Castlevania: Symphony of the Night Part Six: Trivia and Beastiary

The Subweapons

Agunea: A ring that shoots out lightning.

Axe: Simple and easy to use; is thrown in an upwards arc.

Bibuti: I had no idea what this thing was called until I read it in Hardcore Gaming 101 Presents Castlevania. It’s actually a mistranslation of “vibhuti” due to B/V confusion in Japanese. Bibuti are holy ashes (indicated by a hand holding a pinch of ashes) with poor range.

Cross: Basically functions like a boomerang.

Dagger: A projectile that shoots straight ahead.

Holy Water: Basically, a holy bomb. The flames that erupt from the bottle can hit enemies multiple times, and they are fire element instead of holy element. The range isn’t great, but the multiple hits can mitigate this fact.

Rebound Stone: Ricochets off of walls and can hit enemies multiple times. Seems to require a bit more skill to use than some of the other subweapons.

Stopwatch: Freezes or slows down enemies for five seconds.

Replay Value

A fun thing to check out once you beat the game are some of the codes you can enter. To enter these, you have to give a new save file a specific name. With the right codes, you can play as Richter, an Axe Armor, or as a version of Alucard with a maxed-out Luck stat, but lower stats overall. This makes the game harder at the beginning, but easier to get all of that phat loot that enemies drop.

I’m Still in a Dream, Vamp Killer

The singer of the ending theme “I Am the Wind”, Cynthia Harrel, also sang the titular theme song of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. God, Konami used to make good games. 😦

Olrox

Olrox’s name is a mistranslation of Orlock, the vampire from the influential silent film Nosferatu.

What is a translation? A miserable little pile of secrets!”

The game’s translation was headed by Jeremy Blaustein, brother of the late Maddie Blaustein. Several of the original monster and item names were changed for the English-language version.

Dracula’s cherished “What is a man? A miserable little pile of secrets!” line did not exist in the original Japanese script. The line is actually a quote from André Malraux (1901-1976), a French novelist, art theorist, and formerly France’s Minister of Cultural Affairs.

Leveling Up to the Max

Theoretically, the game lets you level up to 99, but in practice, upon reaching level 80, all of the enemies only drop one experience point. It sounds like it would take a great deal of patience to actually get to the max level.

Sword Secrets

The Sword familiar evolves as it levels up. At level 50, it will change form and allow Alucard to equip it. At level 70, it will change its attack pattern. At level 90, it will begin to glow, and can cast the Sword Brothers spell on its own.

Self-imposed Challenges

There are a few:

  1. Avoiding obtaining beloved and powerful items like the Crissaegrim and Shield Rod.

  2. Kill only ONE enemy throughout the entire game. This requires glitching through walls to avoid killing bosses.

  3. The Naked Alucard run requires you to play through the game with no armor or accessories equipped. A variant of this challenge requires you to refrain from equipping any weapons, as well. Eep.

A personal one: I challenged myself to get the max amount of all of the food items in the game (99) by equipping the Duplicator with a Meal Ticket. The Meal Ticket randomly generates a food item. So I found a generic hall between two levels (which has a pit so that the food wouldn’t randomly spill over the boundary between levels) and just generated random foodstuffs all over the place until I had 99 of every type of food. All it took was time and patience, but still proves what you can do with a little persistence.

The Lost Ending

There are many otherwise inaccessible voice clips hidden on the disc. A series of exchanges imply an alternate ending that was left on the cutting room floor. In this ending, Shaft causes Maria to become possessed and turn into a demon, which Alucard then has to fight, leading to her death. Richter dies as well, and Alucard laments their deaths.

A Matter of Alignment

According to Hardcore Gaming 101 Presents Castlevania (which receives my highest possible recommendation) citing a translated interview from a strategy guide found on shmuplations.com, Konami had even more ambitions for the endings system. They wanted to try to integrate an alignment system that would affect the ending. How would it work? By using subweapons or magic, the balance in Alucard’s alignment would be tipped in favor of light or dark, respectively. In the end, Alucard’s alignment is firmly on the side of light.

Why would using magic make his alignment darker? Probably because Alucard uses spells similar to his dear old daddy.

Alucard: Half Vampire, Half Human, Part Gargoyle?

Getting petrified is extremely annoying in the game because it increases the amount of damage you take while you wiggle the D-pad in an attempt to break free. However, on rare occasions, Alucard will… turn into a gargoyle instead of a stone statue of himself. The gargoyle form is immune to damage.

The Beastiary

The Beastiary, accessible from the Master Librarian’s room in the Long Library, has some amusing details with its blunt descriptions. Let’s reminisce about one of the greatest casts of monsters in gaming, in no particular order. The names in the original Japanese versions are in parentheses.

Blood Skeleton (Red Skeleton): These suckers are impossible to kill and it annoys me, just like the Stone Skulls (Spin Heads). But they deflect any attack you could throw at them. Due to being unable to be killed, they don’t have any experience points to impart.

Spittle Bone (Artibatirae): These creepy skeletons drip poison on you.

Bloody Zombie: Everything about these guys is bloody and that’s awesome.

Slogra and Gaibon: The bosses of the Alchemy Laboratory. They first appeared as bosses in Super Castlevania IV.

Bone Musket (Skeleton Gunman): These suckers first appear in the Outer Wall, and later in the Colosseum. Their guns are annoyingly powerful, and they appear three at a time.

Ctulhu (Devil): This monster’s name in the English version is the result of trying to jazz up some of the original names.

Skeleton Ape: The animated skeleton of an ape that throws FLAMING BARRELS

Toad: “Toad magically enlarged by demonic baptism.” Ok…

Corner Guard (Slant Guardian): These annoying guys appear only in the Royal Chapel.

Dhuron (Dullahan Skeleton): A mistranslated name.

Frozen Shade: A monster that uses pretty ice magic.

Paranthropus (Big Skeleton): A… big skeleton that uses a big bone to attack.

Slime: They may sound lame on paper, but they are animated amazingly.

Wereskeleton (Were Panther Skeleton): These things tend to attack by extending their heads forward at an downward angle.

Large Slime (Slime Large): A bigger and grosser slime.

Schmoo (Kyu): “Monster nicknamed ‘schmoo’.” Schmoo. It’s just a Schmoo.

Balloon Pod (Balloon): These jellyfish-esque things are annoying. When you break them, poisonous spores fly out.

Yorick (Soccer Boy): The Japanese name is a reference to how he tends to kick the head that he’s so desperately trying to retrieve. His name in the English version is a reference to Hamlet.

Orobourous (Quetzalcoatl): The latter is a deity in Mesoamerican religions. The former is a reference to Ouroboros, representing the endless cycle of creation and destruction, rebirth and death.

Rock Knight (Rock Armor): While other enemies of this type use more traditional and elegant weapons, Rock Knights just throw rocks.

Malachi (Evil): This monster resembles Ctulhu; could Ctulhu and Malachi’s names have been swapped accidentally?

Frozen Half: Described in the PS1 version as the “New-half ice spirit. Servant of Galamoth.” Not a lot of people outside of Japan would be familiar with the term “newhalf” at the time of the game’s release.

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