Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance[a] is a platform-adventure video game developed and published by Konami for the Game Boy Advance. Belonging to Konami’s Castlevania video game series, it is the second installment of the series on the Game Boy Advance. It was released in Japan in June 2002, in North America in September 2002, and in Europe in October 2002. It was the first Castlevania game to be called “Castlevania” in Japan instead of “Akumajō Dracula”.
Harmony of Dissonance occurs in the fictional universe of the Castlevania series; the premise of the series centers on the eternal conflict between the vampire hunters of the Belmont clan and the immortal vampire Dracula. Set fifty years after Simon Belmont vanquished Dracula’s curse, Harmony of Dissonance focuses on his grandson Juste Belmont and his quest to rescue a kidnapped childhood friend.
Koji Igarashi produced Harmony of Dissonance with the intent of “creat[ing] a game that was similar to Castlevania: Symphony of the Night”, the critically acclaimed PlayStation game that he had worked on. Harmony of Dissonance sold 126,000 units in the United States and did not become a “huge hit in Japan”. Critics praised it as an entertaining game with improved graphics as compared to its predecessor Castlevania: Circle of the Moon, but criticized its soundtrack. In January 2006, Harmony of Dissonance was re-released in North America and later Europe, along with Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow, as part of the Castlevania Double Pack.
Harmony of Dissonance makes use of a 2D side-scrolling style of gameplay, similar to many of the previous Castlevania video games. The objective of the game is to lead the player-character, Juste Belmont, through the monster-filled castle as he searches for his kidnapped friend. The castle consists of two “layers”: Castle A and B. Structurally, each castle has mostly the same room layout, but monster types, items, and other aspects vary between the two versions. Later, the player can use special warp rooms that can teleport Juste to other castle rooms and between castles. The two castles share a connection; for example, the destruction of a wall in one castle can cause a change in the other. The game further divides the castle into various, named areas: the Shrine of the Apostates, for example. Relics and keys found within the castle allow Juste to reach previously inaccessible areas. Harmony of Dissonance makes use of the forward dash move, which causes Juste to move forward with a short burst of speed. Unique to Harmony of Dissonance is the ability to collect furniture and collectables to furnish a bare room that Juste finds in the castle. This, under certain circumstances, does affect the ending.