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Third time's a charm with Castlevania games for hand held systems - part 1

March 24, 2015


When Castlevania Circle of the Moon first launched on the Game Boy Advance back in the early 2000s, it was during a time when the Castlevania franchise was making somewhat of a transition in terms of how it should look and play. You had the Nintendo 64 console on the market, with two games released for it, both doing decent in terms of sales, but still there was something missing.

Oh that's right, the majority of the fan base was still wanting some more of that traditional 2D side scrolling action found in games like Super Castlevania 4 and Symphony of the Night. It's painful having an itch you can never scratch right?, and the fans were having a big one after SOTN had come, was finished, and it's on to the next game. But did Circle of the Moon help that cause?


It did, but not quite as well as Konami had hoped, and then along came Harmony of Dissonance, translated as "Concerto of Midnight Sun" This was the first time in history that the name "Castlevania" was used in the country of Japan, rather than the usual "Akumaj┼Ź Dracula". It also introduced Juste Belmont, the grandson of the famous Simon Belmont who had destroyed Lord Dracula years ago. It's creator Koji Igarashi had high dreams and high hopes of making a game similar to the almighty Symphony of the Night, and was his intent from the start with Harmony of Dissonance.

So what happened was anything short of a success. It had sold around 126,000 copies in the United States, and was not much of a success in Japan either. The critics weighed in on the game as usual, and found that while it was a pretty entertaining title, it's soundtrack left much to be desired.


Third time's a charm, a phrase you've probably heard before from others. It happens when they've tried the same thing twice already, and are hoping that a third attempt will be more fruitful than the first two. But wait, didn't Albert Einstein say that trying the same thing over and over and expecting a different result each time was a form of insanity? Yes he did, but that can't stop Konami from bringing out yet another Castlevania game for the Game Boy Advance. Right?


Next up on the roster is Aria of Sorrow, a third and final attempt to make a decent MetroidVania type game with platforming and RPG elements that made SOTN so great. It also introduced the "Tactical Soul" feature, something not seen before in previous titles. The main character being Soma Cruz, along with other known characters that make their grand appearance such as Yoko Belnades.

The result was somewhat better than its previous brothers Circle of the Moon and Harmony of Dissonance. While not being as well received in Japan, it was a much more successful hit in the United States, having sold about 158,000 copies in the first three months alone. Not to mention receiving praise as the best Castlevania game since the release of SOTN.

Which ones have you tried, or have you tried all three? I personally recommend all three, but do suggest Aria of Sorrow being the best of the best in the Game Boy Advance lineup. Next week, we will discuss the next three platform based games for the Nintendo DS. Won't that be a lot of fun?

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