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Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow (Game Boy Advance)

88
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
4.2
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.

User Reviews

Just as good as Castlevania games gets Bregalad (916) 4.8 Stars4.8 Stars4.8 Stars4.8 Stars4.8 Stars
The definitive Castlevania for the GBA NeoJ (428) 3.8 Stars3.8 Stars3.8 Stars3.8 Stars3.8 Stars
Absolutely fantastic game. One of my all-time favorites. Simoneer (30) 4.8 Stars4.8 Stars4.8 Stars4.8 Stars4.8 Stars
Wow. WJAndrews (32) 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars
A real desire to achieve 100% Pagen HD (81) 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars

Our Users Say

Category Description MobyScore
Gameplay How well the game mechanics work (player controls, game action, interface, etc.) 4.3
Graphics The quality of the art, or the quality/speed of the drawing routines 4.3
Personal Slant How much you personally like the game, regardless of other attributes 4.3
Sound / Music The quality of the sound effects and/or music composition 4.1
Story / Presentation The main creative ideas in the game and how well they're executed 3.9
Overall MobyScore (56 votes) 4.2


The Press Says

MobyRanks are listed below. You can read here for more information about MobyRank.
100
The Video Game Critic
Aria's graphics are brighter and easier to discern than "dark" titles like Circle of the Moon. Besides the usual suspects, you encounter witches than transform into cats, killer dolls, and waltzing ghosts (a la Disney's Haunted Mansion). Bosses include the grotesque "Creaking skull" (a giant Skeleton torso) and the "Headhunter" who swaps heads to assume different identities. I like how when you attack a monster, the damage points are displayed right on the screen. Acquiring the abilities of defeated foes is a cool feature, and I even enjoyed perusing the "enemy database". Overall, Aria of Sorrow is the most polished, well-rounded Castlevania adventure to date - including Symphony of the Night (Playstation).
100
The Next Level
With all the above and a fairly notable cast of characters (including a somewhat familiar face not revealed until later in the game), and interesting plot twists throughout, Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow is a definite must-play for those who love the series, or even 2D side-scrolling action games in particular.
100
UOL Jogos
"Aria of Sorrow" está muito mais próximo do clássico "Symphony of the Night" do que seus dois antecessores. Mas provavelmente em função do curto período de desenvolvimento, a aventura principal é relativamente curta. Mas a fórmula da série permanece incrivelmente divertida, e, ao lado de "Metroid Fusion", o título deve fazer parte da coleção de qualquer dono de GBA que curta uma boa aventura.
100
GamesAreFun.com (GAF)
Yet even if Konami managed to replicate Symphony of the Night’s gothic melodies and fluid sprites in handheld form, it wouldn’t mean anything if the game didn’t play well; Harmony of Dissonance was proof of that, to an extent. Appropriately, for a title about absorbing souls, Aria of Sorrow packs plenty of soul. The thought and love that went into its making are readily perceptible at every point. Gameplay isn’t just solid; it’s polished to a blinding sheen. Control is tight and responsive. There’s not enough for any one person to say about Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow that can properly do it justice. It’s a genuine classic, a Castlevania enthusiast’s dream, and one of the best portable games ever made. Don’t miss it, even if it means fighting Dracula himself.
97
Digital Entertainment News (den)
If Harmony of Dissonance left a somewhat sour taste in your mouth last year with its aggrivating warp system, some pastel backgrounds, the ugly animation of its main character Juste and its complete lack of originality, Aria will blisfully wash all of that away. The graphics are great, the classical style soundtrack is very well composed, the soul system adds a lot of depth to the game and traversing the castle is as simple as can be and it's clear this game is the real successor to Symphony of the Night.
95
Gaming Target
In their third try, Konami has successfully created a GBA game on the same level as Symphony of the Night. Aria of Sorrow is near perfection, despite some issues with boss difficulty and the shortness of the game. It really doesn't matter in the long run, as the great, twisting story, multiple endings, an unlockable playable character, and soul collecting creates great replay value that's not quite on the level of SOTN; but when you have a hidden secret that doubles the length of a game like SOTN had, who could top that? It's almost impossible to put Aria of Sorrow into words - it's one of those games that you need to play, just to see how incredibly well the whole thing clicks into an amazing game. Really, if you need a reason to get a GBA, this is it - because right now, this is the pinnacle of Game Boy Advance gaming.
