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GBA castlevanias review

Posted: 16th December 2018 15:45

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Castlevania ARIA of sorrow:

You start off in the future of 2035, and you find out Dracula is sealed away and defeated, but something is happening with his castle.

The game plays a lot like symphony of the night, and you got some similar music. You are in fact not tied down to using the whip like the early 2d castlevanias, and instead you have a wide array of weapons, such as sword, fist weapons axes and yes there is a whip like weapon as well.

Also unlike castlevania games, you have powers that involve capturing monsters souls for powers, but its very difficult, and you are unlikely to get them early on since they are fairly rare, but that is ok, because its still a lot of fun to use the ones you find.

The powers: Not every power is useful, and some of them are so niche and rare, that by the time you get them, you wont really need them as much later on. There is also some fairly challenging bits, like the clocktower and some of the big huge enemies who hit really hard and take a while to drop.

The level design also looks gorgeous, and some of the design of the big enemies is really fun to look at.

https://www.google.com/search?q=castlevania...73DI_QQFz1ft3M:

You see a big power up used and the nice big enemies.


There are actually 3 endings in this game.The good ending:you need to collect most of the souls and piece together the story
.
The bad ending:Beat the game without all the powers, or get the powers and go to the final boss and lose.

Also like harmony of dissonance and circle of the moon, there is a boss rush mode, but unlike in harmony of dissonance where it has no impact, or like in circle of the moon where there is no boss rush, just a survival arena, you unlock new goodies for beating the boss rush faster.

There is also a secret code in order to play a different character, and it subsequently makes the game harder as well, as well as having a hard mode difficulty on top of that.

Music is also good.

Story:I think the story has you interested enough to keep up, and it does eventually wrap itself up.I think this one still holds up very well and quite enjoyable, so I say give it a go.

Castlevania harmony of dissonance:

This game has some bits I like, and some bits I don't like.

The game uses the same castle layout, but it has side A and side b for every location, with places that are cut off with tougher enemies, but not really because the strength barely changes.

The character also looks worse in detail as you have that blue outline.You also have the same enemies used over and over again, and bosses repeating themselves, but with slight differences. The game is super confusing due to having the same layout and I don't find it as enjoyable as aria of sorrow or as fun as circle of the moon.Some of the things, like the storyline follows the grandson of simon Belmont, who once again takes the mantle of his grandad and goes off to defeat Dracula, but it follows more closely the least popular castlevania title:Castlevania 2.The body parts of dacula that you collected also make a return, and give you some sort of bonus, minus the hidden blocks. It has some good level design.I like how in castle a and b, the clockwork tower changes.In A you have a full giant cog, and in b you have a cog with a stick, but the problem is that a lot of places don't change enough to be really noticeable.


The magic:The magic in harmony of dissonance is this:You got elemental books that change the effect based on the sub weapon, and book you have.

You have the standard sub weapons like:Axe holy water Magic book, cross the fist and dagger.Some of the powers actually make the dagger worth taking depending on the boss, so you could see some use.

Lastly, you have this really annoying thing that to get the good ending, you have to collect some furniture.I found this part a little tedious as the map layout was finished being explored, I had areas I had no idea I could explore that were so well hidden, I didn't know you could go there so I was wandering around.

The music is also hit and miss as well.

Recommendation: I think its a decent game, but I don't find it as easy to return to as aria of sorrow or as circle of the moon.

Castlevania circle of the moon:

I got the original of this game on gba, and beat the whole game, and let me tell you this is definitely a game worth replaying.


You have a magic system where you combine cards to cast spells that help you.


You also have throwing weapons you can use of the standard kind.


The story is that you and your master go to hunt Dracula, but your master gets caught by Dracula and you try to rescue him, but he opens a pit and you and the masters son fall in and fail to rescue him in time, so now you must climb up and find your way to get to Dracula.

This game once again is metroidvania ish with you having new powers like castlevania harmony of dissonance and like aria of sorrow.


You also have a arena place you can fight to get better items, but its very challenging, so you need to be prepared.Unlike castlevania aria of sorrow nd harmony of dissonance though, you cannot buy health items or anything of that sort, so you must resort to being lucky farming random drops.Most drops you can skip anyways, so there is that, and I don't really mind the challenge anyways since its not too terrible.


