Castlevania: Symphony Of The Night the sequel to Castlevania: Rondo Of Blood that was released in Japan only. The game picks up where Rondo of Blood ends as Ricther Belmont battles Dracula. It takes place 5 years after the events of Rondo of Blood. Ricther has disappeared and now Dracula’s castle has made a return. Alucard, Dracula’s son awakens from his self induced slumber to investigate the castle’s reappearance and it is all up to Alucard to stop Dracula before he returns to bring chaos once more. Defeating Dracula in the opening part of the game affects Alucard’s stats as he may have extra health or items.
The game is focused on exploration and its more open ended than any otherCastlevania game at the time of its release. Dracula’s castle is extremely large with numerous rooms to explore. Some are closed off and you need to acquire special abilities to get through to the next area. You can find hidden rooms by hitting stone walls covering it and sometimes you can find items that can help you along the way.
Combat is challenging but fair as JRPG elements were added to make the game more friendly to newcomers of the series. Finding hearts just like in all other entries, are used for casting special abilities like throwing a flying axe upwards.
Defeating enemies will give you xp or items like money or weapons. The number of enemies you fight are of a large variety and many were borrowed from RondoOf Blood. You have a wide array of equipment you can find in the castle. The control system is really great, it is smooth and it is very easy to learn.
The excellent musical score fits the gothic nature of the game and the audio quality for a PS1 game is really good. There was a sound for the game but unfortunately, I do not have it. The graphics have really aged well as everything looks very detailed and clear. The art direction is by far one of the most detailed I have seen in a video game. Even though the game is using a 2D format, there is also 3D elements that you can see throughout the castle, most notably in the chapel. The animation is by far one of the best aspects in the game. The characters react to things in many different ways and its quite realistic.
The dialogue is hilariously cheesy. The early part of the game is by far one of the most memorable exchanges in video game history, and to this day, this and Resident Evil’s 1 voice acting has shown how far voice acting has come along. In the English version, the outtakes of the Japanese audio recordings are replaced with soundtrack of the game.
The game has multiple endings depending on how much you have progressed in the castle. If you beat the game you can be able to play as either Maria or Richter. You can go through the castle in reverse after you beat the game for the first time or play as Maria or Ricther. Ricther isn’t able to whip in all directions unfortunately.
This is one of the best entries I've played so far in the Castlevania games.
It gets 5 stars out of 5.
Its best you get the PS1 version if you could find it as it is the higher quality version as the Saturn is said to be a butchered port. Finding this copy is difficult and it can set you back to hundreds of dollars. If you like Castlevania orMetroidvania styled games, this one is something you would really enjoy. I’m still playing Lament Of Innocence and so far, my experience with the games are pretty good.