Review by soulreaver99

"Great Game!"

Konami continues its franchise with the latest Castlevania: Lament of Innocence, but this time in a 3D environment instead of the usual 2D in which they have been most successful at. Some of you may remember or don't want to remember the disaster that was in the N64, which had really poor controls and gameplay. This time, Lament of Innocence on the PS2 has a lot more refined with much more visually stunning graphics as well as outstanding music.

Lament of Innocence takes place in the 11th century and the story marks the beginning of the famous vampire hunter legacy, the Belmonts. That's right, this is how the story all began and you get to experience the origins of Leon Belmonts first encounter with ghoulies and his first vampire hunt. The entire concept is just too hard to pass up. Baron Leon Belmont is one of the noblest of knights throughout the kingdom and is considered the most powerful fighting in the name of God. He returns home from a victorious battle and he finds that his best friend's girlfriend mysteriously died and his bride to be is kidnapped. Also he finds that some unknown monsters are slaughtering the people, but the church forbids him to fight in these battles while the king's crusades are taking place. Leon disobeys the church, gives up his title and heads into the direction of a mysterious castle in which he believes is the source of the new evil

Some people can say that the gameplay is very similar to Devil May Cry and it is in some ways. Most obvious is the third person perspective in that you can see the character you are controlling in the 3D environment. Much like how Dante roams around shooting up demons, Leon roams around the castle whipping the crap out of monsters. Also, you can learn new combos in your whipping attacks creating a much more powerful offense in your battles. As you progress through the game, you can gain new abilities, powerups and whipping techniques. Being true to the Castlevania tradition, you can get secondary weapons such as the familiar throwing axe, knife, cross, holy water, and much more. The controls are decent, but the use of items in the game is quite awkward. You use the analog stick to control Leon and the digital directional pad to use items. What I don't like is that it sometimes difficult to switch items when you're in the middle of battle and you must navigate through a whole mess of menus just to get a potion and then you're too late and get killed which is very frustrating. Also, the other analog stick controls the items as well and you hit it by accident you can potentially waste a potion. Though you can hold the potion and set to use it but the menus are really unorganized unlike Symphony of the Night where it's all easy to read and the interface is clean.

Unfortunately, the game sometimes gets too repetitive like the past games, but unlike the previous Castlevanias where you can just gain levels like mad by just killing enemies, Lament of Innocence removes that feature completely and where you are limited to gaining more HP, MP, and abilities by exploring more of the castle. This is a much more smarter approach adding more to the challenge of the game and you are forced to explore more of the castle adding more to the experience and it sort of remedies the repetitiveness of the game.

The game's graphics is very well done. Everything from the character, monster, and architectural designs are a sight to see. When you're exploring through the castle, be sure to appreciate some of the artwork and architecture within the castle because they are truly masterpieces within a masterpiece. Sometimes the camera angles get a bit irritating where you can't see enough around you especially when you want to make a jump from one place to another.

Sound and music are outstanding in the game. Michiru Yamane's score includes everything from pipe-heavy arias and piano solos to industrial-sounding rock music and dance beats. Some of the music makes the game scary as hell especially when you play it at night with the lights off. The chilling soundtrack in some of the areas with a combination of well design monsters make this a frightening title. Also the details in the sound effects are done very well from thunderous crashes to the sound of echoes as you roam through the castle.

Overall, this Castlevania is a great game to own even if you're new to the Castlevania series. Great gameplay, graphics and soundtrack is make Lament of Innocence worth picking up. For us Castlevania fans, you would be stupid if you don't add this to your collection!

Great Game Overall!

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 11/25/03

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