Castlevania: Circle of the Moon (GBA)

I’m getting near the end now. I can smell it. That, and I’ve uncovered more than 80% of the map and have only one “magic power” left to obtain.

Killed Camilla, who was actually very easy once I took my time about it and actually dodged her attacks rather than blindly trying to whip her. My axes proved very useful too. My power-up gained was Roc’s Feather (isn’t that Link’s power-up? Hmm…) which lets me jump very high indeed.

Then it was off to the top bit of the map, which was full of nasty Dark Armours and a Devil which is so hard he might as well be a boss. I found another warp though, which helped, and then came across Hugh. Who I must fight. So I did, and died. I don’t think he’s going to be especially difficult, but there’s a Devil and two Dark Armours to get past before I even reach him, so when I finally get there, I have only half my energy remaining.

Castlevania: Circle of the Moon (GBA)

Off I went to the bit where the acid water was, and as expected, it became normal water again. I then worked my way through quite a few lizardmen, ice women things, and some witches, before finding a huge ice demon thing which killed me.

So I tried again, took a slightly different route, and found a save point. Just past that, was the next boss – Camilla (who is the woman right at the start of the game who is trying to resurrect Dracula). We had a little chat, she implied that Hugh has become a follower of Dracula, and then turned into a winged devil woman riding a giant skull. And killed me.

Castlevania: Circle of the Moon (GBA)

Decided to try and level up a few times before attempting Death again, and also found some Chain Mail (which was better than my armour at the time), and realised that equipping two Cursed Rings would boost my strength and defense hugely (although my luck would drop – not important for a boss fight though, I don’t think). I also found a HP Max upgrade too, which would help.

It still took me five or so goes to kill Death, although it was his second, skeleton crab, form which was difficult. Thankfully, the axes I’d found really helped, as so I killed him eventually – that’s the second Death today! I got a power-up which “cleanses water”, so no doubt that means the acid water I couldn’t get past before is now clear for me to touch.

Castlevania: Circle of the Moon (GBA)

Aha! I think the rivers of acid bit was the wrong route to take, as I found another way to go today, into some sort of warehouse or something. And there, so my dismay, I found Irritating and Unnecessary Gaming Cliche #2 – crate puzzles. GAH!

How many games must people RUIN with crate puzzles? And why are they always actually crates? Surely other things could be used instead? Broken Sword 3 and Lost in Blue both had game-almost-breaking crate puzzle sections in them. -10pts, Konami. angrystare.gif

At least they weren’t hard. I suppose that’s something. I just hope they don’t have the SuckySuck(TM) bit (Irritating and Unnecessary Gaming Cliche #1) at the end of the game now too.

Anyway. So I worked through the warehouse bit, killed a load of Poltergeists and Lightning Armour baddies, as well as some King Moths and Manticores, and eventually found myself at the next boss – Death. He didn’t seem to be especially hard, as I could easily see off his flying scythes with my spinning balls of fire, and he was soon killed, but then he turned into a giant skeleton crab (Irritating and Unnecessary Game Cliche #3) who promptly killed me.

Castlevania: Circle of the Moon (GBA)

Dragons SLAIN! Hurrah! I found a pattern I could stick to that made them much easier to kill and dodge, and so they were soon dead.

And then it was off on another wander around the castle opening areas I couldn’t previously get to, since I can now push big crates out of the way. Found some more HP/MP/heart upgrades, and then wandered into an area full of Ice Armour baddies and some sort of acid water. Eurgh.

Castlevania: Circle of the Moon (GBA)

Spent ages trying to get through the moths-and-triffids area, and found it pretty hard going. Retreated instead, and worked my way around areas of the castle trying to find new areas (which I didn’t really manage), and secret rooms leading to power-ups (of which I found loads). My heart, HP and MP maximum levels were then somewhat higher than previously, allowing me to get through the moths to another save point.

I then wandered around to bump my level up a bit, and then found the next boss – a pair of dragon things. Which I can’t seem to kill. I mean, I can hit them – it’s just they seem to take a billion hits and there’s no great place to stand to whip them without being hit yourself.

