Review by mgsisthebest

"C:SotN has finally been dethroned!!!"

After playing through many Castlevania games (the multi-character Castlevania III and the 3D Castlevania 64, to name a few), I took an extreme likely toward Castlevania: SotN. This game was a 2D-gamers dream. It took a different approach to the basic formula of the series by taking a few ideas from classic games like Super Metroid. Certain items were required to get to new areas and each of these new areas were highly distinct in ''look'' and difficulty. I personally loved this game because it had such a high replay value (secret items were all over) and awesome gameplay. However, along with the good, there was also some bad. The game was one of the easiest games I have ever played. I only died once and that was almost on purpose. Sadly, I wanted more from the Castlevania series. I wanted a game that made up were C:SotN lacked...

... and, on June 11, I got what I was waiting for. The latest installment in the series, Castlevania: Circle of the Moon, finally arrived at my local video game store. After I played it for a few minutes, I could tell that it had made up were C:SotN lacked and surpassed it in many aspects.

While I am on the topic of difficulty, I want to mention that the difficulty level has been jacked up and there also is an optional ''Battle Arena'' (where the player can fight many insanely difficult enemies).

My favorite part of C:CotM has to be the card system (DSS). It allows you to combine an action and an attribute card (10 of each) to make a move. These moves include hammers, projectiles, familiars, summons, item crashes, etc. etc. etc... DSS adds a whole new level of variety to the series and makes fighting the same enemies... fun.

Now to wrap up my review, I will give you the generic categories and their scores:

Graphics: Dark. Dark. Dark. This game is so dark, that is actually requires a ton of light to play (unlike other bright GBA games that can be played in almost no light). The backgrounds, once seen in full light, are amazing. Church bells have a 3D-look and stain-glass windows are full of color. One small flaw is with the character animation. Nathan (the main character) is poorly animated while he runs... BUT, this is only a first-generation title.
Score: 8.5

Sound: C:CotM's music fits the mood perfectly. It contains gloomy songs that make you feel like you are in the presence of Dracula. The sound effects are nothing to brag about because there aren't many to hear. This is still some of the best music you are going to hear from such a small speaker.
Score: 9.0

Gameplay: Simply fantastic.
Score: 10.0

Replay value: I have about 7 hours on my game clock and I can beat Dracula if I wanted to. I can see myself playing this one for at least another 30 hours... in search of the super-rare items and playing through the 4 (!!!) other game modes.
Score: 9.5

Now, I want to directly compare C:CotM and C:SotN to show why C:CotM is a better game.

Symphony of the Night:
- Bat

Circle of the Moon:
- Wall kick and Roc Feather

The bat is fairly boring. You simply move left, right, up, down, etc. to your destination. The wall kick and the Roc Feather, on the other hand, require skill to use and aren't half as boring.

- Relics.

- DSS and Magic Items.

The relics and familiars in SotN are cool. Some of the relics, however, are a bunch of B.S. (Come on, a relic that shows the name of the enemy...). In CotM, you start the game with at least 4 or 5 of the relics found in SotN (you don't have the relics... just the move). DSS has many more attacks (100 total) and also includes summons, item crashes (yes, you can use them with Richter... But, not Alucard) and a larger variety of projectile attacks, shields, etc...

- Need to play in front of a TV.

- Handheld (BABY!!!)

Yes, you can fork out a few hundred dollars and buy a PS1 with a LSD screen to play SotN in your car... BUT, you still need a lot more space than the amount of room a GBA consumes.

Well, I could go on forever... but I'll stop here. I simply think Circle of the Moon is a better game than Symphony of the Night.

Final Score: 10.0!

Nothing personal against SotN fans... I just had to prove my point to one of them...

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 06/18/01, Updated 06/18/01

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