Circle of the moon - Review
Journey back.. to a time where
people still use whips as weapons
| Battle System
| Replay Value
| Time to Complete
|Nathan, the main character
Castlevania, a series in which players take on count Dracula and
his evil legion of undead monsters. The newest title in the series goes beyond
some of its predecessors with an original feel, and a difficulty level unlike
many of the other titles in the series. Players take the role of young Nathan
Graves, as he quests through the giant castle of Dracula to save his master, and
defeat the count himself.
In the newest game of the Castlevania line, players have
to master a distinct battle system, not seen by the likes of this type of game
before. One must collect and combine Attribute and Action cards, making a special effect for each combination, an
example would be the Mars card combined with Gryphon card, making a giant hammer
appear instead of the normal whip Nathan uses. Players will also find stats,
which will increase depending on how much experience they gather by killing
enemies, and leveling up. You also can collect armor, and two different
accessories, which will increase stats or add special effects. All in all the
battle system is fun and easy-to-use, making it top notch in my book.
Now the game works fairly easy, not too many puzzles to
solve, or giant confusing menus to go through. One complaint though would be
there isn't enough storyline, the beginning and the end are about the only times
you see any real text, besides a few encounters with Hugh, a rival of the main
character. Another compliant on my part would be item usage. Most items in the
game are fairly useless, other than cures for certain status effects, like being
poisoned or cursed, and another thing about it is you have to open up the menu,
basically pausing the game, and use an item in the equip screen, which gets kind
of annoying near the middle of the game. The game is fairly lengthy, taking
anywhere from 10 hours to 40 hours, depending on how well one plays the game.
Its also fairly difficult, and I wouldn't recommend it for anyone who has bad
hand/eye coordination, especially since its on a handheld system. One last quip
I have is the game is very dark, so you'll need a good light source to be able
to play it well. The last thing I'll mention is a good one. You can collect
certain artifacts which give you special skills, most of them are just to help
access new areas of the castle, but a few have other uses.
|Whip of Fire!
The music of the game is quite good, especially coming from a handheld.
You'll hear classic Castlevania tunes jammed out along with a few new ones. The
little stereo on the Game Boy doesn't play it well though, so I suggest you
invest in some headphones. The sound effects are also top notch, everything from
the sound of Nathan's whip, to the grunts he makes when he jumps are spectacular
for a handheld game.
The game is original in some aspects, and dull in others. Its a Castlevania
game, so it has that same basic whip and jump your way through a big castle,
fight a few bosses, beat up Dracula, and win the game formula to it. But the way
its presented, and the originality of the battle system clearly make up for it
in my opinion. Lets put it this way, I've never spent this much time playing a
handheld game in my life. Buy this game, and you'll find yourself huddled next
to your Game Boy for a few days, constantly searching for a better light source
to see the spectacular graphics. And that's another thing, I've seen a lot of
games, but this has got to be one of the best looking handheld titles ever made,
if not the best. I'd say that counts for being original.
I would call the storyline of this game
"good", why you ask? Well it doesn't flow very well, you'll spend most
of the game just whipping and jumping to explore new areas of the castle. The
one thing that is done well is how the rivalry between the main character and
his friend is shown. You'll meet up with him a few times around the castle,
which basically is the only way the story is moved along. Sometimes you'll have
a little chat with the boss characters, but it really has no significance in the
story whatsoever. So if you're buying this game, buy it for its great game play
and massive length.
Castlevania: Circle of the Moon was translated word for
word from what I understand. Its packaged in the same box the Japanese market
got, and has been advertised in every gaming magazine in the country. Konami
also paid off some reviewers because this game got a ton of hype before
it came out in the states, but most of it is well deserved.
|A look a the Card system
As for replay value, this game has its strong points. There
aren't any different endings, or special items you get for beating it once. But
there are different modes you can play through as, some effecting your stats,
others effecting what does more damage, or what you start out with. And if
you're a hardcore gamer such as myself, you'll play through the game every time
for each of the modes.
As I said earlier, for a handheld game, this is beautiful. The graphics are
top notch for a handheld system, best I've ever seen. And the amount of objects
that can appear on screen is stunning. Its not too gory, for a Castlevania game
at least. And you'll find that enemies have their own dying animations. Coming
from a handheld system, this game is breathtaking.
The game is fairly difficult, especially for someone new to the series.
You'll find that when you're surrounded by enemies its hard to get away. Most of
the bosses seem hard, but I found there are generally ways to get around
each one of them with ease. Just experiment with your card skills and you'll
find it much easier to get through the game.
For someone who just started playing games, this game will take in excess of
30 hours to beat, at least. Its difficulty will make for much starting over from
the last save point. For a veteran of the Castlevania series, this game could
take 5 hours if they just sat there playing it and didn't explore the whole
castle. If you're a hardcore gamer, expect to play it at least 15 hours, you'll
want to explore the whole castle, and since the thing is huge, and enemies are
everywhere it'll probably take about 15 hours if you're skilled.
Well, with great game play, you really can't go wrong with Castlevania:
Circle of the Moon. But if you're looking for a deep and involving storyline, I
suggest you go out and get Dragon Warrior 3 remix, because you won't find one
here. Lastly, a warning to those of you who find themselves addicted to video
games. Be careful, this game can take control of your life a short while. ;)