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Castlevania: Circle of the Moon

悪魔城ドラキュラ Circle of the Moon

21 March 2001
Castlevania: Circle of the Moon [悪魔城ドラキュラ Circle of the Moon] - cover art
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3.29 / 5.0
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246 Ratings / 2 Reviews
#1,730 All-time
#74 for 2001
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2001 KCEK Konami  
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BR 7 896273 607205
2001 KCEK Konami  
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JP 4 542084 000195 AGB-AAMJ-JPN
2001 KCEK Konami  
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XNA 0 83717 50001 8 AGB-AAME-USA
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Title
Um jogo definido tanto pelas suas boas ideias quanto por suas falhas cruciais.

O sistema de cartas é interessante e divertido, mas baseá-lo em sorte foi uma péssima escolha. Abrir o mapa desde o início instiga a exploração, mas também frustra pela quantidade de vezes em que encontramos regiões inexploráveis. O layout vertical do castelo dá uma “cara” única pra exploração, mas torna o backtracking maçante.

Fora os pontos mais relevantes, o todo é bem executado, mas tinha potencial pra ser mais.
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gabrielctps 2022-03-10T01:48:38Z
2022-03-10T01:48:38Z
3.5
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So, after Symphony of the Night ended up being the genre defining masterpiece that it was, the future titles really had some big boots to fill, and well… Castlevania 64 didn’t do this in the slightest. Fortunately enough, the N64 wasn’t the be all end all of the series, as just like with the previous console generation, there were also titles being released on handheld systems, in this case, the GameBoy Advance. The twist this time around however, is that it was on this system where the best games in the series were being released at this point, starting off with Circle of the Moon, taking the same core metroidvania structure of SOTN and giving it its own unique spin on things, along with polishing and simplifying a lot of the gameplay itself.

To me, one of the most interesting things about this game is the way that it feels more like the bridging gap between the classic games and the igavanias more than SOTN did, along with the fact that this is a completely different feeling game to anything else in the series. This becomes most immediately clear in the difference in artstyle this has, with a much darker, gritter look to the pixelated models, feeling more like an updated version of the NES artstyle, rather than the more stylised look of games like Rondo of Blood. To add to this melding of eras, the player’s control scheme and mobility is considerably more limited than that moveset of Alucard, with a much slower walk speed and once again only having a relatively slow whip, bringing back the slower paced nature of the classic series, albeit without the committal jumps or other more cumbersome elements of such movement. Overall, the mobility in this game, while slower, feels good to use for the most part regardless due to the fact that the game’s designed around this, leading to there not ever being a situation where the player is left thinking that the speed of their character is what stopped them being able to accomplish things, especially once they get the hang of the double tapping to run, which is a somewhat annoying issue at first but ends up being quite negligible after a bit of getting used to.

While the sheer versatility and Speed of Alucard is what I prefer, where this game truly shines to me is in the actual design and difficulty curve of the world itself. In terms of difficulty, this feels like the polar opposite of SOTN, with the high damage output of enemies making this a genuinely extremely difficult game that only escalates the further you progress through the game, to the point where a single hit feels like a tremendous loss that could potentially be the difference between life or death. This sort of tension is something that I personally think makes the game far more engaging on the whole, especially given the lack of particularly cheap damage being possible for the majority of the time, making every new area become an adrenaline rush as you desperately hunt for the next save point, making the castle as a whole feel much more oppressive. This difficulty also funnily enough encourages more exploration as well, as while in this game, dead ends will always lead to either a Heart, HP or MP upgrade, due to the fact that stats genuinely matter quite a lot here, each of these feels rewarding by letting the player know that each of these pickups gives that tiny bit of an increased chance of being able to make it through the game, which in itself is extremely rewarding. This difficulty is further increased but something that has both positives and negatives to it, which is the lack of shop and low drop rates. On one hand, I really appreciate the fact that the player isn’t able to just stock up on the maximum amount of potions and have effectively infinite health, but I also believe that what happens as a result is that grinding for drops is encouraged instead, which can potentially make the game tedious if they want to get some sort of boosting accessory to give themselves a better chance, especially since, as said, stats feel like they have an extremely big role in this game, although I personally never resorted to grinding for anything.