95
RPGFan
Aria of Sorrow features several endings and tons of secret items and weapons that will keep you coming back for more. It is a polished version of the classic Castlevania series that both borrows old ideas and designs and implements new features and nuances. Any Castlevania gamer is going to want this one, and casual fans will want to check this out too. Aria of Sorrow is one hell of a good time!
95
NintendoWorldReport
Aria of Sorrow doesn’t have an upside-down version of the castle like past games, and its castle is actually a bit small for the series, but it’s still not a short game. Gamers experienced in the series will finish it in around ten hours, and it could take twice that long for others. A harder difficulty setting, Boss Rush mode, and new playable character all open up after completion, so there’s plenty to keep you busy. All of this amounts to a package that any GBA owner would be proud to have in his collection. Even if you’ve never played one of the recent Castlevania titles, and especially if you were bothered by the unbalanced design of the last two games, go out right now and pick up Aria of Sorrow.
95
NintendoWorldReport
The only downfall of Soma’s adventure is the fact that the game is much too short. I beat the game in less than six hours, and collected almost everything. While this game is not a proverbial cakewalk, its difficulty falls somewhere in the middle of Circle of the Moon and Harmony of Dissonance. However, that being said, Aria of Sorrow is an incredibly fun game and well worth the time you put into it. Offering a higher level of difficulty, excellent soundtrack and highly engaging gameplay, this is the true successor to Symphony of the Night, which fans have been waiting for.
95
GameZone
These Castlevania games are in a league of their own. Aria of Sorrow is more enjoyable than you could even imagine. It is instantly addictive and instantly time-consuming; hours will melt away faster than a sweaty handful of M&Ms. No one "needs" a reason to buy a GBA, and there are already tons of must-have games available. But if there's one thing I think every gamer has finally learned, it's that you never look a gift horse in the mouth.
94
GamersMark
When all is said and done, Aria of Sorrow ends up being one of the Game Boy Advance’s best Action games, giving games like Metroid Fusion a run for their money. And as a Castlevania game, Aria of Sorrow rises top the top of the mountain, standing side by side with the acclaimed Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. If you’re considering passing up Aria of Sorrow then you’re a fool. With an already excellent amount of Game Boy Advance games worthy of purchase, Aria of Sorrow is easily one of the best.
93
Nintendojo
Aria of Sorrow is quite simply the best Castlevania on the system, and an impromptu contender for best game – period – on the system itself. With link capabilities, a hidden character, and a bevy of secrets, Aria of Sorrow also has substantial shelf life and replay value. Including a somewhat more complex story base than the series is accustomed to (the game actually takes place in the future, for one), I further encourage you to take the reigns of Soma Cruz and battle the forces of evil festering inside the solar eclipse. Honestly, with a rather parched release schedule and ubiquitous cookie cutter cash-ins, this is one handheld masterpiece no gamer can afford to miss. Pick it up!
93
GameSpy
Konami's Castlevania adventures for the Game Boy Advance have a bit of a spotty record thus far. Circle of the Moon was an engaging and challenging game, but was weak in graphics and level design. Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance fixed the graphics, broke the music and challenge, and forced players into far too much pointless, meandering plodding. I'm thrilled, then, that with Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow Konami has managed to get just about everything right. AoS was in development far longer than HoD, and this extra attention and care couldn't be more apparent. AoS is, in my estimation, the best portable Castlevania game yet created.
93
IGN
Yes, Aria of Sorrow's boss battles are generally (and a little disappointingly) a cakewalk; there's only a couple that will really give players any real trouble...and even the absolute final boss has an incredibly simple pattern that can be easily read and defeated. But where boss battles aren't troublesome, the standard array of enemies can certainly cause problems. Though the beginning of the adventure's a bit on the easy side, there are places deep in the game that are tough and challenging due to very, very aggressive standard enemies.
