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Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

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Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

Post by Claire on Sun Jul 29, 2012 3:01 am







Title - Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

Platform - PSX, PSP (Unlocked in Castlevania: Dracula X Chronicles), PSN DL ($9.99), Sega Saturn

ESRB Rating - T

Genre - JRPG, Action RPG, Hack'n'Slash, Side-Scroller

Personal Rating - 9/10

It's time I summed up all of my feelings about this gem of the 90's. SotN is one of the most addicting games I've ever played, proof being that I have played through the PSP version at least 5 times, and the PSN DL version at least twice. SotN is the turning point of how Castlevania would be played from then on, making inspiration for most of the portable Castlevania's in terms of gameplay. SotN created the term "Metroidvania", which is a Metroid style map system, power up system, and epic boss fights. SotN is also the first Castlevania to feature voice acting, and it also features a very interesting protagonist.


(Artwork by Ayami Kojima)

Adrian Fahrenheit Tepes, or Alucard, is the son of the dark lord Dracula, who is the ruler of the evil-infested Castlevania. Alucard sets on a solo mission to destroy his father's castle and remove him the world. Alucard also happens to find out what happened to the previous man to destroy Dracula and mysteriously disappear, Richter Belmont. Alucard is a very powerful half-vampire, wielding his trusty heirloom, the Alucard Sword, which was given to him by his mother Lisa, who was burned at the stake by her village when they discovered she had been charmed by Dracula and given birth to Alucard. Alucard has every ability his father wields, including but not limited to teleportation, regeneration through blood, and transformation into different forms and he uses these abilities to destroy his father.

Alucard is virtually limitless by the end of the game, being able to access every nook and cranny in the entire game, and wielding so much power, that the final boss WILL go down in only a few hits. That is, IF you do everything right to get to the final boss. That's right, SotN is one of those games that are pretty damn cryptic on how exactly you beat the game, but I find that stuff fun. SotN's Metroid style map system leads easily to the player becoming...lost. But, once you've played enough of the game, you'll have the map memorized...and then the game throws you upside down...literally. If you do everything correctly, you will find yourself in a literal upside down version of the castle, filled with much stronger enemies and much more epic boss fights, but not without priceless rewards. And once you've cleared the game, you can play through once again, but with Richter Belmont. In the PSP and Sega Saturn versions, you can play Maria as well.


To activate Richter mode, type RICHTER in the name entry screen after clearing the game once.
Watch for Richter Mode Speedrun

Richter mode is a very fun thing to try out. Not only is it played like a traditional Castlevania, but Richter comes with some sweet moves. Certain button inputs can make Richter uppercut, tackle, or slide kick. Richter is known as the strongest Belmont, and his martial arts seem to prove it (disagree, but it's still fun). Richter also, as a Belmont, comes with the Vampire Killer whip, and his weapon improves every time you pick up a Heart upgrade, and his health increases when you pick up a Health upgrade. Richter mode is definitely something to try out after beating the game, if you're a traditional Castlevania player, or just looking for the same game but in a different way.


To play in Maria mode, type MARIA in the name entry screen.
Click for Maria gameplay footage.

Other things you can do after clearing the game once is playing as Maria Renard, the little girl who helped out Richter in Rondo of Blood. Maria functions much like she did in RoB, except like Richter, she has some new abilities and a new design that is spectacularly beautiful. Maria uses animals as her weapons, her default being throwing an owl in front of her, and all of her subweapons are boss-crushers, or in Layman terms, broken. Her presence in SotN is crucial, since she opens up the path to the inverted castle, as well as giving you the assistance to save Richter. Her drive for invading Castlevania is to save Richter, and along the way she meets Alucard, and decides to help him out when she realizes that he is not evil. She is a very interesting character to use, and also turns out to be a miniboss at one point in the game.

Other various after-game perks are the Duplicator accessory (available in the shop for 500,000 Gold), which sets USE items to infinite, the AXELORD entry name (try it out, it's amusing), and luck mode.

