Review by Adlubescence
"The Belmonts return... Wait a minute, Nathan's not a Belmont!"
I love platforming games. I love role playing games. I love action games. One series has rolled all of these genres into one super hybrid series. Castlevania. That one word could bring up two things in your mind. The first being a totally awesome series that takes advantage if a little-used weapon (whip), and a perpetual foe (Dracula), blended perfectly into a challenging but fun platforming/role playing/adventure experience. It could also remind you of gothic history and the like, but that's not what the review is about. This review is to inform you, the consumer, about Castlevania: Circle of the Moon, the game. Now that I have sufficiently rambled on about this wonderful, wonderful series, let us just mosey on down to the review, shall we?
Idea 9/10: Now, In all of the previous castlevania games, some bizarre happening causes the castle of the Dark Lord, Castlevania, to appear, and cause some brave (and slightly delusional) characters (usually a member of the Belmont family) to enter castlevania, defeat dracula, rescue whoever needs to be rescued, and escape. Another thing that seems to always be included, is some sort of secret weapon type thing to aid you in your quest. This time, it is DSS Cards (Dual-Set-up System) that help you slay the undead. They can give you a shield, a new weapon, or raise your stats (not permanently though). This adds a new twist on the game, making you hunt down specific enemies and attack them until you get the cards. Extremely fun, and the abilities are great to tinker around with.
Story 8/10: not usually Castlevania's strong points, but this time, it comes out okay. Carmilla (an evil sexy anarchist) revives the dark lord. Booo! Morris Baldwin, Hugh Baldwin, and Nathan Graves (har!) burst into the revival room. Dracula says some stuff about sacrificing Morris (your teacher) and other stuff, yadda yadda, then materializes two bats which make the floor under you crumble (strong bats) and you fall down a loooooooong shaft. You get up, Hugh tells you to leave, you want to help, yadda yadda, the game begins. Hugh turns evil, you beat the crap out of him, he's back to normal, the end. Not really, but then it's the end the end, and that would mean spoilers. Soooo... on to the next section!
Playability 10/10: Perfection. Simple perfection. You play, you jump, you whip, you live. Simple as pie. The DSS cards and new abilities complicate things, making you actually have to think... the first time you ever use them, that is. Using new abilities (surprise surprise) opens up new areas and allows you to traverse the world more easily.
Graphics 9/10: Magnificent! The summons are awesome (a DSS ability that is SO useful) the shields look nice, the enemies strike fear into your heart (maybe), and this all takes place on a game system that is roughly the size of a hamburger. The bosses, Wow. Just wow. Addremalech, Iron golem, Carmilla (yes. I am sad to say that you must destroy her. Sigh. I would've asked her out if I were Nathan, but oh well.), and Death, of course, are the bosses that you must destroy on your quest to erase The Vampire Lord once and for all. (unfortunately, Drac always comes back, so all of your hard work is wasted in another, later, game :P) My only thing against it is that when you have tons of enemies on the screen, the game tends to chug briefly, but once you kill one of the enemies on screen, you can go back to your fast-pace vampire killer mode. Speaking of Vampire killer, it's time for...
Sound 10/10: Do do do doooooo, dodododo do do dodo dooo! Yup! Vampire killer is back, Revamped (no pun intended) for the Game Boy Advance. The mood for each level is set so wonderfully, that, well, I can't speak right now, because the music just takes my breath away... But seriously, I am a music freak, and I love a game that has a hired composer exclusively for a game. Hideo Kojima, Itawhatever your name is, you guys are the best. *cries happily*
Replay value 7/10: You can unlock different modes each time you complete the game, but after three times, I didn't have much motivation to go on. I killed Dracula, which is so unbelievably satisfying, but after a couple times, it just loses it's flair. A great game, but if it had been just a little bit greater, I (and probably hundreds of other gamers out there) would have been consumed in this title, not stopping to do anything else until we finished.
Worth the money? Yes: I am a total sucker when it comes to series, so whenever a new title comes out in a series that I know and love, I buy it. It could be because of subliminal messages, it could be because of awesome gameplay, stories and plot development, but I digress. I love Castelvania, and if you do too, stop reading this, grab $30, run to the nearest used game store, see if they have it, if they do, buy it, if they don't, camp out there until they do.
Overall Score 8/10: Wonderful. I love it, I love it, I love it! The bosses are amazing, the enemies are cool, the story is okay, and the series is upheld with a new title worthy to be deemed one of the best I've ever played. I have wasted many precious hours of my life playing this game, and I have enjoyed every moment of it. I wish that Nintendo and Konami Team up many times later to create even more masterpieces such as this. And if they do, Then my thumbs will be the strongest muscle on my person than anything else. I will be more than happy to give away my money and life to continue playing games such as these. (that's a sure sign of the effects of subliminal messages right there.) Kudos Konami, Kudos Nintendo, Kudos Me, and Kudos to you, the consumer.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 03/25/04
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