Castlevania: Curse of Darkness
For a long time Castlevania was a series best represented on home consoles. Up to the point of the release of Symphony of the Night, the series had its best reviews iterations on consoles. After Symphony, though, the better received games ended up on portable systems. Castlevania 64 was generally hated by fans and reviewers, Legacy of Darkness (it's "Director's Cut") was an improvement but still not very good, while Lament of Innocence tried to find a medium between 2D and 3D, classic and new school, without really being able to do any of those things well.
Enter Curse of Darkness, Konami's thrd full attempt to get a Castlevania game to work on home consoles in the post-Symphony world. For all the games tries to do -- an interesting story, a long-ignored mileu, a different kind of game play system -- Curse still isn't very good.
Set three years after the third NES title, Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse, Curse of Darkness focuses on Hector, one of Dracula's demon forgers who left the fold after Dracula's last defeat. Living a quiet life, Hector is draw back into the world of demons and vampires when an old colleague, Issac, kill's Hector's wife. Now it's a race through Dracula's ands for revenge and justice. Or, it would be, if you cared at all about Hector or his quest.
In many ways Curse works to improve on the previous 3D game in the series, Lament of Innocence, giving players a free view of the action, RPG elements, and a more in-depth system with demon forging (instead of Lament with it's magic and holy items). And while that should all work, somehow it just doesn't. Like with the previous game, everything adds up to a bland mash-up of more of the same.
In the end, the series was left still trying to find its way any time it diverged from its 2D roots (a feat some would argue the series still hasn't managed).