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on November 5, 2003
Let's get a few things clear and out of the way:
- Symphony of the Night is one of my all-time favorite games, and since I've been playing videogames since the old Atari systems, that's saying alot.
-The jump to 3D play, and I mean GOOD 3D play, was just inevitable, so get used to it. All games are going this way. It's much easier to take advantage of the hardware in a 3D environment.
Now that that's said and done, let's get to the point. Lament of Innocence is, in my opinion, a well made and very fun game. It helps that the design team from Symphony worked on this game. The controls are easy to learn: 2 buttons to attack, 1 to jump, 1 for special weapons, and 1 to block. As long as you can get those buttons down, you can play for quite a while and not have to worry about the others. The new combo system is great, giving you the ability to chain together an entire series of very devastating attacks. If you can master the combo system, the sub weapons can be moved to a USE-ONLY-IF-NEEDED status. The addition of using the whip as a meathod of swinging off poles and rails was a nice touch. Also, the game requires ALOT of exploring and doubling-back to retreive items you couldn't get before. Also, if you think the voice-overs stink, then you can play the game in Japanese with English subtitles.
There are a few caveats, however. The only way to gain magic points is to block a special enemy attack. This can get extremely frustrating, especially if you're surrounded by enemies that are hacking at you, but not performing special attacks. Also, certain areas of the game become inaccessible after the boss is defeated, and you can go back to pick up something you may have missed, some of which can be very hard to find. Also, the real-time window is just plain bad. You could end up getting the snot beaten out of you just for trying to drink some health potion or equipping a different whip.
All the flaws aside, the game is magnificent and a very impressive transition to the 3D format. The storyline is decent, and I think it shows some guts to try to create a prequel to a very famous and recognized series of games.
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In a sense this game is old hat. The beautiful fiancée of Leon Belmont, a knight crusader, is captured by Walter Bernhard, a master vampire. Leon deserts the crusades and flies off to the castle of the aforementioned vampire. There, after being handed a mystical whip, he penetrates layer after layer of horrible badness until he faces, and hopefully destroys, his true enemy. Which is about all the plot a good third person hack-and-slash really needs.
However, to create such a game with sufficient workmanship to make it compelling visually and challenging mentally and physically is no small feat. And that is what sets Lament of Innocence apart from many of its competitors. For one thing, developers are always tempted to substitute extreme difficulty for interesting challenges. Lament, on the other hand, is just doable enough to keep the player from throwing the controller at the monitor in disgust. And its puzzles can be resolved by keeping in mind that anything can be a tool.
Castlevania isn't perfect. I found that motion control and camera angle are both a little too loose. To some degree this is intentional, but I prefer controls that send objects where they are suppose to go. Especially when you are leaping from stone to stone in a frantic effort to scale a wall and there is one, and only one, spot from which to leap.
One of the problems in rating a game like Lament of Innocence is that it is very good, but falls slightly short of some other, very similar games. In this case I'm thinking of Devil May Cry. This is a case where 5 stars are too many, but 4 are too few. I would recommend both as great examples of their genre that can be played repeatedly.
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on October 22, 2003
There has been alot said about Castlevania Lament of Innocence and they vary greatly. I played this game for the first time and as picky a gamer as I am let me assure you that it will be worth every penny. If you are an action gamer and like games that combine action with depth you will love this game. If you like lord of the rings or Devil may cry or Baldur's Gate or Zelda or Rygar you will love this because it takes the best from all of them. If you are a castlevania fan then you will not be disapointed either because while the game can be compared to those other games it is like them in a castlevania style way. Whether you prefer 2D games or 3D games you will love this game. Some sites gave only modest reviews to this game such as Gamespot (7.7)while others gave it good reviews like IGN (9.0). I agree with IGN much more. Gamespot complains that the game is a bit too simple. This game is not simple what so ever. There are all kinds of combo's that you can perform and the fighting and gameplay are unrivaled by anything on the ps2. There are so many different ways to defeat and fight the monsters that it blows my mind. It takes about 45 minutes before you start to realize how much you can do but if you experiment and are creative you can come up with countless ways to take out the enemy. Right out of the gate you get a block that can increase your magic points, several whip combinations, a strong and weak attack (that can be timed to do different things and combined to do different things), a double jump, a dodge, a fire fist, and a jumping lunge fist. That alone makes the way to defeat your enemies fun and varied. You also have 5 other weapons you can pick up right off too that require hearts to use. As the game progresses