Review by LUVNUTS

"3D + Castlevania = STOP IT PLEASE!!"

Initial Impression
When is it that the Castlevania developers will learn that Castlevania should not be 3D? I hope they do soon, because although there are some ups to this game, the downs are just too overpowering. When you start the game, you are thinking, ''ok, I guess it starts off a bit slow, but it's Castlevania, it has to get good soon''. Wrong, it doesn't have to. As the game progresses, you begin to realize that the game is pretty simple, and I don't mean simple to pick up and play like Symphony Of The Night, I mean simple like ''wow, every other room is the same...''. Every now and then, a room is thrown in that is somewhat different, which is good. Good until you realize that you have to complete a puzzle like ''whip the stuff'' or ''get to the other side''. Once you get over the slow-paced play of the game and the repetitive rooms, it's not so bad. You will eventually come to a boss battle which is usually pretty interesting and at the least, entertaining to watch. These are generally simple fights where you learn the pattern and then fight back- this is standard. I guess I'm just trying to say that nothing in this game really stands out enough to make this a great... or even innovative game. After the boss battle you learn a bit about the story, then get ready!! It's time to go back to the -room of enemies/ hall of doors- fun!

Graphics 6/10
Not bad, but really not great either. Pretty much up to par with Devil May Cry and other similar games. The shadows are good but the textures used are very overused. One area will use the same theme, but rarely mix it up at all, to the point of getting lost in the maze of rooms. The cut scenes are also pretty average. One visual I liked was the map. It was very familiar and useful, not to mention that you could actually add marks on your map if you want to remember which rooms to revisit later (unfortunately you don't need to revisit anything).

Music 5/10
I really hoped that if one thing stood out about the game it would be the music. Nope, it didn't. It did have the right feel to it, but it's almost as if there are only 10 songs in the whole game, and the track never changes. The song will briefly be interrupted by some action music, but then get right back to the same old thing. The sounds are nothing to brag about either. I guess you could say that they are something to write home about, but not to brag about, and by that I mean they are average.

Controls 3/10
The controls and camera really kill this game. The cameras are all fixed, which means if you can't see behind yourself and enemies are there... Darn! You just got cut (by a zombie). You don't have the option of using the control pad, only the stick. You can't use items when enemies are around because they CAN STILL HIT YOU while you are busy trying to figure out how to get a potion out with the d-pad(the only way to do it). Once you get the potion out, you might as well have someone pour it on your cold dead body, because you're a corpse now.

Story 4/10
I guess there's a story... somewhere. It isn't much, but I guess it can help get your mind off the game for a little while. The voices are actually okay, not too annoying at all.

Gameplay? 2/10
Wow. I suppose the reason this review can be seen as harsh is because this is a Castlevania title. I was expecting something up to par with all 3 of the GBA titles or at least somewhere near SoTN. Gameplay can be hard to define, so let me help. It's the part where you do most of the things in the game, and how the game flows. With this definition in mind, this game is similar to washing your hair in that you are supposed to wash, rinse, and repeat. Repeat. REPEAT. That's really this game in a nutshell. One room is a hallway with a save, the next is a room that locks once you walk in and doesn't open until you kill the bad guys, the next is a hallway, then a room, then a hallway. Mix in the occasional puzzle/platform room and key door and there you have Lament of Innocence. You have to fight off all these enemies with a whip, which makes this game LESS AND LESS like SoTN and more and more like NOT FUN. The game is also very Linear, although many claim it is non-linear. Unless of course going across the level 3 times to get a ring is considered non-linear.

I really wanted to like this game. I did. I can only say that this is not the way Castlevania was meant to be. I think that a 3D Castlevania can be done, it's just that a lot of work has to be done before one of these games can ever rival one of its 2D brothers. So, rent it if you want to check it out, otherwise just take my word on it. It needs work, but if you already left to get the game, you could always pick up an extra copy of Symphony Of The Night, right?

Reviewer's Rating:   1.5 - Bad

Originally Posted: 10/27/03

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