A couple of other key talking points in this game to me are the DSS system, and the boss fights. The DSS system on the whole feels like it’s an intriguing, but ultimately flawed system that doesn’t quite live up to its fullest potential. I really like the core idea of combining cards in order to give the player a wide range of abilities, both offensive and defensive, in order to take on challenges in a variety of ways, but the issue is twofold, with these issues playing into one another. My first issue is that it really feels like some cards are just straight up more useful than others, such as the card that allows player to summon creatures essentially allowing the player to easily get past difficult situations, while others just feel like they do very little, especially with the amount of different card combinations that just provide the player with a more powerful whip or something. This wouldn’t be too problematic if not for the fact that the way to unlock these cards makes this unbalance considerably worse, with each of the 20 cards only dropping from a single type of enemy, with the chances being often extremely low, and the enemies that drop it being impossible to tell without either getting lucky and having one drop, or by looking up a guide. I personally believe that this was a missed opportunity, as these would be better used as rewards for exploration instead to further incentivize it, and make some of the more grueling optional paths littered throughout the game feel far more worthwhile, along with provide some more variety and way of getting them without having to resort to grinding and looking things up. Even though I also believe that the current exploration rewards are largely acceptable, with such a potentially great way to further reward the player for exploring, I’d much rather prefer this.

The boss fights are another extremely noteworthy aspect of the game, as this is the first time I believe that a Castlevania game was able to absolutely nail them, largely being visually creative and stunning, just like in SOTN, but this time with gameplay to match. Every boss encounter in the game proves itself to be something worth keeping on your toes about, with many of them becoming challenging endurance matches with high damage outputs that really require the player to properly learn each fight, with the sense of spectacle of many of them making for a consistently engaging experience, even after having to retry numerous times. This game also houses a couple of the most difficult fights in the series, namely the Dragon Zombies, which feels like a very fast paced fight due to having 2 targets to defeat, with the player having to constantly keep track of what attacks both are dishing out in order to be able to effectively position themselves both to dodge and deal damage, such a feat being difficult enough to likely have killed me more than any boss in the series up to this point, but without the unfair feeling of something like Dracula’s Curse’s final boss. Due to this, these fights feel like a proper test and bookend to each respective area. The areas themselves also alleviate backtracking to an extent, not only by more intuitively placing teleport locations to make most key paths easy enough to travel to from any other location, but also by changing the enemy layout and types found in certain locations after a boss is defeated, making going through early areas in the late game feel far less tedious than they potentially could have.

Overall, while this game definitely has a couple of flaws, this is a seriously underlooked gem of a game that clearly tried to do something different to other entries in the series and pulled a lot of the idea off rather successfully. I appreciate the harsher difficulty this game has in particular, really makes it so there’s almost never a moment of dead air, as the player is consistently under pressure, lest they are severely punished. While likely not the first game I’d recommend to someone, this is a very interesting experience that I strongly recommend to those looking for a bit of a challenge as long as they’re able to overlook the more simplistic nature of the game compared to the other metroidvanias in the series.
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Kempokid 2021-06-26T09:24:22Z
2021-06-26T09:24:22Z
4.0
1
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Circle of Moon actually is a bit disappointing, not because its bad, but because it wastes its potential. The main issues are the game is a bit restrictive, it takes a step back from Symphony and brings back the old school controls where you can only whip in one direction and its a bit more linear with a somewhat smaller map size. The other issue is the boss fights in this are way too difficult and frustrating and are much harder than the normal enemies. Without using save states, this game will require you to grind to beat most of the bosses, and even with grinding it will still come down to mostly luck with a lot of these bosses. The final boss in this game is just so terribly designed and overly difficult that it feels like you're playing Ghosts N Goblins or something. Plus its super tedious to fight the final boss, I mean who thought itd be a good idea for the final boss to transform into a mob of bats that protect a ball and make it difficult to hit the ball, then have the boss transform back and do an OP attack that if it hits you nearly one shots you. Honestly the boss fights are what brings this down because I actually enjoyed the exploration and areas of this game and enemies, but its the boss fights that bring this game down for me and they are super tedious and frustrating. Its just a shame this had to be the first GBA Castlevania because it is almost decent but ruins that with some terrible design.
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jweber14 2019-10-08T00:57:54Z
2019-10-08T00:57:54Z
3.0
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A weird combination of old and new CV
Circle of the Moon is a bit like playing Symphony of the Night as the Simon Belmont from the original Castlevania. If that sounds compromised, or maybe missing the point of SOTN, you'd be right. You play as Nathan Graves, a young vampire hunter who has inherited the legendary whip of Belmont fame. Dracula gets revived and kidnaps your mentor to prepare a blood rite, you set out to find him in Dracula's castle. Metroidvania ensues.

