Review by Arugal

"Gotta forge 'em all !"

Here we have another excellently fun Castlevania game from Konami !

Curse of Darkness (or CoD for short) is the second Playstation 2 Castlevania and also the third 3D (fourth if you count 'Castlevania 64''s two versions) one in the series. Now, many of fan have been disappointed with the lack of 2D Castlevanias on home consoles and are left with handhelds, but being 3D isn't all that bad and CoD shows that as it is very enjoyable. Taking place 3 years after 'Castlevania 3- Dracula's Curse'(for NES), CoD features a man named Hector who was once a Devil Forgemaster under Dracula, aiming for revenge against his old friend who set up the murder of his beloved. What is a Devil Forgemaster you ask ? Why, it is a person who can summon and raise Innocent Devils (I.D. for short) and have them help along your journey.

Throughout the game Hector acquires different types of I.D. that help you fight and gain experience points as you do(in turn they level up as well). These I.D. can evolve depending on certain circumstances. For example, equipping a certain weapon type (such as sword or axe) makes "Evo Crystals" drop from enemies you kill which the I.D. absorbs. Then after a certain amount they will evolve into a different form and gain new abilities. All I.D. have different "paths" they can take which will end up making them evolve into something different, each with their own abilities. Some need "secret" requirements to evolve as well. I.D. also will once in a while produce "devil shards" which will hatch into the devil type that made them, but at the first form - so you can always start a new one from the beginning. This "pokemon-esque" system makes it a lot of fun as it is very enjoyable to try and get all the devil types. You can only have one out at a time, although, you can carry quite a few with you to switch between. Later on in the game you get a storage to place some in as well. The I.D. also have "environmental" use, as in, some of the I.D. abilities are needed to get to a certain area or knock down a wall for example. I.D. are an important part of the game and are easy to use. They bring a lot of fun to this game and I can spend hours leveling my I.D. and evolving them.

Combat is very fun - combat is "hack 'n' slash" style that never gets old and there are many kinds of weapons to choose from and you can also make weapons and armours too ! CoD features a 'combine' system in which you can use materials you find or steal throughout the game to put together many different weapons and armours. This is the only way you can gain weapons and armours also. The control is all simple and easy, no frustrations and there is also NO slow-downs whatsoever. All in all, game-play is SUPER and FUN.

The game is produced by famous Koji Igarashi (IGA) and has a very well done story. It is accompanied by excellently done motion-captured CG movies with splendid voice acting. The game was originally done in English language as you can tell by the lip-sync and they fit the characters appropriately. The story is very captivating and the characters all come alive, as they where all designed by the great Ayami Kojima. It is all beautifully done. If you played 'Lament of Innocence' you know what to expect. The music in the game isn't quite 'Symphony of the Night' quality but it is good however. Many of the tunes, such as the one that plays in the Abandoned Castle, are very nicely composed and give the area it's feeling. I found the music to be very pleasant to listen to.

If you are a Castlevania fan, I say definitely get this. I found it to be a superb game. If you are new to the Castlevania series, it still has excellent game-play and fun to be had, but, the beauty of the game may not captivate you.
All in all, I give this game a 10/10 !

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 11/16/05

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