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Offline Bengr Hausve

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An honest PS2 Castlevania titles retrospective
« on: September 06, 2019, 09:51:03 AM »
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A decade and a half later, what does Lament of Innocence and Curse of Darkness mean to you? Legend or kibble? Something in between? Share some memories, current criticism, etc!

Offline whipsmemory

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Re: An honest PS2 Castlevania titles retrospective
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2019, 10:14:33 AM »
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I personally love Lament of Innocence, i find it excellent in story, art and compositions, and while being far from perfect gameplay wise, i do actually enjoy it quite a lot. Its my personal favorite 3d 'vania, really, and among my favorites in general

Offline KaZudra

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Re: An honest PS2 Castlevania titles retrospective
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2019, 03:14:43 PM »
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Lament of Innocence was a bit of a blast, OST nails atmosphere and the Forbidden One's den is down-right chilling. For the most part the game is well designed but I feel that a level-up mechanic was lost (probably due to that stat view), the only real set-back of this game was the backtracking for the relics that all revolved around getting a key, going to a door that you may have remembered, getting a relic and a key, rinse and repeat. Graphically it's fine, but could have used more variety in lighting to make areas more distinguishable and could have used more of those well-though-out puzzle and platforming sections. The AoS easter egg is also fun and the Jewel Crusher is a nice way to utilize other-wise useless shop fodder.

Curse of Darkness is technically very impressive, plenty of weapons, crafting, and mechanics to go around. The Innocent Devil system is quite amazing but a little on the grindy side since you'll only scratch 1/4th of it's content alone on a first playthrough (not to mention how ridiculious it can get with invested time). Levels are HUGE, a little too big at times, not helped by the fact that Hector suffers from the same condition SNES Richter has where the movement speed is pretty slow but is distracting because the animation is playing too fast resulting in a skating look about it. Weapons have depth... but It's more Dynasty warriors where your combo adds one attack and one finisher per upgrade, but the variety of weapons do make up for it (The Power Glove, It's so BAD!), Playing as Trevor is pretty awesome as his dagger crash is still really cool so see in action. The biggest QoL changes would be cutting the Innocent Devil grind down a bit, New Game + into Crazy mode, and that damn movement speed.

I would recommend these both to be played on an emulator (just buy and back-up the discs), the resolution bump and widescreen are enough enhancement and maybe when PCSX2 supports texture replacement, maybe we can see some Hi-Res textures. This does bring the question, are they even worth your time? Yes. They are flawed and show a bit of age, but even non-Castlevania fans seem to enjoy these ones, In time maybe they can get those needed QoL improvements with Rom hacking in time, after-all we are living in a time of Widescreen Snes and a native PC port of Mario 64.

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Offline DoctaMario

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Re: An honest PS2 Castlevania titles retrospective
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2019, 11:16:51 AM »
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They're both pretty excellent games that suffer from IGA and his team not having either the budget, time, or talent to craft compelling levels. It's a shame really because those games do so many things right but they get to be so goddamned BORING after awhile, and I say this as someone who spent the time to get all the rare drops in LoI.

Folks can say what they want about LoS but the first game had great level design and even if you don't like the mechanics, the game never gets boring because the terrain is all the same.

Offline RichterB

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Re: An honest PS2 Castlevania titles retrospective
« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2019, 12:02:52 PM »
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Lament of Innocence is a solid entry overall. It excels in story, music, and art direction, and its combat system is good, even if it results in an overemphasis on combos. However, the platforming is weak and the level design is mediocre.

Curse of Darkness has a lot of really ambitious ideas, but the balance of importance is out of wack. The ID and crafting systems are focused on way too much, while the level design is bare bones and the platforming is nonexistent. Plus the whole affair feels largely inconsequential. I found it to be a slog, and it was the first Castlevania game I felt was a chore to finish. The most impressive thing about this entry is how it tried to create a large interconnected world.

I only played the first Lords of Shadow. I found it to be enjoyable, but way too unfocused and all over the place in its design ideas. The level design, while less repetitive, felt really choppy and stiff. For my money, it wasn't any better than Lament of Innocence overall.

