Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia and Equipment

You know, I’m fairly certain the previous Castlevania RPG-platformers had more equipment available for their protagonists than this one.
I’m not talking about glyphs or weapons, though those surely make up a large segment of variety in equipment; they’re the most visible aspects of how you equip your characters, and have the greatest impact – each weapon/glyph has a different strength, element, area-of-effect, speed and appearance. I’m talking about defensive gear; armour, boots, hat and accessory.

I’m fairly late into the game, now, after a really long break spent playing other games; the Big Plot Twist – visible from miles away – has happened, and I’m finally wandering around a castle, having spent the rest of the game in forests, monasteries, mountain passes and wherever else the game took me through to increase playtime.
I have five hats, seven pieces of armour – mostly dresses – four boots, and fifteen different accessories. I don’t know whether it’s the game’s utterly abysmal normal droprate even for so-called ‘common’ items, or whether they really did skimp on the non-Glyph equipment, but even Soma had a better selection than this.

The Librarian

Probably shouldn’t ever hit triangle right after talking to the librarian again. The game just stuck after his ‘how can I help you?’ speech played.

Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles

Bought it almost-solely for Symphony of the Night. Spent about an hour trying and dying to unlock Symphony of the Night, and getting heartily sick of Dracula X’s alternate levels.

So Castlevania was once a standard platformer; even just beginning to play Symphony of the Night, however, it seems to me that the most recent games have less exploration in them.

It’s almost as if things are coming full circle:
We started with Castlevania, the platformer (see: Castlevania, Castlevania II, Castlevania Legends, Castlevania Bloodlines… et cetera).
We moved on to Castlevania, the platformer with split paths and alternate levels (see: Dracula X, Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles). I didn’t have a favourable impression of this one whilst I was trying to get Symphony of the Night unlocked, but… that was probably why. I’ll play this in future, just not right now.
We then bred that with Metroid, and got Castlevania, an exploratory platformer with the mutant trait of RPG stats and equipment (See: Symphony of the Night). This one didn’t even star a Belmont, outside of a special mode.
Symphony of the Night had a family, with more or less the same traits… and mostly not starring Belmonts, either. As the games went further, however, the sense of exploration that Symphony of the Night is giving me ten minutes in became muted (see: Circle of the Moon, Harmony of Dissonance, Aria of Sorrow, Dawn of Sorrow). But they still had interesting things like more equipment than you should be able to fit into even a vampire-hunter’s pockets, or cards for a magic system, or a customisable room, or…
Then, almost from out of nowhere, we get a 3D sort-of-exploration-but-not-really Castlevania. Almost, because there was a previous 3D Castlevania on the N64, which would be somewhere close to SotN in this not-very-rigorous timeline, but I never even thought about playing that one. THIS one let you go anywhere… in five areas linked to a hub by teleport. Castlevania went back to a more level-based design, even if you could leave one and try another if you were having trouble (see: Lament of Innocence).
Finally, the latest Castlevania is a 2D sort-of-exploratory outing with portraits for ‘levels’, and seems far shorter than the earlier exploration-based lot (see: Portrait of Ruin). Even having… lots of different overall maps for you to explore, it still seemed much smaller than the GBA games. Maybe because you just found yourself going where you needed to go anywhere, for lack of anywhere else accessible? I think I may have just missed my collection of monster souls, though.

Oh, and there was also another 3D game on the PS2 that came out after Lament of Innocence and STILL hasn’t turned up over here… which is a pity, because it seemed a lot more interesting than that one.