Also unlike harmony of dissonance, you have entire areas closed off, so you know where you have been and where you have not on the map, and which power you need for what area.


Extra modes:You got extra modes after you beat the game, adding more replayability, such as a magic only mode, thief mode, sniper mode and a fighter mode as well, adding lots of replayability.I really enjoyed the extra modes quite a lot, as they add flavor to the game.My favorite and one of the most difficult ones, is sniper mode, as you get a special power up knife that doesn't suck as much that homes in on enemies and hits them for more damage.All damage by sub weapons is increased as well, and regular attack damage is decreased.Its very challenging very early on, and gets easier but its pretty balanced.


So that is my review of the gba castlevanias. Hope it was informative, and see ya next time for my next review.


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Posted: 27th December 2018 17:47

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My quick thoughts:

Aria of Sorrow - has the best storyline of the three. The soul system is also super-neat, though I'd say it's eclipsed by Dawn of Sorrow's soul system, which implements things better in my opinion. Though to be fair that was the second time they did that and they had more experience.

Music is nice, of course. Can't be too shabby even at worst, given Michiru Yamane at the helm.

Harmony of Dissonance

Believe it or not, but this is my favorite entry.

I liked the two-castle layout -- if anything this game arguably used it more comprehensively than Symphony, which puts them one after another. In this game, the player frequently weaves between the two castles. I actually appreciated getting lost in the maze-like structure. I loved the "big reveal" moment when the map blew open, acknowledging my suspicions about how the chunks of it that I'd explored so far were curiously non-overlapping.

I also love the music, which is very distinctively "unstable", unnerving, unsettling -- and lives up to the game's name, with its frequently dissonant harmonies.

Overall the game felt "claustrophobic", but in a good way. Like I was going deeper and deeper into a mystery and things were looking worse and worse.

Quote
Lastly, you have this really annoying thing that to get the good ending, you have to collect some furniture.I found this part a little tedious as the map layout was finished being explored, I had areas I had no idea I could explore that were so well hidden, I didn't know you could go there so I was wandering around.
This is not true at all.

There are three (non-game-over) endings in Harmony of Dissonance, and here are their requirements:
Possible spoilers: highlight to view
* somewhat-bad ending: defeat Maxim in Castle A. Maxim dies, Lydie survives. This simply requires that you open the hatchway in the center of Castle A, which means you need to break the evil hand statue at the top of Castle A.
* worst ending: defeat Maxim in Castle B, but without the JB and MK bracelets equipped. Both Maxim and Lydie die. To access the core of Castle B you need to get all six Dracula relics.
* best ending: defeat Maxim in Castle B, but with the JB and MK bracelets equipped. You then fight Dracula Wraith. If you win, both Maxim and Lydie survive. Again, to access the Castle B core you need all six Dracula relics. The two bracelets are guaranteed items you start with/given to you in a cutscene.
None of these endings requires any amount of furniture to be found.

There is one extra line of script or so in the best ending, if you get all the furniture, but even without it it's still the best ending.

Quote
there is a boss rush mode, but unlike in harmony of dissonance where it has no impact, or like in circle of the moon where there is no boss rush, just a survival arena, you unlock new goodies for beating the boss rush faster.
I actually prefer Harmony's boss rush mode because it takes longer. Aria and later games have boss rush modes that focus on optimal equipment setups just to quick-kill everything, but I don't find that very fun -- I prefer having to use a limited skillset but weave around the enemies. The Ys games let me do this, as does Harmony's. I particularly love the Simon Belmont cameo in Harmony's boss rush, because he's just that damn powerful, despite being slow, and the music is amazing.

Circle of the Moon

This game would be amazing if not for the controls being stiff. Double-tap to run, really?

Also, the item drops are kinda obnoxious, so a regular playthrough in the first (VAMPIRE KILLER) game mode is going to require lots of grinding, unfortunately, if you wanna get all the items. (There's no bestiary but it's still fun to keep track of all of them.)

This is why I used someone's save file to skip ahead to the last unlockable mode, Thief Mode, which vastly increases item drop rate. Sure your other stats are crap, but now you can easily get all the equipment and even all the magic cards.

Anyway, the music is grand, sorta more in the tradition of Symphony -- quite the contrast to Harmony of Dissonance, but I like this too.

The story is simple but effective. Jealousy climaxing as betrayal.

