Review by PsiStorm
"The best selling launch title, but is it really the best?"
Castlevania: Circle of the Moon was the top selling game when the Gameboy Advance was released. I never liked the Castlevania series to begin with so I can't tell you if the gameplay differs from the original games. However I decided to borrow the game from a friend of mine and these are the results.
I can't complain about the graphics. I don't see anything wrong with them as they show the ability of the GBA. The graphics are lush and detailed where they need to be. There have been complaints about the screen being too dark to see for this game but I never had any trouble with this. Another complaint is the way the main character walks, which is like a casual stride. Some people just don't like how you can just walk casually through Dracula's castle but it shouldn't take away from the gameplay.
It's been over a month since I last played C:CotM but I can still remember some of the background music that was played in the game. The background music is well done and that's good to hear because you'll be hearing the music a lot. As for sound effects, there's basic sound and some wailing voices when certain enemies die. Perfectly fine in my opinion.
The standard controls assign select to a map that you'll be referring to a lot, start to the status screen where you can use and equip items, including magic cards. A is jump, B is attack with whip, up+B is use secondary weapon, L is activate DSS (magic) and R is used in conjunction with other buttons to perform special abilities that you earn. Pretty basic stuff and it only takes a few minutes to get used to. Jumping from platform to platform can be annoying though and you can't really help it at times. Like I said, it takes getting used to. No complaints on my part.
You're in Dracula's castle, and you have to save your mentor from him. Standard storyline although there's one or two plot twists inbetween. Gameplay can be annoying at times. Most of the time you'll be wandering around the castle trying to figure out where to go. It can be very annoying especially when you're destination is all the way across the map. The entire game is hack and slash so to speak. You just take your whip and beat up enemies to gain experience or find items. The whole gameplay can get boring at times even though I don't mind leveling up in RPGs. If you hate the whole leveling up concept in RPGs then you'll just want to rush through the game which will complicate things for you later on. Something I dislike is the save feature of the game. There's a battery save but you have to be at a save point to use it. Unless you know the layout of the castle you don't know where the next save point is and just wandering blindly trying to find it. The save points are evenly spaced out though but when you've progressed far into the game and didn't find a save point you'll hate the way the it's setup.
Well, after the first run through the game you'll unlock different mode of play and so on until you unlock 4 different modes. That sounds cool except for the fact that each mode is the same game with your character having modified stats. After the first 2 times you beat it the game can get very easy. I beat the game in less than a week all of the modes. At that's pretty much it, once you beat the game it's over. I think after you play the game 5 times in a row the game loses all it's replay. It doesn't help that there's no conceivable way to put multiplayer in a Castlevania game so C:CotM lost out on one of GBA's selling points.
Buy or Rent? Rent
Averaged score: 8
Overall score: 9
I never liked platformers. They all seem to get boring and either easy to beat or insanely hard. I'd say you could beat C:CotM in a week or two if you know what you're doing. I really recommend you borrow the game from someone you know or rent it before purchase. Just play for the first couple of minutes, maybe beat the first boss you'll get a feel for the game. Still, this game is worth checking out but I don't know if it'll last long enough to be worth the $40 you'll be spending.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 07/13/01, Updated 07/13/01
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