92
Game Informer Magazine
Each new Castlevania title so completely exemplifies the beauty of the sprite-based action game. It offers gameplay comparable in depth and excitement to quality next-gen products, but its simple 2D presentation reminds you that you’re enjoying something undeniably artificial. It puts on no pretentious airs of being anything more than a damn fine video game. Yet, Aria of Sorrow totally enraptures me in its world, more so than most environments made up of seemingly obscene numbers of polygons.
91
Game Chronicles
Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow is an excellent game and easily the best in the GBA Castlevania series. It’s nice to see when a franchise continues to evolve and improve with each new release. Aria of Sorrow put a dramatic spin on the gameplay and the general premise for the story, but it retains just enough of the series to keep veterans happy and newcomers entertained for countless hours. A definite must-have for any GBA owner who craves a good action game.
90
Insert Credit
Harmony is a treat for the series historian; it ties up a bunch of loose ends, both in terms of the arching storyline and the various game styles and systems throughout the series. When I play this game, the game I play is a game dripping with the kind of geeked-out exhaustive love for its subject matter and its medium that I can relate to. Harmony is not exactly original, but it's not exactly meant to be; it's a smart ode to what has been.
90
Retro Gamer
There are three Castlevania games currently available for the Game Boy Advance, and all are worth your hard-earned. Still, if we were to only choose one then we’d have to pick Aria of Sorrow, mainly because it comes so close to the majesty of Symphony of the Night. Not only does it build on the RPG elements that appeared in the original GBA outings, it also introduces a brand new character, the mysterious Soma, and best of all, a soul system that allows you to drain the abilities of your enemies. It may be short, but the atmospheric music and fantastic boss encounters helps it to must-have status.
90
Legendra
Au final, nous avons ce qui se fait de mieux en matière de Castlevania malgré la difficulté assez moyenne du soft et sa courte longévité (sauf si vous voulez récupérer toutes les âmes, il y a même un système d'échange d'âmes entre GBA à la façon Pokémon). Le jeu est fortement conseillé, sa jouabilité le rend accessible à tous, les fans et les amateurs d'ambiance vampirique seront aux anges.
90
RPGFan
Despite all the alterations, Aria of Sorrow remains irrevocably familiar, undeniably another installment of the Castlevania series. Equipped with the elements many gamers hold dear and consider the lifeblood of the series, Aria of Sorrow also showcases the true art of game development: to adapt and change as necessary yet remain consistent. A cornerstone to the company's success, Castlevania continues to bring Konami high praise and a decidedly powerful fan-base. A round of applause goes out to the company for taking fans' appreciation into thought and producing the ideal hybrid that many were skeptical of. It goes without saying that many will put their fears to rest concerning Castlevania's future, whether it is 2-D or 3-D. The story of Dracula and the heroes who seek to slay the Prince of Darkness lives on...
90
Gamereactor (Sweden)
Det är alltså bara den begränsade längden som stjälper lasset. Du kan säkert få ut drygt tio speltimmar utan att börja upprepa dig, men mycket mer än så blir det inte. Då räcker det inte riktigt att spelet är riktigt snyggt och låter utmärkt. Men spelet är trots allt tämligen nyskapande med massor av vapen att bruka och fiender att banka. Alla Castlevania-fans bör givetvis springa och köpa genast, men ni andra bör testa först. Har du möjlighet att hyra, gör så.
90
Game Vortex
Despite being so similar to Symphony of the Night, Aria of Sorrow delivers a solid, fresh new gaming experience. Its home on the handheld is the perfect place for it to thrive, given what it delivers. Games like this are responsible for bringing 2D back into style, so if you own a GBA there is no reason not to buy Aria of Sorrow.
90
Deeko
The GBA Castlevania's simply get better and better, but it's reign of exclusivity on the GBA is at an end, as the next Castlevania will be on the PS2. However, Aria of Sorrow is another fantastic chapter in the Castlevania saga and warrants a purchase. Be warned, the game is not very long and only clocks in at about 10-15 hours. There are multiple endings which will keep you coming back for more, though!
