Review by srgeman
"Monotonous with a bit of Confusion thrown in"
This is the most bland game in the series. If their were one word to describe it, it would be "eh". Their is nothing special about this one at all, not a darn thing. It is the Bloodlines of Metroidvania games.
The plot is standered. You play as Juste Belmont (whose actualy pretty awsome, I'll explain later), who's trying to save his friend while his other friend begins to turn evil, under the influence of Dracula. Sound familiar? Why, that's the plot of Circle of the Moon! and Haunted Castle! And Order of Ecclasia! And Symphony of the Night! Yeah, it's a standered plot, and it's been used to death. Also, you have to run around and collect body parts of Dracula, like Simon's Quest and Symphony of the Night. Basicly it's a COTM-SQ mix.
Juste Belmont is awsome because he's not like any other Belmont. He's fast. You heard me right, fast. As slow as Trevor, Christopher, Sonia, and Simon moved, Juste can haul ass. Also, he can collect spell books, five in total, that can be used in combination with the subweapons. When combined, they can do some cool things, like the holy water+wind book creates a rain of holy water. The system isn't as balenced as the DSS cards, but it's much more balanced then the Tacticle Souls.
Graphicly, the game is great. The graphics are as well detailed at they were in CoTM, and they're bright and vibrent. CoTM was so dark, the only place to see it was on the sun, HoD does not have that problem. While it suceeds in graphics, it looses in terms of music. The music is bland, and awful for a Castlevania game (no series is better known for its music). None of the pieces are new, a few of the remixes are decent, but none eclipse the original.
Now for the bad. I have three major problems with this game. The first is the "big twist", the second castle. In Symphony of the Night, if you didn't kill Richter, then you got to go through an upside down castle. You didn't go back to the first castle, instead you explored the new one. In this one, a quarter of the way in, you're transported to a second castle. The thing is, it's a clone of the first, only with a different back ground. Since you have to frequently jump between the two castles (Castle A and Castle B), it gets very monotonous very fast. It's so tedius, and their are only a few teleport gates, meaning you'll spend your time running through the same corridors over and over again. Also, it's easy to forget which castle your in. You'll be running through Castle A, looking through an item, only to discover you some how ended up in Castle B, so you have to run back to a gate!
Number two is the difficulty, or lack there of. Castlevania games are known for being hard, CoTM has sent many a man to the madhouse. HoD is easy though, extremly easy. The bosses are a joke, the hardest is Pazuzu the goat deamon. For crying out loud, you fight Legion, the big ball of courpses, twice! It just makes the game more tedious.
Number three is the store where you buy things. I'd love to know what they were thinking with this one. The store constantly changes locations, but it only appears in certain rooms. In some rooms, it'll appear depending on if your at an odd numbered level, or an even numbered. Others it depends on how many hearts you have, or what spell book you have equiped. The thing is, their is no clue to tell you this. You have to look up help on the internet to figure it out. You'll find the shop keeper, then later run back to it, needing a potion, only to find it's no longer there! Not only that, but the items change! It'll drive you crazy.
HoD is an averege game. It falls above the N64 games, and bellow Legends, in the ranking of Castlevania games. It's averedge, nothing more. Easily forgotten, and probably should stay that way.
Reviewer's Score: 5/10 | Originally Posted: 01/20/09
Game Release: Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance (US, 09/16/02)
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