Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance
Game Info
GameBoy Advance
Official Website
ESRB Rating
Animated Blood, Mild Violence
The Good

Breathtaking Graphics
Plays like Symphony of the Night
New spell book system

The Bad

Boss battles are too easy


Castlevania. If you ask any self-respecting gamer what there top ten franchises are, you'll get more then a few Castlevania answers. In the last GBA Castlevania game, we saw Nathan Graves putting a stop to Drac's evil plans. In this adventure we see Juste Belmont, a direct descendant of the Belmont clan, aided with his good friend Maxim, trying to find their good friend Lydie. On the way they stumble upon Dracula's castle, which appears right out of the fog. And that's when this fun, grand adventure starts.

Like Circle Of the Moon and Symphony of the Night, this game is a whip-cracking adventure with a few RPG elements (leveling up, etc.) and lots and lots of exploration. This adventure is longer then its last two outings, and it spans two huge castles. This game also has more in common with the greatest game, in my opinion, of the series, Symphony of the Night, which is a good thing. Actually a very very good thing. The main character, Juste, which, coincidentally looks like much like Alucard is a terrific addition to the Belmont clan. He also retains some of Alucard's greatest tricks, like sliding backwards to dodge attacks, and a limp whip. This game can be described as a Super Metroid-type title where you get further into the game by using your supernatural abilities (Double Jumping, Wall jumping, blah, blah etc. etc.)

The Good: The first thing you will notice when you crack open this title are the incredible 2D graphics which are much cleaner and easier to see then COTM's muddy, dark graphics. Also with any other Castlevania title, the main point of the game is to search every nook and cranny of Drac's spooky, yet beautiful castle, and battling big baddies and collecting new armor and weapons while you do it. The adventure is much bigger then COTM and should last you a good, long 20 hours of whip cracking fun. Fortunately, Konami decided to ditch the complicated DSS system from COTM and went with something much more manageable, instead of equipping two cards and casting a spell, you equip a spell book with your current subweapon for devastating effects. I found this system easier and more fun, to toy around with. Speaking of subweapons, all your special favorites are here, the spinning cross, Holy Water, and others. There are also a few new ones like the new "Sacred Fist" subweapon. They all add more depth and will save your behind when the going gets tough.

The Bad: Although the graphics and everything are on par with SOTN, the music in the game took a serious step back. I guess they sacrificed the excellent sound for improved graphical flare, which isn't necessarily such an awful thing. Another major complaint I have are the incredibly uninspired boss battles, which aren't challenging at all. That's quite a shocker since the Castlevania series was known for it's hard, yet rewarding boss battles. Another shocker is the addition of the Quick Save feature, for some gamers that may be great news, but I found it to make the whole adventure much to easy.

While the game suffers from some flaws, the adventuring and improved graphics more than make up for the small rotten parts. The best game for the GameBoy Advance? Absolutely.

- - Grandlethal

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