"Dracula's been bad again and needs a whipping."

There's no doubt about it ladies and gentlemen. I am indeed the 2nd in my line of family and am very stunningly handsome and terrible lonesome. But enough about me; I am here to review the latest entry into the Castlevania series. Before I get into telling you why this is THE Castlevania to own for the GBA, let me set up some background information.

I was walking in this park one day looking for the perfect girl. The sun was shiny and I was confident. This bum bumped into me and then proceeded to beat the tar out of me for no reason. I was like ''Hey dood, what's up?'' and he pummeled me again for talking back.

Now you might be asking two questions: What does that have to do with Castlevania and, second, when are we getting on to the review?

Well, first, absolutely nothing. And second:

We find our first Castlevania storyline taking place into the near distant future (meaning there's a chance that I could very well be Soma in real life...sweet). But seriously folks, Soma Cruz, illegitimate son of Penelope and Tom Cruz (Who uses her last name because she is the boss after all) is walking along watching the first eclipse of the century when he suddenly blacks out. Soma wakes up and finds himself in Dracula's castle, and a journey of unemotional self-discovery ensues.

STORY:

This is actually an absolute treat. What I really like is that we return to using actual masculine male leads in the game. No more of the girlie manly character. Soma is a man’s man sporting really long pretty hair, pale dead soft skin covering a thinner body than any of guys can ever hope to achieve. I’m jealous(and so is my unborn son).

The story hasn't been this deep since SOTN and has some amazing twists. All I'll say is, you have never seen Dracula this way in any game before (no don't worry, he keeps his clothes on). I give this story a stunning 10/10.

GRAPHICS:

As good as HOD and more! There are some rooms in this game that are just absolutely beautiful such as the game over screen, the menu screen and others. I really did prefer the main character design in HoD but complaining about it anymore would make me a technoperv. Honestly, some of the backgrounds and animations in this game really shocked me and gave me a really good idea of just how powerful our beloved GBA really is. I can not wait to see if Konami can take this to the next step. 10/10

SOUND:

The music is much better than either of the previously released GBA Castlevanias. The music was so good I grabbed my imaginary friend Charlie and twirled him around my room as my parents looked on with horror. Thank the gaming gods there is a sound test that you can unlock after you beat the game to set the mood for you and the girlfriend or boyfriend. 9/10

GAMEPLAY:

Ok here we go. One of my main gripes about the other two games was that it was easy for me to get lost, frustrated, and give up on the game faster than it takes Andy787 to eat pie (which is pretty darn fast). This game does not have that problem. The game is cleverly designed to somehow make you remember where you need to go when you acquire a certain ability..which is cool. And if you get lost, one of the characters you meet will give you hints about what it is you need to look for. Awesome.

Second, there’s no freaking second castle. Thank goodness. I always saw that as a cheap way to stretch out the gaming time. It was tedious and boring. It was tedious and boring. It was tedious and boring. See what I mean?

We also have a new battle system. You collect souls of the monsters you kill. In fact, the battle system itself adds more replay as you’ll want to see every ability you can get from the different souls scattered in the game. You can even hook up with a friend. And after you have done that, you can hook up with him again by linking your GBAs to trade souls. Awesome.

The diverse selection of weapons is awesome. You will come across cool guns that look cool until you get killed (which then will make you look sad). I wish there was some option similar to the trade soul that would allow you to trade weapons. That would be sweeter than sweetness.

The game never has a dull moment. Some of the bosses are easier than they need to be but some are downright ugly and hard.

Nothing else to complain about 10/10

Conclusion DoodZ!:

This is a great game to own. It’s got what counts: awesome story, eye candy, and good great grand game play with lots of replay to boot. You’ll at least squeeze a good 12-15 hrs of game play to uncover every room and soul. Lose the girlfriend, shut the door, sneak out the window and go buy this game now!!!

Final Score:10/10


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 05/12/03, Updated 05/12/03


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