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Q2 2000



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Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness


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Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness is the precursor to the earlier Castlevania game on the Nintendo 64. The introduction reveals the presence of beings that resemble humans in appearance but possess superior powers and abilities. You play Cornell, one of the super beings that possesses the power to turn into a werewolf. With the ability to turn into a werewolf comes the heightened senses that a wolf holds over normal humans namely a superior sense of smell just the ability necessary to track vampires and undead hordes.

The premise behind the game is that Cornell realizes that hes "different" and leaves home. While he is away, an undescribed "evil force" destroys his home and kills all the residents, except one. The survivor is Cornell's sister, and he quickly takes off after her by tracking the attackers.

The game is probably the most visually amazing game available for the Nintendo 64 and is enhanced by the RAM expansion and, boy, does it ever kick this game up another notch BAM! (I couldn't help the pop reference.) Enhancing the heightened drama is the stunning soundtrack, which is reminiscent of a horror movie and does much to set the mood of the game.




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For all the great ideas put into the game, the shortcomings are absolutely crippling. For the first time that I can ever remember, I felt as though the controls for a game made it unplayable. The camera views are such that if you turn the character, you will not be able to see what is in front of you. I really love it when moving Cornell and the camera closes in on his face in such a manner that you could be running into a wall and not know it. Although this can be remedied by hitting the R button, 


its a critical problem if you are trying to run away or move around objects and an enemy is nearby. To combat this issue, the designers put a "targeting system" which allows for easier attacking; however, this does nothing for helping with the finite control of your character. For example, when on a ledge or such, the lack of finesse means that you are going to be falling (repeatedly) into big pits. Needless to say, this makes the game more difficult to play and, more to the point, difficult to enjoy.

Of lesser concern is the lack of direction in the game. While playing I felt that I had no goals and was frequently unsure of what I was supposed to do to advance the game. Wasting a large portion of time backtracking in a level that you cannot finish is not exactly one of my preferred methods of spending my free time. This is the first time that I can remember feeling as if I've wasted time playing a game - this is truly unfortunate as a few minor adjustments like a first person perspective or shoulder view and objective list could have improved the game a hundred fold and made this game a classic.

If you can play a game like this, by all means purchase it but I recommend renting it first - don't get stuck with a silicon lemon.