been seriously tempted in recent days to merely copy and paste my
write-up of Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance as a form
of protest. After all, there are nearly half a dozen titles on the
Gameboy Advance - three Castlevanias and two Metroids
- that, for all intents and purposes, are the exact same game. They're
all throwbacks to Super Metroid.
I shouldn't be griping, because these are all quality games, and
the latest, titled Aria of Sorrow (what is it with all
the corny names in this franchise?), is among the finest games to
appear on the Nintendo portable. From a purely technical standpoint,
it's a splendor, visually lush and luminous, with endless armies
of zombies, monsters, and mythical mutants to dispatch. Everything
looks great, sounds great, moves great, but shouldn't that be a
given when you're dealing with leftovers?
the three Castlevanias on the Advance, I'd say this one
was the best, although Harmony has something going for
it in the nostalgia department. This year's model of Dracula's castle
is the most tightly constructed, with a great variety of themes
and envirnments. Again, when all you have to eat after the Holidays
is turkey, you tend to become pretty skilled at gormet.
it seem like all the clever ideas for videogames have come and gone?
The entire industry has been reduced to recycling three or four
titles over and over and over. I'm old enough to know that imitation
and repetition have always been a part of games (try to imagine
how many space shoot-em-ups and maze games followed on the heels
of Space Invaders and Pac-Man), but it's never
been as bad as it is now. As videogames have become bigger and more
profitable, they've become more stale and lifeless.
gotta be the television. Practically everything associated with
TV has all the life sucked out of it.
I'm getting off on a tangent here. Aria of Sorrow is a
very good game, and for the purpose of this little essay, that's
what matters most. If you have a Gameboy, chances are you already
bought a copy and spend a weekend playing it to death. Then, if
you're anything like me, you lost interest as soon as you finished
walking through the whole game.
when Castlevania games were hard? Those early games on
the NES were brutal; they'd beat teenagers like a gong and send
them crying home to their mommies. But now it's all a cakewalk.
For thirty clams, you should expect a longer shelf life than five
or ten hours. Hell, I paid four bucks for a paperback copy of 1984,
and I've been burrowing myself in it for the past eight years. Value,