Castlevania for PlayStation 2 marks a new beginning to the series, with a number of key additions. Acting as a prequel to events seen in previous Castlevania games, the PlayStation 2 game casts the player a Leon Belmont – the forefather of the series' enduring Belmont clan and tells the story of how the family became locked in their eternal battle against the vampire hordes.
With social and political activities seriously affected by the oppressive grip of the clergy during the Crusades, Leon is a noble man engaged to his true love, Sara. When his beloved mysteriously disappears one night, Leon arms himself with a dagger and sets out to rescue her. A chance meeting with an alchemist sees Leon pick up the whip that has become synonymous with the Castlevania series, and the PlayStation 2 game duly follows Leon as he explores a danger-filled forest and enters the castle controlled by a master vampire.
The PlayStation 2 game has been created by Koji Igarashi and the hugely talented development team responsible for past Castlevania titles. Determined to make the Belmont family's first PlayStation 2 title something special, Igareshi-san and his team have transformed the 2D basis of past Castlevania titles into a fully 3D title, with the rich, fully interactive interiors of Dracula's castles beautifully realised and packed with a huge selection of decaying and deadly adversaries out to defend their vampiric master. Similarly, the traps that lurk in every room also benefit from the 3D perspective, with the collapsing floors and swinging pendulums looking even more effective in the new game.
On entering the castle, players are faced with five access points, each leading into a dark wing of the Gothic building, namely a Cathedral, an alchemist laboratory, the garden, a theatre and a dungeon. Spanning hundreds of rooms, over 80 species of enemy also await Leon which he must eliminate with his whip and five collectable sub-weapons including holy water, a dagger, a cross, an axe and a magic crystal. Leon must also seek out seven orbs to combine with magically-empowered relics to create devastating attacks and stunning spell-enhanced offensive moves.
Castlevania for PlayStation 2 marks a stunning return for the series, with stunning visuals and fast-paced gameplay bringing it bang up to date, while the haunting compositions of Michiru Yamane add to the doom-laden feel that runs throughout the game.