Castlevania: Circle of the Moon (GBA)

After what seemed like ages, I finally found another boss – a giant ram’s head thing that threw ghost faces and stuff at me. He was really easy to kill though, as I had my magic fireballs-that-spin-round-me on (which killed most of the projectiles before they hit me), leaving me to just jump-whip his head over and over.

Once dead, I could hit a switch which I think has now made new pathways available elsewhere on the map. No new move power-up yet though, which is what I was expecting. Bumped into Hugh Baldwin again too, who seems to hate me. Hurrah!

I’m now exploring some area where there are lots of poisonous moths and some triffids and things.

Castlevania: Circle of the Moon (GBA)

I’ve just realised that this game has an ID in my games database of “1337”. Hilarious.

Anyway, I’ve now opened up what seems to be a huge portion of the map. I’m getting very lost still, trying every dead end with each new power-up I get. My most recent one is wall-jump, and with it I’ve got into an area full of were-bears and hippo things and all sorts of baddies that take loads of hits. I’ve found three teleporters now too, which is really helping get around the (growing ever-larger) map…

Castlevania: Circle of the Moon (GBA)

I killed the puma boss thing without much difficulty on my first attempt today. I’d levelled up a few times first, however, and had picked up some better armour and a couple of cards (which when combined gave me a magic power that made my whip do more damage), all of which helped a lot. I then wandered round for a while trying to find where I needed to go next, which turned out to be pretty obvious as it was somewhere that I needed the “run” power-up I’d just gained from the boss to reach.

Anyway. I then found another boss, died, levelled up some more, and then defeated, giving me another power-up – a double jump! Again, this let me reach places I previously couldn’t, and soon I’d found a third boss, which gave me a sort of dash-attack which breaks blocks – again opening new areas to me.

Castlevania: Circle of the Moon (GBA)

Since I’m limited to handheld consoles at the moment (I’m at relatives for Christmas), I’m using this opportunity to actually start some games I’ve had for a while but not touched yet. See also Contact on the DS from earlier today.

Anyway. Since I have all three GBA Castlevania games, this is the one to start with. When it came out, people complained it was virtually impossible to play on the non-lit-screen original GBA. No such problems with the super-bright Game Boy Micro I have, though!

So I’ve done the intro, worked my way through some of the catacombs and stuff, killed what I thought was a boss (but it wasn’t), found two save points, and attempted to kill an actual boss (a puma thing) a few times and failed. I’m now going to level up a few times and hope for better items to be dropped by baddies to help a bit…

Qwak (GBA)

Normal Mode is too hard. This is now a Fact. As such, I can’t make it past level 14, so I’ve knocked the difficulty down to Easy (because I’m a coward) and managed to get to 23. I’d have managed much further, but the second Guardians level wiped out virtually all my lives, and all of my continues.

I wish I knew what all the little potion things do. I know the shield ones give you, uh, shielding, but the others? I should read the manual, really.

Qwak (GBA)

Wow. This is my 100th GBA game, which is a milestone in itself, but it’s also the first non-licenced, home made cartridge-based game I’ve ever bought!

Qwak is a remake (or port, or mix of the two – I’m not entirely certain) of the Amiga game of the same name. The GBA version is done by the original author too, so you can be sure it’s authentic! I don’t have the Amiga version, and I don’t recall playing it either, but the game is very much in the style of other platformers of the time – Bubble Bobble, Snow Bros, that sort of thing. Small levels with baddies to avoid or shoot, and things to collect before the exit opens.

It’s great. Colourful and cute, rock hard to play, and very professional. I’m amazed the author didn’t try and get it published properly, as the quality is far above many “real” GBA releases.

Anyway. I played a few times, managed to get up to level 14-ish, and then it all got a bit too hard for me. On my first go I’d only managed to get to level 2 before using a continue, so I had actually shown some improvement…

If you want to buy the game yourself (it’s limited to 300 copies), you can get it from here.