An early frustration is Nathan's flexibility of attack, which not only no longer has the omni-directional whipping of Super Castlevania IV but also removed the 8-way whipping from Rondo of Blood. Since COTM is a true metroidvania, you'll be moving vertically as much as you do horizontally, which means your limited attack ability is frequently annoying. Nathan is heavily reliant on subweapons, which are back in their Rondo of Blood form here.Generally, the level design feels like it was built for Alucard, and that leads to some awkwardness.

You obtain special abilities that open up more parts of the castle, and while it's fun to keep a mental laundry list of potential places to backtrack, Nathan's stiff movement and jumping just do not feel very equipped for the environment before him. Add to the fact that his rigid, old-school Vampire Hunter persona means you won't be finding varying weapon types and you have a relatively flat experience compared to the other open-ended CV titles.

There is magic in the game, though, in the form of the Dual Stack System, but it's implementation is a bit weird. Essentially, there are two decks of 10 cards a piece that can be mismatched to give Nathan some extra abilities when the L button is toggled. Sometimes it adds more damage, or gives some kind of damage reduction bonus. Most are pretty useful and can help a ton in difficult boss fights. That said, these cards are found by very uncommon random drops of specific enemies in the castle, with no way of determining which is dropped and by whom without consultation of a guide. It's just a headache. Grinding for them can conflate with the regular ol EXP grinding you'll need to be doing, so COTM at least combines its tedium.

I still found Circle of the Moon to be pretty enjoyable, as it's got some high points - especially the amazing soundtrack. But the story is pretty generic and the protagonist is without real personality, the controls are frequently annoying, and frankly it's just not as fun to play the generic whip-toting Belmont type for the entirety of a backtrackathon. I think a bit too much was removed from the SOTN formula to try and accommodate all types of fan. Recommended for those who still have the CV itch and have beaten SOTN and the other GBA and DS titles.
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the_lockpick 2018-12-26T22:42:48Z
2018-12-26T22:42:48Z
3.0
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A weird combination of old and new CV
Circle of the Moon is a bit like playing Symphony of the Night as the Simon Belmont from the original Castlevania. If that sounds unpleasant, or maybe missing the point of SOTN, you're absolutely right. You play as Nathan Graves, a young vampire hunter who has inherited the legendary whip of Belmont fame. Dracula gets revived, your mentor gets kidnapped by him to prepare a blood rite to, you and your mentor's son split up to find him in Dracula's castle. Metroidvania ensues.

An early frustration is Nathan's range of attack, which not only no longer has the omni-directional whipping of Super Castlevania IV but also removed the 8-way whipping from Rondo of Blood. But since it's a true metroidvania, you'll be moving vertically as much as you do horizontally, which means your limited attack ability is frequently annoying. Nathan is HEAVILY reliant on subweapons, which are back in their Rondo of Blood form here.

You obtain special abilities that open up more parts of the castle, and while it's fun to keep a mental laundry list of potential backtrack places, Nathan's stiff movement and jumping just do not feel at all equipped for the environment built before him. Add to the fact that his very rigid Vampire Hunter whip persona mean you can't find varying weapon types or magic, and you have a relatively flat experience.

There is magic in the game, though, in the form of the Dual Stack System, but it's awkwardly implemented. Essentially, there are two decks of 10 cards a piece that can be mismatched to give Nathan some extra abilities when the L button is toggled. Sometimes it adds more damage, or gives some kind of damage reduction bonus. Most are pretty useful and can help a ton in difficult boss fights. That said, these cards are found by very uncommon random drops of specific enemies in the castle, with no way of determining which is dropped and by whom without consultation of a guide. It's just a headache. Grinding for them can conflate with the regular ol EXP grinding you'll need to be doing, so COTM at least combines its tedium.

