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Castlevania: Circle of the Moon


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Great, now I have the music from the first dungeons level stuck in my head.

Really lovely game, I really ground every bit of enjoyment out of it, figuring out what enemies had what cards, where to find potions etc. without looking up FAQs. I did my first sequence break in it - completely unintentionally - by doing the Waterways stage immediately after the Chapel. I'm still at 99.7% completion on my main save though. Aargh!

strider's right about Aria though, it somehow manages to be in another class entirely.

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This is one of two games I only ever played on an actual Gameboy Advance when i'd just started Uni. A mate of mine had got the original gba and lent it me with this and spiderman I think it was. That was Crap in comparison to this though.

It reminded me largely of a cut down version of SOTN but overall was a great game with pretty good graphics. I barely remember much from it other than I know I completed it and I distinctly remember having major issues with the darkness of the screen combined with light shining on top of it reflected from a light bulb if I moved it in the wrong place. Still managed to persevere though to the end.

Didn't it give u a password to put in when u finished it with magic in it or something along those lines for replay value. I know I never went through it more than once.

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"In 2002, Circle of the Moon was removed from the series timeline, a move met with some resistance from fans"

Hahaha!! I love how there's someone out there trying to look after the Castlevania canon. I've never known a game series to have a less cohesive mis-mash of random bollocks going on. None of the games make any sense and trying to relate them to one another is insanity. Makes the Resident Evil timeline look well thought out and pre-planned

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Didn't it give u a password to put in when u finished it with magic in it or something along those lines for replay value. I know I never went through it more than once.

Four passwords altogether:

Boosted magic and all the cards, but poorer physical stats

Double Hearts and subweapon damage but poorer standard attacks and magic

Double standard attacks but no magic

...

*google*

One that boosts item drops but has poorer stats on everything

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I did my first sequence break in it - completely unintentionally - by doing the Waterways stage immediately after the Chapel.

Ha, I think I just accidentally started doing this myself, but I'm guessing from all the poisonous water I should probably find some kind of power-up first.

Just got the DSS card that lets you create magical weapons - swords, tonfa, a ridiculously gigantic hammer and fun-looking but useless kung-fu. A fun surprise. I like the way that as you get more cards, they don't turn up so often, but getting just one card unlocks about six new skills.

In other Metroidvania news, finally snagged a boxed copy of Metroid Zero Mission for 20NZD. Only about the second legitimate one I've seen amongst a sea of fakes.

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Difficulty curve has just taken a massive jump, with the poison-baddie infested underground bit and the Twin Dragon boss. Good though - it means that I've had to start properly using DSS rather than just generally running around with +25% Luck on all the time.

Used the four spinning ice-crystal thing to protect myself from the damned annoying poisonous Killer Bees, and found that it also passively smashes open any destroyable walls, meaning I've found a few secret rooms I wouldn't have thought to look for. Against the almost unavoidable (and not very fun) Twin Dragons, I used the combo that increases your post-hit-flashing-invulnerability duration by four, which made it stupid and possible instead of stupid and impossible.

Boomerang seems to be the secondary weapon of choice - did a wonderful job on the Man Eaters, which obligingly dropped their card on the fourth ask.

About 60% done now - might have to grind for 100% items at the end...

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It's good, but tougher than a Doc Martens sandwich.

Eating a DM sandwich would be less tough than the grueling task I just had of filling in Nintendo Stars catalogue points though, oh well, managed to get 7000 input today though, lol, time to sit an play Castlevania now though :)

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I played this when it first came out, and went through most of it during a midnight train journey through central Europe - the carriage's nightlights gave off enough to see the screen fine so the darkness was never an issue - I remember wondering what people were moaning about when I read the first reviews. It was very atmospheric.

A couple of years ago I plugged my old cart in again and compulsively grinded through the arena section, and got my guy up to level 99 (or whatever the max is) - the only time I've done this in a Castlevania game.