you learn numberous other attacks and combo's and you eventually learn magics and get relics and rubies and you can mix and match those to create so many different techniques and moves it is amazing and it blows my mind that anyone could use simple and castlevania in the same sentence. So I think Gamespot reviewers need to spend more time with a game because they obviously didn't. I would have to say this game has more different ways to attack than any other ps2 game I have played when you factor everything in I just talked about. The other great thing about this game is the difficulty. It is balanced better than any game I have played. It is not so hard that you get frustrated but just hard enough to provide you with a challenge and give you a fair amount of setbacks. The graphics are in the upper class of ps2 games and the music is superior and beautiful. There is a lot of different enemies for a 3d game and all of the enemies have different patterns and special attacks. There are also some that critisize the camera or the platform jumping. I see no problem whatsoever after about 45 minutes of getting used to it. Once you get used to this game you see that it takes the best of Castlevania and combines it with the best of 3d and 2d and action and rpg to combine for the ultimate experience. Some say that it is not as much a rpg as symphony of the night. WHile it is true you cant level up I think that is a good thing because it made symphony too easy. You learn and get stronger like in Devil may Cry or lord of the rings but there is much more to learn and get stronger from and there is many more combinations in this game. There is a shop to buy things from too. The whole castle is a maze and the different rooms have a great change of atmosphere and secret platforms high up so you need to actually investigate to find them. The game is so fun it is unbelievable and if you own a ps2 this is a must have experience for you. You will be hooked after an hour with this game if not sooner. The only complaint I do have about the game is that it is short. While I have not played the whole game I have heard from review sites that it could end as quick as 10 hours into it. Usually I am the kind of guy that is done with a game once I beat it. This game is so fun though that I will play threw again with their extra difficult mode you get when you beat the game. You also get a new character with new moves...so when you factor that in you are looking at around 30 hours. WHY ARE YOU STILL READING THIS???? YOU COULD BE PLAYING RIGHT NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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on November 11, 2003
Konami's previous attempts to create a fully 3D incarnation of Castlevania until now have failed. The sluggish Castlevania 64 was too ambitious of a project for the Nintendo 64 hardware, and the Dreamcast version was scrapped shortly before it's release for reasons unknown. I can happily report however, that the PS2's Lament Of Innocence successfully ports the series into 3D without losing the elements that make it a great Castlevania game. Everything a Castlevania fan could want is here...fast-paced whip action, plenty of enemies, haunting musical score, beautiful backdrops, a dramatic story, and good voice acting as well. There are a couple of shortcomings though. While the graphics are beautifully detailed, many of the rooms in the game look identical and are too large and barren to be a part of an actual castle. Also, I found that having to pull up a menu to use items/switch equipment can be very tedious during encounters with enemies. Just for the sake of keeping the frustration factor low, I would have liked to have been able to just pause the game to sift through potions, serums, ect. Still, Lament Of Innocence does enough things right to make it worthy of bearing the Castlevania name. It's an excellent 3D platformer no PS2 owner should miss.
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on November 2, 2003
I do realize that most reviews up here are positive and as such, at the time of this review the game has a four star average. This is not high enough as this game deserves, however, and as I read some of these negative reviews I have to wonder if some of these people actually played the same game I played. Yes, the camera is not exactly perfect, but I haven't suffered any problems with it. In fact, the only part of the game that I would say I have an issue with is the real-time menu, and even that is not so bothersome for me to lower my ranking for the game.
As for the Symphony of the Night comparisons, I for one think it holds up admirably for being in the 3D realm. Leveling up is done now through combos rather than just beefing up attributes like every other RPG, and while the items and weapons inventories are cut down from SOTN, they still provide a wonderful selection. But on another note, people should realize that this game is NOT SOTN, nor should it be. If people want to keep playing SOTN, then actually play SOTN and stop expecting Konami to continually clone one game for the rest of eternity.
All in all, I am thoroughly enjoying this game and I think people that are not obsessive fans of SOTN will enjoy it also. (For the record, SOTN is my favorite PSX game so I am not bashing it, just those who seem to think all gamedom should be based upon it.) A rental is always probably a good idea but if you like Castlevania then I recommend a buy for this one.
Always judge something based upon its own merits.
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on October 4, 2004
After having beaten this game at least 10 times, including the special modes, I feel pretty set in writing a review about it. :P

