E3 2003: Castlevania: Lament of Innocence Hands-on Impressions
One of the most beloved franchises in history, Castlevania has reached legendary status amongst 2-D action enthusiasts. Now Castlevania is finally catching up to the next-generation with Lament of Innocence for the Playstation 2. Set in the 11th century and starring Leon, the latest hero of the Blemont clan, Lament is 2D action goodness in 3D glory.
The first thing you’ll notice about Lament of Innocence is how marvelous it looks. It truly has a Devil May Cry, goth rock feel to it, but with Castlevania class and style oozing everywhere. The look is exactly what you would expect and want from a 3D Castlevania; it just works. Leon is remarkably well drawn, and so are the enemies, and it all keeps with the Castlevania aesthetic, so it feels both new and familiar, which is a wonderful thing.
The gameplay in Castlevania quickly stole the show, however, as once I gained control of Leon and got that whip working, it was brawl time. The controls in Lament are exactly what the E3 trailer says they are: "the best in the series". Controlling Leon is easy, simple, and the combat is fun and intuitive, and above all, challenging. I found myself up against 4-5 enemies at a time and sometimes even more, but it didn’t matter because I was kicking so much ass I would have preferred even more ass to kick. Executing a whip attack is done by pressing square, jumping is done with the X button, and there was an option to do a mid air kick attack combo using the X and triangle buttons. I also had a sub weapon of choice at my disposal that could be implemented at any time by pressing the circle button. Only one sub weapon/item can be carried at a time, so if you pick up a crystal, you have to drop your knives. It made for a nice balance.
Sound is always a big deal in Castlevania games. It is a series that is known for great music (for the most part). Lament of Innocence is definitely on par with the series, as it sported some amazing tracks both in the trailer and the demo. Lament’s soundtrack is easily on par with Symphony of the Night’s, if not better.
It’s nice to see this revered series finally getting the fresh update it deserves. Castlevania: Lament of Innocence for the Playstation 2 is looking, playing, and sounding great so far, and we’ll have even more on this game as information becomes available.
5/14/2003 Ryan Hartmann