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Still going! Pushing 80% completion now, and with almost all of the DSS cards. Last few dungeon areas have been pretty strong - enjoyed the semi-puzzling of the Underground Warehouse and the Waterways, and the Pluto DSS card (giving elemental resistance) has been fantastic.

Even though I'd logically worked out that there must be something like the Roc Feather in the game, I hadn't expected it to be so ridiculously powerful and fun. Great going back to earlier areas and just flying up the stairwells like a bullet.

Weirdest enemy met - Were-Horse. Seriously, Were-Horse? Tough buggers, to be fair.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Cleared the Battle Arena a few days ago. I was grinding to prepare for it, in line with some FAQs, and just got bored and thought I'd give it a crack. To my immense surprise, I breezed through it, so I'm now the proud owner of the "Shinning Armor". Nice work, translation team!

Managed to pick up the Unicorn card on my way through, but missed the Black Dog card. I'm sure the final boss will be absurdly easy after all this item grinding.

Still good, but the grinding does get you down, particularly trying to get the rare items (Saturn, Needle Armor, Dark Armor, Sage Robe) off the hidden evil winged woman baddies. I suppose I could have just ignored all that and pressed on with the plot, but that's not how I compulsively roll.

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  • 9 years later...

Played through this a number of times over the years, enjoyed it on a big TV when I was starting out with emulation on the Wii.  Played it again this week on 3DS and it still stands up.  But there's fundamentally something very wrong with the coding, which could even be a bug.  The random item drops are ridiculous, I've almost completed the map (pretty much everything found apart from the battle arena) and I've got about half the DSS cards, and an inventory that's never had more than about 4 items in since I started.  If item drops are linked to your luck stat, they would need to have the values multiplied by 4 to make it similar to SOTN.  The DSS card system is excellent but it takes way too much grinding to get most of the cards.  The last card on the top row drops about one time in every 100 kills of an enemy that only appears in one room.  Crazy.  Otherwise, great game.

 

(Top tip, if you want to play as if you have picked up the DSS cards, choose a card combo that you have collected, press L trigger to activate the DSS system but immediately press start to bring up the menu.  Choose a different card combo , including ones where you haven't picked up the cards yet, and then return to the game. You will have the new combo available to use until you run out of magic or deactivate).

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Got the Pluto card last night for the first time in all the years I've been playing this game.  I used 2 luck rings, DSS cards to add 25% luck, I think the total was over 800.  And it still took a full 20 minutes of walking into the room, killing the 1 enemy in the game that drops it, leaving the room and re-entering and repeating for 20 minutes , maybe 25.  It's ludicrous and surely the way the game calculates item drops is bugged.  No-one would deliberately make items that hard to find.

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1 hour ago, Alex W. said:

Twenty minutes of grinding isn't all that unusual, is it? Compared to what I've done for drops in FF8 it's a minor distraction.

Grinding in isolation (I've seen that movie) maybe  but this is an item that drops in just one room in the whole game, and with all the luck multipliers enabled it took that long. I don't understand how anyone would possibly pick it up as a random drop. You'd have to read it on a walkthrough to head back to that room, equip everything and then spend a whole episode of Question Time killing the same thing over and over. Just seems really silly to me. How are you supposed to find this item without looking it up?

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8 minutes ago, Lorfarius said:

Didn't they put stuff like that in to sell more guides at shops? There was an official one for this.

Watching Jeremy Parish's recent videos on Castlevania, this is quite possibly it, as Konami have previous. Akumajo Dracula on the MSX (the non-identical twin of NES Castlevania) was bastard hard and only gave you 3 lives, but... you could buy the official Konami MSX Cheats Cartridge and run that in the other slot to unlock infinite lives. Castlevania 2 is apparently just as obscure in Japanese as in English in terms of villager clues - it's by design, not bad translation - but guidebooks were available from day one.

 

Nice to see this old thread get a second life, even if the ravages of time and forum migration have robbed the old posts of any empty lines between paragraphs. This is still the only Castlevania I've really managed to get into - I had the Harmony of Dissonance / Aria of Sorrow double pack, but somehow never got beyond dipping my toe into them, then I cleared out all my GBA stuff when I moved back from New Zealand. I've always meant to play SotN one day, but the opportunity has never arisen.

