Review by Arcademan6
"One question: Why must Drac remodel his crib EVERY new game?"
Easily the best GBA launch title, this game has got it all. Fantastic graphics (Reminds me of a Sega Genesis game with a horribly tinted screen (stupid GBA)), great gameplay, a nifty and innovative Dual Setup System (DSS), a great story (No Belmont's in this tale, however...), and good controls. I'm sure the Pits section will be short on this game...
Gameplay: Well, we've got the classic 'Whip some ass' platform setup (and I really mean 'whip'), with an RPG level up system and item equip (pretty tight). But best of all are the abilities you get from your DSS cards. When you get ahold of at least 1 action card and 1 attribute card, you can pair 'em up and press the L button, activating whatever the cards do. Early on, you get the Mercury card and the Salamander card. Link 'em, and you get the Fire Whip! w00+! You can also get familiars, summons, spells, swords, and all kinds of other crap to kick undead ass with. Some are hard to get, but are worth it. You hop around the levels, killing everything in sight, and leveling up and getting new items. You fight occasional bosses, and normally you get a new ability like wall kick and tackle. Sweet. Plenty of secret areas, and there are no set 'levels'. You can head back to old areas whenever you please to use your new abilities to get secret stuff (HP Max increase, MP Max increase, Heart increase). Nicely done.
Graphics: Astounding. These are as beautiful as the Genesis, SNES, and PSX versions of the game. The backrounds are great looking, the enemies are slick (A few are palette swaps (the armors mostly), but not too bad), and the spell effects are great. Check out the scaling of the words 'LEVEL UP!', couldn't do that on the old GB! Only problem is the darkness (Not Konami's fault, the stupid screencover is tinted), but play in a well lit area and you can live.
Sound: Turn on the GBA and at the title screen you here a haunting chorus. Creepy. The sound effects are superb, and all the level music is great. There are vocal effects (mostly 'Ha!' when you swing your whip or jump, and his death scream), but nothing too extraordinary. Good overall.
Story: Pretty good. Dracula is resurrected in his castle, Castlevania (It seems his awakener, Camilla, redecorated the place...), and Morris Baldwin (old vampire killer who sealed Drac 10 years ago) and his two pupils (Nathan Graves, the grey haired dude with the sacred Hunter Whip, and Hugh Baldwin, Morris' son and Nathan's rival) rush to the scene. Morris get's kidnapped to participate in the final ritual to replenish Drac's power, and Hugh and Nathan get tossed down the mile long pit... and land at the bottom without so much as twisting an ankle or skinning their knees. Hugh runs off, and you're alone. You bump into Hugh a few times in the game, but I'm not done yet, so I wonder if he'll ever do anything helpful...
The Pits: Let's get into the Pits! I hate how these damn graphics are so dark! Wait, that's hardware... Umm... I hate... uh... I hate, um, how those newbies at the CotM board claim to have gotten to play as Hugh... Um... Oh dammit, nothing wrong with this game. A short and disappointing edition of the Pits.
Buy or Rent?: Buy it, idiot. Just don't expect the game to 1) be all happy like Super Mario Advance, 2) be able to play exceptionally well in dim lighting, and 3) Do not, under any circumstances, expect to be disappointed (unless you suck at these games).
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 07/13/01, Updated 07/13/01
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