Lunar Knights Review
Lunar Knights box art
System: DS Review Rating Legend
Dev: Kojima 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Konami 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Feb. 2007 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-4 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+ 3.5 - 3.9 = Good
Any similarities to Castlevania are purely intentional

by Cole Smith

A game that fashions itself after Castlevania can't be all bad, especially when it's produced by the very same company. Lunar Knights does a great job of treading the same path as Castlevania while still maintaining its own identity. Lunar Knights is actually the sequel to Boktai, a series of GBA games which requires it to be activated by the power of the sun.

Lunar Knights screenshot

If you have never heard of this game before, I assure you that I'm serious. You would literally have to find an alternate energy source, such as the sun, to artificially power the game. The sunlight passes through a radiation detection chip embedded in the cartridge of the game. As long as sunlight was filtering through your window you could play the game on your sofa, but the excessive light often washed out the screen. Alternative energy sources such as a lighter and heat lamps could be used but I don't think I have to tell you what an inconvenience, and danger, that could be. I always thought this was an excellent concept, but in practice it was little more than an irritating novelty. The gameplay was just too much fun to be interrupted by the onset of evening.

Now for the good news. Lunar Knights has forsaken the alternate solar power source, allowing us to play the game at our convenience. It still retains a lot of the original concept in terms of gameplay, but it's been overhauled, updated, and upgraded to perfectly compliment the DS. Even the name has been changed so as not to scare off any gamers that have bad memories associated with harnessing alternative energy sources for Boktai. I hope you didn't burn the side of your GBA with the flame from a Zippo like some idiot I know.

Lunar Knights screenshot

Lunar Knights features some old and new characters. This is the fourth game in the series. There are recognizable faces and places, but there is also enough new content to make this game worthy of being a great sequel. For starters, it utilizes the DS's features admirably. Whereas some games add the touch control system just because it's there, the developers integrated it into the gameplay so that it feels natural, not to mention fun to use. Fans will find that these additions help to evolve the series while still retaining the core of the gameplay which has made the series so much fun. At the same time, it works perfectly as a stand-alone game. You don't have to have any prior knowledge of the series.

Througout the game, two main characters are featured. You will toggle between two main characters, swapping them on the fly later in the game. Lucian is the vampire killer. He derives his power from the moon. His weapon of choice is the sword, and his melee attacks are swift and devastating. Aaron gains his power from the sun and specializes in ranged attacks via his solar gun. Vampires, zombies, and other undead creatures roam and rule the Earth, suppressing humans and using them for sustenance. These creatures must be eliminated before you can reach the main vampire, Duke, and free the planet from their evil grasp.

Lunar Knights screenshot

The enemy has created an artificial atmosphere called Parasol which blocks out the real sky, allowing them to travel about unhampered by sunlight or darkness. The top screen of the DS allows you to see whether it's really night or day, so that you can use the appropriate hero and maximize his powers. This becomes more prevalent in the later stages of the game. Do you want me to let you in on a little secret? If you prefer the way the original games played, you can load in a GBA copy of the game and utilize the solar chip. Collecting sunlight will give your character more energy. It's similar to a power-up, or cheat code. If you find this game really tough you might want to give it a try, but many may find the extra boost too powerful as it tends to diminish the challenge.

Screenshots / Images
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