Review by ShadeKun

"This has to be one of the best"

The squeals can only get better...
But if they make a squeal for this, it's going to be hard to beat this one!

Story 7/10:
Not as great as I had hoped. The main character, Soma, finds himself in a castle which he later figures out that this castle is the home of none other than Dracula himself. The story then unfolds, and depending on the ending you figure out what happens. You do not really get too indepth into the story, and with all the back tracking and running around you do, you usually forget what was going on before the next time you run into a scene, but it's still all good.

Graphics 9/10:
Graphics looked very pretty. The animations are very well done, and also have very high frame rate. When I compared it to HoD, I quickly saw that HoD had very choppy animations compared to AoS. The way the characters moved was a big up in my view. There were many weapons, and each one of them looked fantastic. They had somewhat of a 3Dish mix to the weapons, i.e. the Excalibur, it was attached to to stone, and while the sword was in 2D the stone was in 3D. The magic also looked very good, like my favorite Valkyrie guardian, she was well animated and very smooth colors. The only thing that brought the score down was the animation for the large swords, you just swung from up to down, pretty boring looking in my view, but other than that the rest was excellent.

Sound 10/10:
Oh man, the sound was very nice. From the minor voice acting they had, all the way to the creepy moans you would hear when you killed an enemy. The music is a big up from HoD. Unlike HoD, which got boring after a few seconds, the music in AoS was very clear, and catchy too, especially Julius Belmont's theme.

Gameplay 8/10:
Very easy learning curve. You will get the hang of it in a few minutes of gameplay. Instead of the whip, the now have your character equipping a variety of weapons, from swords to guns.
The soul system makes the game much more enjoyable, and you'd be testing the souls for hours to see what they can do, and what combinations of souls and weapons work well together. Take the sword with the vortex blade, which allows you to slash quickly but weak, and equip the succubus soul, you will be able to heal quickly using it. Collecting the souls is all the much more fun, but it can get annoying when you kill one enemy over 100 times, and it's still not dropping the soul.
It's also kind of short, if you are really good, you can probably beat the game in 3-5 hours.

Replay 6/10:
I wouldn't really play it again, but there are a few secrets that would be worth replaying for, such as the secret equipment in hard mode, or the Julius mode. Other than that, there isn't really much you can do after you finish it and get the perfect ending.

Last notes:
This was the 5 Castlevania I've played, and of all the ones I've played, this was right up there with SotN, if not equal.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 05/19/03, Updated 05/19/03

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