Castlevania The Review

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
Edward Hale wrote a classic game review

How It Began

It’s January 2019, and you know what that means? Vampires, January means Vampires at Gothic Bite Magazine.

Also, you know what comes to mind when this game reviewer thinks of Vampires? Yup, you guessed it, Castlevania.

A Long, Long Time Ago…

Way back in 1986, a hidden gem surfaced, a game from Konami called, Castlevania. Their premises were simple enough, storm Castle Dracula and defeat the evil that lay within and destroy the undead lord for all times.

Castlevania - Symphony of the Night
Castlevania – Symphony of the Night

Seems simple right? Well, as many of us can tell you, no it was anything but simple. For such a basic idea, this series became steeped in its lore. The world the game developers created became one of the best in the history of gaming spawning over forty games in its complete series.

While I could do a massive review of the entire series, there are about ten to fifteen games in this franchise I knew nothing about until I sat down to research this review a bit more.

However, I’m not going to do all that, instead, I’m going to give you a review of the best of them, in my own opinion, as well as many others, today I am reviewing Symphony of the Night, so, enjoy.

The Best of the Best!

1997, the first PlayStation, and the first in the Castlevania series to make a move to Sony’s new home console, Symphony of the Night took us all by surprise.

They surprised us with the end of one game at the beginning of this story, let us play as the legendary Richter Belmont in the final battle against the Dark Lord himself.

“What is a man? A miserable little pile of secrets.”

Dracula, Symphony of the Night — Castlevania

Dracula quoted to the hero, then the battle began, and then ended, and we find ourselves ready to play as Alucard, the son of Dracula.

For the first time in the series’ history we are thrust into the role of another character besides a Belmont, and with this entry, the game showed us just how deep the mythology of Castlevania went.

Metroidvania

Two games defined so many others for so long, coining the term Metroidvania, and this game summed it up perfectly.

The term Metroidvania refers to Metroid 2 and Castlevania’s play mechanics, the deep RPG/Leveling system initially put into place in these series, and the ability to go back to a previously explored area to reach initially inaccessible areas with new abilities.

Castlevania - Symphony of the Night
Castlevania – Symphony of the Night

This is the game that people shows you to give you a visual representation of Metroidvania, and it did it correctly.

All About Art

Back in the day, this game was a 2D side scroller, not the fancy 3D graphics we have now. The graphics were sprite based, and most images based off the drawing of the game developers, and let me tell you, the art for these old school games was some of the best you’ll ever see.

Castlevania - Symphony of the Night
Castlevania – Symphony of the Night

The art the developers came up with not only served to show us how cool the characters were but, they let them go wild and create. So these artists did just that, giving us an entire world they imagined for the series.

The art is one of the reasons that Castlevania is well beloved in so many gaming circles. They had rich lore, a fleshed out, almost fully realized world and fantastic characters.

Never A Hundred Percent

Then there was the story, and man was that great. They just released a remaster of sorts on the PS4 which contains not only this game but Rondo of Blood as well, for $19.99 USD, I believe.

I owned it on my original PlayStation, as well as again on our PS3. Also, I’m not going to lie; I am super tempted to grab it on the PS4 once money is decent.

Castlevania - Symphony of the Night
Castlevania – Symphony of the Night

One thing I want to mention, something almost everyone talks about, is the fact that when you think you have a hundred percent of the game, you find out that you are only halfway there.

See, the castle inverts, completely flipping over and you are to continue on your path. See, this little revelation came out when there wasn’t such a thing as the internet, so, the only way to know about it was through your friends, or two to three months after the game release and they would tell you about it through whatever gaming magazine you read at the time.

I was lucky enough, playing it when it happened, and one of the few playing the game with a strategy guide sitting beside me.

The Experience

This experience was gaming in its purest form. This was a journey for the ages back when initially released. Now here we are, twenty-two years later, and the title still holds up as one of the best games of any generation.

So, to sum up this review, a perfect score, and a worthy addition to any gamer’s collection.

Castlevania - Symphony of the Night
Castlevania – Symphony of the Night

I’ve bought it twice, once at full price, and with the deal they have now on the two-pack I mentioned earlier, then there is no reason this shouldn’t be part of your collection.

Just to let you guys know, I have some great reviews coming up in the next few weeks, so keep a weathered eye on the horizon for what lay ahead. Until then, see you all in the game.

Edward Hale


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