Review by Karmasore

"Total Harmony"

Castlevania: H.O.D. was a long awaited game for me , and it shined through just like I thought it would.

The graphics are top notch, some of the best I've seen on the GBA, and it's great to see so much work put into a 2D side scroller. You'd think that after the release of the Playstation 2, X-box, and Gamecube, developers (especially BIG developers like Konami) would try to concentrate on 3D modeling etc.

It's refreshing to me that so many games coming out for the GBA touch back at the roots of original gameplay mechanics and style. Nothing is better than ripping through a 2D side scroller, and not dealing with 20 minute animated cut scenes and loading time makes it all the better. It's everything Castlevania: Symphony of the Night was, if not more.

The music in the game sets the atmosphere just fine I thought, but there is a dramatic decrease in quality from Circle of the Moon. That is understandable. Anyone that followed the development of this game knows that they toned down the music so they could beef up the graphics. It's a push pull type of thing with the GBA, and an equilibream is hard to find, but sacrifices need to be made in order to reach innovation. The sound effects raise high above the mix, giving them a nice, crisp feel. I didn't notice any muffling or sound slow down what so ever.

More or less, this should be a title that fits nicely into anyones collection, for it features so many different types of gameplay. Role playing, action, and adventure, all wrapped into one package. Not to mention there is plenty of items and hidden areas for you treasure hunters out there.

Another Belmont adventure, and another week of not sleeping. Could it get any better than this?

Rating -- 9/10

Reasoning -- Being a big fan of music, and game music in particular, it was hard for me to get used to the decrease in music qaulity in this game. However, the sound effects are top notch, and some of the best I've heard in a GBA game. The graphics, which amazed me even in the screen shots floating around the internet, are given no justice unless seen in motion. The framerate never slows down, no matter what the amount of sprites are on screen. The bright glowing graphics added with the crisp sound effects creates a nice adventure atmosphere. Pick this game up as soon as you can.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 09/19/02, Updated 09/19/02

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