14 July 2004 | practiced_bravado
Beautiful graphics, a phenomenal musical score and amazing game play make this a worthy addition to the "Castlevania" series. Grade: B+
In the fall of 2002, Konami revitalized the sagging "Contra" franchise with the superb PS2 game "Contra: Shattered Soldier". It has now done the same with the "Castlevania" series, which previous forays into the 3D realm were duds. Credit should really be given to the game's developer Koji Igarashi and composer Michiru Yamane; the duo responsible for the great PS1 "Castlvania" title "Symphony of the Night".
Those expecting a "Symphony" sequel will be a little disappointed. "Lament of Innocence" does not contain any of the heavy RPG elements found in that game. It's more of a sequel to the original NES title, although it's presumably a prequel to the entire series. The biggest triumph of the game is its presentation. This is an artistic achievement of sight and sound. Beautiful graphics, an amazing score and fantastic special effects fill this "Castlevania" adventure to the brim.
You the play the game as Leon Belmont, the first member of the Belmont family who picks up a whip to fight off their life-long nemesis, Dracula. The cut scenes which tell the story are of top-notch quality and perfectly dispersed throughout the game. "Lament" mainly consists of the same game play that is found in all "Castlevania" titles. It's just the most refined. As you progress, you gain attack moves, magical orbs and relics.
The orbs enhance your sub weapons and the relics gives you special powers. Some of the orbs are hidden and the others are acquired by defeating bosses. There are five main bosses before the final showdown. If you look hard enough, you can even face three others called Elementals, representing fire, ice and lightning. If you defeat them, you are given new whips. Some of the relics are hidden as well and to get them you need to find keys, which are scattered around the castle's rooms.
The castle itself is huge and takes a bit of time to master 100 percent. On your first play through, it should take about 8 or 9 hours to beat. To get through it all, should take about 12. One of the game's weaknesses is that your huge arsenal isn't really necessary for the average length. There are no multiple endings or anything that really encourages a second play through for a 100 percent completion. But if you are a die-hard fan of action and exploration, you'll want to savor every minute this game has to offer.
I'd give "Castlevania: Lament of Innocence" *** out of **** or grade it with a B+. It's an extremely enjoyable adventure title that is a must play. Thumbs up.