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Castlevania: Circle of the Moon (Game Boy Advance) artwork

Castlevania: Circle of the Moon (Game Boy Advance) review


"The Castlevania saga does not die. It continues on in this game in the form of Nathan Graves, who recieves the whip from his master, however also bringing on the jealousy of his bestfriend. This is more of an RPG like Castlevania with the leveling up system, and that just increases the fun of the game. This game strongly resembles that of the playstation hit Symphony of the Night, and it serves the games legacy well. This is one of the best in this outstanding series and here is why: "



The Castlevania saga does not die. It continues on in this game in the form of Nathan Graves, who recieves the whip from his master, however also bringing on the jealousy of his bestfriend. This is more of an RPG like Castlevania with the leveling up system, and that just increases the fun of the game. This game strongly resembles that of the playstation hit Symphony of the Night, and it serves the games legacy well. This is one of the best in this outstanding series and here is why:

STORY (8/10): For a Castlevania game the story is fairly interesting, and you do get to talk to the boss's before you fight them. A lady called Camilla bring Dracula back alive and you, your master, and your friend all go to stop him. Problem is your master is caught, and your friend will not side with you. The only thing keeping this story from being great is there are no twists of any sort. A few things may surprise you, but not very likely, because it all seems simple to predict. However, in a series not known for intrigue and memorable storylines, COTM stands out clearly near the highest plateau.

GRAPHICS (14/15): This is one of the reasons they created the Gameboy Advance. The graphics of this game are stunning. When I first popped the game in and watch the beggining of the story, I thought I was play a Super Nintendo. I was stunned by the games beauty and fitting gloominess. The only problem it is too dark at times, and you can miss some things. This is because the GBA does not have backshadding. The darkness will become a minor nuissance, but overall, the game looks stupendence. The enemies are all very detailed, and Nathan himself looks very good. All in all, despite minor blemishes the graphics in COTM are superb.

SOUND (9/10): The sound of this game is either spooky or creepy or mettalicy depending on what are you are exploring. It all fits accordingly, and you will not need to turn off the sound to the game. The sound effects of this game are not perfect, but fit accordingly too. The sound of the whip going off, or the holy waters burn is all good to hear.

GAMEPLAY (46/50): Nathan Graves has multiple abilities to his disposal. He can go through and whip his enemies in his death, or use the various DS cards he finds to power himself up with magic, and attack foes. These cards give you the ability to fight with a Sword or a very large hammer. Although not really in tradition of the Castlevania game this is definitely a cool add-on.
At first the cards may not seem that useful, but they truly help the feel of the game. The combinations will take strategy, but once you find that perfect weapon, or defensive tactic, the game will greatest decrease in difficulty due to the useful magic you have discovered.

However in tradition of Castlevania games their are the subweapons like the Throwing Axe, Dagger, and Holy Water. They are not the most effective things, but they are in the game and very fun to use. But what ever happen to the triple shots? While the subweapons still possess great usage, they do not have the same feel as they did in the past Castlevania games, and they are lacking in importance also, due to the new magic added.

The game is long and complex, and it is more of an exploring game then the rest of the Castlevania series, but this is not a bad thing. Exploring is half of the fun in Castlevania: Circle of Moon and the other half is whipping the crap out of your enemies. The castle is large, and similiar to various other games, such as Super Metroid, in the fact that you will need to frequently backtrack with newly found abilities, to reach at one time unaccesible locations. This gives you the need to fully explore, and to conquer as much of the castle as possible.

REPLAYABILITY (7/10): This is a fairly long game to trudge through, for you will need to level up to stand a chance against Drac and his allies. And even after you beat it there is still a good portion of the game left in the fighters tower, in which you can earn your way to the ultimate equipment. Plus when you beat the game you will gain the ability to go into ''fighters'' mode, or ''magician'' mode and such. These and a twist to your character, but in truth they do not add that much to the replay ability. The extra modes are nice, but only for the truest fans for it is still the same castle and the same masters, and the same gameplay with only a few twists.

DIFFICULTY (5/5): The perfect difficulty to a game. Not too hard if you keep your levels up, although a few battles will put you to the edge of your limits if you do not come in prepared, including the final battle itself. But with the correct preparation, Circle of the Moon is not that difficult of a game, even if it will keep even the master on his heels.

OVERALL (89/100): First game I owned on the GBA, and still in my mind the best for this handheld system. The RPG and exploring aspect of COTM is a definite change, but gives it a new edge. I love the Castlevania series, and this game definitely influences why. I would highly reccomend this game for any GBA owners, for it is one buy I will not regret.

Rating: 8.9/10

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