The RetroBeat — Castlevania: Circle of the Moon somehow became underrated

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Castlevania: Circle of the Moon has had some ups and downs in terms of public opinion. When it debuted as a launch title for the Recreation Boy Advance, it was one of many best-reviewed video games ever. Individuals have been so completely satisfied to have one other Castlevania sport in that Symphony of the Night type.

However then its fame declined. As we acquired 5 extra Metroidvania-style Castlevania video games on Recreation Boy Advance and Nintendo DS, Circle of the Moon started to really feel a bit quaint and outdated to many. After which Castlevania producer Koji Igarashi famously acknowledged that Circle of the Moon is now not canon, which many took as a stamp of disapproval from the man most closely related to the franchise. It gave folks an excuse to discredit Circle of the Moon.

Now we’ve the Castlevania Advance Collection, which has given me an opportunity to replay Circle of the Moon for the primary time in many years. You recognize what? This sport is pretty much as good as everybody was saying again when it was new.

Certain, its graphical presentation isn’t as snappy as Symphony of the Night time. You don’t have of these fancy PlayStation 3D results. This fort and its enemies can generally look a bit easy. However Circle of the Moon nonetheless performs like a top-tier motion sidescroller.


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Bloody tears

I additionally recognize the sport’s problem. A variety of the Metroidvania Castlevanias don’t provide a good problem. You possibly can simply farm expertise factors and cash, which you’ll be able to then spend on a large provide of health-refilling potions. That’s not the case in Circle of the Moon. There isn’t a in-game store, and potions are exhausting to come back by. This implies it’s important to rely extra talent, timing, and good magic utilization to beat its difficult bosses, particularly the brutal closing battle with Dracula.

Talking of magic, I like the card-based system right here. Some monsters have an opportunity to drop a card which may belong into considered one of two classes. You then decide one card from every deck, and this will provide you with a unique spell or impact. It might make fireballs spin round your character, or it might allow you to regenerate well being when you’re standing nonetheless. There are numerous completely different card combos to experiment with.

There’s additionally a simplicity to Circle of the Moon that I discover endearing. The plot is barebones. Dracula is again, now go cease him (and save your mentor). The fort doesn’t have many gimmicks like, like Concord of Dissonance’s two-layered map. This simply seems like a quintessential, fast-paced Castlevania expertise.

Oh, and the soundtrack is unimaginable. And since we now not should cope with the GBA’s infamous sound suppression, it sounds higher than ever on this port.

I’ve seen some folks on Twitter say that Aria of Sorrow is the one sport value taking part in within the Castlevania Advance Assortment. I couldn’t disagree extra. I’ll discuss Concord of Dissonance one other time, however each it and Circle of the Moon nonetheless stay top-tier Metroidvanias. Possibly neither of them are the perfect of their collection, however I’m undecided how you can solely low cost them as subpar choices.

Now I’m excited to check out Aria of Sorrow for the primary time in years. After all, now it has to attend till I beat Metroid Dread. It positive is a pleasant time for Metroidvania followers.

The RetroBeat is a weekly column that appears at gaming’s previous, diving into classics, new retro titles, or taking a look at how previous favorites — and their design strategies — encourage at this time’s market and experiences. In case you have any retro-themed initiatives or scoops you’d prefer to ship my means, please contact me.


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