It’s time to change Castlevania: Symphony Of The Night

It's time to change Castlevania: Symphony Of The Night
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Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
Image: Konami

Warning: This article contains minor spoilers for Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.

“What’s a man? A pathetic little bunch of secrets.”

These words, uttered by Dracula Vlad Țepeș during the opening conversation with Judge Belmont in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, have become a complete synonym for Castlevania Franchise. In the 25 years since, it has been referenced and parodied by several other games – perhaps most recently Drinkbox Studio’s Guacamelee! 2 – it’s a phrase that has been ridiculed and revered in equal measure. Yet as iconic as such a simple phrase has become, it pales in comparison to the impact and legacy Symphony of the Night has left in gaming itself.

Hot Time: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is the greatest Metroidvania ever created. Yes, that includes Hollow Knight, Metroid Dread, and Dead Cells. It’s miles ahead of even Super Metroid — forgivenessbut that is the truth. [Hmm, we’ll discuss this on Monday – Ed.]

Released for the PlayStation in 1997 and directed by Toru Hagihara, it serves as a direct sequel to Castlevania: Rondo of Blood (though you might not have known this at the time as Rondo of Blood was a Japanese exclusive for a good 15 years or so), where Rondo of Blood ended with Richter Belmont’s final confrontation with Dracula. Critics at the time called it “spectacular” (Next Generation Magazine) and “easily one of the best games ever released” (GameSpot).

SotN - Dracula
A truly iconic opening — Image: Konami

We’ve seen so many tributes over the years, but “Symphony of the Night” towers above them all.

Shortly after the introductory sequence with Richter, you step into the footsteps of the game’s main protagonist, Alucard, and this is where Symphony of the Night dramatically sets itself apart from previous Castlevania entries, using linear levels for a sprawling, interconnected castle with numerous stages and countless mysteries. Though we’ve seen a plethora of outstanding Metroidvania games since its release, Symphony of the Night still stands as the genre’s most sublime example; a perfect blend of exploration and combat that has yet to be surpassed even by its own successors.

If you watch Symphony of the Night today, you will think that it is an authentic but altogether more modern take on a “retro” 2D platformer. We’ve seen so many tributes in recent years – both good and bad – and yet at 25, Symphony of the Night stands head and shoulders above them all. The beautifully detailed environments; the deadly but intriguing enemies and boss characters; how Alucard’s movement briefly leaves a trail of energy. It all adds up to one of the most impressive video games of all time, a textbook example of the continued validity of 2D gaming in the age of 3D photorealistic sandboxes.

SotN - switch
Introduce! — Image: Nintendo Life

Dracula’s castle itself remains on Wonder of game design and is key to Symphony of the Night’s status as a true pioneer of the genre. It’s a beautifully intricate maze that amazes at every turn. But it’s only in the middle part of the game that you really start to appreciate his ingenuity; Just when you think you’ve beat the game, Symphony of the Night pulls off one of the greatest tricks in video game history literally turn the lock upside down.

As you navigate the “inverted castle,” the sheer effort required to erect it begins to be noticeable; Not only did it have to function as a fully explorable environment with interconnected segments, but every room, corridor, and tower had to do so Also work upside down. It’s an incredible feat in game design.

SotN - Boss 1
Alucard takes on the game’s first boss encounter – Image: Konami

So what’s up, Konami? When are you guys porting such a masterpiece to the Switch?

As it stands, Symphony of the Night is playable on both PlayStation 4/5 and Xbox One/S/X via Castlevania Requiem and the Xbox Live Arcade release each. You can also play it on PS3, PSP and PS Vita via the PSOne Classic re-release, and even on Android and iOS thanks to a recent port of the Dracula X Chronicles version. Note, however, that some versions of the game contain revised dialogue and voice acting that are arguably inferior to the original.

So if you want to play Symphony of the Night (and just in case it’s not clear, we Yes, really recommend), you already have many options available. But we would argue that – how many, many Games – it might be best suitable for switches. 2D pixel art looks great on Switch (especially if you have that Nice OLED screen) and coupled with the console’s eponymous ability to switch between TV and handheld modes, we expect Symphony of the Night would have considerable success with new audiences on Nintendo’s platform. At 25 there is a whole generation of players who have missed this classic and there is no more convenient system to play it.

Konami isn’t exactly unfamiliar with the console either: they’ve already released two extensive Castlevania collections in recent years, the Castlevania Anniversary Collection and the Castlevania Advance Collection, the latter of which wouldn’t even exist if it weren’t for the success of Symphony of the Night. Indeed, apart from the blatant omission of the wonderful DS Castlevania games Dawn of Sorrow, Portrait of Ruin and Order of Ecclesia (we’d love those too, please!), one could argue that Symphony of the Night is the last missing one Piece is in Konami’s 2D Castlevania era. It’s also, without question, the most influential game in the entire franchise and one of the most important games to be released in the last 30 years.

So if anyone at Konami is reading this… you know what to do.

“But enough talking… To you!”

#time #change #Castlevania #Symphony #Night

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