Hands-on: Castlevania: White Night Concerto

We've got hands-on impressions from the first playable version of Castlevania: White Night Concerto for the Game Boy Advance. New movies inside.

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TOKYO - A playable demo of Castlevania: White Night Concerto for the Game Boy Advance was made available during a weekend event here in Tokyo. The game is being developed by the same team responsible for Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, and it certainly showed in the amount of time we were able to spend with the demo.

You will take the role of Juste Belmont, a vampire hunter who continues the Belnades (Sypha Belnades was the magic user in Castlevania III) bloodline and happens to look much like Alucard from Symphony of the Night. He will be able to equip different sets of whips, armor, and a maximum of three accessories. You can also use an assortment of items, such as healing potions and maps. There are also relics in White Night Concerto, and they provide Juste with special abilities, like the useful double jump. The new spell system in the game lets you combine elemental spellbooks with any one of the traditional Castlevania items, such as the cross, axe, dagger, gem, holy water, bible, and thunder ring. For example, when you have the axe as your special weapon and equip the ice spellbook, you can throw giant icicles onto enemies. Like Richter in Symphony of the Night, you can also use these in one giant superblast to eliminate all the enemies onscreen at once.

The graphics are a significant improvement upon Circle of the Moon's, especially the animation of the main character. The backgrounds also seem to be a little more complex than those in Circle of the Moon. The A and B buttons are used for jump and attack, while the shoulder buttons are used for dashing forward or backward. However, Juste's jumping ability felt a little awkward, because he has much longer airtime than characters in previous Castlevania games. It was also sometimes difficult to tell if you could stand on a particular platform because it could easily be mistaken as part of the background. But other than those issues, White Night Concerto will definitely appeal to Symphony of the Night fans who may have been disappointed by Circle of the Moon.

Castlevania: White Night Concerto for the Game Boy Advance is scheduled for release on June 6 in Japan. A North American release is currently listed under a different subtitle, called Harmony of Dissonance, but release details have not yet been announced.

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