Review by Cress
"You're going to be treated out to a CONCERT!"
I'm sorry about the horrible PUN, but it's the only way to describe this great game!
Ok... Konami said that they had to 'sacrifice' (is that the 'right' term...?) some of the sound to give way to White Night Concerto's graphics. Well, I wasn't expecting that much but I think that they went too overboard this time! Sure, the special effects and sprite designs (not to mention the great rendered environment) are too kewl for a GBA game but what's with the extremely bright color trails? It's as if when you're playing, everything is all to bright! Sometimes, I can really hurt your eyes but I'm sure they wanted to give us something better to look at (coughcoughcircleofthemooncough). Oh, and yeah, it IS brighter.
Well, fortunately, I'm an old school gamer and don't mind the game's 8-bit-esqe sound. Too bad, as most players crave Symphony of The Night's orchestrated bestseller soundtrack! If you really listen to the tunes, they're also good. Problem is..., well..., they are in a format which could be kinda' irritating at times. If you don't like the sound, don't use your GBA's earphones or something... White Night Concerto's sound is NO Circle of The Moon's but may be worth listening to. That is... if you like NES-SNES-GB sound and are willing to sit down with it for around 2-3 hours. Hopefully, the gameplay'll divert your attention from it.
Not that it's not that interesting, but the plot is very very fairly common to the Castlevania tradition. Sure, it may sound kinda exciting at the start (especially when you get spoiled by the interviews from gaming magazines) but in all, it's just too common. Actually, if you really see it from my point of view, it's basically Circle of The Moon but this time, the forces of evil got a chick (Dracula can do more than that! What about Rondo of Blood?! =)) and you and someone else must go rescue her... and very unexcitingly, your enemy is someone you don't expect. (hey, when I first played it, I knew that that person was behind this blah blah blah...)
Replay Value- 10/10
Well, the game is great itself! You'll find yourself playing again and again and won't get a bit tired of it. Juste has some cool attacks and the game's breathtaking graphics won't dull you every moment you play. I think that it's the best way to spend time on a long trip. Besides, like Symphony of The Night for the PSX, you get 2 huge Castles, a plethoa of neat enemies, secret characters and your own room in the castle to boot! I'm telling you, you'll be playing this over and over again!
This is where the game shines: Classic Castlevania 2D action gameplay. And, taking from Symphony of The Night is it's unique action-rpg-metriod-ish gameplay. Oh, and the new Spell Fusion(tm) system seems to be cool. Though, it kind of tends to get boring unlike CotM's DSS system which was very fun to toy around with even with it's simple interface. Spell Fusion actually emphasizes on the classic standard-issue Castlevania Sub-Weapons scattered around the ruins of Dracula's Castles. (Yeah, there are two this time and the game let's you explore each at very early in your gameplay.) First, select a Spell Book to be 'fused' with the sub weapon, and then hit (UP + Attack(or whip)) to use it. 'Fused' special weapons use MP instead of hearts which is one of the reasons that you'll maybe be racking hearts throughout the game for no apparent use at all. Different spellbooks combined with different sub-weapons produce powerful attacks ranging from traditional Castlevania Item Crashes to powerful shielding spells to extremely cool summons! Though, I really prefer the DSS system since it was more fun anyway. The controls in White Night are fairly simple but effective. Juste has this cool dash system similar to Alucard's backdash in Symphony except that he can also dash forward! What a neat move! And also, you can change the function of your whip! The power-up stones for your whip change your whip's attack... you can now use Simon's Limp Whip technique (from Super Castlevania IV) or a fireball attack similar to the Gameboy Castlevanias. Now, what can you say? That's customizable fun at your fingertips! Hardcore action has never been this fun (and portable.)
From the gameplay mechanics to the sheer cool graphics, this game can be considered to be downright excellent. Though, it has it's flaws... sometimes, it gives you a feeling that it's rushed. That forces me to deduct one point from the innovation scale.
Is it worth it?
Well, if you like Metroid and other 2D games like Contra and Megaman or just loved the unique gameplay of Symphony of The Night and Circle of the Moon, I'd say you pick this up. It'll be worth every cent you payed for and that's not counting the bonuses when you import it from Japan. A true old-school gamer's fantasy and a great buy for any action fan, and something worthwhile to grab for you Castlevania lovers out there like me.
Cress overall' Rating- 9/10
I think I'm finally going to have something to enjoy after the Symphony of The Night and Circle of The Moon. Though, I do warn you; it's not perfect and has its flaws. But it's still worth the buy and is something worthwhile to add to any Castlevania library.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 06/13/02, Updated 06/13/02
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