Castlevania makes its jump to 3D. It's a mostly solid title that suffers a tiny bit from some odd quirks that hold it back a bit. Like you would expect, Castlevania revolves around a Belmont's quest to kill a powerful vampire, in this case Count Dracula himself. Starting from a forest outside a large castle, you infiltrate the castle, fight through towers and pits, climb your way to the top, and engage in a tough finalé at the castle's uppermost heights. Standard enemies like skeletons, vampires, and bats are joined by an interesting array of sub-bosses and a few enemies that can only be stunned. While saving anywhere is always a nice option, the fixed save points (here marked with crystals) they have instead are plentiful enough to satisfy most gamers. The interesting variety of creatures you face keeps things lively, and the few friends you meet help spin an interesting story. The worst feature of the game is the camera, which always seems to get stuck behind a pillar at the worst time, and never seems to give you an optimum view during battle, even at its best moments. The are some moves, like sliding, which seems to serve no real purpose, and the secondary weapon strike seems equally useless. Adding some things to do is great, but they really need to be useful for us to care. And since you can't flip between multiple save files, you can be caught in a tough spot with no back-up. Overall the gameplay works pretty well, but that camera really puts a damper on things. While it may be easy to do what you want, you may end up doing it to no effect when a creature you thought you were near is actually out of range. The graphics are merely good, with touches of fogginess now and again. A tad more character detail would have been nice. The sound was a tad better, with most of the weapon effects nicely done. Finding a few "secret" crystals opens up some unlockables, such as alternate costumes and a hard difficulty setting. Still, the game goes by fairly quickly. This is still certainly a title that existing Castlevania fans will want to check out, and a good way for the uninitiated to get their first taste of vampire blood.
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