90
Just RPG
Well, it's a bold new step where no Castlevania has gone before. It's succeeded. The controls are simple, the gameplay enjoyable. I will be looking forward to more games like this.
90
Kombo.com
Overall this game has very few faults. The story, while virtually non-existant at the start, turns out to be great and one of the best in the series. If you are a Castlevania fan you have to pick this up. If you are an adventure fan you have to pick this up. If you are a game fan you have to pick this up. I guess what I am saying is PICK THIS GAME UP!
90
DreamStation.cc
In the end, Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow, is a worthy addition to the Castlevania universe. It has solid game play and control tied to an intriguing story. The developers at Konami took the best of the last two GBA Castlevania games and Castlevania: SOTN and combined them with the soul system, to make a masterpiece of a hand held game. The time spent playing was worth every minute. Yet those use to the flashy graphics and surround sound of console games may not find this game as enjoyable.
90
GamePro (US)
Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow addresses all the complaints leveraged against its predecessors and improves upon them in every single way. It's 2D porta-gaming at its most refined, even if the song seems a little familiar.
90
Pelit
Konamin klassinen Castlevania-sarja sopii Gameboylle erinomaisesti, sillä kaksiulotteiset näkymät ja mukaansatempaava pelattavuus ovat aina olleet sarjan tavaramerkit. GBA SP:n taustavalo saa mystisen Habukan temppelin pimeimmätkin sopukat kylpemään kuulaassa valossa.
89
N-Zone
Eines muss man Konami lassen. Bei der Castlevania-Serie auf dem GBA lassen die Jungs nichts anbrennen. Der neueste Teil macht durch die tolle Grafik und den gelungenen Sound ordentlich was her. Man kann einfach nicht aufhören zu spielen. Etwas unausgegoren ist nur die Aufnahme der gegnerischen Seelen, die etwas zu willkürlich abläuft. Nicht immer überlässt euch der Besiegte seine Seele, auch wenn ihr den Gegner das erste Mal trefft. Genau dieser Punkt verwehrt dem Spiel auch eine bes-sere Wertung als dem Vorgänger.
88
Mygamer.com
Aria of Sorrow is the best GBA Castlevania yet as it plays out very fluidly. This game series has proven that you do not need to travel in a 3D environment in order to be successful and have fun. Castlevania was born in 2D and plays best in 2D. Even though this game came out in less than a year from the previous Castlevania, in no way does it feel rushed or just thrown together. With this game's awesome character animations, solid music tracks, simple control scheme, and a clean weapon, armor, and power up system, Aria of Sorrow stands strong. You'll only wish that this game was longer as it may only take you about 7-8 hours to complete. However, once beaten, unlockables will be available that will let you play as new member of the Belmont clan and challenge bosses. Be careful when playing this game as it will absorb your soul as well.
88
Netjak
My final analysis is this: Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow is worth the purchase, no question about it. It may hold a few minor flaws that may make is a notch or two below Harmony of Dissonance, but none are vital enough to force you to leave it on the shelf. And more importantly, it ain't that same ol' thing.
88
Game Over Online
With Harmony of Dissonance, you got your hands on a great Castlevania game for the Game Boy Advance. The futuristic setting in Sorrow offers the same but not much else except some new levels, a different character building system, all evolutionary, not revolutionary, features. If you missed out on playing Harmony of Dissonance, Sorrow is a great way to get re-introduced to Castlevania. If you played Harmony of Dissonance and wished you could play more, Sorrow is the perfect game for you.
88
Portable Review
When all is said and done, difficulty aside, this appears to be the best Castlevania game on the system to date. It's not any one thing about it that makes it great. Rather, it's the sum of its parts (graphics, music, gameplay and, extras) that make up this total package. Just know that if you're a true fan of Castlevania challenges, you'll need to go through the game at least once to get to the real challenge.
