Review: Castlevania – Harmony of Dissonance

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The next stop on the Castlevania series is another GBA title; Harmony of Dissonance.

I was EXTREMELY excited when this title was released because it is actually a direct sequel to Castlevania II – Simon’s Quest – One of my favorite games in the series.

The game features Juste Belmont, Simon’s grandson. Two years before the events of the game, Juste’s companion Maxim vanished while on a journey of self enlightenment. One day, Maxim finally returns, but in terrible shape. He tells Juste that he has learned their childhood friend Lydie has been kidnapped and taken to strange castle. The two of them travel to the castle (which suspiciously looks a lot like Castlevania). Juste tells Maxim to rest by the entrance while he enters the castle in search of Lydie.

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As the story unfolds, it is learned that in an effort to prove himself a worthy vampire hunter, Maxim followed in the footsteps of Juste’s grandfather, by finding the various remains (or relics) of Dracula in an attempt to resurrect him and in turn, defeat him. By doing so he unwittingly became possessed by Dracula’s spirit and summoned Castlevania back into the material world.

During Juste’s quest in the castle he meets up with The Grim Reaper on more than one occasion and learns that in its transient state Castlevania currently exists both in the material world and spirit world, and only by conquering both will be be able to overcome the dark spell placed on Maxim.

Eventually, Juste is able to rescue Lydie and confronts the “Dark Maxim” only to let loose a “Wraith-Form” Dracula. Like his predecessors, he defeats the Count, and sends the castle crumbling into dust.

All in all, this title is similar to both Symphony and Circle of the Moon. Despite being a direct sequel, the atmosphere bears no resemblance to Simon’s Quest whatsoever. In fact, other than collecting Dracula’s relics, there is little outside of the storyline that connects the two games. While somewhat of a disappointment in that regard, the game is still very enjoyable. This is a title that I have played through a few time, and I found myself enjoying it just as much this go-around.

Once the game is beaten there a few unlockable features. You can playthrough the game again as Maxim or participate in a the Boss Rush mode – both of which are nice touches.

Graphically, the game is a step up from Circle of the Moon. But sadly, the music is subpar. While not terrible, its definitely not what I would expect from a Castlevania title at this point in time.

1476: Castlevania III — Trevor Belmont, Sypha Belnades, Grant, and Alucard vs. Dracula.
1576: Castlevania Adventure – Christopher Belmont vs. Dracula
1591: Castlevania Adventure II – Christopher Belmont vs. Dracula
1691: Castlevania, Super Castlevania, Chronicles – Simon Belmont vs. Dracula
1698: Castlevania II – Simon Belmont vs. Dracula
1748: Castlevania – Harmony of Dissonance – Juste Belmont vs Dracula
1792: Castlevania: Rondo of Blood — Richter Belmont and Maria Renard vs. Dracula
1797: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night – Alucard vs. Dracula
1830: Castlevania: Circle of the Moon – Nathan Graves vs Dracula
1844/1852: Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness – Cornell, Henry, Reinhardt, & Carrie vs. Dracula
1897: Dracula the novel
1917: Castlevania Bloodlines – John Morris and Eric Lacarde vs. Dracula
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Difficulty: Medium This title is very similar to SotN in terms of difficulty. Overall fairly easy in terms of challenge. The real test lies in the player’s willingness to explore and discover every nook and cranny.
Story: Somewhat similar to Circle of the Moon, but with a more familiar set of characters. Nice tidbits about the nature of Castlevania itself.

Originality: Again, sort of a cheap throw-back to Circle of the Moon in regards to the two main characters. This is another SotN style game.

Soundtrack: Not the best I’ve heard. The songs here are very strange and unearthly. While that does create a certain atmosphere, they sadly, are just not very good.

Fun: Despite some of my above complaints, the game is a lot of fun. I really enjoy these “castleroid” style games. This is no exception.

Graphics: A bit of a step up from Circle of the Moon. Very colorful and impressive scenery. Although, I don’t quite understand why Juste has that strange glow about him… it made sense with Alucard (he’s a supernatural being), but why with Juste?

Playcontrol: No real issues here. Perfect. Just like Symphony or Circle.

Overall rating (out of four stars): 3- This is a solid Castlevania title. There’s not really anything new to see, so it doesn’t really stand out in a lineup with the other titles.

Currently Available: WiiU Virtual Console (originally GBA)

Other Reviews In This Series:

CVCV II – CV IIICVACVA II – Super CVDracula X BloodlinesSotNCV64 – CotM ChroniclesHoDAoSLoIDoSCoDPoROoECVA RebirthJudgment 

LoS Los: Mirror of FateLoS II

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