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Castlevania Lament of Innocence

version: jp, limited edition - year: 2003 - developer: konami - publisher: konami - format: playstation 2, dvdrom - condition: mint - rarity: slight

The LE comes with a 2004 calendar, a music CD and a piece of artwork by series illustrator Ayami Kojima.

Beautiful design by Ayami Kojima makes a welcome return and is visible in each and every carefully designed character or boss




























Review - The words "Castlevania" and "3D" have never really been a happy match.

The two N64 3D versions of this epic saga almost managed to tarnish its reputation. After the N64 fiascos, Konami has carefully avoided any connection between Castlevania and the polygon world up until now. Castlevania Lament of Innocence marks the return to the 3rd dimension. Luckily, nothing really hints at the ugly N64 incarnations.

Lament of Innocence features beautiful graphics, richly detailed and faithful to the spirit of the series. There are no skeletons on bikes like in N64 Castlevania for example and we should all rejoice for that! Character models are well done, and their design is cool. Leon's animations tend to look somewhat stiff when he performs mid-air combos though. We are not quiet up to the elegance of Alucard's motions here unfortunately. Despite that, the overall cosmetics are among the best found on any Castlevania game. I only felt many of the castle's interiors could have benefited from more variety. Corridors and rooms often don't change much, and this makes exploration a bit tedious. It feels like walking around the same place over and over at times.

The music is absolutely stunning in Lament of innocence. Orchestrated tunes accompany every new area and give to the game a very needed boost in terms of atmosphere.

Despite some superficial resemblance to Devil May Cry, Lament of Innocence gameplay is slower. It feels definitely slow compared to Castlevania White Night Concerto for example where it was possible to dash to cover distances more quickly.

Also, the enemies faced will never really be much of a problem, aside for the very end bosses of the game. What I am trying to say is that this game never manages to make the player feel a sense of urge, or danger.

In other words, this game lacks punch. Guarding is important during fights as it builds up your spiritual meter that is needed to activate the magical power of relics. Relics can have a variety of effects such as increase speed, strength or gradually refill your energy bar for example. The game does get better the more items and relics are collected, because it is always fun to experiment, but the orbs system and sub-weapons combinations certainly can't compare with the depth of the weapon system in Castlevania Aria of Sorrow. It must be noted though that Leon can count on an increasing number of possible combos that are both spectacular to watch and effective, although I ended up almost always using the same combinations.

Finally, unlike many fans of the series, I should say that I wasn't particularly disappointed with the story of the game, or with anachronistic details such as Renaissance interiors in a XI century setting. Actually, I was kind of happy to discover the origin of the Belmondo (Belmont ?) lineage and to discover the truth behind the Vampire Killer, the mythical whip used by every Vampire Slayer of the family.

To me, Castlevania has never been about historical accuracy or Myth faithfulness. After all, the real legend of Dracula is based around a Romanian Tyrant named Vlad Tepes III, and this was never mentioned in any of the games.

To conclude, this 3D Castlevania incarnation is a brave attempt at modernizing an aging but still captivating series. It remains to be seen if the classic 2D gameplay of the old style Castlevania games can be successfully translated in 3D without having to tweak it.

Lament of Innocence tried hard to leave everything unaltered from glorious games such as Symphony of the Night but maybe it should have dared to innovate gameplay wise.

Note: Spoiler ahead- Overall, bosses in Lament of innocence aren't nearly as challenging as in Symphony of the Night but maybe with one happy exception: The 'Forgotten One'. This dark creature dwells in the deepest recesses of the Castle and is brutally enchained, sealed to prevent its perverse and immense powers to wreck havoc and destruction around. The boss itself has a twisted but extremely cool design and is somewhat reminiscent of the aeon Anima (Final Fantasy X). It is certainly worth a look so make sure not to miss it. This boss (along with Death) is tougher than anything else in the game, but nothing to worry about though (especially after the near to immortal Monkan in Magatama!!)

Bottom line: the first decent 3D Castlevania but the formula still works better in 2D. 7/10










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