Review by S. Sage

"2D Castlevania Lives"

Just a short time ago, a friend of mine let me play his Game Boy Advance & three of the games he bought (He spent an excess of $400 bones, but hey, it's for a worthy cause.) The very first game I tried out was Castlevania. So I played. And played. And played....look my hands got numb, ok? All those who say that 2D is dead had better take note: Castlevania is back....WITH A VENGEANCE.

My Japanese sucks. Fortunatly, I found a site that translated the manual, so here's the gist of it: It's 1830, 23 years after C:SoTN. Some major league evil babe named Lady Carmilla has brought our old vampire pal Dracula back from the depths of that really bad hot place. Just as Dracula destroys his coffin, ensuring that he has one less place to sleep in during the day, Maurice Baldwin enters with two of his students in the art of vampire killing, Hugh & Nathan. So Dracula takes the only course of action nessecary at this point: He launches a evil bat at the floor, dropping Hugh & Nathan. God knows how many stories into the abyss. Geez, you would think Dracula would have thought about killing the heroes the first instance he saw them. Of course it wouldn't be much of a game...Anyway, you assume the role of Nathan & explore the castle, trying to destroy Dracula once & for all...well at least until his next appearance on Buffy The Vampire Slayer....

Gameplay & Controls-What makes this undead puppy tick....
When you first see this game in action, you'll think you were playing a lost version of SoTN. The control sceme is very similar to it, as well as past Castlevania games. You equip items & armor, as well as use magical items to give you special attributes. You have a chain whip, & by holding down the B button, Nathan swings the whip in a circle around himself. The shoulder buttons ativate certain skills once you obtain special items. L activates the DSS power that you get from special tarot cards you find. R (which is used later on) is used to hang onto walls. You gain other skills like running, the double jump, block pushing, etc.

Sound-Are you SURE this is a handheld system?
The music is beutiful. When you start the game, you're treated to dark, haunting gothic music as you make you're selections. The music switches with each area you visit. Here's a tip: Play this game with headphones. Trust me. The sound effects are top of the line too.

Graphics-Dude, look at the cool looking demon dog...
I was floored by how this game looks. I immediatley said to my friend ''Dude, this game SO looks like a Playsation game.'' The artwork seems to be hand drwan, & Nathan (as well as various other demons & other entities) were drawn well. Just wait until you meet Cerebus for the first time...

To Import Or Not To Import-
Well, if you got the cash, here's my advice....GET IT NOW!! NOW NOW NOW!!!! This should be on your list of 'Must Play' immediatley. If you can't affor to import it, well reserve it. Do something. Just get this game in your little hands any way possible, even if you have to sacrifice your Pikachu to the forces of darkness. Well, actually, Pikachu IS the force of darkness. Or is that Bill Gates...

-S. Sage really misses GameFan. He also misses Voltron, but that's another sad story.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 03/25/01, Updated 03/25/01

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