Review by Ofisil

"The worst in the GBA series"

Castlevania: Harmony Of Dissonance is an Action\Platform developed by Konami. While not a fan of the Castlevania franchise I liked Circle Of The Moon quite a lot. Unfortunately this game over here is inferior to the first game and gets boring pretty fast.

Story: 4/10
Presentation: 3/10

Once again quite disappointed in this section. You, a vampire hunter, must help your friend to save his girlfriend or something that is in a strange castle… no, not Bowser's, Dracula's! From there on… nothing! Just kill, kill, kill, kill, kill… yeah, yeah, I knoooow, this game isn't about its story, its about the gameplay. I agree but it wouldn't hurt to have a bit of a better background story at least for once.

Gameplay: 5/10
Replay Value: 4/10

CHOD plays like the first GBA game. You wonder in a large, (much larger this time), castle, kill mobs with your whip and collect items and experience to level up. The thing that makes this game stand out is the use of certain spell books that when fused with a certain item you get a certain spell. For example you can throw a thousand knives in front of you, create a defensive orbiting array of holy crosses, summon rain and many more. The problem is that while in the first game where to use what was quite important, here the game is so freaking easy that I just used the orbiting crosses that made me run around fast while the crosses where killing enemies and saving me from all the trouble of fighting them and getting really bored… The boss fights are even worse, because they are extremely easy, maybe the easiest Castlevania bosses so far, with Dracula, (is that a spoiler?), being almost too easy.

The game not only is easy but also a bit short, (although there castle is much larger), and the mini quest available is rubbish. You must collect various furniture around the castle in order to decorate a room, is that fun? Nope, it isn't…

Graphics: 8.5/10
Design: 7.4/10

Generally the graphics of this game are better than Circle Of The Moon… although you soon forget that… what I mean is that the game rarely shows you its superiority. In the beginning you see rain and a GIANT automaton chasing you and then… just a big castle with simple enemies similar to Circle Of The Moon, then suddenly you meet a boss and things get interesting again, after that dullness once again with some rare moments of nice impressive backgrounds of flowing lava, almost 3D clouds and things like that.

The animation of the main hero is very improved just like its design but I find it quite strange that he has a blue aura around him. Maybe some people found it hard to see the main character in the first game and this blue aura creates a better contrast, I don't know…

Sound: 7.5/10
Music: 5/10

The sound effects of this game are better than Circle Of The Moon and that because they sound more modern and not 16-bit era like the previous game. While the sound effects got better though, the music became quite dull. It's not irritating or something, but it is below average, boring and not catchy at all.

Positives:
-Good graphics
-Combination of spell books and items to create various spells
-Larger castle

Negatives:
-Once again, zero plot
-Surprisingly easy
-Boring music

Also Play:
Castlevania 2, 3 (NES)
Castlevania: Aria Of Sorrow (GBA)
Castlevania: Circle Of The Moon (GBA)
Castlevania: Bloodlines (Mega Drive)
Castlevania: Symphony Of The Night
Super Castlevania (SNES)

Overall: 5.5/10

Could be much, much better. By the looks of it, Konami just wanted to make some easy bucks by using the popularity of the first GBA game… at least it succeeded in making these bucks!


Reviewer's Score: 5/10 | Originally Posted: 09/01/09

Game Release: Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance (US, 09/16/02)


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