Castlevania

Games - Castlevania Review PS2

Castlevania Review PS2

This is the first time Castlevania has made it to the PS2, in turn it is also the first chance you will get to play a Castlevania game in a true full 3D environment, rather than the side scrolling games from the Nintendo Game Boy. From looking at the screenshots you will see that Castlevania has an uncanny resemblance to the dark gothic world of Capcom's Devil May Cry, but the guns have been replaced with a whip and the mad monsters and vampires have been substituted for the Castlevanian style vampires and demons. Well maybe not substituted but modified a little.

The story is simple, our character Leon , who is an aristocrat, sets out to rescue his loved one that has been taken by a vampire. On his travels he meets an old man who is an alchemist who hands over a whip that has special powers, it will distinguish evil. So off Leon goes with his whip to save his girl from the vampires' castle. Along the way Leon will face loads of demons and the likes before he catches up with the vampire himself.

The game play is fast and responsive and thankfully the camera keeps up with the pace for 99% of the time until you find yourself off the screen entirely. When you move the

 
Games - Castlevania Review PS2
Games - Castlevania Review PS2

camera follows but you will find that your direction is dictated by the camera angles, moving forward will always mean you will move directly forward from the camera, if the angle changes you will have to compensate your movement a little with the left analogue stick. This is a little tricky at times but you soon get used to the small adjustments and the movement of the camera. Your main point of reference is a clear and concise map that appears when you hit the select button. It would have been nice to see a small map of the immediate area around you as well as this map because travelling around the castle can get very disorientating. So you will have to glance at the map all the time to keep a track of where you are going.

The levels have been designed in a similar way to Ratchet and Clank, next to the foyer is a room that links to the games five levels. You can enter any of the five doors in any order, after completing these five areas you can enter the last leg of the game. Most people that are Castlevania purists have almost dismissed the new 3D environment and said that it is not Castlevania in its true form. These people have a point too because in the side scrolling versions of the game you had to jump several gaps through out the game. In contrast Castlevania on the PS2 has very little in the way of jumping pits and gaps. When you do have to make a jump the camera angle can create an inaccurate view and lining yourself up for the jump can also be a little frustrating. The strange thing is that you are not penalised for missing jumps, you will just land at the bottom of the pit etc and have to climb back up again for another go. As you make progress through the game you will come across a couple of jumping sections that require you to pull off multiple jumps in order to clear a large gap. In order to make these jumps you need to use your whip to latch on to horizontal poles and swing from one section to another. This can be a little frustrating also but after a couple of goes you will have got your technique down to the “T” and it also looks pretty cool too.

The majority of combat in Castlevania revolves around the whip and as you progress through the game you will learn of new techniques, combos and moves so you can deal with the increasing number and difficulty of enemies. Leon also has the ability to use five sub weapons which include holy water, a dagger, a cross, an axe and a crystal. As you progress through the game you can collect orbs from the various bosses you defeat which will affect the attack of each of the sub-weapons. Unfortunately the sub-weapons can be a little limited especially at the beginning of the game. A new addition to Castlevania is the ability to block attacks, this is a great feature and can be linked into some combos to create some great attacks, especially when you have collected a few orbs some combos and attacks using the sub-weapons can be devastating and if not they will actually send your opposing foe flying backwards.

The combat in Castlevania is great you will see skeletons attack with spears and swords, while wolves and vampire type bats will harass you till death. The ogres are a very fierce foe as they will swing their clubs smashing you into the scenery. Each area or room in the castle will have a selection of different enemies which gather in large numbers, you will have to defeat all of them just to get a little bit of peace. The good thing is that once you have cleaned a room of evil doers they will not reappear next time you walk through the same room. In order to deal with such an array of different and fierce enemies you will have to quickly get to grips with Leon's ability's so you can dodge, block and jump out of the way of attacking foes before you can combo them to death.

Thankfully all of the gothic looking scenery and evil looking beings are backed up with some very atmospheric music and sound effects. The speech is very well done and the monologue is delivered with conviction, but there are a couple of translations that could have been handled a little better. On the other hand, if you prefer, you can switch to the original Japanese speech if you like.

Castlevania has obviously taken some pointers from Devil May Cry but it does a good job of taking a very similar subject matter and making something that is quite different. Everything is good but it is the fantastic gameplay that makes Castlevania a great game even though it is fast, silky smooth, looks good and the music is fantastic. So all in all not bad for a first attempt, may be the next one will be something a bit special.

8.0 out of 10

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