Review by SPAMBOY

"Spanks Circle of the Moon"

In this latest installment of the Castlevania series we follow the story of a young vampire killer named Juste Belmont. The game takes place after the events of Castlevania 2: Dracula's Curse where our favorite Belmont, Simon, defeats Dracula yet again. This is the first Castlevania in a while where the main character is a Belmont. SotN had Richter as a playable character but thats as close as it got.

The story starts off when Maxim, a long time friend of Juste, comes back severely wounded from two years of training. He tells Juste that Lydie, a girl with an oddly disproportionate head, has been kidnapped. Sound familiar? Maxim doesn't remember much and is still gravely injured but he takes Juste to the place where he believes Lydie is being held captive. The castle they find themselves in is none other than Dracula's Castle!

When you start the game you're equipped with the Belmont family whip. Back in this game is the ever so useless whip brandish which allows you to swing your whip around you in a fruitless effort to damage enemies. Its a move really only useful for enemies like medusa heads and lost souls. Throughout the course of the game you'll find various equipment upgrades and relics. This is no different from SotN or CotM. However, the spell system is quite different. Gone is the tedious card finding of CotM and present now is a spellbook system. Its quite simple, you get a spellbook and you create various magic with whatever secondary weapon you have. The spells are actually really useful. Its a little too simple but its better than the card system. The only big problem I have with the gameplay is that boss fights are WAY to easy. What happened to the challenging bosses of SotN and CotM?! These bosses are laughably easy. Im serious, you really will laugh. The gameplay is still great despite that though.

Juste controls almost perfectly. With the ability to dash either backwards or forwards with the press of a button you'll be dodging monsters attacks like it was your moms meatloaf. The only problem I have though is that his jump seems a little floaty. Its kind of slow and often times you'll find yourself getting hit on your way down from a jump when you should've touched the ground 3 seconds ago. All in all though the control is tight and you won't be throwing your gameboy in frustration.

The graphics are far superior to CotM. Its one of the best looking games on the GBA to date. They implemented a new concept in this game. The ability to see your character! Nathans dark trenchcoat and dark palate of colors from CotM was hell to try and play in but Juste shows up rather well in Draculas well lit and sprucely decorated abode. Juste also has a mysterious blue aura around him. Im not sure if they did that so you could see him better or if he just naturally glows but its kind of cool anyways. It reminds me of Alucard. *sigh* I miss that old bugger.

The sounds in the game are good. Whip smacks and demon crys are all part of the fun. However since they spent alot of memory updating the graphics and gameplay the music suffered. Its still catchy and isnt bad its just not the same caliber as SotN or CotM.

This game has a good amount of replay value. There is a boss mode where you fight all the bosses in the game, if you input the famed Konami code you get a special treat, theres also the ability to play as Maxim. You'll be playing this one for awhile.

Overall this game packs quite a punch. Its not superior to SotN's greatness but it is better than CotM. You'll be glad you picked this game up. Buy it now! Just stop reading this and get it. Its one of the best GBA games to date. Go!

Indulge in something great. Find peace and happiness in Gummi Crunch.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 09/22/02, Updated 09/22/02

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