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One of the best side-scrolling game franchises makes a successful debut on the Game Boy Advance inCastlevania: Circle of the Moon. This time around you follow the adventures of Nathan Graves as he attempts to stop the recently resurrected Dracula. In the fine tradition of Castlevania vampire hunters, Graves carries a whip as his primary weapon, and will soon discover the traditional secondary weapons of holy water, dagger, boomerang, time freeze, and more. New to the series is the dual set-up system (DSS), which allows you to use 20 cards (randomly found) for up to 80 power-ups.

The game plays like a side-scrolling classic without seeming too dated. Players traipse around a nonlinear dungeon, defeat monsters, and unlock new parts of the dungeon, often through the use of new abilities. It's similar to the excellent Castlevania: Symphony of the Night for the PlayStation, with the obvious aural limitations of a cartridge-based handheld system.

Unfortunately, the game's dark graphics are difficult to see on the Game Boy Advance's fickle screen. Long sessions require consistent overhead lighting, so this isn't the ideal game for travel. The animations are also lacking, making character movement appear jerky. Despite these graphics shortcomings, this side-scrolling wonder makes a fine addition to your GBA library. --Raymond M. Padilla

Pros:

  • Classic gameplay
  • High replay value
  • Great sound for a handheld game
Cons:
  • Dark graphics are butchered by the GBA screen
  • Mediocre animation
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review by . June 11, 2001
I've had my Game Boy Advance for a while now, having received one from Japan shortly after it launched there. I've played a number of games, but Castlevania is by far the best. I had silently prayed for another 2D Castlevania game since Symphony of the Night enthralled me several years ago, and CotM is a godsend. Actually, I'd even say CotM exceeds SotN some ways. Graphically, it's certainly on par with it, but where CotM surpasses its predecessor is in the gameplay department.Circle of the Moon, …
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