Review by srgeman
"The best in the series"
This is my favorite game in my favorite series. Every thing is classic Castlevania. The graphics, the gameplay, the music, the difficulty...
The plot is standered Castlevania, Dracula's minions have kidnapped the mentor of the main character, Nathan Graves (obscure relative of the Belmonts). Nathan's friend Hugh (son his mentor) is being turned evil by Dracula, so Nathan must save both of them. Nothing much to say about the plot, it's standered for a Castlevania game. Castlevania has never been about plot (with the exception of Aria/Dawn of Sorrow and Order of Ecclasia). Let's talk about the things it is known for.
The graphics are for most people the bad part of the game. They're dark, infamously so. The best place to view them on a traditional GBA is the surface of the sun. I don't blame them though for making the castle dark, it's a castle. It looks dark and gothic, perfect for the game. I blame Nintendo for not making the GBA backlit. They didn't make the N64 with CD's, they didn't make the GBA with a back light, they made the Virtual Boy. I'm noticing a pattern.
The difficulty of this game is legendary. The bosses are huge monsters, who take several hits, and have to be taken down by strategy, luck, or stupidity. The Zombie Dragons take the cake as the weirdest and most disgusting enemies. Two bosses, each take 40 hits if you're at a high level, and once you kill one, the other munches on his brothers corpse to restore HP. That's just disgusting. The battle with Death is harder then in the original NES game, and the battle with Dracula is the hardest in the series. Dracula's second form is huge, has death beams and a tackle attack, and has to take place in another dimension. The build up to the battle with Dracula is tremendous, and it pays off BIG.
I love a difficult game, and the Castlevania games (with the exception of SOTN and HOD) are extremely hard. This game is not for the casual gamer, and is only beaten in terms of difficulty by Order of Ecclesia. You will die a lot fighting the Iron Golem, or the devil (who isn't even a boss, but has 5000 hp).
The music is fantastic. It's dark, moody, filled with new and remixed tunes. The best is Nightmare, a remix from Dracula's Curse, not often heard. If only they had had March of the Holy and Wicked Child.
The animation on Nathan is a tad clunky, seeing as he only has three running frames. It's okay though, it adds a certain level of charm and nostalgia to the game, reminding me of the original NES games. His controlls are basic, jumping and wipping are responsive. The high jump isn't always responsive, but it generaly is fine. When you hold the whip button, Nathan twirls the whip. The odd thing is to get him to run, you press the directional button twice. You can run fast though, and you'll be running A LOT.
Over all, the castle is huge and fun. While their is no upside-down castle, no portraits to go into, no reverse castle, no chaos realm, you don't need it. The castle is so big, it puts Metroid to shame. This is one of the best GBA games, enjoy it.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 01/05/09
Game Release: Castlevania: Circle of the Moon (US, 06/10/01)
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