Review by Megaman1981

"Welcome traveler, to the world of Castlevania."

Castlevania is one of the oldest game series in the history of gaming. The series became an instant hit with the original Castlevania on the NES. Many sequels later, Castlevania arrived for the first time in 3D on the N64. While not an instant success, the game sold well enough for a sequel. I played all of the original games on the NES, Castlevania Chronicles, the two N64 Castlevania's, Symphony of the Night, and Lament of Innocence. It's somewhat sad that the Castlevania series is no longer on the Nintendo console market, but I'm glad that they still made Castlevania: Lament of Innocence for the PS2. Now the second PS2 has arrived, and it's a game that tops Lament of Innocence easily. Castlevania: Curse of Darkness is a fantastic addition to anyone's gaming library.

All of these games were familiar in style. However, there is another type of Castlevania games that were made; the Metroidvania games. These games are basically a mix of Castlevania and Metroid in one. That is how Curse of Darkness was made. You start your adventure out very weak with almost no items. As you explore the castle, you will discover more items which will allow you to explore new areas of the castle. Hence, the Metroid part. There are also RPG elements put in as well which allow your character to level up. The leveling up factor still doesn't play as big of a part as most people would think.

One element that is included in this game is the ability to carry an Innocent Devil with you. These creatures will help you fight the many enemies that you come across, as well as level up like you. A lot of people have said the game is too easy, but I feel that there is a decent challenge. In fact, this game is harder than Lament of Innocence.

The story is a direct sequel to Castlevania 3: Dracula's Curse from the NES. Hence, you will see a little bit of Trevor Belmont in the game. Hector used to work for Dracula, but when Trevor defeated Dracula, Hector decided to live a peaceful life, but now seeks revenge upon Isaac, another of Dracula's minions. Isaac murdered Hector's love Rosely, and now Hector seeks revenge.

I think that the graphics are the best ever seen in a Castlevania game. While each environment is very similar, it doesn't take away the fact that those environments are still beautiful to look at. The music was composed by the same person that made Symphony of the Night. It's well done, but a few familiar Castlevania themes like Vampire Killer would have been nice.

The game does have replay value. There is a boss rush mode, as well as a hard mode. Also, a "special" hidden character has his own special quest as well to play threw. And no, it isn't Alucard! If there is one problem with the game is that there are annoying load times. Every time you enter a new area, the game will load. It's not a huge problem, but it is a bit annoying. Aside from that, Curse of Darkness is a great game and should be played by all.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 11/07/05, Updated 02/09/06

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