Saturday, January 12, 2002

Castlevania: Circle of the Moon

Genre: Action / Side-Scroller
Platform: Gameboy Advance
2001 Konami. Screenshots and images courtesy of Amazon.Com.

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Cover Description:
Count Dracula has been resurrected and evil will reign supreme unless he is stopped. As Nathan Graves, you'll hunt down the Count and use your whip and a variety of special items to destroy his minions. Battle your way through Dracula's castle and rid the world of evil once and for all!

A good Game Boy Castlevania game! And like Symphony of the Night no less. >>> by Kenryoku Maxis
Wow, imagine a condensed version of Symphony of the Night with good sprite graphics and a very innovative and fun use of the cards. This is what Circle of the Moon is. It's not very long in RPG standards but for a Game Boy game and in comparison to some games in the Castlevania series, it is still very long. What I just love about this game is all the exploration and freedom of movement involved, much like in it's highly praised predecessor, Symphony of the Night. With the same director and many from the same staff, this game will remind you much of SOTN and in many ways adds to the few parts that SOTN lacked.

The biggest change is the use of magic being centered around a system of combining cards found on many enemies to create spells. The best spell for me was when you combined the Jupiter card with any of the attribute cards to transform your whip into a wide variety of swords. Yes, that's right, once again you carry a whip but this time not as a Belmont. Your name is Nathan Graves and your father and mother, along with another family related to the Belmonts put Dracula to rest ten years earlier. The only trouble is that he has once again come back to life. You, along with your life time friend Hugh and his father run to meet Dracula after he has risen only to be dropped though the floor to the bottom floor of the castle and your friends father, Morris Baldwin is kidnapped by Dracula. This is where the game begins.

The game is great, resembling a kind of combination of Symphony of the Night and Castlevania 3: Dracula's Curse (Castlevania fans might remember this one from the later days of the original NES). This was fabulous to me since those two games are my personal favorites in the Castlevania series. But not only do the graphics remind you of both these games, but the music as well. I have recognized themes from SOTN, Castlevania 3 and even one from Castlevania 4. Yes, once again the excellent music is back, not quite as grand as SOTN but still very well done. The battle system is like a smaller version of SOTN and not much was changed aside from the use of cards for magic, but it was a great change. The use of the cards is fun and really do help you if you know which to use at bosses or certain areas. Let me just say that if you don't use the cards at times that they are needed, you are going to be playing the bosses many times over or running around losing a lot of life. Another great thing is the fact that certain moves like the double jump, super jump and slide are back from SOTN. That's good news to those of you who are like me and really got use to these great items.

Yes, to any Castlevania fan, this is a must buy. I would also suggest it to anyone who likes side scrolling action games or games like Metroid and the older versions of Mario. Believe me, it's great.

COMPLETION TIME: 12-15 hours
RATINGS: Gameplay 9; Battle 9; Story 7; Visuals 9; Characters 9; Sounds 9; Replay Value 9

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