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|OT| Castlevania Advance Collection |OT| Pixels in the Night

Aug 11, 2019
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Playing HoD for the first time in a few years and I feel like every time I play this game I like it less. When it first came out I loved it, now I don't think I'm going to finish it.

The shitty castle design just doesn't cut it. The game always feels like it's putting roadblocks in the way of progression, especially when compared to CotM and AoS. I could live with things like the overly bright graphics and terrible soundtrack, but I draw the line at annoying level design. I'm officially moving CotM ahead of HoD in the GBA power rankings.
 

tommib

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Dec 7, 2020
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Netherlands
CotM is indeed stiff but in the broader picture of Castlevania games I like it the way it is. It feels like NES Castlevania paired with a SotN style map and RPG system. There are enough silky smooth entries in the franchise that I appreciate CotM's uniqueness for being a more old-school feeling game.

I played it on GBA launch day and completed it on the non-lit screen. You cannot play a dark ass game on a Game Boy with stiff NES controls and hard as hell bosses to completion if the game isn't doing something to keep you glued. So for me this game recalls the feeling of past "in the trenches" gaming challenges that seem horrific today but I had fun plowing through them. I like it better than HoD but yeah AoS is still GOAT lol.

Playing it on TV with a controller, it feels like I'm cheating, without having to suffer all the handicaps. But I can tell you an old GB was more ergonomic than Switch and it felt better to double-tap run on the GBA's d-pad.
I miss 88% of my double tap runs on my lite. They’re hard to pull off.
 
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bender

Candy Corn Aficionado
Apr 12, 2010
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Finished Circle of the Moon and I loved it. I don't think I've played it since the GBA. I can totally understand the criticisms and maybe I'm in a phase right now where I hate modern gaming tropes, but it definitely scratched an itch. I over leveled and farmed which is what I'm want to do in these titles. On to Harmony of Dissonance..
 

Dr. Suchong

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Aug 17, 2020
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Collecting the cards in Cotm is time consuming and intensely tedious.
Two hours farming for one card.
Just Dracula to finish off and after that I think I'll take a break. Fatigue is setting in.
 

Azurro

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Jun 11, 2018
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I got it, I loved playing through Dracula X again, even if that Dracula fight is irrationally difficult. Then I moved on to Aria of Sorrow and it's still an excellent game, hardware limitations and all, still a really enjoyable experience. The one I couldn't play more than 20 minutes was Circle of the Moon, I hate, hate, hate that jump. Floaty, lack of control, completely unenjoyable and you are going to be doing that during the entire game. I remember playing it and completing it way back in the day, but I didn't remember the controls were that bad.

I remember I didn't enjoy Harmony of Dissonance all that much, so I might not even play it. Still, 2 great games in the package, so I feel happy about buying this collection.
 

NeoIkaruGAF

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Dec 8, 2019
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Replaying these back-to-back, Aria comes clearly on top. I’m not fond of the small sprite or the anime-y story and characters, and a lot of weapons are too cumbersome to be of any real use, but the game is excellent overall. Soul collecting still isn’t my jam and the difficulty spike in the Arena is awful, though.

COTM’s map design is fantastic, though, and possibly the best in the trilogy. The warps are perfectly placed, the map is full of secret rooms, and it’s pretty quick going back to where you need to go next. The difficulty is all over the place though, but here’s a pro tip: when you find the Holy Cross subweapon, hold on to it for dear life for the rest of the game. With the right equip, it’s going to be your best friend in the final part of the game, which is otherwise very frustrating. Card hunting didn’t feel too bad this time around.

Harmony has the best movement... and the worst map design ever in a Metroidvania. Worst problem in an otherwise enjoyable game.

Dracula XX is some bad, bad shit.
 

Punished Miku

Gold Member
Jan 13, 2018
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Dawn of Sorrow is the best for 1 reason alone. The secret katana combo of death. I'm not sure if it's possible to do in Aria but I don't think it is.

1) Micro jump and hit attack in the air
2) Hit attack immediately after landing
3) Back dash and cancel instantly into another attack
4) Instantly hit the special attack (triple slash)

6 slashes in 1.5 seconds. Kills most things.
 

cartman414

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May 3, 2006
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I was there on the OG GBA, too. It definitely controlled better than on the Switch.
Anyway, COTM is exactly that - a 8-bit game to the core, with a 32-bit coat of paint. There’s so many rooms that just repeat the same layout again and again, like they designed a little piece of a room and just cloned it multiple times to make a big room, exactly like it was in NES games like Zelda 2, Battle of Olympus, etc.

These games keep you glued to the end because the Metroidvania gameplay loop is incredibly addictive. Every little jump, every new room, every power-up no matter how mundane, always feels rewarding, and the push to go just a little further is relentless.

Today I wrapped up Harmony and started Aria.
OK, I see it now, at last. Coming straight from the previous two games, this one feels so much more polished. The controls are the best in the trilogy; too bad Soma doesn’t have those zippy dashes Juste has in Harmony, otherwise we’d have the perfect Castlevania controls. But it isn’t so, therefore traversing the castle is a bit too slow and the backward dash is borderline useless.
Even if the game feels better and it’s clearly much better designed though, it has its problems. Too many weapons are just useless, unless you want more challenge. The shop is completely redundant. And again, there’s a terrific difficulty spike in the arena, with the game putting you against tons of different enemies at once in cramped rooms, and they’re all much tougher than the ones you’ve been fighting until that point. A couple rooms in the arena are pure bullshit. This happens in every game of the GBA trilogy, and it’s still a thing in Bloodstained, 20 years later. I find this really irritating. There’s no need to ramp up the difficulty with this BS.

