Castlevania: Circle of the Moon

I first learned about the Castlevania series when I was in high school.  I went to the school library one day (perhaps on a free period), and I saw someone in the library with a Game Boy Advance (the original model).  I looked over his shoulder and saw a character attacking monsters with a whip.  I said “That looks really fun.  What game is it?”

Well, I had a Game Boy Advance too.  When I found out it was called Castlevania, I went to the local GameStop and picked up Castlevania: Circle of the Moon.

I beat the game twice.  It was so much fun.  Recently, I picked the game up again, and played through it a third time, almost 15 years after I picked it up from GameStop.

It’s hard to pin down exactly what makes the game fun.  It just is.  There’s something about the way the character moves that just feels right.  There’s strategy in the way you attack each monster.  It really boils down to those two things.  A pleasant move speed, and figuring out how to defeat each enemy.

On top of that though, there’s great music in the game.  The levels are finely detailed, at least as finely detailed as the Game Boy Advance allows.  The boss fights are entertaining.  Often you’ll get to a boss, die, and then hang out outside the door to the boss leveling up your character for a half hour or so.

Circle of the Moon is part of a series of portable games.  There are six in total: three for Game Boy Advance, and three for Nintendo DS.  In addition to Circle of the Moon, I’ve played two of the DS games.  Both are very good as well.

I’ll conclude by saying Circle of the Moon is probably a love it or hate it thing.  If you pick it up and it’s not for you, hopefully you didn’t spend a fortune tracking down a cartridge (they are a bit rare).  But if you consider yourself a hardcore gamer, or a retro gamer for that matter, this game should be a joy throughout.  CotM is highly recommended.

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