A fine adventure
Castlevania Harmony of Dissonance is the 2nd game in the GBA lineup of Castlevania titles. Released a year after ‘Circle of the Moon’ and still utilizing the Metroid-esque (Metroidvania) formula which started with the critically acclaimed ‘Symphony of the Night’ released on PS1.
The story takes place 44 years before Rondo of Blood and 50 years after Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest.
Juste Belmont has been chosen to receive the legendary whip of the Belmont clan. During this time period Maxim Kischine went on a training expedition and upon his return in a wounded state a friend from childhood known as Lydie Erianger was kidnapped. Maxim leads Juste to the site of a kidnapping only to discover a castle which was not there prior. Here begins the search for their missing friend.
This castle is quite a treat to traverse. The standard roaming around the castle takes place along with RPG elements. As you move to different areas and defeat foes you gain experience and eventually level-up. You have sub-weapons that you pick up throughout the castle such as a holy book, a cross, a dagger and a vial of holy water. Only one of these can be picked up and utilized at one time. As soon you pick up one the other is dropped.
The bosses are quite plentiful and quite satisfying to fight. Standard pattern memorization will come quite handy and if a foe is ever too tough simply leveling-up and returning will do wonders.
Items such as potions and elixirs are scattered about to assist you and eventually item shops will be discovered for you to make use of the currency you have collected. Throughout the castle you will discover spells as well as relics which will provide you with further abilities and discover new areas you could not traverse before.
This is a tried and true formula that has worked and continues to be fun. The gameplay feels improved over ‘Circle of the Moon’ as the character motion is much smoother.
The sprite-work is quite well done for GBA. The detail in the castle is quite pleasing in variety as well. The special effects of the GBA are utilized quite well for the cloud motion which takes place outside the castle.
Not Michiru Yamane’s best work as only a few tracks are somewhat memorable here, but it does it’s job for setting the mood for different areas of the castle. Standard sound effects from the Castlevania series are used here as well.
There are 3 endings that you can experience here with plenty of extras to discover throughout the castle.If you are in the market for a fun horror adventure or a Castlevania fan in general you owe it to yourself to give this one a try.
Platform(s): Game Boy Advance