This post has been edited by Glenn Magus Harvey on 27th December 2018 17:48

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Posted: 3rd January 2019 14:01

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Quote (Glenn Magus Harvey @ 27th December 2018 17:47)
My quick thoughts:

Aria of Sorrow - has the best storyline of the three. The soul system is also super-neat, though I'd say it's eclipsed by Dawn of Sorrow's soul system, which implements things better in my opinion. Though to be fair that was the second time they did that and they had more experience.

Music is nice, of course. Can't be too shabby even at worst, given Michiru Yamane at the helm.

Harmony of Dissonance

Believe it or not, but this is my favorite entry.

I liked the two-castle layout -- if anything this game arguably used it more comprehensively than Symphony, which puts them one after another. In this game, the player frequently weaves between the two castles. I actually appreciated getting lost in the maze-like structure. I loved the "big reveal" moment when the map blew open, acknowledging my suspicions about how the chunks of it that I'd explored so far were curiously non-overlapping.

I also love the music, which is very distinctively "unstable", unnerving, unsettling -- and lives up to the game's name, with its frequently dissonant harmonies.

Overall the game felt "claustrophobic", but in a good way. Like I was going deeper and deeper into a mystery and things were looking worse and worse.

Quote
Lastly, you have this really annoying thing that to get the good ending, you have to collect some furniture.I found this part a little tedious as the map layout was finished being explored, I had areas I had no idea I could explore that were so well hidden, I didn't know you could go there so I was wandering around.
This is not true at all.

There are three (non-game-over) endings in Harmony of Dissonance, and here are their requirements:
Possible spoilers: highlight to view
* somewhat-bad ending: defeat Maxim in Castle A. Maxim dies, Lydie survives. This simply requires that you open the hatchway in the center of Castle A, which means you need to break the evil hand statue at the top of Castle A.
* worst ending: defeat Maxim in Castle B, but without the JB and MK bracelets equipped. Both Maxim and Lydie die. To access the core of Castle B you need to get all six Dracula relics.
* best ending: defeat Maxim in Castle B, but with the JB and MK bracelets equipped. You then fight Dracula Wraith. If you win, both Maxim and Lydie survive. Again, to access the Castle B core you need all six Dracula relics. The two bracelets are guaranteed items you start with/given to you in a cutscene.
None of these endings requires any amount of furniture to be found.

There is one extra line of script or so in the best ending, if you get all the furniture, but even without it it's still the best ending.

Quote
there is a boss rush mode, but unlike in harmony of dissonance where it has no impact, or like in circle of the moon where there is no boss rush, just a survival arena, you unlock new goodies for beating the boss rush faster.
I actually prefer Harmony's boss rush mode because it takes longer. Aria and later games have boss rush modes that focus on optimal equipment setups just to quick-kill everything, but I don't find that very fun -- I prefer having to use a limited skillset but weave around the enemies. The Ys games let me do this, as does Harmony's. I particularly love the Simon Belmont cameo in Harmony's boss rush, because he's just that damn powerful, despite being slow, and the music is amazing.

Circle of the Moon

This game would be amazing if not for the controls being stiff. Double-tap to run, really?

Also, the item drops are kinda obnoxious, so a regular playthrough in the first (VAMPIRE KILLER) game mode is going to require lots of grinding, unfortunately, if you wanna get all the items. (There's no bestiary but it's still fun to keep track of all of them.)

This is why I used someone's save file to skip ahead to the last unlockable mode, Thief Mode, which vastly increases item drop rate. Sure your other stats are crap, but now you can easily get all the equipment and even all the magic cards.

Anyway, the music is grand, sorta more in the tradition of Symphony -- quite the contrast to Harmony of Dissonance, but I like this too.

The story is simple but effective. Jealousy climaxing as betrayal.

The drop rates in circle of the moon can be pretty obnoxious at times, especially if you try to farm potions in one area for hours just so you can do the arena, but at the very least its challenging.

I still think aria of sorrow is a better game though, because it offers more stuff to mess around with, and the drop rates arent quite as bad.


Also I played a bit of dawn of sorrow, and i think it is a fantastic game. The only one thing i dont like, is the seal because its kinda iffy and makes bosses a bit annoying. Other than that so far, i really am enjoying it, and in some ways more than aria of sorrow.

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We are stardust.Our bodies are made from the guts of exploding stars.

Neil Degrasse Tyson.
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