Castlevania: Circle of the Moon
Castlevania: Circle of the Moon is a Metroidvania game developed by Konami Computer Entertainment Kobe and published by Konami for the Game Boy Advance on 2001-03-21. It is one of many Castlevania games and the first in the series to be released for the GBA. As the next game released after the hugely popular Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Circle of the Moon borrows a lot from the previous game, but also introduces a new card system which allows the player to gain various new abilities based on which which two cards are equipped.
In the game, Nathan Graves and Hugh Baldwin enter into Dracula's castle to try and stop Camilla from reviving him, but fail. Dracula sends them into a dungeon below his castle, and the two split up to find their way back up to defeat him. Unfortunately, Hugh, jealous that his father chose Nathan as his successor instead of Hugh, his son, becomes corrupted by Dracula and Camilla and joins them in trying to stop Nathan.
I first saw this game at a LAN party in the mid-2000s. An attendee was showing off his computer and was running a GBA emulator with this game. He had already beaten it and had most of the cards. I remember seeing the rose sword in action and thinking it was a pretty awesome game. Shortly after that, I downloaded a GBA emulator and the game and began playing it. However, since I didn't know the full title of the game (only that it was a Castlevania game), I ended up playing the European game. By the time I discovered it wasn't the American release I was so far into the game that I didn't want to restart, so I just kept playing through the European title. After describing my love for this game, several of my friends mentioned that it was great, but inferior to Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, which I admitted I hadn't played. They were shocked and demanded that I play it, and, after a few years of dragging my feet, I did eventually play Symphony. While I loved Symphony, I still think Circle of the Moon is superior just because it fixes several of the problems I had with Symphony.
I do not own this game, but I have beat it.
Best Version: Game Boy Advance
— This section contains spoilers! —
- The background graphics, character art, and animation are all fantastic. The bosses are especially well-drawn.
- There is a huge variety of monsters in the game.
- The music is wonderfully fitting and atmospheric.
- The various power-ups you collect (dash, double-jump, slide, etc.) give a steady progression of power through the game.
- I really like the card system and the fun of discovering all the various abilities they yield when you get them.
- There are plenty of hidden bonuses to collect for those players who search hard enough.
- I love how old areas get re-occupied with stronger enemies later in the game making them more interesting when you have to backtrack.
- The very difficult arena is a great way of rewarding the player late in the game.
- The story is pretty stock and not very important to the game.
- A lot of the card abilities are objectively inferior to others making most of them pointless.
- Some of the card abilities are not apparent and very difficult to discover without resorting to hint books.
- Rather than have a money system to buy better equipment, all of the items in the game come either as treasure pickups, or from random drops after killing enemies. I found that the game rewards you with better items consistently enough that you don't need to farm items, but, if you want something special and rare, you will have to grind for awhile.
- The cross is by far the best secondary item in the game, making it annoying when you accidentally pick up one of the other items.
- The manual, although it gives detailed instructions for how to play, pretty much ignores the story and culture of the game.
|English (North America)||Castlevania: Circle of the Moon|
|Japanese||悪魔城ドラキュラ サークル オブ ザ ムーン||Akumajo Dorakyura: Sakuru obu za Mun||Devil's Castle Dracula: Circle of the Moon|