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Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

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It is what it is. I'm just trying to figure out if it's worth my time anymore. Might rework it at some stage, depending on whether people want to offer constructive criticism, as opposed to the condescending shit we're all used to by now.

Symphony of the Night: the best game you’ve never played.

At any given moment, it's the best platform game you've ever played. It's better than Mario. Better than Sonic. Better than Bubsy the effing Bobcat, as if you even needed to ask. If video games ever grow up enough to warrant serious academic study and if people can bring themselves to look back rather than constantly forward for a change, Symphony of the Night would take pride of place as the cornerstone of the syllabus.

You are Alucard, son of Dracula, flung into the most captivating, damn-near hypnotic castle ever built. You start with only a fleeting understanding of your true potential before Death himself steals it all away from you in the first of many hilarious dialogue exchanges (providing you subscribe to the "so bad it's good" way of thinking). After that, you're forced to regain those abilities (besides new ones you didn't have to begin with) by negotiating the many ledges and pitfalls of Dracula's Castle, before facing the Prince of Darkness himself. It may not sound like the makings of a classic piece of gaming, but just playing Castlevania is its own reward.

Jumping, an otherwise straight-forward thing to do in a video game, is more satisfying here than it has any right to be; hitting stuff, be it any one of a number of enemies or the candlesticks that litter the castle walls, should get boring after a while - but it doesn't. It's these two things that'll occupy your time, and whilst they might sound a tad simplistic to the discerning consumer with a lust for some sort of tangible return, they more than just satisfy: they delight. With that in mind, you'd think any degree of depth would make for the oddest bedfellow, but if anything, the wide variety of pickups (weapons, spells, companions and treasures) and the statistics they affect (strength, attack, defence, intelligence) only serve to make the back-and-forth of it all more than worthwhile.

Until you buy a map from the librarian (three guesses where you'll find him), there's no way of knowing how big the task at hand is - and even once you have, it only tells half the story. Dracula's castle has so many uncharted backdoors and passages that you'll find yourself enjoying a nice bit of cartography on the side, with a seemingly endless list of new discoveries to be had. By at least one of the possible five endings, you’ll have uncovered everything the castle has to offer, plus an upside down, back-to-front version that's so far from being the tacked-on afterthought it sounds like that it's better thought of as the sequel to a game you wish you hadn't just finished.

When you think of all the other games on XBLA, Castlevania stands out from the rest like an arcade cabinet running an RPG in the darkest, piss-stained corner of a two-bit bowling alley - but just because it doesn't belong doesn't make it any less worth your time. Considering PAL copies of the PSone original change hands for anything up to and including £100, £6.80 to play the game you never even knew you wanted to sounds pretty reasonable.

Cheers for reading.

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Good review, although I'd level the following criticisms (hopefully constructive):

1. SOTN is not an obscure game at all, everyone and they're mother has played it to death.

2. The margin for error with relation to the jumping/ platforming is pretty redundant as there are no bottomless pits and no tricky jumps to speak of.

3. No mention of the soundtrack? It's finest aspect of the game imo.

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Good review, although I'd level the following criticisms (hopefully constructive):

1. SOTN is not an obscure game at all, everyone and they're mother has played it to death.

That's really not true. The print run for the PAL version was abysmally low and that's reflected in the prices on ebay. I'd be surprised if even 10% of the forum had played this, nevermind 10% of a larger audience. Of course it's different now, but I'm not reviewing the PSX version here.

2. The margin for error with relation to the jumping/ platforming is pretty redundant as there are no bottomless pits and no tricky jumps to speak of.

Perhaps, but it doesn't change the fact that jumping, as simple an activity as it is, is one of the best things about this game. Crazy, I know.

3. No mention of the soundtrack? It's finest aspect of the game imo.

The third one's most definitely a matter of opinion. In the original draft I likened it to something a subsiduary of Muzak Holdings LLC pumped out between elevator assignments. It can be good on occasion but more often than not, it's dire. In my opinion.

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Good review. I tend to agree that the game was reasonably obscure, I wouldnt say as little of 10% of the folk here played it, but I would say less than 10% of everyone who owned a PSone at the time did.

I thought jumping itself wasnt particularly furfilling, but the background graphics, rpglite element and the metroidy discovery, run here, go back there was ace (although by the end, getting 200.6% made this pretty dreadful, finding the last rooms was a real chore!

The music is good for a videogame of its age, although its nothing i would personally consider fantastic.

Good review though!

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Good review. I tend to agree that the game was reasonably obscure, I wouldnt say as little of 10% of the folk here played it, but I would say less than 10% of everyone who owned a PSone at the time did.

I thought jumping itself wasnt particularly furfilling, but the background graphics, rpglite element and the metroidy discovery, run here, go back there was ace (although by the end, getting 200.6% made this pretty dreadful, finding the last rooms was a real chore!

