If it wasn’t for Castlevania, I would have probably never owned a Game Boy Advance. Nor a DS, for that matter.
After Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, I was hungry for more Dracula-whipping Metroidvania action, and so the announcement that Castlevania: Circle of the Moon would be a Game Boy Advance launch title got me pre-ordering both in a flash. And I loved it. I also loved its two follow ups: Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance and Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow. They all had their own protagonists and unique quirks, but were solid slices of Metroidvania action that couldn’t be experienced elsewhere. Until now.
Castlevania Advance Collection, available on PS4, Switch and PC and coming soon to Xbox One, bundles up all three previously Game Boy Advance exclusive Castlevania titles and also delivers a wealth of additional features. There’s a gallery, for example, allowing you to pore over pieces of sumptuous art. There’s a music player, too, so you can sit back and chill to the game’s soundtracks if that’s something you’d like to do. And then there are features that are more practical in nature.
Jump into any of the games and you’ll find there are screen settings, allowing you to play in pixel perfect or full screen modes if the standard offering isn’t to your liking. There’s also a high quality sound option, save state support, the ability to save and load replays, a rewind feature, and the controls are remappable. Encyclopaedias have even been thrown in, offering information on each game’s items, monsters, and more. Needless to say, never have these titles been so well-presented and accessible.
Perhaps the most important thing, though, is that with them brought to modern consoles and PC by M2, you can be sure the ports are good quality. Playing the PS4 version of the collection via PS5, I’ve found the controls to be perfectly responsive, and I haven’t noticed any gameplay or sound anomalies whatsoever. They all play just as I remember them, which is to say they all play great.
There’s just one thing that brings the Castlevania Advance Collection down, but it feels harsh to complain about it as it’s effectively a free bonus. The SNES reworking of Castlevania: Rondo of Blood has also been thrown in for some reason, otherwise known as Castlevania: Dracula X or Castlevania: Vampire’s Kiss depending on where you are in the world. It’s simply not very good, but at least you can switch between the American, European and Japanese versions, as you can with all of the games in the collection, in order to make the best of it.
If you’re a Castlevania fan, or someone that simply loves Metroidvanias, consider Castlevania Advance Collection a must-have. Circle of the Moon, Harmony of Dissonance and Aria of Sorrow might not be the best games in the series or the genre, but they’re all great nonetheless. And this is by far the cheapest way to acquire them, as well as the best way to experience them. For £15.99/$19.99, Castlevania Advance Collection is an absolute steal.
Castlevania Advance Collection is available now on PS4, Switch and PC, and soon on Xbox One.