I still found Circle of the Moon to be pretty enjoyable, as it's got some high points - especially the amazing soundtrack. But the story is pretty generic and without real personality, the controls are frequently annoying, and frankly it's just not as fun to play the generic whip-toting Belmont type for the entirety of a backtrackathon. I think a bit too much was removed from the SOTN formula to try and accommodate all types of fan. Recommended only for those who still have the CV itch and have beaten SOTN and the other GBA and DS titles.
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Catalog

SpaceCowboy3 悪魔城ドラキュラ Circle of the Moon 2022-11-27T07:16:47Z
2022-11-27T07:16:47Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
JMW2000 悪魔城ドラキュラ Circle of the Moon 2022-11-27T00:39:51Z
2022-11-27T00:39:51Z
2.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
NWG369 悪魔城ドラキュラ Circle of the Moon 2022-11-15T08:12:05Z
2022-11-15T08:12:05Z
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Blackraptor 悪魔城ドラキュラ Circle of the Moon 2022-11-11T01:29:05Z
2022-11-11T01:29:05Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
twogunmoomin 悪魔城ドラキュラ Circle of the Moon 2022-11-09T01:55:21Z
2022-11-09T01:55:21Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
games beat 2022
Stvorner 悪魔城ドラキュラ Circle of the Moon 2022-11-07T15:31:32Z
2022-11-07T15:31:32Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Aidenbowe45 悪魔城ドラキュラ Circle of the Moon 2022-10-09T16:34:22Z
2022-10-09T16:34:22Z
5.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
philichili 悪魔城ドラキュラ Circle of the Moon 2022-09-30T03:44:51Z
2022-09-30T03:44:51Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
goeie_oko Castlevania: Circle of the Moon 2022-09-14T09:42:31Z
GBA • XNA
2022-09-14T09:42:31Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
serie: castlevania
isaacyote 悪魔城ドラキュラ Circle of the Moon 2022-08-30T01:43:13Z
2022-08-30T01:43:13Z
3.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
SneedDeck Castlevania: Circle of the Moon 2022-08-27T00:53:30Z
GBA • XNA
2022-08-27T00:53:30Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
gfly1994 悪魔城ドラキュラ Circle of the Moon 2022-08-20T03:43:51Z
2022-08-20T03:43:51Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Player modes
Single-player
Media
1x Cartridge
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Also known as
  • Castlevania: Circle of the Moon
  • Castlevania
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  • Previous comments (3) Loading...
  • SemtexRevolution 2021-10-25 21:18:30.342815+00
    It's kind of lame how they started relegating the 2D games to handhelds, because as a result the presentation quality actually becomes much lower than Symphony of the Night. The animations in this game are so stiff, nothing like the visual masterpiece that game was. And of course the music is beholden to the muffled GBA audio capabilities instead of the SOTN's gorgeous CD quality. It's like the series took a big step backward instead of forward.
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  • moralreef 2021-11-15 02:13:51.485292+00
    i just can't with the movement in this game.
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  • Randomico 2021-11-16 05:37:30.760763+00
    This game is so stiff, so frustrating.
    And the card system is absolutely broken. What the fuck the devs were thinking when they thought that "1,5% drop rate" (or worse, for some cards) would be a good ideia?
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  • SUPER_Lonely_Panda 2022-01-03 03:16:34.621923+00
    Great game but crazy EGM gave this 10/10 and called it one of the best games of all-time on release.
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  • nathangraves 2022-03-13 02:26:08.947337+00
    nathan graves is literally me
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  • Aysenthesys 2022-03-28 01:19:17.463383+00
    It's alright. For once there's a Castlevania game that's actually challenging.
    I just really hate the very slow movement (and the double-tap dash is sometimes so hard to time right). Besides, the final boss takes so goddamn long to beat -it's not that it's difficult, just a real sponge.
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  • CircoBondi 2022-08-13 19:46:16.951911+00
    Good dificulty curve and phenomenal boss fights. It obviously lacks compared to SotN but for a smaller gba release I think it's a competent enough Metroidvania
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  • heavymetalthunder 2022-09-11 01:33:41.075115+00
    Plays like a GBC game
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    • MisTurHappy 2022-10-18 05:46:43.453242+00
      Damn, you're so right.
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