Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness
|Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness|
North American box art
|Developer(s)||Konami Computer Entertainment Kobe|
Castlevania: Legacy of DarknessJPN is a video game that was developed and published by Konami for the Nintendo 64. It was first released in North America on November 30, 1999 and is a prequel and expanded version to the first Castlevania game on the Nintendo 64, but also contains a remake of the original game with improved graphics, added villains (Spider Queen, Medusa), and alternate versions of some levels (Forest of Silence, Tower of Science, Tower of Execution, Clock Tower).
A large part of the game's challenge is also based on jumping from platform to platform while avoiding environmental hazards such as enemies and traps. Platforms are usually stationary, but some may rotate out from under the player, move through the environment like a rail shooter (the gondola in the Tunnel level), and crumble or fall away underfoot. There are also some invisible platforms that either afford players a strategic advantage or lead to hidden items.
Castlevania also includes elements from the survival horror game genre. In addition to the trappings and narrative devices of Gothic horror, players are often placed in situations that evoke feelings of stress, anxiety, and vulnerability. Players may be trapped in caged fights with monsters, such as the battle with the Cerberus hounds in the Villa when the screen darkens to near-black. Some caged battles are timed, such as the boss battles in the Duel Tower level, where the gamer will be crushed by a falling ceiling should they not best their enemy in time. Vampires are also often fought in caged environments, with the added complication that they can latch onto Carrie, Cornell and Reinhardt to suck their blood. If the player doesn't break free by rapidly rotating the control stick, the character's status changes to "vamp" and they will not be able to use their primary weapon or healing items. Unless a specific item is used to recover, the game becomes exponentially more challenging. Castlevania also features two high-stakes survival horror sequences: In the Villa's maze garden, players must follow Malus through the labyrinthine hedges while strong, unbeatable enemies give chase. In the Castle Center, players must carefully carry the "magic nitro" item through a nerve-wracking obstacle course to its destination. One fall or hit can cause the volatile chemical to explode, resulting in immediate death.
Set in the year 1844, the game stars the man-beast Cornell in his quest to prevent his adoptive sister, Ada, from being used as a sacrifice to resurrect Dracula. The game opens as Cornell arrives at his village, which has been burned to the ground by Dracula's minions. He finds Ada's pendant in a doorway and follows her scent to Dracula's castle.
During the course of the game, Cornell comes upon a grand estate owned by the Oldrey family: J.A. Oldrey, the master of the Villa, Mary, his wife, and Henry, their son. Gilles de Rais and Actrise have turned Oldrey Senior into a vampire. At Mary's request, Cornell guides Henry to safety. Later in life, Henry returns to Castlevania to save kidnapped children.
Throughout the game, Cornell encounters his rival and fellow man-beast, Ortega. Ortega has allied himself with Dracula to finally beat Cornell in combat, turning into a chimera like creature. They eventually battle near the end of the game, just before Cornell defeats Dracula and saves his sister. He only accomplishes the latter by sacrificing his man-wolf powers. Unbeknownst to the hero, acquiring this power was the true aim of the dark forces, as it was the perfect sacrifice (not Ada, as Cornell had assumed) to resurrect Dracula at his full power.
Legacy of Darkness was a continuation of Konami's first attempt (Castlevania, also published in 1999) to create a 3D Castlevania. The game more fully realizes the game designers' vision. For example, Cornell was present in early development media and press information for Castlevania, but was ultimately removed before the game's release.
Legacy's primary focus is on a new story (a prequel to Carrie and Reinhardt's adventures) in which Cornell explores new levels, as well as redesigned levels from Castlevania 64. Levels from Castlevania 64 that have not been drastically changed (such as the Villa) are often navigated in a new or novel manner and feature different puzzles. Completing the game once unlocks Henry's quest, and he explores his own set of levels and new bosses, many are newly redesigned levels based on the levels of Castlevania 64 as well.
Carrie and Reinhardt's quests are a secondary focus (bonus features), that can only be unlocked after completing both Cornell and Henry's quests. Carrie and Reinhardt's quests lack the voice acting, some cutscenes and the original level designs present in Castlevania 64 (due to space concerns), instead adopting the new level designs (from Cornell and Henry's quests). Their quests also feature new bosses from Henry's quest, such as Medusa and the Queen of the Spider. They are also given new armor and weapon designs, though the original starting armor from Castlevania 64 can be unlocked during Henry's quest.
In Legacy control of the game's characters, camera, and frame-rate were streamlined. The game also supports the Nintendo 64's Expansion Pak add-on, which allows for an option in which textures are displayed in a higher resolution. However, this mode have some frame-rate issues. Legacy of Darkness also features several minor additions, such as an alternate costume for Cornell and new alternate costumes for Carrie and Reinhardt (their original costumes from Castlevania 64).
Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness was present within the series' original chronology from its original release until 2002, when a timeline published on the official Japanese Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance website omitted it - as well as several other Castlevania games - from the series' continuity. The others also included Castlevania Legends for the Game Boy, Castlevania: Circle of the Moon and the original Castlevania release for the Nintendo 64.
In 2006, series producer Koji Igarashi stated that "These games were taken out of the timeline [...] not because I didn't work on them, but because they were considered by their directors to be side projects in the series". Since the 2002 removal, the events of Legacy of Darkness have occupied an ambiguous place in timelines published by Konami of Japan, Konami of America, and various gaming publications. The most recent English language timeline, distributed with preordered versions of Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin in North America by Konami of America, includes Legacy of Darkness but does not describe the game's plot. IGA later clarified that he looks at the titles as "...a Castlevania "gaiden" (subseries)" and complimented them by stating "...they both have a really unique take on the Castlevania world."
IGA later reincorporated the games into his timeline, and included Cornell as a playable character in Castlevania Judgment (Nov 2008). The game included references to the plot and elements from the game including Cornell's sister Ada and his clan. Chronologically speaking his appearance in Castlevania Judgement is set before the events of Legacy of Darkness. The manual states that Cornell's previous appearance was in Legacy of Darkness. According to IGA characters from different eras of Castlevania's timeline were brought together by magic to save the timeline from being destroyed.
Since its release, Legacy of Darkness has received a mixed reception. It received an aggregate score of 63.80% from Game Rankings. Tim Turi of Game Informer felt that the werewolf form was interesting but not enough to make it a good game.
^ Released in Japan as Akumajō Dracula Mokushiroku: Gaiden ~Legend of Cornell~ (悪魔城ドラキュラ黙示録 外伝 〜レジェンド オブ コーネル〜 Akumajō Dorakyura Mokushiroku: Gaiden ~Rejendo obu Kōneru~?, lit. Devil's Castle Dracula Apocalypse: Supplementary Story ~Legend of Cornell~)
- "CASTLEVANIA" (in Japanese). Konami. 2002. Retrieved 2007-05-19.
- Kalata, Kurt (2006-07-26). "Tales from The Crypt: Castlevania's 20th Anniversary Blow-Out". 1UP.com. Retrieved 2007-05-19.
- Image of the most recent English language timeline.
- Nintendo Power, July 2008
- "Appearances: Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness", Castlevania Judgment Manual, 23
- Turi, Tim (2012-04-04). "Ranking The Castlevania Bloodline". Game Informer. Retrieved 2013-12-05.
- Konami (2007-10-23). Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles. Konami. "Japanese: 悪魔城の城主、邪心の神、ドラキュラ伯爵の復活であった。 Konami translation by Ken Ogasawara: Dracula, lord of darkness, master of the devil's castle, walks among us."