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Castlevania Harmony of Dissonance

Developer: KCET | Publisher: Konami
Players: 1 Player Game | Release Date: 09/16/02 | Genre: Action/RPG

During the life of the PlayStation, Konami released arguably the best 2D game ever made--Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. While Konami has made attempts at bringing the Castlevania series to 3D, they have paled in comparison to the 2D titles in the series. Continuing the trend of great 2D Castlevania games, Konami releases the GBA follow-up to Circle of the Moon. Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance proves to be one of the very best in the series.

Staying true to the history of the franchise, Harmony of Dissonance features an extremely large area to explore. Spanning over two different castles, you will discover many different enemy types that range from easy to very difficult. Scattered throughout the world are boss rooms. These rooms can be much larger than the rest of the castle and feature a boss that fills up the screen. Despite their tough looks, I did not die on a boss during my journey through Harmony of Dissonance. This may be a disappointment to Castlevania purists who anticipate each boss fight being extremely difficult and frustrating. While I am slightly disappointed the boss battles were not much tougher, I do appreciate that they are not as hard as Circle of the Moon.

One of the trademarks of the Castlevania series is great control. Harmony of Dissonance continues this trend. The standard jump and whip attacks are included--plus a quick slide left and right using the shoulder buttons. Players also have the ability to get different types of magic books. After picking up a secondary weapon like a cross, book, knife, potion, axe, etc, you can use MP to perform a special magic spell. As you use up your MP, it will slowly regenerate itself. You can also replenish it after defeating a boss or going to a save point. But secondary weapons can be used with your magic books turned off. When they are used this way, you will use up hearts. Like in past Castlevania titles, hearts can be replenished primarily by whipping candles.

While Circle of the Moon looked pretty good for a first generation GBA title, Harmony of Dissonance is much better looking. Despite the characters being more detailed, the game is much, much brighter. If anything, this was the biggest drawback to Circle of the Moon. It wasn't until I purchased the Afterburner backlight add-on for the Game Boy Advance that I was able to fully enjoy the title. But this time around, due to the lighter colors, you will be able to enjoy Harmony of Dissonance whether or not you have an Afterburner.

Overall, Castlevania Harmony of Dissonance is one of the finest titles in the franchise. While I personally like Symphony of the Night a little bit more, you should not debate purchasing this title. Harmony of Dissonance is a great title that belongs in every owners library.

By Kaleb Rutherford - 11/18/02
ESRB Details: Animated Blood, Mild Violence
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Screenshots for Castlevania Harmony of Dissonance

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