Some of the greatest Castlevania games of all time are coming to Switch later today thanks to the new Castlevania Advance Collection, which bundles all three Game Boy Advance classics into one complete package for the first time.
This doesn’t come as a huge surprise, however. Castlevania Advance Collection appeared on video game classification sites in both South Korea and Australia over the summer. Since then, it was also spotted on a similar Taiwanese database before eventually leaking onto Play-Asia, an online marketplace with a history of accidentally revealing games early.
Konami’s popular Castlevania franchise first arrived on Game Boy Advance in 2001 with Circle of the Moon. Its success spawned two more handheld releases, 2002’s Harmony of Dissonance and 2003’s Aria of Sorrow, the latter of which is considered one of the best games of the series’ Metroidvania era. The trio eventually saw separate re-releases on the Wii U in 2014 but, before today, remained some of the few Castlevania games waiting to be ported or remastered for modern platforms.
The end result is a title that doesn’t just streamline the Metroidvania formula but one that actually builds upon the Castlevania series by creating a world with a powerful mood and deviously fun gameplay mechanics. Circle of the Moon has shifted in and out of creator Koji Igarashi’s official Castlevania timeline, but to write it off as a mere sidestory, not as pretty as Symphony of the Night or as epic in scope as Aria of Sorrow, is to ignore how damn good it is.
As someone who never owned a Game Boy Advance as a kid, I’m super excited to finally have an opportunity to play these games on legit hardware. And not to look a gift horse in the mouth or anything, but here’s hoping Konami also figures out a way to get Castlevania’s Nintendo DS trilogy working on home consoles. I’d love a chance to revisit those handheld adventures, too.