Castlevania: Lament of Innocence is the prequel to all Castlevania games previously released, explaining the connection and never-ending war between the Belmont family and Dracula.
You play Leon Belmont, who was once a Baron for the King. After his betrothed, Sara, was kidnapped and taken to a large castle, Leon asked the Church for permission to command his underlings to attack the castle. Because of the Crusades going on in the East, he is denied such. But because of his love for Sara, he denounces his title and leaves, going with no weapon or clue to the castle. He is stopped by an alchemist named Rinaldo, who was once a vampire-hunter himself. He gives Leon the Whip of Alchemy, offers to help him further in his quest, and sends him on his way.
The gameplay mixes a style of hack-and-slash with a sense of strategy. In order to gain new abilities, you must first master the previous ones. This also includes relics and orbs, which will greatly help you in your quest to rescue Sara. Relics allow you to do special abilities necessary to solving certain puzzles, while orbs combine with power-ups you pick up and can create massive offensive or defensive power. The game contains many secrets, including five hidden bosses, who yield rewards (whip power-ups, orbs, relics, etc.) to the player upon defeat.