Dracula - Castlevania: Circle of the Moon/Concerto of the Midnight Sun

Catalog #: KMCA-162
Publisher: Konami
Release date: 6/26/02
Price: 2548 yen

Front Cover

After everyone wished that Circle of the Moon would see a soundtrack release - well, it's finally here, a year after the game was released. Also included is the original soundtrack to Harmony of Dissonance.

Circle of the Moon was one of the first games that really shows off the sound capabilities of the Gameboy Advance. The title song "Requiem" sounds almost exactly like it does in Dracula X. It's not quick as good as the SNES sound chip, but songs taken from SCV4 like "Clockwork Mansion" sound remarkably like the original.

A majority of the compositions are taken from past Castlevania games - "A Vision of Dark Secrets" and "Sinking Old Sanctuary" are from Bloodlines, "Shudder" and "Sign of Blood Pulse" are from the N64 games, and a good amount of songs are from Castlevania 3 - "Aquarius", "Big Battle", "Clockwork", and "Nightmare". Most of them have been arranged and extended a bit too. While this means there aren't very many new songs, the ones that are there are very well done. "Awake", the Catacombs theme, easily takes its place as a classic Castlevania song. "Fate to Despair", the Chapel theme, and "Proof of Blood", the final Dracula battle song, are also very engaging. Unfortunately, the music has not really been cleared of the hissing present in the original game. Something should have been done to clean them up, though they do sound slightly better than coming out of the Gameboy Advance headphone jack.

Then comes Harmony of Dissonance. While Circle of the Moon's sound quality was almost around a first generation SNES title, Harmony is more like a last generation NES game. There's a lot of nice drum samples, but much of the instrumentation relies on the Gameboy Color sound channels, which don't really have much strength. Plus some of the notes have a tendency to get very shrill, which is a bit grating, to say the least. There are a few exceptions at least - the ending theme "Successor of Fate Variation" and the title screen both have very high sound quality.

This would be at least partially forgivable if the music compositions were good. Unfortunately, they're rather split. "Successor of Fate", the Entrance song, is another well composed song that is a very reminscent of classic Castlevania, and "Offense and Defense", the Marble Corridor theme, has great drumwork and a very nice beat vaguely reminsicent of the Castle Keep theme, "Heavenly Doorway", from Symphony of the Night. However, other than these and a few other standouts, the rest of the music is fairly bland and uninteresting.

There are only a few remixed songs - "Name Entry 2K2" reaches back to the name entry screen from the Famicom Disk version of the first Castlevania, and the Game Over theme comes from the original Gameboy games. Other than that, there's a remix of Vampire Killer (with "Clockwork" patched in) that's pretty good. Michiru Yamane, composer of Symphony of the Night, does the tracks "Dark Door" and "Knight Head", but neither are really worth anything. There's also an arranged version of the chapel theme. While it starts off very nicely, with a pleasant symphonic tone to it, when the pace picks up, the music is all over the place and just isn't very good. I also wish they would've chosen a better song to arrange, or at least included more of them.

Overall, despite Harmony's somewhat lacking soundtrack, the tracks from Circle are enough to put this into the "purchase" zone.

The Music

Circle of the Moon
Track Song Title
1 Requiem
2 Sign of Blood Pulse
3 A Vision of Dark Secrets
4 Inversion
5 Awake
6 The Sinking Old Sanctuary
7 Clockwork
8 Shudder
9 Game Over
10 Fate to Despair
11 Aquarius
12 Clockwork Mansion
13 Big Battle
14 Nightmare
15 Vampire Killer
16 Illusionary Dance
17 Proof of Blood
18 Repose of Souls
19 Circle of the Moon

Concerto of a Midnight Sun
Track Song Title
20 Prologue (Maxim Kischine's Theme)
21 Title Screen
22 Name Entry 2K2
23 Successor of Fate (Juste Belmont's Theme)
24 Offense and Defense
25 Approach of Deplore
26 Luminous Caverns
27 Aqueduct of Dragons
28 Chapel of Dissonance
29 Clocktower
30 Skeleton Den
31 To the Center of the Demoniac Castle
32 Beloved Person (Lydie Elranger's Theme)
33 Dark Covenant (Death's Theme)
34 Last Battle
35 Epilogue 1
36 Game Over
37 Incarnation of Darkness (Dracula's Theme)
38 Archenemy
39 Epilogue 2 ((Lydie Elranger's Theme, Variation)
40 Successor of Fate (Juste Belmont's Theme, Variation)
41 Seller of Fine Goods (Merchant's Theme)
42 Dark Door
43 Knight Head
44 VK2K2 (Vampire Killer 2002)
45 Chapel of Dissonance (Arranged Version)

Liner Notes

These liner note translation were done by Japanese Castlevania fan Hatakeyama. Doumo arigatou!

Circle of the Moon

Sound Director - Takeshi Iwakiri

No matter what games I am in charge of, I usually have only one thing which I always concentrate on. However, this game was kind of an exception because I decided to focus on two. The first was deciding what music worked best in each area, and the other was the exploration of GBA's PCM sounds' potential. I sincerely hope all of you will appreciate the sound of "Circle of the Moon."

Composer - Sotaro Tojima

Recently it seems that music in video games has become more ambiant, or something which will make you feel as if you were there in the game. When I composed the music of "Circle of the Moon ", I specifically concentrated more on their melody. I'm sure that when you hear them, you will feel like Nathan, the hero of the game. This is my opposition against recent trends.

There is also some music you may have heard from previous games, because I felt they were well descriptive of the feelings of the hero. I felt as if I were Nathan when composing this music. I would be very happy if you felt you became Nathan too when you listen to it.

Concerto of the Midnight Sun

(Note: for Concerto of Midnight sun, five people give their comments, but, Kouji Igarashi AKA "Notorious IGA" just gives short greetings and let Mr. Takashi Takeda speak.)

Takashi Takeda - Director

Hi, I'm Takeda, the director of "Concerto of the Midnight Sun". I can still remember the ridiculously hard days, when we slept on the hard, cold floor of our company building. Perhaps it is MY fault that too many specifications were squeezed into the software without any deep consideration. Whenever I'm in the middle of hectic schedule of software creation, I wish I could give it up by exclaiming "I'm tired of this!" However, after about a week or so, I feel like putting all my effort into it again. I am currently working on another game while listening to the soundtracks of "Concerto of the Midnight Sun".

Soushiro Hokkai - Sound Director/Composer

Hello, my name is Soushiro Hokkai, and I am in charge of the sound of the game. First off, I suspect that quite a few people were depressed at the moment you hear its PSG oriented sound. We could not help it in order to create the fair quality of the visuals, which are very similar to "Symphony of the Night". And I had difficulty adjusting volume of PSG sound because, as you may know, GBA's sound system is not for PSG sound. I think my effort paid off. I hope everyone will enjoy the "progressive" atmosphere in this music. Last but not least, great contributions were made from an experienced composer, Ms. Yamane and a talented young one, Mr. Yoshida. The music of "Concerto of Midnight Sun" wouldn't exist without their kind cooperation.

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