Review by thewhitemoogle

Reviewed: 01/07/04

Don't want to cut this game short but....

On a side note:

The Castlevania series is one with a rich history. I happen to enjoy all of the games immensely... with the exception of this one.

It was a dark and stormy night. The silhouettes that glinted across the floor revealed a poor wretch about to waste his life away. Ok so I wasn’t really wasting my life, but there were better things I could have done with my time. Before all you Castlevaniaholics get all angry at the score I have given this game, read the review and give me a chance to explain. I am thinking that these are some of the problems that you all have had with the game but have considered minor and inconsequential.

Gameplay: 8/10
Wonderful. Imagine Devil May Cry meets..... a whip. Leon slowly over time learns combos that allow him to vanquish his foes in a quick fashion. In accordance with traditional Castlevania fashion, the main character is able to acquire items that perform a set amount of duties. The standard knife, holy water, cross, axe, etc. The LOE twist however, allows the player to acquire orbs that augment the items. This was the saving grace for this game.(Michael’s Sword was especially pimpin).In addition to the standard Castlevania fare, occasionally, enemies will drop equippable items. While this is no where in comparison to the amount dropped in SOTN, the added thrill that items will fall tends to keep you coming back into the same room killing the monsters again.

On to relics. Relics are perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of this game. They do everything from ignite the ground you walk on, to increase your defense considerably. However they require M.P. These ''Magic Points'' are acquired by blocking at correct times with an alchemy infused gauntlet. The search for relics, truly pushes the game onwards near the end.

Story: 5/10

Belmont. The name strikes fear into the cold dead heart of the vampire. You play as Leon Belmont, the starter of the Belmont clan. The story begins after his wife to be was stolen from him by the dreaded: WALTER.... Yeah the name kinda stuck to me too. The evil undead Lord of the almighty Castlevania with the name of a guy who does your income taxes. But ranting and ravings aside. You meet up with Rinaldo, an attempted slayer of WALTER who has a mysterious past, and hilarity insues. When I say hilarity I mean non-stop boredom.

As Leon Belmont, you play a heretic to the Catholic Church, defying your knighthood in search of your betrothed. As awesome as this sounds, Leon turns out to be a bit of a klutz. Knowing that his fiancée is held captive by an evil and sadistic vampire, he strolls into the woods of never ending night, without a single weapon. Along comes Rinaldo, a helpful man who has mastered the skills of alchemy in a tiny wooden hut. Without revealing too much with regards to the plot, Rinaldo helps Leon to proceed through the castle. Equipping Leon with a whip and telling him that WALTER mysteriously allows him to aid hunters in their quest against WALTER.

The brevity of character development really hurts the score here. The most developed one is Rinaldo, and he just sells you stuff.

The story is supposedly the first installment of the Castlevania series, introducing the whip, Succubus (OH YEAH!!!), Medusa, Death and even the origin of the masters of Castlevania. Sadly enough I can't spoil for you the origin of the master of Castlevania. But you will see who he is near the end. The reason for the low score of this aspect is lack of meat and potatoes. This story is supposed to be the foundation for the rest of the Castlevania series. It is barely able to stand on its own, much less support the weight of the monumental series.

Graphics/Sound: 7/10
I never would have believed it until this game, but techno does go well with creepy music. Sometimes it sounded a little too DDR, for me, but the musical ambiance fit the situation well.

The reason this score doesn’t receive a 10/10 is because of one thing: REPETETIVENESS. Sigh, I swear I walked through more side passages then passages with enemies in them. Half of the time you're just running through hallways. Perhaps this is called a ''breather'' but the unfortunate truth is that, running through hallways isn't that interesting. Sorry folks, but that's the truth. Now that I get off my high horse, allow me to talk about the good things. The Graphics. Wow…. Well sorta. The dark and stormy night thing works really well. The imagery is vivid and lush for Leon and the bosses. Heck if it weren’t for the 1,001 different hallways to run through, the graphics department woulda gotten a standing ovation on my behalf.

Play Time/Replayability: 1/10
I enjoy games. Thoroughly. I achieved 200% on SOTN, and beat DMD mode on Devil May Cry. I had struggled hard to beat the game, and after the final cut scene, I saw that I had unlocked two new characters. Thinking to myself, well that musta taken a while, I opened up the menu screen. Inside I saw the timer 3:22:10. ''Ok,'' I said to myself. ''There's got to be something like SOTN where I can get a better ending right?'' WRONG. The story hadn't even had time to fully develop and I had just beaten it. The problem with this game is that it was rushed. Hell, I could even smell the duct tape that they were using to patch up the seams in their plot. After seeing a genius of a game in SOTN I had to see something like this. It made me sick. I thought to myself ''Ok hidden character # 1 should be good right?'' WRONG AGAIN. I played as hidden character # 1 for a grand total of 5 minutes, then turned the PS2 off in disgust. It just wasn’t fun to play the same game through all over again, with a different skin attached to Leon. I quickly repackaged the game and returned it.

Final Recommendation: Rent or buy?
RENT. Rent this game and you will have an excellent time playing it. Heck, it was an excellent game minus its brevity. Give it a definite try and I guarantee you will be well pleased.

Final Score/ Thoughts: 6

Going into my handy dandy computer calculator I calculated the score to come out to .525. For the sake of Succubus I’m going to allow my stingy heart to be melted and round up.

In all honesty and joking aside, this game is not a bad one, it’s just really, really short. Maybe I was just really lucky and happened to beat the bosses easily, or maybe the game really is short. Whatever the case, the game did not appeal to me, and that is why I gave it the score I did.

Rating:   3.0 - Fair

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