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    mwyattma's Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow (GBA)

    [March 6, 2008 05:44:05 AM]

    So, I didn't talk about the bosses last time. I've beaten this game already, but showing off this one part of the game is always fun. Once you have beaten the game, you unlock the "Boss Rush" mode, which basically takes you through all of the bosses in order. You're timed while doing this and if you do it fast enough, there's a reward waiting at the end. I think that this is a VERY nice addition to the game and I'm surprised that many other games don't have it. I mean, isn't a lot of the fun of a game in the boss battles? Bosses present the hardest challenge to the player, and it's kind of a drag to have to play through the game again in order to fight the bosses again, which is especially true in Castlevania because the bosses are usually pretty difficult.

    Also, when one beats the game, they unlock the "Julius" mode, where they can play as the character Julius Belmont who is more like the traditional Castlevania hero because he uses the signature whip and sub-weapons. This mode, however, is extremely limited. There's no dialog and no items -- not even healing potions! What you see is what you get! Of course, you do start out with 800 health, which never changes, but certainly gets you by. The only way to make Julius stronger is by defeating the bosses in the game.

    One of the things that I like about this game is the multiple endings. There are some weird books one can find hidden away in the castle. They refer to three different powers one should use when fighting the final boss. If you don't use these three specific soul powers, or even change out of them, you spoil the ending. The story goes that there is a man, Graham, who thinks he is Dracula. He goes about the castle collecting power, and you must fight him in the end. When you defeat him, his body emits a kind of darkness that your character, Soma, is either possessed by (when you use the proper three souls) or just passes over. The "bad ending" is where you've defeated Graham, but there is very little closure as to how your character came to possess the unusual power of soul stealing (or whatever it's called). The "good ending" is where you are possessed by the power of the castle and you realize that you ARE Dracula! It was kind of obvious, what with the demonic power and all, but you still want to be surprised. This way, you unlock the final area - the chaos realm - where you fight the chaos that binds the castle together, then you get to watch the cliche scene of the castle falling apart. Altogether, it's a really cool storyline, and I consider it to be a bit better than, "you are a Belmont, a Vampire Hunter! Banish Dracula! GO!"


    BOSSES: The bosses of this game aren't as hard as the other Castlevania games I've played, namely Circle of the Moon, but they still have their challenges. Death, in particular, was really hard. Although Graham was pretty anti-climactic, he's not exactly the last boss. There's also Julius and Chaos. Julius Belmont is a very tricky one to beat because he's so darned fast. Chaos is pretty hard to predict, but then again, it's in the things nature... But by the end of the game, you've learned your lesson and stocked up on health potions, so there's not much risk involved.

    ITEMS: In this game, you can at least buy some potions so that you don't have to farm zombies like other games. They're essential to beating some bosses for the first time, as there are many attack patterns that are just painfully difficult to dodge. The best items in the game come from completing challenges and finding the secret entrance to the forbidden area, which is, yet again, much better than having to farm zombies. Also, there's a bit of pride one can take from having one of every item in the game.

    COMBAT: Enemies have set health, experience, weaknesses, and resistances that you can look up once you've collected their soul. When you attack, the damage you cause is expressed by a number that rises from your enemies' feet. The only suggestion I would make here is to have some sort of health bar for enemies, but that might just muddy up the scene. Your character has the typical Strength, Constitution, and Luck attributes that go up when levels are gained. It's a pretty basic RPG, but that's what makes it so beautiful. There's nothing weird like "Charisma" or "Spirit" to deal with. Your health is represented by a bar at the top left corner of the screen as well as by a number just to the left of that. This is useful because there isn't often a variance in the damage monsters deal to you, so you know exactly what you can take. Of course, there's no such number that represents the magic meter, which is annoying when you want to cast a spell one last time and find you can't. Overall, however, this doesn't affect gameplay very much.

    DIFFICULTIES: There's a hard difficulty setting, but I found it to be...easier. The items and souls (thank GOD) one collects throughout the game carry over, which actually makes beating the game a breeze. There's a ring you really need to get in order to find all the souls -- the soul eater ring -- but it costs $300,000, which isn't that hard to get once you play the game a second time around because you don't need two super duper awesome swords that cost $50,000 each. Also, the hard difficulty allows access to certain silly items, like the silver handgun and Death's Scythe. It's an okay bonus, but there's really not much of a difference. I found that once you collect all the souls, do the Boss Rush in under two minutes, and get all the items, there's no point in ever playing the game again. You've probably run the game into the ground by beating every single monster twenty times to get their soul, not to mention you've also done the Boss Rush enough times that it's easy, but that's another reason why I like this game. When you're done, you're done! The game cuts back a lot on busy work, even though you spend a good deal of time farming some really tough monsters for their souls, but it sure beats the hell out of collecting them all twice or something.
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    [March 6, 2008 04:37:53 AM]

    Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow is a 2D platformer action/adventure role playing game that takes place entirely within Dracula's castle (dubbed Castlevania). You fight your way through hordes of demons, gain levels, and test your skill against some pretty tough bosses.


    At first, this game is kind of creepy, and not just because you're inside of Dracula's castle being attacked by some freaky looking monsters. I mean that if you haven't looked up the gameplay instructions beforehand, you might not understand how or where to save the game. It's not like you can do it through the start menu, you have to get to certain save points. This is kind of annoying because there are going to be lots of moments where you run out of health potions, don't want to turn back, and don't know just how far away the next save point is. Save points completely restore health and are dispersed throughout the castle is a semi-even fashion. The problem comes when you take a wrong turn and accidentally skip a save point, which is annoying because whenever you move a screen over, the monsters reset themselves, even if they're really hard monsters you don't want to deal with. So, my point is that because the saves are hard to get to, or not exactly made obvious by some marking from the outside, one can easily find themselves in a pickle, which makes the game kind of claustrophobic.

    One of the first things one notices about this game is its artwork. It's amazing. Honestly, I haven't seen many 2D games that look this good. The dialog comes complete with portraits of who's talking, which is a lot better than just having their featureless counter-parts bob their heads like in Zelda. The castle itself is quite remarkable. There are some areas that are very cool, with scrolling background of dragon statues and fire. The whole thing is pretty epic.

    One also notices the combat system. I've played other Castlevania games before, and I find I like this one the best. You get a really cool magic system that's based upon the souls you collect throughout the castle. When you kill a monster, you have a chance of getting their soul and its associated power. One of the challenges of the game is collecting all the souls, which has the reward of the chaos ring that allows the player to use any soul without paying the magic cost, which feels a lot like cheating, but I guess the player earned it. The effects are pretty standard; bullet spells, over time spells(like channeling), and passive effects. Also, one gets to collect many different items including armor, weapons, accessories(rings, charms, etc), and typical healing/mana potions. There's a certain fun in collecting all the items in the game, and it's really not all that hard, although some items are rewards for beating harder difficulties.
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    mwyattma's Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow (GBA)

    Current Status: Playing

    GameLog started on: Thursday 6 March, 2008

    mwyattma's opinion and rating for this game

    No comment, yet.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

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    1 : Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow (GBA) by jp (rating: 5)


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