It could have been great if it were polished more. As it stands, however, it's very good.

User Rating: 8.2 | Castlevania: Curse of Darkness XBOX
Castlevania: Curse of Darkness is the story of Hector, a devil forgemaster who turned his back on Count Dracula, only to be forced to fight again after one of his former co-workers murders his betrothed.

As Hector, you'll go down winding corridor after winding corridor, looking for Innocent Devils to help you fight your way through the old castle and the surrounding areas. While the game is much like Lament of Innocence, there are several differences that need to be noted.

First off, unlike Leon, Hector can use swords, spears, axes or punch weapons to fight off the minions of the night. These items are created using various items dropped or stolen by enemies during the game. Experimenting with the weapons will yield great results.

The combo system works pretty much as it did with Lament, whereby mixing small and big attacks can result in large combos. However, instead of learning the combos, there are combos based on weapons. For example, a short sword would have a small, small, small, small, big combo, a zweihander would only have a small, small, big combo. The maximum combo that can be done with a weapon also influences which weapons you should use.

A vast improvement over Lament is the ability to control the camera with the right stick, allowing you to see around you much more effectively. The tradeoff, of course, is that the real-time menus are gone, making it a requirement to go to the menu to use items or switch weapons.

Unlike Lament, the environments are huge and sprawling. Like Lament, however, the environments are comprised of long, winding corridors. It can get a bit tiring after going down the same corridors fifty times. The problem is that, unlike Lament, there are almost no platforms to hop onto or climb, making the environments much more bland than they could be.

The highlight of the game, however, is the Innocent Devils. Thoroughout the game, you'll come across several monster helpers who'll make the game much more easy. Of course, there are tradeoffs. The fairy can heal and open chests, but it can't fight. The golem can pound the hell out of enemies, but its magic sucks. The devil can help you get through small cracks in the ground. The differences between the Innocent Devils make it so that it's in your best interests to try them all out.

Music is amazing, as is to be expected from the Castlevania series. Sound is cool too, but there's something Xbox owners need to be aware of. Setting the system to Mono will result in the sound effects being obscured, so make sure to set the system to stereo (which can be done in the Xbox dashboard) before playing. Choice between Japanese and (incredibly well acted) English dialogue make the audio package complete.

In closing, the game has plenty to offer. It's not one of the best games ever made by a long shot. However, the game's definately worth your time, especially if you're a hardcore Castlevania fan. There's definately worse out there.