The last perk for beating the game in terms of replay value, is Luck Mode. Luck Mode is essentially SotN's Hard mode, but with a silver lining of its own. Luck Mode reduces all of your stats and stat increases are smaller when levelling up, and starts you off with the Lapis Lazuli accessory, which grants about 30 Luck, which will cause items to drop more frequently and yields a lot more critical hits. The main reason to play Luck Mode is to beat the game with restrictions. Other than that, there really isn't much reason to do it, but if you have fun making a little challenge for yourself, then I highly recommend trying it out.

The last thing I'd like to bring up is the music. SotN has probably my favorite soundtrack of any game on the PSX. Every piece of music fits the situation or location perfectly, and I have to say that there is not one song on SotN that I don't like. My favorites are I Am The Wind, Lost Painting and Black Banquet. I Am The Wind is the ending song that plays during the credits, and is one of two songs that actually have lyrics. It is my reward for beating the final boss and I am slightly upset that it is not on the PSP version, because it's beautiful and could put me in a deep sleep. Lost Painting is an example of why the PSX has my favorite sound system, because this theme is serene, calming, and absolutely beautiful. The mood Lost Painting puts me in could only be described as true relaxation, because I could be in the middle of a 3 force hurricane and I wouldn't give a damn if this theme was playing in my head. Black Banquet is the final boss theme, and without giving away any spoilers, it is epic, terrifying and absolutely tense. It reminds you of what is at stake if you fail, and gives you the drive to beat the game and save the world.

These are all only a fraction of what SotN contains. It is a game worth playing and I highly recommend you play it at least once in your life. It's a game I'll remember forever. I have to point out that the main reason my personal rating is only 9 out of 10 is the voice acting in all the English versions. It is absolutely laughable in the PSX version, and much improved in the PSP version, but not really spectacular. That's my only beef with this game as I can find nothing else to dislike about it.

So if you have a PS3 (360 possibly), download this game and have fun. I promise you'll either love it, or hate it.


Last edited by nemo on Mon Jul 30, 2012 8:12 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

Post by Erel on Sun Jul 29, 2012 9:38 pm

I remember Alucard's first appearance in Castelvania III, Dracula's Curse (too lazy to look for pictures or references, please someone correct me if I am wrong). From my knowledge (or memory) it was one of the first time one can use other characters aside from a Belmont; in this game it was Trevor and along with Alucard, there was Grant and Sypha (which I abhor their new appearance in that game Nemo showed me).

While Grant and Sypha did prove rather useful, Grant being quick, able to crawl on walls, throw daggers vertically; Sypha able to cast spells (freezing enemies was one of her more prominent skill), Alucard had a bit more presence to him. First and foremost, he can use long range (weak as they may be) without using up hearts. Just like a Belmont, he can get power ups with his projectile. The said technique of Alucard starts with one fireball, and at the third power up he'll have three, the trajectory of the fireball/s pretty much can cover the whole screen. He can also morph into a bat and FLY. Makes going through stages rather easier if one doesn't want to risk getting hurt by enemies before a big boss; or the bat skill can be a very effective evasive maneuver. Beating Dracula (and all three forms) was so much easier with Alucard and Trevor in my opinion.

Now, I know I pretty much rambled on about Castlevania III for a bit, but now I will revert back to the said topic. Symphony of the Night perpetuates the story of the 3rd game but with the spotlight on Alucard; the Son of Dracula. A lot of the things have been mentioned by Nemo on the previous post, however I would like to add on that Alucard's character (although redesigned a bit more elegantly than its more medieval predecessor) paid homage to his former self; very small references it may have been to the old Castlevania, but enough. Some of the things that stick out the most are Alucard's signature moves like the fireball and the bat form. Grant, Sypha and Trevor even made it into the game; as enemies, but they were there nonetheless.

