Harmony of Dissonance is a great game that succesfully captures the Symphony of the Night and Classic Castlevania Feel!
Tekkenfb368 wrote this review on .
Now let me get one thing clear! i bought the Double Pack Cartridge which has this game and "Aria of Sorrow". So the reason why I'm not reviewing the Double Pack is because of how I do my reviews which is to explain the games in detail one at a time so if I review the Double Pack, I'll be doing it until next year. Now enough of that. Let me tell you of the game itself! Now Harmony of Dissonance is the second Castlevania game for the GBA and it's a sort of prequel to 2001's Circle of the Moon. So, how does this game hold up to the rest of the series? Well, read my review and find out!!
The Story is set in 1748 in Transylvania. It's been years since Simon Belmont had last faced Dracula, breaking the curse inflicted upon the Belmont. Years later, Simon's grandson, Juste Belmont travels with his apparently ammnesiac friend, Maxim. Maxim then tells Juste that the Castle has his childhood friend Lydie Erlanger inside kidnapped by a mysterious Vampire (Dracula obviously!). So Juste takes up the Vampire Killer Whip and sets off to the Castle to recue Lydie!
The Controls are very smooth and responsive. You use the Control pad to move Juste, press A to jump, B to attack enemies, up+B for sub weapons and the left and right shoulder button to dash back or forward. See? Smooth and easy to grasp controls and they work great for the most part.
The Graphics are huge improvement over Circle of the Moon! Instead of the jerky animations Nathan Graves suffered, Juste now animates beautifully whether he's running, dashing, whipping etc. And it's not just Juste who looks good. The environments in the Castle are nicely detailed with a combination of rich colours and Dark, Gothic scenery. The enemies look good too and they nicely detailed and some of them are horrific (in a good way) capturing the atmosphere perfectly. To sum it all off, fantastic graphics which are a lot better than Circle of the Moon!
The Gameplay is nicely done and it follows both the "Symphony of the Night" and the Classic Castlevania formula. The reason why I say the classic Castlevania formula is because Juste fights with a whip and some sub weapons like the Holy boomerang, daggers, holy water etc. Aaand the reason why I say the "Symphony of the Night" formula, I mean that the Castle is huuuuuuuuge and it goes for a Metroid syle approach with some RPG elements mixed in. While in the Castle Juste can explore various areas, do some side quests, fight off enemies and bosses using the whip and earning new abilities. Although I prefer the linear Castlevania games better, the Metroid style gameplay works for me. Juste can earn new abilities to access new areas of Dracula's Castle like a double jump, a slide tackle etc. In addition to fighting with weapons, since Juste is a decendant of Trevor Belmont's wife, Sypha Benaldes, Juste can cast spells in combination with the sub weapons if he can find the spellbooks hidden within the Castle e.g: Juste can cast the the fire bommerang in combination with the fire spellbook. This gives the game a very nice touch and it makes you feel like you are controlling both Trevor and Sypha fused into one! There is a little bit of backtracking which I hate sometimes but that is a minor issue. There also two different dimensions in the Castle which gives the game a little bit of an interesting twist. Juste can explore the different dimensions and it's not just a secret spot but it's part of the main storyline and that what you will do in that dimension will effect the next. I really like the dimensions thing and it get's you really pumped about the choice making and stuff. The monsters in the game may be borrowed from "Symphony of the Night" and "Circle of the Moon" but there are ton of original monsters as well. You will be fighting tons of monsters in the game and it's just plain awesome and sucks you in to the game! You can even perform the dorky whip from "Super Castlevania IV"! And there are tons of collectibles in the game like boots, gloves, rings, spellbooks etc. To sum it all off, awesome awesome gameplay!!!!
The Music is okay, but it could've been in a Game Boy Colour title. As for the SFX, they are pretty good and the Voice acting for Juste is pretty good too!!
The Downsides I found were these: The music is the game's absoloute failing point. I mean, I know I'm being harsh but this the GBA we're talking about here! The Music sounds 8 bit-ish and it sounds like something like the NES! Also the Castle is very difficult to navigate at first because you'll be circleing through the same rooms over and over! Let's see hmmm... which way should I go, okay I'll go this way. Hey wait, that's the same room I've been before!!!! AUUUUGH!!! Even "Symphony of the Night" had this problem! (I haven't played "Symphony of the Night" yet but I'm assuming it had that problem.) Anyway, onto verdict!
Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance is a fantasic GBA game and one well worthy to add to your collection! If haven't played it, I suggest you do now or even buy the double pack which contains "Aria of Sorrow" also! Let's overview the facts shall we?
The Good: Brilliant level design, medusa heads are no longer a serious problem, non linear gameplay earns this game plenty of replay value, graphics look bright and colourful yet dark and moody, main character fights with a whip which captures the classic Castlevania formula very well, more modes once you've beaten the game, good spell mechanic, smooth animation!
The Bad: Castle is difficult to navigate at first, a little easy on the whole, music is tiny and forgettable.
P.S: Simon Belmont is lurking in the game. Can you find him? If you own the game, that's my challenge for you guys! Okay, bye bye!!!