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Castlevania: Curse of Darkness (Akumajō Dorakyura: Yami no Juin 悪魔城ドラキュラ闇の呪印 , Devil's Castle Dracula: Dark Curse) is a console video game developed by Konami for the Xbox and PlayStation 2. Despite that it was released for Xbox and PlayStation 2, Japan was only able to see a PlayStation 2 release. However, an Xbox version was released throughout Asia under the NTSC-J Format, albeit still in the English language. A manga adaptation has been published by Tokyopop.
Being a 3D game like Lament of Innocence before it, Curse of Darkness differs from its predecessor in a number of ways. It includes a more complex, action/adventure style of gameplay, much like Symphony of the Night and Aria of Sorrow. Hector is not a member of the Belmont clan, so he does not use the "Vampire Killer" whip; instead he has the ability (much like Alucard and Soma Cruz) to equip a variety of different weapons ranging from swords (both one handed and two handed), spears, axes (also both one handed and two handed), brass knuckles and an extra type called special weapons (which varies from tonfas to gatling guns). However, there is an extra gameplay mode after finishing the game that allows players to play as Trevor Belmont, equipped with the "Vampire Killer" and the subweapons which are the knife, axe, holy water, cross, and stopwatch. The battle system is somewhat similar to that of Dynasty Warriors, whereas one button is used for standard combo attacks, and a secondary button is used for stronger "finishing attacks" after a singular standard attack or a combo of standard attacks. As the player acquires progressively stronger weapons throughout the game, the number of standard and finishing attacks the player can perform increases accordingly. Each different weapon type has a different set of combos that can be performed.
Departing from the central hub level layout of Lament of Innocence, wherein the player chooses from a number of distinct stages all accessible from a central hallway, Curse of Darkness features a more complete game world with a complete castle map as in Symphony of the Night. However, the game still uses the same map engine as Lament of Innocence, rather than the square-based grid of 2-D Castlevanias. Furthermore, a noticeable difference in level design is that much of the game does not take place in Dracula's castle, but rather exploring forests, mountains, temples, aqueducts, ruins, and villages in Europe. The player will be also aided by "Innocent Devils", which are demonic creatures developed by Hector himself through the Devil Forgery skill, in order to defeat enemies and solve puzzles within the game. They're similar to Alucard's Familiars in Symphony of the Night, however they level up and evolve together with Hector. The Innocent Devils (commonly referred as I.D.'s) come in 6 different types. Each I.D. gives specifics bonuses to Hector's stats.
- Fairy Type (Aids Hector with healing and can cure magical ailments.)
- Battle Type (The physically strongest of the I.D.'s. Has the most Heart points.)
- Bird Type (Flying I.D.'s that fight other airborne monsters.)
- Mage type (Attacks with long-distance magic.)
- Devil Type (The ultimate type of innocent devil.)
- Pumpkin Type (Add high bonuses to all stats, but possess no offensive skills)
Curse of Darkness is set in the year 1479, three years after the events of Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse. Though defeated by vampire hunter Trevor Belmont, Dracula's curse continues to ravage the European countryside, spreading disease, mob violence, and heresy in its wake. Amidst all this devastation is Hector, a Devil Forgemaster who had formerly worked under the employ of Dracula but betrayed him sometime during the events of Castlevania III. Eventually growing disgusted with Dracula's brutal methods, Hector leaves Castlevania and relinquishes his powers to live amongst humans, settling down to live a peaceful life. When Hector's fiance Rosaly is accused of witchcraft and burned at the stake, Hector learns that her murder was directed by his fellow Forgemaster, Isaac. Seeking revenge, Hector chases his former colleague back to his old home, and back to the demonic life he believed he had left behind him.
Hector (playable): Main Protagonist of the game. Former Devil-forgemaster. He betrayed Dracula and left for a normal life. He took back his devil forgemaster powers in order to defeat Isaac and once again bring peace back to the land. The player controls Hector in the normal play mode.
Trevor Belmont (unlock as playable): A member of the Belmont family. Wields the legendary Vampire Killer whip of his family. He doesn't appear until later on in the game. After the player beats the game as Hector, Trevor Mode is unlocked by naming a new file as @trevor.
Isaac: Hector's fellow devil-forgemaster, he stayed loyal to Dracula after Trevor defeated him a few years before the start of the game. The player will fight Isaac a few times over the course of the game.
Dracula: As with most Castlevania games, he is the main antagonist of the game. He is revived in an imperfect form, and the player must once again defeat his two forms in order to return peace to the land.
Julia Laforeze: Isaac's sister, who is a witch. She provides items for the player in a shop. Hector notes she bears a resemblance to Rosaly, his deceased lover.
Zead: Seemingly someone who is against Dracula, though is later on revealed to be Death himself.
St. Germain: A person against Death. He can travel through time. He constantly asks Hector to abandon his quest, but never succeeds. He does fight Hector at one point in the game. He also appears strikingly similar to the character "Revolver Ocelot" from the "Metal Gear Solid" franchise.
|This section contains spoilers! Content within this section may reveal significant parts of a game(s) story.|
When the game begins, Hector arrives at an Abandoned Castle to confront Isaac. The latter scoffs at his desire for revenge and dares him to regain his powers so they can settle their score in a satisfying way. Hector reluctantly accepts the challenge, and starts hunting his former friend across the Transylvanian countryside. During his quest, he encounters several people: Julia Laforeze, a young witch in exile who turns out to be Isaac's sister, Trevor Belmont, who distrusts him for being a Devil Forgemaster, Zead, a kindly holyman who provides him with reliable information about Isaac's whereabouts, and St. Germain, a mysterious time traveller who presses him to abandon his quest, but eventually leaves him alone with some cryptic comments about a "new destiny" having emerged for him.
At one point, Trevor decides to trust Hector, and uses his own blood to unlock a parallel world called the Infinite Corridor, where Isaac is supposedly hiding. However, when Hector fights a Dullahan there, an evil glyph channels his energy and uses it to summon a new incarnation of Dracula's castle. Isaac, who intended this all along, cruelly stabs Trevor and leaves him for dead.
Hector enters the new Castlevania, where he fights and defeats his nemesis. As he prepares to kill him in a fit of rage, he suddenly remembers Julia, who had warned him not to let the Curse take hold of him. Horrified, Hector realizes that his actions are being controlled by Dracula's Curse. A triumphant Zead appears and confirms this, explaining that the Devil Forgemasters were supposed to fight to the death, with the blood-stained Hector becoming the vessel for the Count's reincarnation. Having secured Isaac's body for this purpose, he reveals himself to be Death and attacks, in vain. Hector proceeds to destroy Dracula, and then uses his powers as a Devil Forgemaster to lift the Curse. Julia comes to his rescue, and they start a new life together. Meanwhile, St. Germain departs for the distant future, wondering how the struggle between mankind and Dracula will end.