zh666's Castlevania: Curse of Darkness (Xbox) review

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Castlevania: Curse of Darkness was one step forward, and one step

Castlevania: Curse of Darkness is a small leap forward for the 3D Castlevania's, but not quite there yet. The graphics are a big improvement. The added elements like experience points, leveling, and Innocent Devils are a welcome return to form. The weapon forging and loot drops add alot of depth to the game.

On the other hand, the controls seemed slow and clumsy, I missed the platforming elements. The storyline and characters are still not that compelling. The action seemed a little repetitive at times. The puzzles are few and far between.

While this is the closest thing we'll get to a 3D Symphony of the Night, it's not quite up to that standard just yet.


----------Battle System----------
Castlevania: Curse of Darkness is a Hack / Slasher RPG. You will gain experience for each kill, and gain a level after so many points. You will carry a familiar around with you, this time called an "Innocent Devil". These Innocent Devils are like sidekicks that travel room to room with you. They also gain experience and levels with each kill. There's 5 (+1 hidden) variety of Innocent Devils. There's the fairy type, that heals you, the Battle type that fights, the Flying that fights in the air, a Mage type that uses magic, and a Devil type. This is pretty similar to the familiars in Symphony of the Night

Innocent Devils can transform into more powerful devils after they eat so many Evo Crystals. Evo Crystals vary between what weapon you are hold, for example if you are holding a Sword, then enemies will drop Red crystals, if you are holding an Ax then they will drop Blue crystals. If they eat so many Red crystals, then they might evolve into a different direction a Devil might if he ate Blue crystals. Your Innocent Devils will randomly drop eggs that you can use to restart a new Innocent Devil of the same type. So if you don't like the direction you took with your first Devil, you can always restart.

Each Innocent Devil has atleast one special feature that can help you solve puzzles. The fairy can open treasure chests and find secrets about rooms, the battle type can open large iron doors, the flying type can fly you across large gaps and so on. If you evolve multiple of these characters you might learn they have extra skills too.

Enemies often drop loot, like metals and other forging materials. You can use these materials to create new weapons and armor on the fly. You don't have to go to a shop to buy weapons in this game. There is a shop in this game, but it's full of outdated armor by the time you get to it. Enemies don't drop money in this game, so money is hard to get.

----------Characters / Story----------
You play as Hector. Hector was previously a servant for Dracula, but rebelled after Dracula was defeated by the Belmont clan. Hector was living a life of solitude until his wife was burned at the stake by fellow servant of Dracula, Issac. It's your quest to find Issac and take revenge.

Yeah, there's nothing to exciting going on wit
h the story. While the cutscenes look better, they're just as boring as the last game. The story is predictable, the characters are boring, the end.

----------Graphics----------
The graphics are a huge leap forward in every way imaginable. The cutscenes look GREAT, not just better than the last game, but they actually look really good. They use the real time game engine, but pretty it up and it looks awesome. The rooms, maps, and overall game is three times as big. Character and enemy models look a little better too.


----------Sound----------
I like the music, they remixed some classic Castlevania tunes which gave me a chill. The original music was good too. My biggest grief was with the sound effects and voice overs. Overall there was nothing bad about them, but I think my game was defective and if it's not then there's something seriously wrong with this game. Either way, I ended up having to turn my TV volume WAY up, and going into the options to turn the music volume WAY down just so I could hear the voices and sound effects, and even then I could barely hear them. I tested other games, other systems. It wasn't my tv, it wasn't my Xbox, so I think it just had to be the game. It's a shame, but oh well.


----------World Map----------
Curse of Darkness is a linear series of areas connected into a big world map, this is different than Lament of Innocence because it was all taken place in a single castle and warps. Everything connects in this one, while it is linear it some paths do branch back into previous areas opening up shortcuts. Curse of Darkness takes place in an entire country, rather than a single castle. So this is different than most Castlevania games, you do go through a few castles in the game though.

The maps are bigger than the previous Castlevania, but the levels seem alot more generic. Since the camera is 100% free and there's almost no platforming, there's little to do in the rooms. Atleast 90% of the rooms just require you to kill all monsters to advance. There are some puzzles in the game that require your Innocent Devils, but they're few and far between.

I like the feature where you can mark Xs on the map at any point in the game, this is an improved feature from the previous game. For example, if you think a wall looks fishy, then go into your map and slap an x over the room and comeback when you think you can advance. It's a nice feature, but I didn't really use it to often.


----------Time to Complete Game----------
19:09:44

Level: 67
HP: 697
Map: 93.27%

After you complete the game it unlocks Crazy Mode and you can play as Trevor.

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