Review by AegisKnight2000

"One Step Forward, One Step Backward."

Pros: Fun Role-playing elements factor in. Customization options are an upgrade over the previous installation. Somewhat interesting and innovative tale to follow. Beautiful characters and backgrounds. Innocent Devils are fun to utilize.

Cons: I was personally disappointed by the music score. Disappointing lack of variety for the game, in general. Squandered exploration and interaction potential. Minor camera issues.

Breakdown: Despite some fairly serious drawbacks, I found myself really enjoying this game, almost to the point where I'd replay it for fun. Were some tedium to be removed, this game would score significantly higher for me.

****Aspect Summary****
This is a truly excellent aspect of Castlevania: Curse of Darkness. I enjoyed the various backgrounds, monster and character palettes, cut scenes, weapon styles, etc. etc. I literally could keep going on and on about this aspect of the game. In my opinion, this area was nearly perfect in execution.

Perhaps I've been spoiled by the wondrous Castlevania soundtracks of the past, but I found myself to be slightly disappointed in this installation. That's not to say it's a ‘bad' soundtrack…it's still better than your average console game score, just not great. In-game sound, such as battle cries, weapon swipes, and the like were very well done, however. Voice-acting was dynamite for this installation. In that regard, we've come a long way since “Symphony of the Night”.

The Castlevania games don't seem to put a huge priority on story development, but there is usually enough to keep one interested. In this case, not only is there enough to keep one interested, I found myself particularly anxious to reach the next cut scene, from time to time. Crisp voice-acting helped to deliver convincing dialogue to motivate the story.

Quite a mixed bag here. While the introduction of dynamic character development was quite welcome, (if still a bit under explored, in my opinion) the utter lack of variety of evolved game-play elements is not. Simply put, running into near-identical rooms stylistically blasting through hordes of enemies is exciting, but only for so long. Especially considering the lack of strategic variety generally available. Once you know an opponents style, it becomes pretty basic, but prepare to see that same mentioned opponent dozens more times. The camera work could have been somewhat better, as well.

Another mixed bag. While good cut scenes, solid voice-acting, and immersive graphic and sound quality combined to provide a real solid sense of medieval goodness, a lack of variety and lack of interaction with the environment really had me feeling like I was playing in a box. A box with lots and lots of the same opponents over and over again, laid out in similar fashion.

*Extra Thought*
I detected some vague similarity to ‘Symphony of the Night' with regard to the styling of this game.

****End Summary****

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 09/13/06

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