Most of all, I’m really not a fan of game systems based on random drops. Aria brings Circle’s gimmick up to eleven, with every different monster in the game being the potential source of an extra power. Good luck making some monsters drop theirs, though. And while I appreciate that some secret areas are gated behind specific powers, getting those powers and figuring out they’re exactly what you need seriously feels like a cheap way to keep you playing more than necessary.
Oh, and really, that story? I’m not expecting any deep plot from Castlevania - which is exactly why this sudden turn towards anime always rubbed me the wrong way. Yeah, there’s this bunch of nonsensical characters in this castle that came out of nowhere, yet Soma never freaks out and keeps trusting the shadiest people. It’s terrible, really. There’s even the obligatory “N... no, it’s not like that!” line in one dialogue.

Today I also had a brief run at Dracula XX. It’s an amazingly bad game. I’m not sure how you can explain taking Rondo of Blood and coming out with this travesty. The level design is awful, with extremely frustrating enemy placement, and the character controls terribly. It’s like one team designed the levels while another worked on Richter, making two things that don’t gel at all. And for the love of God, don’t play the Euro version. If you’re not familiar with that 50 vs 60Hz thing that gets discussed here sometimes, just compare the Euro version of Dracula XX with the JP or US one and it’s all you need to know. The Castlevania Adventure on the Game Boy is a better game than this.

The 8-bit design part on CotM is too true. And a little sad reading alongside Zelda II/BoO, imagining what they could be contemporized.

In Aria you can at least get away with only acquiring a few souls here and there, and their uses are perfectly documented (CotM's combos get a little obtuse). If you want a 100% rate it's your call. I'm surprised I've never seen a low soul challenge.

Aria didn't have the dashes, but IMO made up for it with the Black Panther soul. (Late game powerup, but damn it feels good.)
 
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Andyliini

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May 16, 2015
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And done, finished all 4 games. I even went for the best ending in Dracula X and got it with relative ease. I even beat the Serpent and Death on my first try, just barely though. The secret is to use the item crash often, the game gives you a ton of hearts for that purpose.

As for the rest, I only played through the main quest, with 100% map completion each. I did not play the extra modes in CotM, Maxim Mode in Hod or Julius Mode in AoS. Maybe I will one day, but now it's time to play something else. I had to play as Simon at least once in HoD, at least.

It's a good compilation, and I really hope Konami will bring more in the future. Hopefully we don't have to wait 2 years again this time.
 

daveonezero

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Nov 19, 2018
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Collecting the cards in Cotm is time consuming and intensely tedious.
Two hours farming for one card.
Just Dracula to finish off and after that I think I'll take a break. Fatigue is setting in.
I found the bug/glitchthat lets you swap to any combination last time I played it. Is that still in this version?
 
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Dr. Suchong

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Aug 17, 2020
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It is a bug sorry auto correct

Ah I see what you mean now.
I stumbled on an explanation of this last night when I was trying to find an elusive last few cards.
I haven't tried it myself but I imagine it'll still be in there.
I'll have a look using a new save file later.
Edit. Didn't see the post above, cool it's in the game still 👍
 
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Dirk Benedict

Member
May 31, 2013
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Fetid, rotted, cursed Isz
Collecting the cards in Cotm is time consuming and intensely tedious.
Two hours farming for one card.
Just Dracula to finish off and after that I think I'll take a break. Fatigue is setting in.

I've abused the rewind feature to farm Trick Candle, which seem hard to set up a kill, in itself. Nothing. I don't think I'll go back any time soon, once I beat it.
 
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Dr. Suchong

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I've abused the rewind feature to farm Trick Candle, which seem hard to set up a kill, in itself. Nothing. I don't think I'll go back any time soon, once I beat it.
Yeah it's extremely tedious isn't it? At least it's reasonably easy to farm most cards, (if very time consuming)
But there's only one Fallen angel, in one particular place, for one particular card and it's a pain get there and annoying to kill.
Collectables need to be better implemented than getting them by sheer dumb luck.
I reached Dracula in well under 10 hours.
The last 5 hours have been faffing about walking on and off screen killing one enemy.
I'll be glad when it's over lol 👍
 

daveonezero

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Nov 19, 2018
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Yeah it's extremely tedious isn't it? At least it's reasonably easy to farm most cards, (if very time consuming)
But there's only one Fallen angel, in one particular place, for one particular card and it's a pain get there and annoying to kill.
Collectables need to be better implemented than getting them by sheer dumb luck.
I reached Dracula in well under 10 hours.
The last 5 hours have been faffing about walking on and off screen killing one enemy.
I'll be glad when it's over lol 👍
Yeah this is why I just dig Aria and Dawn more than the other games I’ve played.

Even Ecclesial was good but I didn’t like the system as much as the Soma games.

it just didn’t give you many options even though you can have different skills on each hand it was beter to use the same on both.
 
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