The music is good for a videogame of its age, although its nothing i would personally consider fantastic.

Good review though!

Thank you.

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I enjoyed that, thank you. An aspect I enjoyed about the game was the random interaction with the environment, like the confession booth.

And the telescope! :P

Thanks for reading man. :P

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Yeah, good review.

I would add the following though.

Music - Which is one of the most talked about aspects of the game.

Remove the bit about the game being obscure, as it isnt, especially now.

I'd also mention the Saturn version, secret areas, maybe a few comparisons.

Remove the bit about the upside down castle.

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Yeah, good review.

I would add the following though.

Music - Which is one of the most talked about aspects of the game.

I probably should've made mention of it and originally did, but I couldn't possibly approach it from the same stand point as everyone else, largely because I think it's inconsistent at best.

Remove the bit about the game being obscure, as it isnt, especially now.

It is if you don't have a 360 or plenty of dollar to splash out on the PS1 original. That's kinda already communicated by the review.

I'd also mention the Saturn version, secret areas, maybe a few comparisons.

The Saturn version isn't relevant here, since none of it's extras are in the XBLA version. That and it's fucking rubbish, even with all it's extras.

Remove the bit about the upside down castle.

Castlevania's one of those games people know plenty about, despite never playing it. The upside-down castle won't surprise anyone - it certainly didn't surprise me before I'd got round to playing it - so rather than spoiling anything for the reader, I think the review dashes whatever preconception they might have that it's a thoughtless, tacked-on afterthought.

Cheers for the feedback bud. :(

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i have this on ps3 from the american store,

just cant get into it so tips or help will be apreciated.

just dosent seem anywhere near as good as snes castlevania.

edit: forgot to say, good review there and apreciate the time took to do it.

cheers pal.

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I've got this on my PSP, though sadly I don't play it nearly enough (the fact someone's stuck a neo-Nazi splash screen in when they ripped it might have something to do with it :) ). But it's compelling, I'm just a bit rubbish and tend to get lost.

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So...I just bought SOTN on my Xbox One after watching the Netflix series. I'm impressed so far but got confused early on, when I assumed hearts were health (and generous) but then figured out it's subweapon ammo.

 

That seems less than logical...

 

So anything else like that I should be on the lookout for. Not very far in at the moment.

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Oh man, you're in for a treat. I wish I could play this game for the first time again, it's one of my all time favorite games :wub:.

One tip: after you finish the game look up some secrets or ask in here, there's stuff you will likely not figure out and that will be very much worth it.

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10 minutes ago, Lothar Hex said:

So...I just bought SOTN on my Xbox One after watching the Netflix series. I'm impressed so far but got confused early on, when I assumed hearts were health (and generous) but then figured out it's subweapon ammo.

 

That seems less than logical...

 

So anything else like that I should be on the lookout for. Not very far in at the moment.

 

Punch walls for pork chop. 

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19 minutes ago, Keyboard Koala said:

A bit OT; but are people watching this, and is it any good?

 

 

 

I enjoyed it, but I'm not a big Castlevania fan. Though it did convince me to give SOTN a try.

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This is £2.49 on PSN for Vita. It's a PS1 rom/whatever, is it worth a purchase or is that a stupid question? I've never, ever played a Castlevania game but loving my Vita atm so need some good games for the thing.

 

Do PS1 games play nice on Vita as I've only ever played actual Vita and maybe one or two PSP games on it?

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Pro tip for anyone after the best version of Symphony of the Night on the VITA, buy the PSP version of Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles https://store.playstation.com/#!/en-gb/games/castlevania-the-dracula-x-chronicles/cid=EP0101-ULES00841_00-GPCCASTLEV000001 for £2.49 currently.

 

Then do this;

[NB: the key bit is around 5:35 (falling down the hole to change Stage 3 so the area with the game unlock shows up)]

 

Plus there is also the original version of Rondo of Blood in there as well so 2 great games in one after a bit of faffing but so so worth it IMO

 

 

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6 minutes ago, Tetchy said:

Pro tip for anyone after the best version of Symphony of the Night, buy Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles on PSP https://store.playstation.com/#!/en-gb/games/castlevania-the-dracula-x-chronicles/cid=EP0101-ULES00841_00-GPCCASTLEV000001 for £2.49 currently.

 

Then do 

 

 

Plus there is also the original version of Rondo of Blood in there as well so 2 great games in one after a bit of faffing but so so worth it IMO

 

 

Can you play this on the Vita?

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I played it for the first time a few years ago, it's a classic. And check out Dawn of Sorrow after that.

 

What's funny is SOTN was regarded as dated on release for being sprite-based compared to 3D games/ Tomb Raider and yet 20 years later it has aged better than any of those early 3D titles.

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