Castlevania: Circle of the Moon was the first Castlavania game for the Game Boy Advance. On a personal note, when I got my Game Boy Advance, COTM was the first game I picked up. The game adopts the exploration heavy formula of Castlevania Symphony of the Night. Despite a few nagging problems, and the fact that its storyline is considered non-canon, COTM is a classic entry in the long standing franchise.

Instead of a member of the Belmont clan, COTM casts players as Nathan Morris, an apprentice vampire hunter. He wields the whip, and the standard Castlevania weaponry, so he might as well be a Belmont. Anyway, Dracula has been revived, and his mentor has been captures, so Morris sets out to save him. You’ll explored Dracula’s castle, which is huge and is frequently remodeled, and you’ll gain new abilities and skills to proceed. The game’s combat system revolves around the DSS card system. Throughout the castle, you’ll find several cards, 10 for ability, and 10 for attribute, which can be combined together for 100 combinations. For instance, one card will replace the whip with new weapons, including a sword, hammer, and even a pistol depending on what attribute card it’s combined with.

In true Castlevania fashion, you’ll fight huge bosses. Unfortunately, the graphics are a bit too small and dark on the GBA screen (although this is an issue that was rectified in later portable Castlevania titles). Even with this oversight, the game is still worthy of its console brethren, and it became the first of the portable ‘Metroidvania’ games. If Nintendo adds Game Boy Advance games to the 3DS virtual console, this game should be among the first entries.