87
Nintendo Spin
Even though some may say the battling of all these monsters while doing all the backtracking you have to do is repetitive, it just isn’t boring to play. The action is constant, and so is the fun. It’s definitely one of the best GBA titles out there, as it borrows a little bit of the quality from Symphony of the Night and delivers a fresh experience that any Castlevania fan can easily fall in love with. While everything about the game isn’t remarkable, enough of it is to make the game very much worth any kind of money. It’s a very good looking game with lots of great detail, and hearing that awesome gothic music in the background while delivering pain to Dracula’s men is not something to pass up. Simply put, you won’t have any sorrow playing this game, so if you’re a Castlevania fan, get it.
86
GameSpot
Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow is more polished than the previous two Castlevania games. Fans of those games will notice that simple actions like saving your progress, checking the map, and accessing your inventory are faster than in the previous games, which helps keep the pace nice and quick. The soul-stealing system is simple in practice yet has plenty of depth, and the quality of the game's graphics and sound are both great. Soma animates smoothly, and most all the enemies look very good, especially the game's huge bosses.
85
Realm of Gaming
Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow isn't completely forgettable. Heck, I personally found it better than Harmony of Dissonance, mainly because the game does more to stand out. My only issue with the game is that it didn't go as wild as it should have. Of course it doesn't help Aria's cause, either, that it's sadly overshadowed by its sequel, which replicates the soul system, features cooler boss battles, and is an all around more memorable game.
85
Jeuxvideo.com
Une fois n'est pas coutume, Castlevania s'impose clairement comme la référence du jeu d'action sur GBA, avec un système de jeu qui atteint là des sommets de maîtrise en termes de plaisir de jeu. Les bases sont toujours les mêmes, mais les améliorations sont franchement appréciables, la traduction est un plus indéniable, et le système de capture des âmes est aussi excellent que la gestion de l'équipement. Incontournable !
83
Gaming Nexus
Dracula just can't stay dead in what is easily the best GBA version of Castlevania yet. Amazing in every department from sound to gameplay. Only problem? It's too damn short.
80
Bordersdown
Longevity is a facet often overlooked by designers. Unlockable characters and modes can make the game last many times the length of the main game and, by including a Pokemon style Trade system, players can trade souls in an attempt to gain 100%. Fortunately the artwork, mechanics and ambience ensure that playing the game is always gripping and intriguing, meaning nothing should get in the way of thoroughly completing this gem, and enjoying the experience at the same time.
80
Daily Game
The Castlevania series is one of the most long-standing game franchises and the reason it continues to persist in part is because of great games like Aria of Sorrow. For sixteen years now, we have been hacking and slashing our way through Dracula’s castle to save the world from evil, and still can’t get enough. The Castlevania story might be getting a bit dated, but the delivery is tried and true. Aria of Sorrow maintains the classic style of its predecessors while giving players a few new treats and strategies this time around. Fans of the series as well as newcomers looking to find an adventure title with strategy elements will find themselves right at home with Aria of Sorrow.
80
Games TM
If you played through Castlevania: Symphony Of The Night, or are the sort of gamer who enjoys building up stats and organising equipment, AOS will give you a few hours of quality handheld fun. If, however, you're expecting a straightforward platform adventure game along the lines of SNES Castlevania IV, you may find the whole experience a little confusing. Either way, this is easily the second greatest game in the Castlevania series, only trailing just behind Symphony Of The Night in terms of scale, depth and innovative design.
80
HonestGamers
What all of this comes together to mean in the grand scheme of things is that you should connive a friend into buying this game, then borrow it over a weekend and finish it. Sure, we should all have this one in our collection. It's one of the best games on the system, hands down. But like so many games, it only lasts a short time. If that doesn't bother you, this one is by all means recommended as a purchase. Otherwise, borrow. Just make sure that whatever you do, you play it.
80
Pocket Gamer UK
Unusual, too, is the game's carefully crafted complexity, which guarantees a level of depth and longevity typically absent from the majority of platform titles. But it's the immediacy of the action at the core of the Castlevania experience that should engross you in your newfound digital demon slaying duties - to the point of not registering the ring of your door bell, should unexpected family suddenly turn up.
