Castlevania: Legacy Of Darkness
Developer: Konami Computer Entertainment Kobe | Publisher: Konami | Release Date: 2000 | Genre: Third Person Adventure / Platformer | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Amazon
Returning back after years of training, Cornell is understandable cheesed off to find his village destroyed and sister kidnapped by Dracula’s minions. Since Cornell is a Man Beast with a near invincible body and the ability to turn into a giant wolf this doesn’t bode well for the forces of darkness. Castlevania: Legacy Of Darkness isn’t just Cornell’s story, but three other characters who you unlock as well. It might be the one of the biggest Castlevania titles, but is it the best?
There’s no point denying the fact that I love the 2D Castlevania’s best and Symphony of the Night on PSone ranks as one of my all time favorite games. This doesn’t mean that I automatically hate any 3D attempts at the series. In fact, I had high hopes for this game, but Legacy of Darkness simply failed to match up to them. Starting with the graphics, one might assume that 3D is automatically superior to plain old 2D, but just compare the imaginative and colorful stages found in SOTN to the drab, colorless, gloomy locales in this one. Add a very short draw distance which obscures almost everything in fog and you end up with a game that falls a bit short of looking good. There are some nice touches, most noticeable the huge bosses but you just can’t compare the drab 3D enemies with their mincing animations to their highly animated and colorful 2D cousins.
The game contains a few nice tunes and Konami even managed to cram a few lines of speech into this cart, but nothing that can come close to some of the other Castlevania game’s soundtracks. The soundtracks are usually the one area of Konami games that you never have to worry about, but they fall a bit short of their usual excellence here.
Gameplay wise you spend most of your time platform hopping but there are some minor RPG elements and a few puzzles thrown in as well. It doesn’t come close to SOTN in terms of items and stuff, but with four different characters at least there’s some replay value here. Each character has two types of attack and of course you still have classic Castlevania special weapons like the holy water, knives and axes. Cornell even has the ability to change into a powerful werewolf, but this eats up your red crystal supply in no time leaving you nothing to activate your special weapons with.
Along the way you can pick up healing and cure items not to mention “sun” and “moon” cards which shifts the time ahead to day or night. While the passing of time might seem like a cool idea all it’s useful for is entering certain doors. This can be annoying if you don’t have any cards and reach them at the wrong time. Thankfully, each cycle is not as long as in real life, but I still recommend you keep an interesting book close by for those inevitable waiting periods.
The controls work well enough, although they can feel a bit slippery at times. The characters are all quite agile and pull off moves like sliding and hanging from ledges. The camera angles irritated me at times and while you can control the camera to a certain extent when it comes to jumping, the games switches to “auto” camera mode and won’t allow you to look around. Having a camera angle change in the middle of a jump is not a good thing, trust me.
Castlevania: Legacy Of Darkness is a decent game, but I won’t exactly add it to the list of “classic” Castlevania games. While the engine is solid enough and the gameplay challenging, it falls somewhat short of expectations. If anything, it makes the original Castlevania 64 obsolete as it contains both the quests for Carrie Fernandez and Reinhardt Schneider.
*Review originally published May 2000.