CASTLEVANIA: Legacy Of Darkness
(Konami, December 1999)

"I don't care what they say!" I love to play the N64 CastleVanias and this game is actually in my N64 top ten! Although this CastleVania is a lot like the older one, Legacy of Darkness has a all new storyline, 4 playable character now, plus there is more secrets to unlock this time then ever before. LOD has a lot of action and horror for fans of this classic series.

The story of Legacy of Darkness actually takes 8 years before the events in the original CastleVania 64 and the minions of Count Dracula are preparing the resurrection of their master.
The evil servents of Dracula plan to revive their lord by finding and stealing any super natural being with special powers or just sacrifice any one with innocent blood, what ever it takes! This is where you come in as you control a new character named Cornell, the story starts off as Cornell returns to his village only to see it ablaze and your sister is now kidnapped by Dracula forces, if you don't do something than she'll be part of a sacrifice ritual. Can you save your sister in time by completing all 13 levels?

Cornell has the unique ability to transform into a cool Werewolf. The Werewolf option uses your hearts and it has no new moves that Cornell doesn't already have but the wolf is a lot quicker with his attacks and has improved defense and strength. If used wisely your Werewolf can really rip threw his opponents but watch out for your hearts or you're going to be sitting duck later on. Another cool feature in this game is the power up option for your secondary weapons like the Knifes, Axes, Boomerangs, and Holy Water. For example; if you collect the same weapon like a second Axe, the Axes you throw now will now have powerful lightning strikes attached to it. Some levels may look familiar to people who played CastleVania 64 but many of the missions are edited differently to keep things fresh. One good example of this is in the Mansion maze where a young boy named Henry actually follows you this time instead of running away like that scary young kid did.

CastleVania Legacy of Darkness looks just like the first CastleVania 64 game. The only thing different here is the darker feel of the cinemas, in one of the opening real time cinemas, you'll even see a naked girl covered by a single cloth while she's laying on a coffin, Death is ready to down his sickle a pond her. The game includes a High Resolution feature thanks to Expansion Pak but doesn't improve anything and it looks like it just weakens the frame rate so I just leave it off. It much better on the eyes.

Moving on to the sound, I absolutely love the music in the level 5, the Art Tower! It sounds like something that was out of Symphony of the Night for Playstation. Some stages have very quiet background music but that's helps add to the eerieness of the horror here. The sound effects were also well done with all the trademark monsters like bats, giant serpents, and skeletons sounding like they should.

Like in any 3D game the camera is very important. The game's camera has now been improved because there are now only has two different setting; Normal and Action to limit any confusion. Normal view has the camera behind the character while Action view is a free moving camera which be better for one on one battles. It's up to you to set it to the right setting during game play but sometimes the camera will be on a fixed angel so there can be little you can do, but it still works well and I had very little problems here. Jumping can be one of the most challenging part of CastleVania LOD so learning the camera and the controls is very important. Sure, the controls are a little confusing at first but after a few plays you'll get use to all the buttons. If you played the first CastleVania64 then you should be right at home here.

I don't get it? Games like Metal Gear Solid get tons of hype and attention but nobody cares that it's a 3Dgame this time, while the CastleVanias for N64 get loads of critics because they are in 3D? Lame magazines like GameNow have even dared to call the N64 CastleVanias as the series Most Embassing Moment! "Morons!" Remember that a lot of games actually get better in 3D like Grand Theft Auto III, GTA Vice City, and the James Bond titles. I can understand why people love 2D CastleVanias like Symphony of the Night and Circle of the Moon, those games were some of the best games for their respective systems but don't knock this awesome game in the process, Konami still did a great job here. If you manage to finish the game, the game doesn't end, you now have the option to play as a older Henry. The interesting thing about his rescue mission is his weapon: a gun! CastleVania LOD even lets you play as Reinhardt and Carrie so it like you're getting the first CastleVania for free. That really increases the replay value. I still think this game was way better than other horror games like Resident Evil in my opinion because of the better control and storyline too. "CastleVania LOD is a even deeper action game and a great choice for adventure seekers who have an N64! Better than the first one for the N64 overall and a must for Castlevania fans.

*Gamepak needed to save
*Rampak compatible

CastleVania LOD
overall rating: 87/100

For 1 player only
Rated (T) for Teen
graphics: 7/10
sound: 7/10
gameplay: 8/10

(Ryan Genno) 2007