80
Gamekult
Castlevania : Aria of Sorrow est une franche réussite et s'impose sans mal comme un des tous meilleurs jeux GBA depuis le début de l'année. Beau, maniable et globalement encore plus intéressant que les volets précédents de l'illustre série de Konami, ce titre saura séduire aussi bien les habitués du genre que les novices en quête d'un bon jeu d'action/aventure à se mettre sous la dent. Seul petit bémol dans ce tableau assez idyllique, une difficulté peut-être pas assez élevée pour résister bien longtemps aux meilleurs joueurs, sans que cela soit tout de même trop flagrant ou dommageable pour le plaisir de jeu. Quoiqu'il en soit, on en redemande bien volontiers.
80
Gamestyle
Overall Aria of Sorrow improves and develops upon its predecessors. Better graphics, sound, story, gameplay and style all add up to a brilliant action adventure with a touch of RPG about it. It truly is a shame that the loyal fan base of the series will be more or less the only people who get the game as it is one of the best games available on the GBA, and the best in the Castlevania Advance series so far. My only hope is that the next adventure is set somewhere outside of a castle, there really is only so much exploring to be done in DraculaÂ’s house. Castlevania 2 on the NES provided the same type of adventure but allowed a much larger variety of locations and would make an excellent base from which to develop the next title.
80
Cubed3
Circle of the Moon, Harmony of Dissonance and now Aria of Sorrow – three of the best GBA titles out on the market at the moment, with this latest instalment being the superior of the pseudo-trilogy. Metroid Fusion is the only GBA game that can be compared to this series and is still, to be honest, a far better game. But Konami is rapidly closing in on the level of quality found in Nintendo’s alien-orientated adventure, making it even more of a shame that the chances of a brand new Castlevania handheld title are very slim at the moment. Perhaps if the excellent Lament of Innocence performs well enough on the PS2 there will be enough funds for another GBA outing. One can only hope so!
78
GameCola.net
Overall, I found Aria of Sorrow to be an entirely entertaining experience, and a long-lasting one as far as handheld action games go. Clearing all 100% of the castle will take quite some time. If you are fond of previous Castlevania games, this should be right up your alley. Pay no attention to the goofy story, it's not important, and skipping all the dialogue will still leave you with a very good action/platforming game. Finishing the game opens up a Boss battling mode where you can earn special weapons by defeating the games bosses as quickly as possible, and the weapons can be used in the main game as well. By now this game is probably being sold at a discount price, and you'd do well to pick it up.
70
RPGamer
Overall, Aria of Sorrow is perhaps the best of the Metroid style Castlevania games, and well worth playing. However, those who find themselves growing tired of the series should probably think about giving things a rest.
70
Game Critics
For now, I'll continue to keep a candle burning for a Castlevania that surprises me, knocks me off balance, makes me think and wonder and use my imagination; a Castlevania that creates a detailed, vivid world that I'm reluctant to leave. Let's hope the PlayStation 2 Castlevania, due later this year, will be the bona fide experience I've been hoping for and not just the latest in a long line of diversions.
70
Christ Centered Game Reviews
This is an extremely well made game that is a lot of fun to play, and yet it has some serious flaws. The dark setting may be very off-putting for some, and they should avoid this game outright. Others who are comfortable with the setting should still think twice about this as the other content really pushes the envelope. Though the ESRB has rated it Teen, I really think it is probably more appropriate for Mature adults who have thought through whether or not the game play (which is excellent) is worth some of the content provided.
60
Game Critics
It sports a lavishly detailed world, amazing sights and sounds, and enthralling action in a dramatic context. Somehow, all this epicness feels hampered by the tiny screen. There's a reason why we go to the movie theater to see sweeping vistas and epic battles and stay at home to watch short, to the point comedies on television. I think the same logic applies to home games versus portable games. I just can't think of a reason to recommend Aria of Sorrow unless you're a fan who must see what happens in the story. Otherwise, if what you're looking for is a dose of 2D gothic coolness that will blow your mind—Symphony of the Night is absolutely everything Aria of Sorrow is and more. It's the same larger-than-life characters, larger-than-life action, and larger-than-life setting in the only place they make sense: on a large screen.