Plot (4/5): Standard stuff. Hero loses girlfriend. Hero finds girlfriend. Hero slays bad guy. There are a few plot twists lurking around in there, but for the most part it's pretty cut and dry and stays well on the same seam as most of the other Castlevania games.

Sound (Music) (4/5): The only reason this gets a 4 is due to everyone's personal taste. I found the music to be quite nice (Dark Palace of Waterfalls especially) and it lends a nice feel to each of the main areas. But on the other hand some areas have an odd techno beat to them (Anti-Soul Mysteries Lab springs to mind) that's a little bit of a deviant in the Castlevania theme. You either love it or you hate it. :)

Sound (Voice Acting) (2/5 for English; 4/5 for Japanese): Ok. New players, please turn on the Japanese voiceovers immediately before starting the game (it's been awhile, but I believe you can't change this during game play). The English voice acting is hammy at best, and you start trying to intentionally kill Leon for having such a horribly over-done squeaky hero voice. While both languages have the same script to work with, the Japanese side delivers this far better.

Graphics (4/5): Texture-wise this game is quite beautiful. Leon's combo moves and flips are also quickly-executed and stunning to watch. The bosses are all exquisitely done and HUGE (most of them take up the entire screen). The only place I can think of where the graphics lack is the general landscape. This game is comprised of the same basic hallway structures, hidden areas, and expansive rooms; there's a definite lack of variety lurking about and it can be tiresome after awhile.

Replayability (5/5): Oh come on, I beat this in an afternoon once, and then pushed reset and started over again. This game is SHORT-- even the most novice of players could beat this in a day or two of straight gameplay. There are some incentives to beating the game over and over: beating it once unlocks Joachim and Crazy mode, beating it with Joachim unlocks Pumpkin, and beating it on Crazy mode unlocks the Mobius brooch.

Controls (5/5): If I could get them, you can get them. Nowhere as complex as Metal Gear Solid, but not quite as simple as some of the first gen PS2 games.

Overall (4/5): A decent buy for your buck. A slight deviation in the side-scrolling Castlevania games we know and love, but worth a whirl at least once. :)
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on November 11, 2005
To me this game is very similar to Castlevania Harmony of Dissonance. Like HoD this game is fun and all but not perfect.

The graphics and gameplay are superb. As is the music. When youre exploring the castle, the awesome graphics and organ heavy music really sets the mood. The main chracter Leon controls smoothly and his whip strikes look and feel powerful. Plus the boss battles are tough but not overly difficult. And the camera doesnt seem to blind me as much as in Devil May Cry.

Though Lament of Innocence has plenty of short comings.

1) The enemies and level design are reused way too much. Too many of the corridors and enemies look and act exactly the same.

2) The magic system is 'dumbed' down. This games magic system is based around your subweapons, much like Harmony of Dissonance. Why they couldnt have implemented the awesome magic of Symphony of the Night or Dawn of Sorrow, i dont know.

3) Too many things are overly simplified like the combos and armors. There are no 'secret' armors or combos. You get them all as you gradually progress through the game.

