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Castlevania: Lament of Innocence Hands-On Impressions

We try out the newest entry in the Castlevania series.


At a press event today, Konami showed off Castlevania: Lament of Innocence, the long-awaited successor to the Castlevania franchise. The game has been developed by a team comprised of members of the Symphony of the Night and Game Boy Advance teams and Koji Igarashi. Although the series has had multiple games with stories that have been set in several different eras, Lament of Innocence will tell the tale of how the Belmont clan got involved in the business of vampire-hunting. The game is set in the 11th century and stars Leon Belmont, the first in the Belmont family tree to pick up a whip and say "No mas!" to the blood-sucking hordes of the undead. We tried out a near final version of the game to see how it has shaped up.

The game features tight controls and solid gameplay that, while not quite as tight as the classic 2D games, is a significant improvement over the previous 3D entries in the series. Leon will use his trusty whip to take out whatever gets in his way. As you progress through the game you'll be able to learn new combos to perform with it that will yield a variety of powerful attacks. You'll also be able to power up the whip with different magical items. In addition to the whip, you'll be able to use five subweapons that can be combined with seven different orbs in the game for roughly 40 sub-weapon attacks.

Castlevania: Lament of Innocence's overall presentation seems to look quite sharp, thanks to a versatile 3D engine that churns out detailed environments and detailed 3D models for Leon and the undead. A host of lighting and particle effects add to the game's creepy atmosphere. The game will support Dolby Pro Logic II audio and offers a nicely orchestrated soundtrack. One of the most notable elements of the game's audio is its use of voice actors. Although the English actors sound pretty good, Konami is offering a Japanese language option for those who want to hear the original Japanese.

So far the game seems to play well. The intro seems a bit long, but since the script has been worked on for nearly five years--and since the script is intended to preface the events that have led to all the other Castlevania games over the years, we don't mind it too much. So far, the difficulty feels about right and the visuals certainly have a lot to offer.

We've only just started our vampire-hunting adventures, so check back with us for more on Castlevania: Lament of Innocence in the coming weeks. The game is currently scheduled to ship this October for the PlayStation 2.

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