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Castlevania: Lament of Innocence (VG) More at IMDbPro »Kyassuruvania (original title)

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The evolution of Castlevania

Author: Cuong Nguyen ( from Syracuse, New York
19 January 2004

Castlevania has always shown its stay for the 2D realm until Lament of Innocence. After playing Lament of Innocence, the game created a whole new level of seeing what a real 3d game should be.

Let's talk about the engine for Lament of Innocence. The creators were so into capturing the detail. It's tough for players to go through the game without noticing the small details in architecture of the stages and the movement of the water to the lights hitting through along textures that were involved to create such a masterpiece. The part that was most disappointed was still the engine couldn't create the infinate realms of Dracula's castle as with the 2d style where they could build exotic backgrounds such as the infinate staircases in one of the old 2d stages. The 3d engine still has limits and boundaries by isolated the character to rooms and rooms.

The Character and monster designs were incredible when looking at the animation and the motion of Leon Belmont. He was able to pull off these motion capture back handsprings and flips. With the engine, the game adds in the ability to dodge from monster attacks that require skill and reaction that makes the fun atmosphere of the game along with the Leon's special abilities of whipe techniques and combos with special abilities and different weapons. The whole whipping and dodging away from monsters adds more action. Furthormore, they adjusted the system to be more real time where potions have to be used during the actual gameplay along with the equipment changes during the play.

The normal gameplay isn't at all challenging though. The difficulty and full fun factor of the game comes from the ability to play this mode called Crazy Mode. There are usually empty halls in the normal mode, which destroys the action yet in the crazy mode, mnonsters are tougher and those empty hallways are filled with monsters. Konami also offers two hidden characters in this game, which starts to become a neat tradition passed down from Castlevania to Castlevania.

The storyline of the game is really important cause Leon is the first Belmont and show how their bloodline is born. The story of dracula becomes more traditional like the stories we hear of Dracula in the movies and books because players will find why Dracula has turned to this side of darkness and the belief in God affects it. The origin of the legendary Vampire Killer Whip is told.

I don't know what's left to tell.. I'm really impressed with this engine because it felt really good to bash monsters with the whip and dodge around. I hope this engine improves. I hope this engine becomes adopted for other games because I'm imagining thoe MMORPG games could use this 3d engine and combat system to cause a revolution. Most contemporary generation MMORPG are using the Unreal Tournament engine, which is decent, but I think this engine deserves a lot more attention.

We won't see another home console castlevania in while because the creator of this engine is planning on using for other games, which I cna't wait to try out.

Oh yeah, don't compare this game to Playstation's Symphony of the Night. All Castlevania games have their own unique systems, which makes the series one of the best and always changing. Konami puts alot of effort in this series unlike the Final Fantasy series from Square Enix.

That's it. I hope I helped.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Beautiful graphics, a phenomenal musical score and amazing game play make this a worthy addition to the "Castlevania" series. Grade: B+

Author: practiced_bravado from San Antonio, TX
14 July 2004

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.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Back to the Playstation

Author: jaywolfenstien from USA
2 December 2003

Funny - when CastleVania: SotN first came out, just about everyone initially criticized it for not going to 3D like the rest of the video game bandwagons. Now it's legendary even in 2D form as compared to the sea of mediocre 3D titles all of which were forgettable that came out at about the same time. Then CastleVania goes 3D on N64 and met less than thrilling reviews. On PS2, it goes 3D again . . . and everyone is weary of a repeat.

I wanted to like this game more than its PS1 2D predecessor - not because I didn't like SotN; rather, because just about every review will read, `. . . but it's not as good as SotN.' When a game in a series is successful, every successor will forever be compared whether or not fair, and quite a few of those reviewers never really give the game a chance.

Unfortunately, as much as I liked Lament, it's simply not quite as fun, not quite as deep, and doesn't even come close to surpassing the game that came before it. Lament is still a good game, a good entry in the CastleVania series for any die-hard fan, but it is not Symphony of the Night 2.

It does try very hard to re-capture the 2D exploration/whip-the-hell-out-of-monsters feel of its 2D predecessors which is admirable and meets with varying degrees of success. But the emphasis of the game seems a bit shifted due to the new dimension that gives Lament its own feel. The biggest drawback for me was lack of any reason to re-explore any areas even to acquire missed items. You never get any new special abilities/items that let you access an area you previously couldn't get to unless its for an extra little item that makes no real impact on the rest of the game other than to say, `Cleared it 7 hours and I found 100% of the items in the game!' I felt most of the cutscenes were a bit too long and drawn out. The intro cutscene is definitely longer than an intro cutscene should be (which, from the few games I've played, is becoming a trend . . . ). This is CastleVania--I really don't care *this much* about plot. Especially since, for the most part, it's just a regurgitation of something we've all seen/heard/played before. Give me an excuse to fight the vampire and point me towards the demon castle and I'll be happy. The `whip's completion' cutscene was nicely done and fine, but everything before it could've been cut down for time and everything afterwards was extraneous.

My greatest delight came with returning character illustrator, Ayame Kojima, and composer, Michiru Yamane, both of whom are bursting at the seams with talent have refined CastleVania's already unique gothic look and feel and properly ascended the series above your typical game art/music. Kojima & Yamane's contributions combined give their CastleVania titles a very stylish and atmospheric feel surpassing entries that lack them on the creative team. But the look and sound of a game alone hasn't made CastleVania the flagship series of Konami's that it is . . . it's a fun game.

Lament is actually a really really good game compared to the rest of the industry, but it bears the CastleVania name which has yielded some of the greatest games on just about every system since its conception on the NES over a decade ago. Not the greatest of the series, but the series as a whole stands above most of the gaming industry.

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