Castlevania: Lament of Innocence is an action-adventure video game developed by Konami for the PlayStation 2 console. Part of Konami's Castlevania video game series, it is the first installment of the series on the PlayStation 2 and the third to make use of a 3D style of gameplay. It was released in Japan and North America in late 2003 and Europe and Australia in early 2004.
Lament of Innocence is chronologically the first game in the Castlevania series. Set in 1094, it focuses on the origins of the series' premise—the eternal conflict between the vampire hunters of the Belmont clan and the immortal vampire Dracula. Lament of Innocence follows Leon Belmont as he searches a vampire's castle in search of his kidnapped betrothed.
Lament of Innocence received generally mostly positive reviews at release, with critics praising the origin story, gameplay, music, and graphics. The game was criticized for repetitive level-design and excessive backtracking.
Lament of Innocence is set in the fictional universe of the Castlevania series. Set in 1094, it focuses on the origins of the series' premise—the conflict between the vampire-hunting Belmont clan and the vampire Count Dracula. The protagonist and primary player character of Lament of Innocence is Leon Belmont (Nobutoshi Canna/Dave Wittenberg), a former baron and member of the Belmont clan. His close friend, Mathias Cronqvist (Nobuhiko Kazama/Crispin Freeman), tells him that Leon's betrothed, Sara (Yumi Tōma/Melissa Fahn), is being held captive by the powerful vampire Walter Bernhard (Yukimasa Kishino/Jamieson Price). During the game, he encounters Rinaldo Gandolfi (Hidekatsu Shibata/Michael McConnohie), an alchemist and resident of the forest outside Walter's castle.
Arriving on the castle grounds, Leon meets Rinaldo, who gives him a whip crafted by alchemy to assist in killing the monsters and enchants his gauntlet so he is able to use magic relics within the castle. Leon learns that he must defeat five monsters to gain access to Walter's throne room. Arriving at the castle, Leon proceeds to defeat the five monsters, including Joachim Armster (Hiroshi Kamiya/Michael Lindsay), a vampire kept prisoner in the castle by Walter. Before dying, Joachim mentions the Ebony and Crimson Stones, both of which are created from alchemy, and explains to Leon that the Ebony Stone can produce darkness. From Rinaldo, Leon learns that the Crimson Stone converts the souls of vampires into power for its holder.
After Leon reaches Walter's quarters, he rescues Sara and attempts to slay him with the whip, to no effect. At Rinaldo's cottage, it is revealed that Sara is slowly becoming a vampire. Rinaldo reveals that Leon must sacrifice Sara to make the whip effective against Walter. Overhearing their conversation, Sara begs him to kill her and use her soul to save others from suffering her fate. Leon reluctantly completes the ritual, creating the Vampire Killer whip.
Devastated by the loss of Sara, Leon returns to the castle to confront Walter and defeats him. Death (Masaharu Satō/Tom Wyner) takes the dying Walter's soul and offers it up to Mathias; Mathias appears and reveals he had orchestrated everything to obtain his soul and convert it into power for himself using the Crimson Stone. Mathias explains that he chose immortality as a vampire so he could curse God for taking away his beloved wife Elisabetha. He offers Leon the same, but a disgusted Leon refuses. Mathias orders Death to kill Leon, but Leon defeats Death and vows that the Belmont clan will hunt down Mathias and destroy him one day. (The game's epilogue reveals that Mathias became Dracula, the series' main antagonist.)