Review by Greiver_2112
A bad copy of Castlevania
Graphically it resembles Castlevania a lot, the character sprites, the backgrounds the enemies. Even the story sounds like the main character Kale's last name should be Belmont. And the levels play like Castlevania, but that is where the similarities stop. The game is lacking a lot in the way of content, story, and game play. You start off with a Flaming Sword, you get a single spell tied to that weapon very soon, by the end of the second level you get an Ice Spear and a spell with that as well, and that is it on weapons and magic, the Sword and Spear, along with the spells can be powered up by collecting souls of enemies, The Sword has a short range attack, and is strong against all but 1 enemy, the spell is a fiery eruption used mainly to break floors, the more you power it up the wider the range. The Spear is your long range, it's strong against everything, and will probably be your main weapon, except when you need the sword to go through a floor or light a torch. The Ice spell is a thrown spear that becomes a supportable ledge, you can only use one at a time, as the spell gets powered up you throw three spears, but only the middle spear will make the ledge, and power it up again, you get a powerful single spear. The levels are pretty straight forward, you get a map on the second screen, and their are hidden chest that increase your health and magic bars, and also give additional souls. Their is a camera mini-game that will reward you with color specific souls, take a picture of something red and you get level souls, green and you get health and blue will give you magic, however this is glitchy, I could never get magic or health. Their is one level midway through the game that is nothing more then a bonus level with minimal enemies, a large quantity of Level Orbs and your first encounter with the main villain. by Level 6 you can have the strength and combo of one of the weapons maxed out and be plowing through enemies, their are some challenges, the Earth Dragon, the 2 vampires/succubus' and werewolf fight you can get jumped pretty easily their. Their is a single special ability that Kale has, he can transform into 1 of 3 enemies to perform level specific puzzles, but you can't do the transformations all the time, and 2 of the 3 transformations are completely defenseless. You get a Water Element, which you can attack with, and when on water you can instead of jump create a water spout that lifts you, the others are a fish, which can only attack other fish, and you can only do so from behind. the final is a beetle that can create a web, this has no attack what so ever. One of the few pluses in the game is you have infinite lives. You can also play on Hard difficulty, which isn't much different from normal other then you take more damage. But since you can only play on Hard off a completed game, your weapons and their experience carry over, so if you have maxed out weapons, you start off with maxed out weapons. Also the fact you can start with the Ice Spear, it removes the ONLY item you actually collect in the game, so the only thing you get are the orbs.
Overall this game is a fun, quick play but over all this is a weak title, lacking substance. It tries to be Castlevania with the Vampires, castle, the hero, but the game feels like a very cheap carbon copy. If they hand more weapons, more expansive or at least hidden rooms in levels, the additions of abilities other then level specific, hell even the lack of a double jump makes the game feel lacking and empty. The game itself doesn't even realize what it does sometimes, the first level you see this creature with one eye and hands the pop out to crush and chase you. but they appear again after you beat the boss. Also the Werewolf, the boss that drops the Ice Spear, takes more damage from the Spear then the Sword, and you can find him two more times, and those times there is a mini game you can play to snap it's neck, something that you can't do in the Boss Fight.
I never like hearing in a review of something that, they copied this from that, or this game did it better. But I am saying this is a cheap, and bad copy of Castlevania, spend the money and get a REAL Castlevania game, don't waste your money on this cheap copy, cause it's cost matches the content CHEAP.
Rating: 2.5 - Playable
Product Release: Soul of Darkness (US, 07/05/10)
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