In the end this is a great game and i enjoyed it much more than Devil May Cry. But when it stands next to some of the other Castlevania games it is far from perfect.
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on June 21, 2004
I, myself, have been a Castlevania fan for several years and felt that the pinnacle of the series was Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. Considering the low quality of the past 3D Castlevania games, I expected little from this game, but hoped for the best.
The game proved to be absolutley fantastic. Every facet of this game is well executed. The graphics are very good and, while not the absolute best graphics that can be found on the PS2, are beautiful nonetheless and are filled with detail. The lighting effects in particular are very impressive. The sound is also very well done. The sound effects are fitting, but where the game scores major points is the musical score. The music of this game is absolutely beautiful and adds a lot to the mood and atmosphere of the various areas of the game.
As far as the gameplay, Lament of Innocence is excellent. The combat in the game is fast-paced and frentic, yet retains a bit of strategy in the several moves one can use in battle. Since fighting is such an integral part of any Castlevania game, it helps that the combat is so well done in this game. The exploration aspects are also very good and have some light puzzles mixed in with the fighting. The game has just enough variety to keep it entertaining the whole time.
Admittedly, the game is on the short side and it will likely take you under 10 hours your first time playing through. However, there are several extras to be found throughout the game and you'll doubtlessly want to play through more than once to complete more of the game and earn some of these bonuses.
Overall, Castlevania: Lament of Innocence is a surprising gem and is definitely a game that worth buying. Whether you're a past fan of Castlevania fans or have never picked up a game in the series before, you'll be enthralled with this entry in the series.
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on November 24, 2003
I have been a huge fan of the Castlevania series ever since the release of the original Castlevania for the Nes. After a failed attempt on the N64 and years of waiting, those clamoring for a fully 3-D Castlevania game that is worth playing have had their wish granted. First and foremost, in the gameplay department Castlevania LOI(Lament of Innocence) does not dissappoint. The action is fast, with little to absolutely no slow down. I think the developers from Konami borrowed from the Devil May Cry series and implemented the gameplay from that game for a successful formula. Although most might be annoyed by having to use curative and status items in real time, I believe it adds to the challenge and realism of the game and makes it more fun.
Graphically, the game is pretty good, but will not blow anyone away. A lot of the scenery throughout looks very similar and the castle itself is pretty standard throughout. What does make the game standout is the killer soundtrack, which rivals the great soundtrack offered in Castlevania Symphoney of the Night. Moreover, the voice acting and storyline are excellent, which makes the cutscenes more of a treat. Finally, there are many hidden items and once you beat the game there are several secret modes and characters you can play as, which gives the game some solid replay value. Although this game is not as deep as Symphoney of the Night was, it is still very fun and very enjoyable. Castlevania has made it's triumphant return, and it has done so in 3-D. Let's just hope the developers can build upon this success and release another
3-D title that will improve on this one, and really blow everyone away.
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on October 27, 2003
First, if you are immediately turned off by the idea of another horrible 3D Castlevania game like those that turned up on the N64, you shouldn't be. This is Castlevania in 3D done right.
Second, yes, the same people that designed Symphony Of The Night created this game, but for God's Sake, stop comparing this game to SotN. It is not Symphony of the Night.
Now to the review. One reviewer complained about the combo system for the whip in the game saying that if he wanted a combo system, he'd buy a fighting game. Shut up, please. There are two friggin' buttons, and if that's too hard to handle for you then I feel really sorry for you. The fighting system is incredibly fun, with hundreds of different monsters. The graphics are great and provide a moody atmosphere.
Yes, there are small camera issues that can provide a small amount of difficulty in the game's few "platforming" elements, but they aren't a serious issue. A great element of the game is the inclusion of orbs and customizable RPG-like elements (much like the recent "Aria of Sorrow" for the GBA) that really make the experience different every time you play.
In short, buy this game, stop listening to people who don't own it and don't know what they're talking about, and enjoy.
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