Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

Info

Dracula’s castle has risen again and it’s up to the mysterious Alucard to face Dracula and save the world from his nocturnal embrace. Uncover the riddle behind why the castle has returned and what became of the world’s last hero, Richter Belmont. Upgrade your weapons, armour, and stats by defeating the castle’s defenders. Encounter allies and enemies throughout the castle who help you uncover the real story of both Castlevania and Alucard’s personal demons. With non-linear gameplay and multiple endings, it’s up to you to guide Alucard through the castle as you see fit.

Number of Players: 1
Released: 2007

Review

If you’ve played another Castlevania game in the last five years and enjoyed it, then there’s a very real possibility that you’ve been playing one based on the core mechanics of Symphony of the Night (SotN). Although the Castlevania games had been around for years before SotN it was the game that turned the series on its head and brought it kicking and screaming into the modern age a game so highly revered that copies on the original format still change hands for quite high values on well known Internet bidding sites.

Mixing the usual whipping and weapon throwing action, Castlevania initiates will be well at home along with those new to the 2D scrolling series. Alongside it’s basic jumping and attacking roots, SotN was the first to properly introduce an RPG element to the proceedings. Throughout his journey deeper into Dracula’s castle, Alucard will be able to equip a number of spells, items and equipment to help him defeat the forces of evil that dwell within. He’ll certainly need them, uncovering spells to transform into different shapes like bat and wolf, as well as others to cause damage to enemies. Especially since, despite its age and levelling mechanics, the game shows no signs of slowing down in either the challenge or enjoyment stakes.

Lovingly recreated from the original with an added filter to beef up the graphics if you so wish, some of the huge sprites that fill the screen are just as memorable now as they ever were. So much so that even recent Castlevania games on the Nintendo DS feature the same impressive characters. Once you’ve seen the huge writhing mass made of tortured human souls, you’ll never quite be the same again.

Throw in the exploration element, action, cheesy dialogue and longevity (the game has extensive play time and multiple endings) and for the price SotN is an absolute bargain. Even more so given that the newer games on handhelds that are based on it cost twice the price.

SotN is simply a classic that deserves to be enjoyed by everyone regardless of whether they’re a fan of the series, as a perfect example of a game before it became far too convoluted with characters and plot twists.