Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
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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hello. i have finally finished symphony of the night. it is the most important castlevania game and the first metroidvania. i think it is pretty amazing that this amazing formula for RPG-lite metroidvanias was born here like, almost with nothing predating it? genuinely amazing. there's so much good stuff here too.
the sprite work is really nice and the castle looks amazing. there are so few parts of this that i think look bad that i'd be willing to say, despite it being the first one, it's one of the better ones. the individual tracks are all stellar too, for the most part anyway. crystal teardrops, marble gallery, abandoned pit, dance of pales, and lost painting, to name a few, are all phenomenal. the downside to this comes from the reverse castle (which is the focus of almost all of my criticisms of the game). Final Toccata is a perfectly fine song. it's nothing special. however, for whatever reason, it is the theme for about 5 of the areas in the reverse castle. you will get sick to bastard death of this song. it is so annoying. it takes away so much of the charm that each area has!!!! i suspect that game's second half was rushed in development or something because it loses all sense of progression, it repeats tracks, has basically no story until you find Death and then Shaft, and has annoying enemies instead of good ones. fighting the Guardian with his super fast shield or the witch in the floating catacombs sucks. speaking of the floating catacombs, oh my god, why is Galamoth so hard?! there is no reason for him to be that strong!! I genuinely dont know how youre supposed to beat him without cheesing the shield rod and Alucard Shield. whatever
I'm kind of rambling but I did really enjoy this game. I played it with the original clunky dub and tbh, I really love it. nobody really gives a good performance but I dont mind? It's just kind of camp and find and I'm here for it. I love Dracula quoting the Bible as he fucking explodes. I love "What is a man?" and I love that Alucard has such a deep voice. it's just good
my only other complaints are more minor ones. I wish there was weapon variety that felt better; the later games improve this (particularly Dawn of Sorrow, Portrait of Ruin, and Bloodstained). And I wish that the sub-weapons didnt work from candle drops. It just doesn't suit a metroidvania like this. the inventory management sucks a lot, and its bizarre how long it takes for this to get properly fixed. and finally the reverse castle could have just had better and more interesting loot dotted around it. There are so many times you go into a room where there was cool loot the first time around and there's just fuck all in the reverse castle. lame!
ALL that to say this game is still worth playing. I like that it's genuinely pretty challenging. Its vibe is fantastic and when things come together they really come together. nice!