Review by Gauntlet Man 99

"So this is GBA...I like it!"

When Game Boy Advance was released about a week ago, I didn’t get a game until two days later. I spent about half of that time trying to decide which gam to get. It was either Mario, for the multi-player and the fact that it was a Mario game, Tony Hawk 2, for the graphics, or Castlevania: Circle of the Moon for its size and how cool it seemed in my Nintendo Power Advance. I finally decided on Castlevania. After I bought it, I drove home and turned it on. I was amazed at the quality of everything. Now, if you keep reading, you’ll be able to find out more about this game.

Graphics- 10 out of 10
Konami went into amazing detail with COTM. When you see a bat, you can see the little bones in its wings and it’s red eyes as it flies towards you. Or whenever you kill a demon you can see it burst into flames and the blood fly out of it. The only problem is the lack of detail on your own character. His body is fairly well done, but his face has almost no detail on it. But the rest of the graphics throughout the game make up for that.

Sound- 10 out of 10
The second I heard that haunting melody when I turned on the game I fell in love with the eerie music that plays throughout the game. As you explore Dracula’s castle you will hear hundreds of different tunes that perfectly set a creepy and suspenseful mood. Besides the music, each demon, ghost, monster, or whatever you encounter makes a different noise for its attack and it’s death cry.

Play Control- 10 out of 10
In Castlevania: Circle of the Moon, the play control is perfect. Moving around is nice and smooth, but there are tons of different moves that you’ll have to master to complete the game, each with its own semi-complex button combination that needs to be executed to use the move. That may seem too complicated and too hard to remember, but it’s not. Even if you do forget how to pull a certain move off all you have to do is look at one of the menus on the start screen and it has a list of all your skills and how to use them.

Game Design and Story- 10 out of 10
COTM is one of the best games I have ever played. It’s like an RPG because you get experience points, cast spells and level up, but the battles aren’t turn based. And it’s also like a platform game like Rayman because it presents the game in a side view. But really it’s neither of those. It’s classified as an adventure game, but what other adventure games (aside from Secret of Mana for the Super Nintendo) have you gaining experience and having MP and HP? So Circle of the Moon is like a new genre of games. The story is totally unoriginal though. As in all of the Castlevania games, Dracula the Lord of Darkness is back and you need to stop him. Normally, that would have lowered the score, but there are enough items, secrets, and other cool elements to keep it at a ten.

Replay Value and Challenge- 10 out of 10
I got Castlevania about half a week ago, and I’ve already played for 42 hours (the game has an in-game timer). Despite that, I still haven’t come close to beating it. The enemies gradually get tougher as you progress through the game, but they’re not easy enough not to present a challenge. The bosses are totally different though. Even the first one is hard. And the puzzles that are in the game are tougher than some puzzles in Zelda games. All in all, it will take a pro gamer to beat Castlevania.

Overall- 10 out of 10
Overall, Castlevania: Circle of the Moon is a must-have Game Boy Advance game. It’s one of those thrill-a-second, action-packed, masterpiece games that you’ll regret having to put down. And in the end, COTM is nearly perfect and anyone will enjoy it. The only flaw is that it’s rated “T” for Teen by the ESRB rating board.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 06/19/01, Updated 01/18/02

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