Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness
The N64 version of Castlevania - whilst annoying many traditionalists with the move from 2D to 3D - was a thoroughly entertaining slice of vamp-filled undead-slaying.
It had its problems, though; an annoying camera and an emphasis on pixel-perfect jumping being the two main offenders. Foggy, muddy visuals didn't help either, but the wealth of wonderful set-pieces (the begging villager, without a reflection in the mirror behind him for one) more than made up for it.
Which brings us neatly to Castlevania 2, the inevitable sequel - of sorts. You see, Castlevania 2 is more of an add-on adventure than a true sequel, hence the American title of 'Special Edition'. Taking place a decade before the events in Castlevania, there's now the option to play as hairy werewolf chap Cornell or the armour-plated warrior Henry, each of whom has his own quest to tackle, much like the previous games' Reinhardt and Carrie. Intriguingly, Reinhardt and Carrie are both also playable in the game, so you're effectively getting the original game bundled in with Castlevania 2. Which isn't half bad.
Although the development cart we got hold of this month was still early code, the game itself is scheduled for a January/February UK release (which means, hopefully, that we should have a review for you in the next issue or two). Sections that we've played include several impressive boss encounters - with a huge serpent, a harpy and a vile Medusa - plus some platforming sections that were admittedly fairly similar to equivalent sections in the original game. All will be revealed very soon.
Download Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness
Don't fret, Castlevania fans--going3D hasn't driven a stake through Casdevania's heart Quite the contrary: Castlevania for the Nintendo 64 appears to be every bit as much blood-sucking fun as its predecessors.
Revamping the Vampire
The hands-on preview version contained plenty of familial* elements from the series for veterans to sink their teeth into, including huge levels and multiple characters. Plus, the innovative new 3D gameplay engine brings the series into the '90s.
As for the story, once again, the Belmont family leads the fearless vampire killers. Earlier preview versions of Cas-tlevania had featured four playable characters (see "Sneak Previews," October '98), but Konami recently narrowed down the lineup to two: Rheinhardt Schneider, the traditional whip-toting vampire hunter, and Carrie Fernandez, a 12-year-old with supernatural powers. The Frankenstein monster and the wolfman have been sent to the grave.
Castlevania for the Nintendo 64 appears to shore up some of the series' strongest aspects: mean monsters, eerie environments, and solid gameplay. Along with the usual Castlevania creeps and giant bosses, new creatures abound, including suicide-bomber skeletons, which pursue and then explode when they get close, and stained-glass warriors that shatter into pieces when you deliver the final blow. The environments range from creepy (the dungeons of Dracula's castle) to beautiful (a gorgeous underground cavern with glass walkways).
Moreover, several innovative elements make this game stand out from previous entries. For example, the time of day impacts gameplay. Monsters are more plentiful and more powerful during the night hours than they are during the day. Another cool game-play challenge consists of poison and vampire bites that can infect characters. If a wound goes untreated, your character could eventually die--or become a vampire!
Nothing Bot the Tooth
Commanding the characters in the new 3D space will take some practice-- even for Castlevania vets who have mastered the 2D games. For example, you'll have to learn how to snap Rheinhardt's whip quickly and accurately from a lot more angles and directions. But the controls quickly become second nature, which is very helpful because Carrie and Rheinhardt have multiple abilities and attacks. In addition to the all-powerful whip, Rheinhardt can also use a short sword for an effective two-hit combo attack. He'll also climb ledges, slide into enemies, and collect and use a variety of weapons, including throwing knives, a cross, and holy water.
Carrie's a force to be reckoned with, too, despite her small stature and the fact that she suffers damage more easily than Rheinhardt Her standard weapon is a magic projectile that you can charge by holding down the attack button, transforming it into a homing missile.
The Dead Live
With the release of the Nintendo 64 version of Castlevania in January, the series will have crossed over into eight gaming platforms in 11 years of existence. This latest incarnation should prove that the Belmont vampire-stalking quest will easily last through the year 2000 and beyond. Game systems may die and be buried, but Castlevania's tradition of excellent gameplay will rise again...and again...and again...!
The Castlevania saga continues. This time the story takes place at the end of the 19th century-about the same time as the Genesis game Castlevania: Bloodlines. After 10 years of vampire-hunting training in the mountains, the 25-year-old Rheinhardt Schneider returns to his homeland of Walachia to find it overrun by monsters-commanded by the prince of darkness himself, Count Dracula.
Rheinhardt Isn't the only Walachian watching for the undead. Carrie Fernandez was bom with magic powers. As Dracula's evil sweeps the land, people become afraid of the little girl But when Carrie's mother tries to protect her daughter, the people call the mother a witch and execute her-right in front of Carrie. Years later, Carrie senses an awesome power radiating from Dracula's castle. With her heart filled with hatred toward adults, Carrie sets out for the castle.
- Some enemies, such as the skeletons, will continue to chase you-even after you snap off their legs.
- Bitten by a vampire? Better find some Antidote in a hurry; if you wait too long, you'll become a vampire.
- Castlevania is filled with monsters, including, of course... vampires!
- Dracula's giant castle is littered with rooms to explore and traps to avoid.
- In addition to monster fighting, Castle-vania also features platform hopping.
- Castlevania contains some dynamite visual effects-iust check out this translucent monster.
- In addition to his trademark Castle-vania weapon, the whip, Schneider can also use a short sword for a two-hit combo attack.