Castlevania: Curse of Darkness PS2 Review

Since all of the 3D offerings of Castlevania are regarded as inferior games to their 2D counterparts, you might say that the newest instalment in the seminal Castlevania series, Castlevania: Curse of Darkness is aptly named since the 3D versions, which incessantly get unflattering reviews are seemingly cursed by one thing or another.

Curse of Darkness however is a marked improvement over its 3D predecessor-which itself wasn’t half as bad as the majority of reviews suggested- but many of the problems from that game are still present in this one. You’ll still be wandering around samey, monotonous corridors, which if not for the helpful map would be akin to walking around an unfamiliar place whilst masked by a heavy fog. The narrative is still generic good vs. evil claptrap, with uninteresting characters and predictably mediocre voice acting. With much fewer moves, the combat too, whilst still fun is far more repetitive than say Devil May Cry or God of War.

With a gameplay structure that largely consists of monster bashing and exploration, it’s without doubt a repetitive game, but also a highly compulsive one that on occasion we just couldn’t pull ourselves away from, we feel the new additions have a lot of involvement in this.

The protagonist: Hector-who refreshingly is not part of the Belmont clan, but instead a former ally of Dracula himself-is a devil Forgemaster who can forge Innocent Devils that not only assist him in battle but also allow him to access previously inaccessible areas of each of the large environments. Some are adept at smacking enemies about, whilst others are more at home casting helpful support magic on you. Innocent Devils can never be directly controlled but you can give them some simple commands if you wish, although generally we did find it to be efficient enough to just leave them to please themselves.

By consuming orbs, which are occasionally left behind by defeated enemies and the colours of which are determined by the type of weapon you are currently brandishing, Innocent Devils can over time evolve in to stronger forms. On occasion they even produce special stones, with which you can create new innocent devils with and start the process all over again. As it’s not possible to reverse transformations this is useful, allowing you to feed your addition a new diet so to speak, thus resulting in an eventual new transformation for your faithful ally.

By gathering all the necessary materials from defeated enemies, It’s possible to create a multitude of new weapons, with which you can perhaps cause even more pain to your foes with. If you’re anything like us, you’ll be excited at what any new combination of materials will conjure up, though it would admittedly have been better still if you would have had some sort of idea of just how powerful each weapon is prior to creating them. Instead, each time you can only hope that you’ll create a finely honed instrument of death rather than a useless one that is probably more likely to tickle your enemies rather than hurt them.

Since we had so much joy with the game, the gamer in this reviewer could sing Castlevania: Curse of Darkness’s praises for all eternity. But, whilst the underlying gameplay mechanics are sound, the more critical side of this writer realises that the game has some major problems. The results then are a solid 7 , which means a good game but could be much better, still well worth (Warning, bad and horribly clichéd vampire related joke forthcoming) sinking your teeth into though!