It was rumored ahead of yesterday’s Nintendo Direct that all the castelvania games on the Game Boy Advance would be re-released. After it got the official announcement, I thought it would be a good chance to relive these excellent games on my Switch. But lo and behold, my little Zelda box might get a little dustier. Castlevania Advance Collection had been in the works for PC via Steam as well. And, wouldn’t you know it? The game is already available for a reasonable sum of $19.99 USD. Hell, Castelvania: Aria of Sorrow is worth that alone. I’ve missed that game. I once let someone borrow it and I never got it back.
The collection includes four of the best Castlevania games ever made. Konami went back to the old formula, starting with Circle of the Moon in 2001. Along with that game, the collection also features Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance, the very excellent Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow, and the much beloved Castlevania: Dracula X.
All of the previous games, save for Dracula X, were released on the Game Boy Advance. Dracula X is more of a bonus game. It’s the reimagining of Castlevania: Rondo of Blood, first released on PC Engine CD (aka, TurboGrafx-16) before getting ported as Dracula X for the Super Nintendo in 1995, and the PlayStation Portable in 2007.
Cruz-ing back into our hearts
The games are shining examples of the series. Among the Castlevania Advance Collection, really the only one that received some divisive critique is Harmony of Dissonance. And that one isn’t even all that bad (it’s pretty good, as I recall). For purists, the best game in the collection is likely a toss-up between Dracula X and Aria of Sorrow. For me, though, it’s the latter, which introduced the new protagonist Soma Cruz. It also took place in the year 2035, the first set in the near future.
Castlevania Advance Collection brings to PC more than the games, however. The collection includes a gallery with never-seen-before artwork, a music player, a quick save/load system, a rewind, and a replay option to record runs. It’s a nice collection, all in all. You’d be batty not to be interested.