Prepare for some heavy backtracking...
I have no knowledge at all about castlevania,but I sure do know one thing about the series.Dracula and whips.This is the second castlevania installment for the Gameboy advance,and although it's not the best game out there,it is definately worth buying to castlevania fans.
Story - 5/10
I'll give some credit here atleast.The story is about Juste Belmont,grandson of Simon Belmont,who goes to an uknown castle with his friend,Maxim,to save his friend,Lydie.A few little plot twists and there,which aren't really plot twists,isn't that impressive.But,it's better than just looking for Dracula and slaying him down.
Graphics - 8/10
The graphics are nice looking in this game,the sprites are well done,and the blue aura around Juste makes it much more better somehow.The environments and rooms in the game does make it look like your in Dracula's castle,and it does an impressive job in doing so.There's really nothing bad to say about the graphics,really.It just fills up that castlevania atmosphere for some reason.
Gameplay - 7/10
The gameplay is very fun in the beginning,and then it just gets more tedious as you backtrack all the way looking for items to advance through the castle.What you do is,find relics around the corners of the castle,while fighting through bosses as you go.These relics help you throughout the journey,such as an item which lets you jump twice in the air,or another item that makes you slide through small gaps in the walls.There is so much backtracking,and its just very tedious.For example,you finally find a relic that you need,but you just find out that you need four more relics to get to the final boss.Finding these can be frustrating,if you missed out on them earlier on.What's even more disastrous is the inclusion of two castles.Yeah yeah,i know,the more exploration,the more fun and experience you'll have,but backtracking through these two castles to find the relics are rather boring.Another thing you can do in this game are finding decorations throughout the castle,decorating your own room with chandeliers,bookshelves,and etc.That's fun and all,but pointless.When you finish the game,you can start all over,but on hard mode,or,you can play Boss Rush mode that you just unlocked from beating the game.The boss rush mode is when you fight bosses,one by one,but for some reason,you can only fight 2/4 of the bosses.I don't know really,I only beaten the easy mode of boss rush mode.But anyyyyway,I'll give some props to the gameplay atleast.It's just that some people can easily give up on this game because of the amount of backtracking in this game.You'll need a lot of patience and some thinking to finish this game.
Sound/Music - 8/10
I really don't know why a lot of castlevania fans out there hate the music in this game.I like it.The music fits the environments through out the game,such as mysterious tunes in caves,and .....errr,I can't really describe the music in this game for some reason.But i'll tell you one thing,it's very well done.The sounds are okay-ish,but not horrible.You can hear the fiery winds of your fire spell,or the piercing sound emittin when you use the wind spell combined with the dagger.
Overall - 7/10
It is a fun game nonetheless,but if Konami would just tone down the backtracking,I think a lot of people would enjoy the game more.It's worth playing to all those castlevania fans out there,especially the hardcore fans.