762nd played so far

Genre: Action
Platform: Gameboy Advance
Year of Release: 2003
Developer: Konami Computer Entertainment Tokyo
Publisher: Konami

I’m moving on with the Castlevania series – two handheld titles left, one of which I’m covering today. The second is the DS Dawn of Sorrow, so I assume there’s a link between the two games.

It’s another Metroidvania, a side scroller with another trip into Dracula’s castle – the storyline is pretty predictable, but it’s the journey through the massive palace and its supernatural inhabitants that matters.

Our Thoughts

While they were present in Symphony of the Night, this is the first Castlevania game I’ve played where the RPG elements stand out more. I still described it as RPG lite, but there is XP, you level up to gain HP and MP and there’s a bunch of equipment to gather. This matters because it felt like exploration was more worthwhile than in other Castlevania games, with detours always bringing you something and rooms having a purprose beyond exhausting your resources.

The game feels more accessible anyway. I struggled previously with the long gaps between save and heal points, but they felt like they occured more frequently playing through this – or at least you were directed there more often – and the stronger RPG elements meant that it was easier to push through a bit longer.

The added feature are souls. As you defeat enemies, there’s a random chance they’ll drop a soul. Each enemy type has its own and they have different ways of enhancing your stats and abilities. It’s a neat system, more appropriate to the setting than just gear, but the random nature of drops makes it difficult to really rely on it – I’ve had to replay sections multiple times, and whether or not I got a soul made a big difference.Still, it’s been a neat idea.

Final Thoughts

As I get further into the series, the Castlevania games keep working better for me. The additional convenience systems keep making the game easier to get through, which gives me more of a chance to explore the areas instead. The difficulty still goes up, which really started to opay off, but there’s a lot more in the game here that gets me roped in. That’s what I really want of it.