Both games are brilliant and amazing but which one is the superior adventure?

User Rating: 9.5 | Castlevania Double Pack GBA
This is a comparison between Aria of Sorrow and Harmony of Dissonance.
Hi guys. Sorry for not updating anything in a while so hopefully this comparison will make up for what Darth Vader calls "Incompetence". So likewise, I mentioned in my Aria of Sorrow and Harmony of Dissonance reviews that I wouldn't be reviewing the double pack simply because of the way I do my reviews. Well guys, before you complain and moan about me lying, let me explain. This is a comparison review to see which parts the games do well and which parts make it suffer. So without further ado, let's compare these MetroidVania's!

Best Protagonist?
This is a bit of a tough decision Both have a noble sense of Justice and always want to do the right thing (typical Castlevania protagonists) But which one is actually the better hero? If I had to choose, it would be Soma Cruz. No disrespect to Juste but he isn't unique to me. I like the character but his personality is a bit bland and clich├ęd. He does the right thing and believes in good yada yada yada! With Soma, he wants to do the right thing but there is also a sense of panic within him. He never meant to have this dark power with him and he can't trust pretty much anyone he encounters and he might strike off as a bit rude to some people (Genya Arikado as a notable example). Because of this Soma is the more engaging protagonist. Winner is Aria of Sorrow!

Best Graphics?
This is really difficult for me to decide. Both games are nice looking, their sprites are detailed and both are pleasant to look at. Aria of Sorrow however is slightly less detailed than Harmony of Dissonance but has better animation. I really don't know. Which has the best graphics? If you're looking for nice Gothic scenery, Harmony of Dissonance is probably your best bet but if your looking for smooth and fluid animation then Aria of Sorrow is probably a good choice. However Aria of Sorrow wins by a landslide simply because of it's fluid animation.

Best Music?
Aria of Sorrow wins this category any day of the week! It's not that Harmony of Dissonance had bad music because it didn't. When Igarashi san was developing HOD, Konami rushed him into completing the game within one year so don't blame him, blame Konami. Seriously, the quality of the music is very poor. It's sounds like something out an NES game, not a 32 bit handheld like the GBA! With Aria of Sorrow, everything sounds like it should on the GBA. Good ol 16 bit goodness! Winner is Aria of Sorrow! P.S: Next time Konami, don't rush Igarashi san will ya?!

Best Control?
Aria of Sorrow again wins this category. That game had smooth control so it allowed players to avoid danger easily. Don't get me wrong though. Harmony of Dissonance had good control but it felt a bit stiff at times and didn't have that same control that Symphony of the Night did. Winner is Aria of Sorrow!

Best Gameplay?
Tough cookie for me. Both games are great in terms of their gameplay and both are unique. Harmony of Dissonance is slow and patient whereas Aria of Sorrow is fast and energetic. But the slow pacing of Harmony of Dissonance is also it's biggest flaw. Sure it's to lengthen the game but they didn't find any sort of variety of gameplay whatsoever to keep me interested for too long. AOS on the other hand was fast paced and there was lots of crap happening all over the place which was kick ass for me! Tough call but winner is Aria of Sorrow.

Best Atmosphere?
Both games have Gothic atmospheres that suit the series very nicely but which one pulls it off better? For me it's Harmony of Dissonance simply because everything looks the way should: dark and grity. Sure it's much brighter than Circle of the Moon but it still nails the look and feel of Castlevania. With Aria of Sorrow, not so much. Why? Because everything looks a bit light and positive. It is worthy of the name Castlevania but everything in Aria of Sorrow looks like a lighter version of Death Note which is good; I love anime but this is not what I picture when see Castlevania! So I guess winner goes to Harmony of Dissonance.

Best Story?
Easily Aria of Sorrow. I love Harmony of Dissonance but it's the same Castlevania story retold except with another Belmont. You're still defeating Dracula. With Aria of Sorrow, there is a more compelling plot and conflict within Soma and a stunning plot twist during the finale. Winner is Aria of Sorrow!

Best Challenge?
Aria of Sorrow again wins this one. Harmony of Dissonance was great with it's gameplay but the game was far too easy! I could literally plough through area through area and boss after boss without too much effort! With Aria of Sorrow, to compromise for the smooth control, it threw a lot of enemies at you, testing the player's reflexes. Plus the bosses were fun to fight with Death being my favourite. They weren't hard but they did lethal damage to keep you on your toes as opposed to Harmony of Dissonance where they were sitting ducks. Winner is Aria of Sorrow!

Best Secret Character?
This is a tough decision to make. Both secret characters move faster and are more powerful and responsive than the primary characters. Harmony of Dissonance had Juste's best friend Maxim whereas Aria of Sorrow had Julius Belmont. So which one will take the crown? If I had to choose it would probably be Julius, because it's fun controlling a Belmont plain and simple and plus it was a great tribute to Symphony of the Night's Richter Belmont. Maxim is also fun to play given the fact that he moves quickly but the Belmont wins anyday! Winner is Aria of Sorrow!

Best Gameplay innovation?
Aria of Sorrow has a soul stealing system whereas Harmony of Dissonance has a magic system. With Harmony of Dissonance it's fun to combine subweapons with elemental spellbooks and unleash a hail of pain on your enemies! Plus it's a fun throwback to Richter Belmont's item crashes. With Aria of Sorrow, you can steal enemies souls and toy with their powers. Because this applies to every single enemy, it adds a lot more enjoyment and replay value to the game. Who doesn't like playing with your enemies powers? I do! Winner is Aria of Sorrow!

Overall?
Although this is a surprise to no one, the game that is truly superior is Aria of Sorrow. That game had good graphics, story, a great plot twist and a adequate challenge. I still love Harmony of Dissonance though and what that game gets right, it gets really right! Still Aria of Sorrow took MetroidVania to a whole new level and with the DS Castlevania's, all of them took inspiration from Aria of Sorrow's smooth as butter control and fair challenge.

All right, that wraps up the comparison. I will see you guys next time!