This castlevania was perhaps one of the first that made the series feel more like a cake walk. With items to be held at hand, various weapons to trade off(Sword of Dawn, Obsidian Blade, Alucard Sword, are some of my favorite ones that I remember) healing abilities, and not to mention one can use a very capable character like Alucard, bosses became less of a problem and became more scapegoats for the players to try out all the things Alucard can learn/pick up in the game. It also has a huge twist with the whole 'upside down' castle; which in that day and age when I was playing this game, it was a major 'wow' affect. There were a lot of things about this game that kept me enamored by it, and even now, with all the games that have come across my eyes (and the new Lords of Shadow with Alucard in the game), Symphony of the Night holds a very prominent place in my 'gaming heart'. Way to go Konami for this classic.

As Nemo had mentioned about Richter, Maria Renard is also playable. I used to have an infatuation for this blonde sorceress... I'd fuck her brains out in her nice little outfit she was wearing in Symphony of the Night.... *ahem*. ANyone know if she is playable in the PSN Download? I think she might be for the PSP, but as you all know, I probably won't be playing that....

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Re: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

Post by Claire on Mon Jul 30, 2012 7:36 pm

I agree that Alucard is by no means a limited character in SotN, but the game isn't so much a cakewalk when you activate luck mode without abusing the Lapis Lazuli. lol The Metroidvania style really appeals to me since I'm a sucker for the classic Metroid games for one, but the ability to have that big a range with a balanced level up system and an infinite list of possibilties with the equipment made this game a real experience to play. Playing in luck mode decreases your stats exponentially, but you get the Lapis Lazuli which grants a ton of luck.

As for Maria, you can't use her in the US version of the PSN download, since it's the PSX version, and only Richter was playable in that one. The Sega Saturn version had Maria, and the PSP version has pretty much everything except for the items that were on the Sega Saturn. Maria's still playable in the PSP version, but like Richter, you have to beat the game first.

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Re: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

Post by Erel on Mon Jul 30, 2012 8:27 pm

^I remember activating a 'hard mode' or what not in the psx version... I'm not sure if we are talking about the same thing; but regardless, the game itself was never, nor does it have the potential to be as difficult as the olden days of Castlevania. The older castlevanias are the definitive of difficulty when ti comes to castlevania. Mostly because of the lack of what Alucard can't do and can have in his inventory, and the fact of the matter is that the controls of past castlevanias aren't as smooth and forgiving as Symphony. Hell, jumping over chasms were a pain the ass as a Belmont since one has to angle it right. It wasn't until Grant came into picture that one can actually 'backpedal' from one's jump.

While I can adhere to your statement that it becomes less of a pushover game, I still use the olden castlevanias as a reference in regards to difficulty.

Regardless, I don't consider Castlvania great for it's challenge feature; or lack of, I give it all the reverence that I do because it is a great game; flaws it does have, but what game (I wonder what game that is that just came into the present day that Bioware made; lol) is perfect?

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Re: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

Post by Claire on Mon Jul 30, 2012 10:20 pm

True. The control of the older games were the main reason the game was so difficult. Proof of this is the original game's map appears as DLC in Harmony of Despair, and all of the characters have NO problem moving around and doding techniques, so they had to revamp the entire stage and make it a huge pain in the ass to beat. However, once you have everything, and you have the game down to a muscle memory, you can still unequip everything, or equip items that downgrade you status and make it difficult for yourself. That's what I do to make things interesting, anyway. That's something I like about RPGs, cause they leave the overall difficulty in the hands of the player and not the game itself. The player can choose to level up and equip items before handling a hard boss, and they can choose exactly how much they want to level up to make the boss epic.

Yet, Alucard is still broken, and his range of abilities and weapons make the game feel like a breeze, but that's what Richter mode and Maria mode are for. For example, Richter has no double jump and can only whip enemies horizontally without using uppercut, or sub weapons, but the player can ignore those. He starts out with VERY low health, and moderate attack power, and beating bosses becomes a whole new experience, or rather a nostalgic one since he is a Belmont. I, personally found Richter mode to be more fun than using Alucard because the game felt just like the old Castlevania's, except Richter is still lots more broken than Jonathan Morris, Simon (debatable because of Super Castlevania 4's awesome control setup) or Trevor ever were. He can control direction midair, for one, and he has martial arts. :/

I can't blame the original setup, because the NES was still sort of new when Castlevania hit the shelves, and the control made it memorable, because it was difficult as hell and kept it from being over in a matter of minutes.

