Review by WainioTheMaster
"There's something for everyone in the Castlevania series next haunting installment"
When the Gameboy Advance was announced, there seemed to be an explosion of remakes and sequels of other hit games from different systems. Konami was one of the developers with their long-lived Castlevania series. This new game for the GBA promised an entire new world, story, and plenty of other nooks and crannies. Circle of the Moon is the great mix of exploration in Adventure games, fighting in Action games, and level-raising scheme of an RPG. All together it makes one of the best launch titles for the system. The year is 1830 and Morris Baldwin, a famous vampire killer, Hugh, his son, and Nathan a fellow vampire killer and learner to his master, Baldwin, have just found out that an unknown person has revived Dracula from his imprisonment. In a quick second Hugh and Nathan are separated from Baldwin. Hugh ventures out on his own to save his father while you, Nathan, must venture off on the same quest alone. You start with your trusty whip with little ability. But after training on difficult enemies you’ll start to get stronger and stronger. The game features a cool feature called the Dual-Setup System in which you collect cards with hidden power fallen from enemies and combine different card’s powers for new abilities and weapons. This adds a lot to the total gameplay and depth. And don’t think this is one of those games you can complete in a couple of hours. Castlevania includes a huge environment to explore with secret areas, pitfalls, and dangerous enemies and bosses. Get ready for a wicked ride.
The graphics aren’t anything special but the true game lies in its gameplay. Most of the objects and scenery are very dark looking and you may not be able to see certain things unless you have a great light source for you little Gameboy Advance. You may also complain about the size of the characters and how they’re too small. But I think the size works out nicely, enabling you to see an enemy rushing at you full speed and giving you time to react.
Excellently composed music and sound effects. Definitely a game in which wearing headphones helps the experience by a lot. While there aren’t many different tracks, it’s quality over quantity and the haunting music is definitely of quality. Simple sound effects like footsteps sound great and in tune with what’s happening on the screen.
Very simple to learn the basic movements and your character moves at a controllable pace. It may take a while to remember all the advanced abilities but you should get the hang of it considerably quick.
GAMEPLAY/ REPLAY VALUE: 10/10
Where should I start? As soon as you start playing and slay your first couple of monsters, you should be having fun already. After that it just gets better. The DSS is a great addition to the already great game and should make gameplay a little more interesting. There are also a TON of enemies and bosses to master beating and everything falls into place which gives the gameplay a perfect rating. As for replay value, I don’t want to spoil anything but Circle of the Moon will keep you busy for an extended amount of time.
OVERALL (not an average): 10/10
Fans of the series and people who don’t know what the heck Castlevania is should both find something to scream about in this game. With the combination of Action, Adventure, and Role-Playing it should be widely accepted as an excellent game.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 07/16/01, Updated 07/16/01
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