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 PLATFORM: GAME BOY ADVANCE
SUPERIOR GAMING

ach new Castlevania title so completely exemplifies the beauty of the sprite-based action game. It offers gameplay comparable in depth and excitement to quality next-gen products, but its simple 2D presentation reminds you that you’re enjoying something undeniably artificial. It puts on no pretentious airs of being anything more than a damn fine video game. Yet, Aria of Sorrow totally enraptures me in its world, more so than most environments made up of seemingly obscene numbers of polygons.

This so-called (by me) Castlevania magic is the result of the rich universe Konami continues to cultivate in conjunction with an addictive interactive experience. Much like its predecessors, Aria charges players to explore a large castle and eliminate enemies, while discovering various weapons and learning new techniques and spells. Fortunately, it offers at least one marked difference. Instead of acquiring knives, swords, crosses and such for the secondary weapon, you can learn an enemy’s attack. This means that our hero, Soma Cruz, can cause damage by squirting water like the lizard men!

Despite the absence of any significant innovation, Aria of Sorrow still manages to strengthen the series’ reputation. However, if Konami truly cares about this franchise, its next Castlevania project ought to make originality the number one priority.  -CHET

JUSTIN   9.25

Konami keeps proving that Castlevania is one of the best video game series of all time, and that 2D is anything but dead. Not straying far from the formula of PSone’s Symphony of the Night, Aria of Sorrow nevertheless does its own thing by way of Soul Sets. These give you status upgrades and extra power-ups; but more importantly, they put all subweapons a button-press away – thus eliminating a lot of backtracking. Per usual, roaming around Dracula’s castle is an unending pleasure. Level design is of the highest caliber; the pacing is once again perfect; and I’m glad to see a wider variety of weapons. The GBA SP means that you’ll never squint at a Castlevania title again, which is all the more reason to pick up this game. Igarashi has done it again.

9.25
CONCEPT:
The same as the previous three with a new magic and technique system
GRAPHICS:
Konami still manages to improve the graphics with each incarnation. I’m stunned
SOUND:
This time around, the music and (especially) the sound effects are of decent quality
PLAYABILITY:
Moving your character around is effortless, and the menu system still remains deep yet user-friendly
ENTERTAINMENT:
It’s nothing terribly new, but I don’t mind. The formula is still enjoyable and addicting
REPLAY:
Moderate
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