Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness (1986)
To be honest, I expected pathetically little out of Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness. On the surface, it seemed to be a pathetic way for Konami to eek some more money out of the successful Castlevania name. It uses pretty much the same engine (although it supports the expansion pack), reuses some old levels...heck, I even figured they'd use the same music again.
I can't say that the my expectations weren't completely false - a lot does seem recycled from Castlevania 64. But in a good way. There's a slew of new levels, most of which are rather cool. The opening level is a short pirate ship where you must fight a giant sea serpent on a bridge. Later on, you have to tackle the outer wall, egyptian-like ruins and an art gallery.
Although there are levels that are "technically" the same, the layouts and goals are entirely differents. For instance, you still have to go through the Castle Villa, but instead to chasing a kid while being followed by a psychotic Frankenstein-thing, you now have to lead a little kid named Henry through the maze, plus search down two crests to open up the door leading to the end level. The Tower of Execution looks basically the same, but there are all new traps and the route is totally different. It looks similar, but in reality, it's not. With all of these stages, the overall game is longer, about 13 stages total.
The story revolves around the man-beast Cornell and his quest to save his sister Ada from being used as a sacrifice for Count Drac. Cornell is a much more powerful characters than either Schneider or Carrie, and is easier to control, due mostly to his long range main attack that shoots out of powerful sonic-wave. He can also change into a werewolf, of course, but it's not nearly as cool as it sounds - you just get stronger, and it drains plenty of jewels (plus once you turn into a werewolf, you can't turn back until you run out.) Additionally, you can now upgrade the special weapons to make them more powerful.
Even more, once you beat the game, you unlock a new character - the knight Henry, now grown up and wielding an extremely cool shotgun. His objective is to wander through the levels and find six kids over the period of seven days. Each kid unlocks a new feature of the game, such as Reinhart and Carrie's quest, new costumes and such. I haven't played much of Henry's game, but more will be posted once I get farther.
Simply put, if you didn't like Castlevania 64, this won't make you change your mind. The game is very similar, but it seems a bit more refined. The play control and cameras aren't all that different, but the levels are structured so the flaws aren't as apparent, and the boss battles are much better designed as well. And the music is actually a mixture of old and new - the old levels either have the same music or slightly arranged versions, but the new levels have all new themes that are actually very good. A few of the cutscenes even use familiar Castlevania tunes, which is very cool indeed.
I have to admit, I had fun playing through this game. The biggest beef I have, though, is the fact that this SHOULD have been the Castlevania 64 we got, and it's a bit silly have to shell out additional cash for what we should've got in the first place. But no matter - it's still a fun game, and most certainly worth looking into.
Legacy of Darkness Artwork
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Castlevania Games - Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness