Rant on the heels of playing Curse of Darkness... All of the the Castlevania games available for the Nintendo handhelds have been very fun. While I think the last two are the best, all were enthusiastically well-received and continue the classic Castlevania "line". I think a good fighting system, while important in any Castlevania game, is secondary to the fun of actual exploration -- that feeling that you're in a "real" castle and climbing/descending to new areas in the giant structure. It's what I originally loved about the first Castlevania (Harmony of Dissonance failed for me a little because its castle was too sprawling and repetitive). But now the last two 3D Castlevania games have reduced the environment to corridors and world hubs filled with creatures to fight. It's like Soul Calibur on Gothic, with very little platforming fun. I hate to bring up the infamous N64 versions of these games, but for all their poor control and graphics, there was a definite exploration element that is missing from the latest 3D offerings. If the N64 games did nothing else right, they conveyed the sense that you were exploring a castle and its surrounding environment. The landscape was PART of the gameplay, for better or (usually) worse. These older games' poor reception probably scared Konomi into releasing what are essentially fighting games with a vaguely Castlevanian plot and environment. Maybe due to the success of the Devil May Cry series (which I like, but isn't Castlevania). I know gamers seem to like like the bad-ass fighting/combat systems, but to me they don't capture the Castlevania spirit.