Review by Jark

"Pretty Darn Good"

This is my review on the game Castlevania: Circle of the Moon. I hope you find this useful in considering which game(s) to buy for the GBA.

Graphics: 9/10
Good and more good. There is one bad, though. With it's dark atmosphere, you really can't see unless you have a bright light source (i.e. the sun). But, this is just a minor inconvenience. It is well worth the trouble.

Sound: 10/10
Good and beyond. From the haunting choir in the game menu to the music in the final battle with Dracula, this game has it all. Although it doesn't have many vocals (mainly Nathan when he jumps, cracks his whip, or dies) it is still very good when it comes to sound effects.

Game play: 10/10
Very good. With its DSS (Dual Set-up System) cards and platforming action, this game is good at what it does. You not only have a platformer, but a platformer/RPG. You must fight to gain levels, and you can get help from magical DSS cards you'll earn in battle. You can cast magic with these, ranging from a fire whip to a gun. And the thing about gaining levels means you'll have to fight to beat the bosses and eventually Dracula. Just one problem: the saving system. You have to find the save points. You just should be able to save wherever you want. But, since I believe that this game was modeled after Metroid, I guess we'll have to just understand.

Control: 10/10
This game has pretty good controls. Good thing, because tight controls can mean the difference between a close call and hearing Nathan scream a gruesome death.

Story line: 9/10
Great story line, but could've been better. Basically find and destroy Dracula, but there is more. Without giving too much away, here's the skinny. A beautiful, dark-hearted woman named Camilla resurrects Dracula. Morris Baldwin and his two apprentices, Nathan Graves (that's you!) and Hugh Baldwin, have something to say about it, though. When the trio arrives, Drac is already back. He promptly gets rid of Hugh and Nathan, leaving Morris to deal with Dracula and Camilla alone. Hugh and Nathan then fall down to a crypt under the castle. Hugh then decides to go and find his father. Then you undergo the quest to find and save your master, and seal Dracula once again.

Replay Value: 9/10
Pretty good. I'm not going to spoil anything, but I will say that after you beat it once, your going want to beat it all over again.

Difficulty: 10/10
Yes this game is hard. You want reasons? Ok, ok. One: You have to clear out the entire castle by yourself. Two: You have to fight bosses. Three: Your only friends are your whip and you DSS cards, along with your whip. Four: Dracula. Five: Enemies aren't going to give up. They will hunt you down. Six: Save points are one of the few things that can restore life. Too bad they're limited in number. Seven: Enemies come back after you leave the room. Do you really need any more reasons?

Overall: 10/10
Good game. Some inconveniences, but well worth the trouble. If you plan on buying only one or two games for the summer for you GBA, buy Castlevania: Circle of the Moon. Also, I believe Konami had a hidden agenda: give gamers a taste of Metroid. That's what I believe, because look at it: big map you need to back track, magic items that enhance you, and, unlike many Castlevania's, NO PITFALLS! Ok, ok, now that I'm done with this conspiracy theory, just remember this: get this game if you like it's style as a platformer with RPG elements, or if you like Metroid's game engine and would like to try it with some added features.

Buy. No questions asked.

That is my review, and I hope this will help you in your buying decisions. Of course, I believe that you should just get them all, but unlike rich people, I don't have the money.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 07/16/01, Updated 07/16/01

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