Review by MurderDeathKill

"Great game, if you forget Symphony for a bit..."

Circle of the Moon is Konami's first (not last) Gameboy Advance Castlevania game. It was also one of the GBA's launch titles. And it did a great job of showing off what Konami can do, not so much what the GBA hardware can do. But it's still a great game in its own right, if People would stop comparing it to Symphony! (ARGH!)

Graphics: 8
Highs- The game is very beautiful, and surprisingly well detailed for a such a small screen. The charachters all look fine, if a bit small. The enemies (especially the bosses) all look great. The many special effects, look great, for a portable. (Comparing Circle to Symphony is like comparing the GBA to the PSX, it can't really be done!). Plenty of enemies to destroy, all also look great.
Lows- Not the best animation on the GBA. Considering that the GBA was (practically) hyped as being a portable SNES, the lack of animation, in Nate, is underwhelming. Also considering games like Super Metroid had absolutely unbelievable graphics and animation, this kinda takes getting used to. It doesn't help that many of the enemies are simply pallette swaps of the same guy, or symply the same guy with a new weapon or piece of armor. It doesn't help that its dark, either.

Gameplay: 9
Highs- This is Castlevania at its core, and then much more. (Hey, I'm a poet and I didn't even know it! errr...) Featuring closer to home gameplay then Symphony (when playing as Alucard, mind you), the game introduces the extra-nice DSS card system. This gives you 100 spells to tinker with, all at the touch of a button. This is much simpler then in Symphony, where there really weren't any set ''spells,'' more special techniques, like in a fighting game. Not saying that Symphony's magic system is bad in any way, its just simpler in Circle. The best part, of course, is its Castlevania 2-like gameplay. (HA! Didn't compare it to Metroid like the rest of ya!) You don't have set levels, but all of Castlevania to wander around. You also can get stronger by leveling up, like a standard RPG. Also like a standard RPG, you can find items to make you stronger, like armbands, armor, leggings, and magic items to give you new abilities. Those who want to compare it to Symphony (ugh) can say its Symphony, but simpler.
Lows- This factors, in part, to the lows in the graphics. The enemies have a low variety, and many of them fight exactly the same as their color-swapped counterparts, just tougher. Leveling up can be tedious, though not as weird a process as in Symphony (in Symphony, the higher the level, the less expierence given by enemies). Also, they could have replaced the Mars card (gives you new weapons), with actual new weapons. This would have made the game more fun, and would have helped in the graphics department. Instead, Konami kept the whip the standard weapon, and the other weapons have to use magic, ugh.

Sound: 8
Highs- Sound Effects are excellent, Nate is crystal clear, music isn't that bad. (Don't mind the short sound review)
Lows- Music is... Strange. Many of the tunes don't fit with the (noticably) dark atmosphere. No speech, damn Symphony (:p).

Fun Factor/Replayability: 8
Highs- Classic Castlevania, plus RPG Elements makes for a familiar game. The game can be tough, but thanks the leveling up, any difficulty can be lowered with time. After beating the game, you get a new ''mode'' to play as. This is basically the same Castlevania, but slightly different. Beat the game in that mode, and you get yet another mode unlocked, and so on.
Lows- Classic Castlevania :p You know what to expect. No totally new enemies, just those damn annoying Medusa heads and skeletons. :p

Average: 9 (its excellet, a few flaws, but minor ones.)

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 06/10/02, Updated 06/10/02

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