Castlevania: Circle of the Moon, known in the PAL region as Castlevania, is a platform video game created by Konami for the Game Boy Advance.
It’s similar to other Castlevania games. This time, Nathan Graves takes hold of the whip in your battle to put down Count Dracula. He’s been resurrected and is spreading his evil. You have to explore his castle and put a stop to him. Not a bad storyline, although we’ve all heard it before.
This is where it really shines. The gameplay is awesome. Mix a 2-D platformer, add in some RPG elements, and toss in some Castlevania fun, and you’ve got an awesome game. You have your main weapon, the whip, and many secondary weapons to use. The secondary weapons use hearts, which can be easily replenished. Sometimes, an enemy will drop a card. Combine cards to create new additions, such as a flaming whip or a shield. This is called the DSS system, which consumes MP. You also collect items such as potions, antidotes, and equipment, which can be mixed and matched to add to your strength, defense, magic, and luck. The map system is similar to Super Metroid’s, and that’s a good thing. Save points are a little far apart, but that can be ignored. Bosses can be quite challenging if you haven’t leveled up enough.
This series has picked up a lot of tips from the system employed in another long-running franchise designed by Nintendo. It features the collection and side-scrolling action, in a science-fiction vein, with a female protagonist, whose name this site won’t let me include in this review. If you’ve played any of the later games in that series, you’ve played a Science Fiction parallel to this game.
Granted, this series came before those. But the Super Nintendo entry of that series already had much of this type of back-and-forth gameplay with secret areas before this series began employing it. That said, this entry does a good job of presenting you with a large castle you want to explore. As with the other series, it’s apparent some areas will be inaccessible until you get a power-up, and upon getting it, you are suddenly thinking back to all the areas you’ve seen where it can be used.