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Upon Retrospect: Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance

With October being the official month of Halloween, let's delve into a spooky game for the holidays. Today, we're taking a look at Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance for the Game Boy Advance. Many gamers love the spooky elements of the Castlevania series (myself included) and can't get enough of its mechanics.

Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance was made for the Game Boy Advance and released on June 6, 2002 (spooky date note). Made by Konami, namely Koji Igarashi, the game is a platform, side-scrolling adventure, a.k.a. a MetroidVania. Harmony of Dissonance achieved better success in North America than in Japan, selling 126,000 units in the first three months.

The protagonist is Juste Belmont, the grandson of Simon Belmont and descendant of Sypha Belnades. He and his friend, Maxim, set off to rescue his childhood friend, Lydie Erlanger. Along the way, he meets a merchant that stumbles upon the castle and Death, a Castlevania staple.

Harmony of Dissonance definitely fits the Igarashi mold, combining the spooky elements of Castlevania with the MetroidVania element. There may be times where you'll feel stuck on a specific part of the game. However, once you've broken through these barriers, it's smooth sailing from there.

The gameplay also feels smooth, making each attack feel pristine. You can maneuver around easily, attacking your opponents without breaking a sweat. That has been a staple of the Igarashi games, helping the player get in tune with the game's mechanics.

But that's not to say that Harmony of Dissonance doesn't have its flaws. In fact, it does. There's the tedious backtracking associated with every MetroidVania that makes it troubling to play. There's also cheesy music that can be hard on the ears. The quality of the music sounds grating, leaving the player wincing while fighting the undead. You can even say that the story's a little weak, providing little substance and suspense aside from Maxim.

Still, Harmony of Dissonance is a wonderful adventure to undertake. You can take on zombies and the undead in classic Castlevania style, using the game's enhanced fighting mechanics. If you're seeking a spooktacular game this month, pick up Harmony of Dissonance.

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