before playing Legacy of Darkness. It was up to Konami to give those people a reason to play as Reinhardt or Carrie in the revamped stages. Make some available only for them, revamp the castle center, change the ending a bit (How about this idea: You'll only know what ending you've got, AFTER beating Dracula's servant. For the bad ending, you'll see Vincent fighting true Dracula, getting bitten, then fighting cursed Vincent).

All in all, this is a great 3D platformer, but the lack of new things for Reinhardt and Carrie sours things up a bit in my opinion. You could work it out if you get this game first, and never lay a finger on Castlevania 64.

Final grade: 9.1/10

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 10/06/11

Game Release: Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness (US, 11/30/99)

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