Review by Doodleheimer
"I wonder if Hugh and Nathan Baldwin are related to Alec Baldwin."
Castlevania: Circle of the Moon is the sequel to Konami’s almighty Playstation game Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. SOTN is regarded as one of the greatest 2D adventures ever.
This game and Symphony of the Night are the only Castlevanias I like, because they require exploring and contain elements of RPGs in them. The point of this game is to explore Dracula's castle and find Dracula. You do it by exploring sections of the castle, Metroid style, finding power-ups such as Double-Jumping and Rock-Bashing. Those power-ups let you access other parts of the castle that were previously inaccessible. You get stronger by gaining levels and finding objects dropped by enemies. Each section you explore has a boss in there.
You have five secondary weapons you get from whipping candles and such. Those weapons are powered by hearts, which are left from candles and enemies. There are plenty secret rooms and extra modes to keep you playing. The game is missing a lot of things that were in Castlevania: SOTN. Some things that were left out were other secondary weapons, such as the Cross and Rebound Ball.
The money and shop that was in SOTN is gone. You can now only equip body armor and hand armor. In SOTN, you could equip swords and helmets, body armor, rings and such. Some things that are improved are the level-up system. In SOTN, after you gain a couple of levels, the enemies around you give you less and less experience, and then they give you 1 point of experience. Now, enemies have a set limit of experience points given.
Another improved thing is the Dual Set-Up System, which lets you collect certain cards from certain enemies. You have two different types of cards, Action cards and Attribute cards. You can use one of each at once. Each different combination of cards produces a different effect. I found the game easier than SOTN.
This game has less replay value than SOTN did. SOTN had the inverted castle and playing as Richter Belmont. This game just lets you play the game with advanced stats, such as all DSS cards. This game also lets you increase your MP, whilst SOTN only let you increase HP and Hearts. This game, along with SOTN, and the Zelda games, does this one thing. That one thing is the feeling of freedom to go through the rest of the castle after getting an enhancement.
The control is better than in SOTN. Now, it is easier to jump onto something. SOTN had many jumps. There is a spinning whip move that you can do also. That is available at the beginning. The other moves are easy to pull off. It takes a while to get used to the Kick Boots, but they come in handy, until you get the Roc Wing.
The graphics are very nice, but they still aren't as good as SOTN, but good. The game has nice 2-D backgrounds and nice polished environments. Some of the environments look similar to those in SOTN. Machine Tower looks like SOTN's Clock Tower. Each stage has nice surroundings and backgrounds. The enemies are distinct and unique, and some of the DSS card effects look really nice. The game also made nice use of the GBA’s colors. The game’s graphics, though, don’t make the game seem as “dark” as past Castlevanias. Then again, this and SOTN are the only good Castlevanias out there. Another weird thing is the castle's foundation. I'm no building inspector (yet), but the castle must be extremely strong to stand on that foundation. The castle's stories get wider and wider as they ascend.
Konami does their best with the GBA's sound. While OBVIOUSLY it can't match the quality of SOTN, it isn't the worst thing to hear. Some of the music is nice, while other tracks fail. The sound effects are really nice. If you wear headphones, you can hear the whip of the whip and the footsteps of running. Glass shattering, fire burning, and many other sound effects sound really nice.
The game is very fun and will entertain anyone for a long time. It is an excellent adventure, and one the best launch titles for the GBA.
Percentage of Gaming Goodness-86%
I'd get this game immediately. The game's only major flaw was the lack of stuff that was in SOTN. If you liked SOTN, Metroid, or, exploring platformers, then get this.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 07/16/01, Updated 05/20/02
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