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1 hour ago, Lorfarius said:

Think I bought this one on release but was so annoyed it was far too dark on the GBA screen without a decent light so gave up.

Although ironically one thing that put me off the sequels was the big blue line they put around your character, which was clearly done to solve the visibility problems. But I was playing it on an AGS-101, so it just looked rubbish and ruined the aesthetic. I wonder if anyone has romhacked it out?

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There are hacks to "fix" HOD's visuals, but they're completely artless and make it look drab and dead. It's a beautiful game as it is, IMO, even if you're not keen on the visibility measures taken with some characters. Even worse is this abortive attempt to "fix" its soundtrack, an astonishingly rich and versatile work to begin with, here largely thrown out in favour of immediately catchy series 'standards' rendered really poorly: 

 

Currently replaying COTM myself, for the first time in about a decade, and enjoying it a lot more than I expected. My memories of it are dominated by the incredible soundtrack and the incredible tedium of its "monsters on shelves" / "deal with this scenario five times in a row" level design, but there's a lot to like about it anyway. Some areas are dramatically better than this, like the Machine Tower, where the enemy placement and overall construction do a lot more to keep you engaged, and the combat has this nice grounded weightiness to it, with Nathan feeling like a clever bridge between classic Castlevania characters and the post-SOTN ones. It has some great boss battles that test you on your command of his skillset, and it's nice to play a modern Castlevania in which you're actually in danger of dying from moment to moment. The tense rushes back to a save point after boss battles (no health orbs!) are particularly thrilling.

 

Edit: this patch looks decent enough, and doesn't seem to mess with anything it didn't need to:

There were narrative reasons for Juste's having a blue 'soul', though I doubt they're important enough for this to ruin the game. If it helps you enjoy the experience more, use it! :)

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Anyone know what's going on here?  He starts the game with 1600 luck and doesn't have to grind much for items.  By the time he get to collect the Pluto card he gets it in 20 seconds with a luck score of 8000. He's not even using the DSS or luck rings. The irony is, with the luck levels so ridiculously high the item drops are at a frequency that I feel they should be throughout.  But how is he doing this?  

 

 

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It has a few other 'modes' (really just character builds) you can unlock by completing the game a certain number of times. Complete it once and you get 'Magician' mode, where you start with all the DSS cards and an emphasis on magic/int stats, etc, and after that there are 'Fighter' and 'Thief' modes. 'Fighter' boosts Nathan's str, hp and whatnot, while 'Thief' just boosts his luck, like the 'Luck' mode from Symphony. The latter is the one being used in the video, accessed by entering DAGGER as the player name. As much as I love the game, I don't think I have three more replays in me. :p

 

You'll quite often see guides referring to 'Vampire Killer mode', which sounds exciting but is basically just Nathan's job title/character class in the normal mode.

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6 hours ago, Alexlotl said:

Castlevania 2 is apparently just as obscure in Japanese as in English in terms of villager clues - it's by design, not bad translation - but guidebooks were available from day one.

 

Not quite true, the Japanese version as you say did have obscure clues, but many were incorrectly translated in English. This site details all the text in the original game both Japanese and English and the various mistakes: https://bisqwit.iki.fi/cv2fin/diff

 

One of the major problems with the English release is the manual, the Japanese version included a map of the game and explains how the villagers worked, different villagers had different chances of giving you useful information, something mentioned as a foot note in the English manual. The other key hints in the game are supposed to be the hidden hint books, which again isn't correctly explained in the English manual. A lot of this was all in the Japanese manual, but not explained in the English manual, this was one of those old games where you needed to read the manual before playing. This excellent Japanese website detailed all the mechanic in the game: http://castlevania.jp/a_main/03/index.html#m3 (View via Google translate)

 

I really enjoyed Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance, never saw why some people didn't like it, it's an excellent game that borrowed a lot of elements from Castlevania: Nocturne in the Moonlight. Should replay it at some point.

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