On the whole, despite shortcomings, the N64 entries are vastly superior in locking down the action-platforming, intrigue, and level design of a Castlevania game in 3D:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8br-fTGrErM

The first N64 game is more seamlessly designed than the second one, though, despite the second one cleaning up and expanding some things. Any future 3D entry should look to these for a starting point, but because of the exaggerated stigmas surrounding them, that sadly is unlikely. And as such, Castlevania will have a hard time finding its own unique and fitting identity in 3D.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2019, 12:10:15 PM by RichterB »

Offline X

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Re: An honest PS2 Castlevania titles retrospective
« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2019, 11:38:48 PM »
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LoI was a game I did enjoy, and still do from time to time. Music, graphics, atmosphere, all are well and good. Not great but good. There was enough variation and secrets in the stages that I didn't feel bored with it as was the case with CoD. But for me its shortcoming was the story. I had no issues with wanting to have an origin story for the Belmont clan, but Dracula should have been left out of it. It was too early for him. Way too early. And the nature of the vampirekiller itself wasn't what I had imagined it was since the series' conception. IGA just seems to have this obsession with alchemy and you can really see it in his CV games. Even CoD's devil forging has its roots in an alchemy-based theme; transforming matter into a magical living being (or changing one thing into another). To me having a whip of alchemy rather then an actual divine relic for smiting the greatest of evils seems a bit of a stretch. And I feel it detracts from the god-like mysteries of the weapon itself. Some things shouldn't need to be explained as a bit of mystery adds to the experience.

CoD was enjoyable for a time and I had managed to complete it at least four times before getting to the point that it was just going on and on. The level designs were huge but a chore to move through. The stealing of items is a mixed bag for me. Why do we have to wait for the enemy to pull off some special move or the like in order to steal from it? It made no sense and was just wasting my time. If you have the steal relic then you should just steal from them. Quick and easy. No wasting time as the game was long enough as it is. The dropping of items from some enemies was a bit unbalanced too. Sometimes I could spend only a few minutes and gain a potion or a mineral for crafting. Other times I would literally spend hours if not more then half a day just killing the same foes and they would not drop a single thing (though its drop chart indicates it has something). Hector was slow which led me to constantly use his flipping move just to get somewhere fast. A drawback that Leon Belmont does not suffer from. The story itself was definitely shoehorned and I did not agree with the poorly executed removal of Trevor. The type of training that all Belmonts go through would not have given Issac such an easy opportunity to stab Trevor from behind. It just would not happen. All Belmonts are trained from a young age to track/identify/combat monsters, magical beings, and the undead of varying nature. This would ensure the survival of every lone Belmont warrior (regardless of gender, disability, etc.) to guarantee maximum success over the forces of Darkness. Issac simply would not be able to take Trevor by surprise as he did because of the intense and extensive aforementioned training. And this is not including the mystical properties of the Belmont blood which would automatically alert them to evil happenings. I just don't see it. The up-side of CoD is its music. The score lent itself to the game and the environments and I enjoyed it (for the most part). I didn't care for the ending theme as it seemed very out of place in an awkward kind of way.

Quote
On the whole, despite shortcomings, the N64 entries are vastly superior in locking down the action-platforming, intrigue, and level design of a Castlevania game in 3D:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8br-fTGrErM

The first N64 game is more seamlessly designed than the second one, though, despite the second one cleaning up and expanding some things. Any future 3D entry should look to these for a starting point, but because of the exaggerated stigmas surrounding them, that sadly is unlikely. And as such, Castlevania will have a hard time finding its own unique and fitting identity in 3D.

I agree with the above. IGA should have been taking notes and improving upon what the N64 titles tried to do. This would have given him a better shot at making a greater 3D CV game. The way the N64 titles were made automatically includes backtracking which is what was in the IGA games. So already the mechanics of IGA's 2 titles would easily fit right in to the CV64 environment. But like any creative thinker we all want to do things our own way (which is not always the right way).
« Last Edit: September 22, 2019, 11:40:59 PM by X »
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Offline LuxKiller65

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Re: An honest PS2 Castlevania titles retrospective
« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2019, 08:57:11 PM »
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The stealing of items is a mixed bag for me. Why do we have to wait for the enemy to pull off some special move or the like in order to steal from it? It made no sense and was just wasting my time.
To force you to buy the strategy guide :)

Offline X

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Re: An honest PS2 Castlevania titles retrospective
« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2019, 12:48:16 AM »
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Quote
To force you to buy the strategy guide :)

Never did. Didn't even know there was one. Although it would have helped in finalising my innocent devils. Never did get the top tier one as the recipe was just getting way too complicated for me to care  :P
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