Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
Developer: Konami Computer Entertainment Tokyo
Platform: Xbox 360
Platform (Original): PlayStation
Released (XB360): March 21, 2007
Released (PS1, North America): October 2, 1997
Released (PS1, Japan): March 20, 1997
Released (PS1, Europe): November 1, 1997
Played From: November 28, 2016 – April 18, 2017
I remember when I first got the PS1 version of SotN. I could only get one game at the time, and I had to choose between which new Mega Man game was out at the time… or this. I probably chose SotN because I had seen it more in magazines, and it seemed more… unique, perhaps? I already had an MM game, but I never had any Castlevania games.
It soon became one of my favorite games of all time.
In November 2016, I took the opportunity to experience the Xbox 360 version.
I ❤ the title screen theme, “Prayer”.
The loading times are so short, I can’t stretch or squash the loading screen anymore!
Being able to play around with the “Now Loading” screen was a feature in the PS1 version. I don’t know if the Sega Saturn version was the same, but apparently it had longer load times.
Final Stage: Bloodlines
This is the last part of Castlevania: Rondo of Blood as Richter Belmont. The BGM rocks hard. The BGM during Ric’s fight with Dracula is very epic too.
At the apex of Dracula’s castle, Richter clashes with Dracula, and has a suite of subweapons to choose from.
The dialog between Richter and Dracula is legendary (emphasis mine, not in the dialog boxes):
Richter: “Die, monster. You don’t belong in this world!”
Dracula: “It was not by my hand that I am once again given flesh. I was called here by humans, who wish to give me tribute.”
“Tribute? You steal men’s souls, and make them your slaves.”
“Perhaps the same could be said of all religions.”
“Your words are as empty as your soul. Mankind ill needs a savior such as you.”
“What is a man?! A miserable little pile of secrets! But enough talk, have at you!”
If (more like when) Drac saps all your health, Maria arrives to channel her familiars’ spirits into Richter, making him invincible.
Dracula, of course, has two forms. The background changes too, for some reason.
When Dracula is defeated, he screams, and the game zooms out to a freeze frame snapshot of the moment of his demise.
Four years later. Richter has disappeared while Dracula’s home, Castlevania, has reappeared suddenly. It was only supposed to appear once in a century.
In response to the evil presence, Alucard, the half-human son of Dracula, has awakened from his self-imposed slumber. He takes up arms and invades Castlevania.
How well you do in the prologue is supposed to affect Alucard’s stats, but I could never see a dramatic change in them.
With his Alucard Sword, he makes short work of the giant wolves, zombies, and bats inside of the castle’s entrance. We can’t get items from candles yet, not can we see the names of enemies, but we’ll be fixing that soon enough.
Alucard soon meets Death, who steals his stuff, but you will likely get a Short Sword from a skeletal warrior… or a Red Rust from their reddish counterparts. The Red Rust is a weapon so horrible that it plunges your attack strength. IIRC, it sometimes refuses to be drawn.
The wolves are too powerful to get past now, so we go ahead to the Alchemy Laboratory.
After we get the Cube of Zoe, that is. It allows hearts, subweapons, and cash to manifest from broken candles/vases/etc. Why is it called the Cube of Zoe? I don’t know. Maybe because the stuff you get from breakable items is pretty important and gives you life? 😛
Different capes actually change the color of the cape that Alucard wears in-game. Eventually, you can buy a cape whose color you can customize. Necessary? No. Awesome? Yes.
It feels weird to play this game on a console again. But in HD, I can see some details that I never saw before, like Alucard’s red eyes (!) on his in-game sprite. They probably chose red because it’s more striking than his actual eye color.
Unlocked Rampage and Demon Slayer. 2/12
The bosses of the Lab are the bony Slogra and demonic Gaibon.
Shields are much more useful for blocking projectiles than I thought it would be. All the wasted years!
I forgot how the knife would ricochet off of surfaces. It’s a nice attention to detail.