Castlevania: Lament of Innocence Review


The acclaimed Castlevania’s PS2 debut, and also the first “successful” 3D Castlevania, Lament of Innocence
is a game of many firsts. It tells the story of the origins of the Belmont clan of vampire hunters, and the first to take up the whip, Leon Belmont.


LoI doesn’t have the best graphics in the world, and the cutscene animations don’t really look right sometimes (e.g. lip synching), but the rest of the game looks great, considering its age. Each whip that you get has its own animations; for example, the Whip of Lightning has bolts of electricity shooting off of it during the finishing move of a heavy combo, while the Whips of Flames and Ice have raging infernos and ice spikes, respectively. Also, sub weapons have multiple animations, depending on which of the seven magical Orbs you have equipped. For example, the unenhanced Axe has Leon throwing two whirling axes at his enemies, while the Blue Orb gives Leon an axe that acts more like a boomerang: Leon will throw it in front of him, and catch it when it comes back. Each animation is smooth and perfectly timed.


The gameplay is incredibly easy to master, unlike a few other action games that take weeks to even learn, much less master. Pressing the square button makes Leon swing his whip lightly, but quickly, while the triangle button makes him swing harder, but much slower. Leon also learns many abilities over the course of the game, such as Draw up; pressing Square, Triangle, Square will make Leon attack first lightly, then heavily, and then pull the enemy in closer for more attacks. In addition to abilities, Leon can find Orbs and Relics in the castle that the game takes place in. Orbs increase the power of sub-weapons, such as the Dagger, the Axe, the Crystal, Holy Water, or the Cross. Each is stronger against some enemies than others; for example, Holy Water will damage a Skeleton more than a Dagger. Relics enhance Leon directly. The Wolf’s Foot allows him to run faster and jump farther, and the White Bishop will temporarily increase Leon’s defense. However, some of the battles can be a bit repetitive.


The musical score of LoI is dramatic, occasionally ethereal and always epic. In the Dark Palace of Waterfalls, the music will be quieter, soothing, even though you’ll be under constant attack from various fish men, lizard men, and giant suits of empty armor. The sound effects are perfectly timed, from the cracking of the whip to the mundane sound of footsteps in water.

OverallLament of Innocence is a very powerful game, driven by an epic storyline and stellar gameplay, backed by decent graphics and a killer soundtrack. If you enjoyed any of the previous Castlevanias, I highly recommend that you go out and buy this game as soon as possible.

Rating 9.5 (Excellent, with few flaws)

Only the best legendary monsters for Leon.

Even the bravest run in the face of ice-spitting fish men.