A seminal 2D metroidvania in which after the events of Castlevania: Rondo of Blood (1993), a man named Alucard arrives at Dracula's castle after it rises from the rubble, and seeks to defeat the evil contained within it once and for all by exploring, fighting its inhabitants and collecting the various weapons and abilities hidden in its depths.
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There's a really special satisfaction to experiencing one of "The Classics" that eluded you for years, and it's genuinely as good as everyone claimed. Symphony of the Night is absolutely as good as advertised, it aged incredibly well and lived up to my every expectation. Hell of a game.
An absolutely phenomenal game. Igarashi and his team aced it on the first try. Exploring the castle is extremely fun and exciting. Discovering new areas for the first time is a treat. The RPG mechanics work surprisingly well and allow for a lot of creativity in how you can tackle different situations. The movement is spectacularly fluid and satisfying. Landing jumps and hitting enemies feels great. All of this is topped off with amazing visuals and music.
The only reason I didn't give this a perfect score is because of the inverted castle. Exploring the inverted castle is still fundamentally good because you have the same movement, but some level design just becomes broken and requires transformations to traverse. It really breaks the pace, but at least the bosses are still good.
Still my favorite Metroidvania by a long shot.
The map has a really fun layout with tons of secrets, the powerups while simplistic for today's standards still give a good sense of progression, and the atmosphere + music are unmatched.
Only thing that stops it from being a perfect 10 is the blemish that is the upside down castle. The textbook definition of lazy padding.
Still, this game has held up extremely well and its still something I go back to frequently.