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Re: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

Post by Erel on Mon Jul 30, 2012 11:25 pm

^True that.

Richter was indeed the challenge of the side of things (never got the chance to serenade myself with the presence of Maria... sigh. I lost some good erection on that... lol); his durability was indeed terrible, and his control was a bit more incoherent and less responsive than Alucard... however his 'ultimate' move with any of the sub weapons (axes, holy water, dagger, etc.) made him far more lethal than say Trevor or Simon of the past.

Hell, I remember demolishing Shaft in less than 30 sec with the holy water special move. It was an optional technique; and if one merely wants to challenge him/herself s/he can deter one's finger from the triangle button (speaking on my Psx memory) to quench the challenge. But again, to echo yours and my statement, he can't take a hit and healing items were not at his disposal (at least I don't' think so; again your memory of this game is far more recent than mine).

And back to Maria... the girl who got away! Alright.

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Re: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

Post by Claire on Tue Jul 31, 2012 3:58 pm

Hydro Storm is a boss-crusher, but so are any of Maria's item crashes. Except Hydro Storm, needless to say is holy-elemental, which deals almost double to every enemy in the game, at least the enemies that Richter and Maria are allowed to fight. And yeah, Maria and Richter have no healing items aside from save points and health upgrades. No wall chicken in SotN. lol

And if you wanna play Maria that badly, find a Sega Saturn emulator. I've only ever seen Maria played in Japanese, though. Neutral

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Re: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

Post by Erel on Tue Jul 31, 2012 6:48 pm

^Not only do I want to play as Maria badly, I wan to play with--- Never mind. My sexual innuendoes are indeed a little to extreme when it comes to her. Believe it or not, she was one of my 'Rikkus' way back when. lol

On a side note, Nemo: LOOK WE ALMOST CONCUR ON A GAME AND NOT 'ARGUE'. LOL I jest. But I am pointing out a rather rare scenario here. Brings mushy feelings to my heart; well, not that extreme but you know what I am insinuating. lol.

Alucard will be in Lords of Shadow 2. Is the castlevania reboot to your liking or one of those 'nah' kind of deal?

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Re: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

Post by Zane the pure on Wed Aug 01, 2012 4:46 pm

I'm personally not fond of the current belmont, but Alucard rounds him out quite nicely. Hideo Kojima is said to be the director for Lords of Shadow.

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Re: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

Post by Erel on Wed Aug 01, 2012 5:05 pm

I rather think they made Gabrielle Belmont's story a bit more personal. It's a bit of a twist in my opinion. While I am behoove in a way to side with Trevor because of my childhood memories with that game, no other Belmont I have come across (I have missed a few) has had a real prominent story that catches me like Gabrielle's. That and he is Dracula; which gives the Lord of Castlevania a bit more story and reasons why he is so sullen. Sure beats the whole cliche of evil just to be evil kind of deal.

I do hope that Alucard is the main deal in this Lords of Shadow 2. I think them including the son of Dracula shows some sort of prudence to fan service in regards to this franchise. I don't know. We'll see. But nonetheless, I haven't enjoyed a Castlevania like Symphony since Lords of Shadow came around.

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Re: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

Post by Claire on Wed Aug 01, 2012 5:57 pm

I've yet toplay Lords of Shadow, but I hear really good things about it, except for Zero Punctuation comparing it to a mix of God of War, Dante's Inferno and Devil May Cry. I enjoy hack'n'slash from time to time, but I got sick of DMC, so hopefully this one turns out to have interesting combos and storyline like GoW had.

Apologies, Zane, but I lost my taste for DMC after the first one cause the game just sort of lost its taste once Dante proved he's more badass than anyone on the planet. The gameplay felt a little stale too, in ways I can't put in words. GoW felt like the reverse of it with an asshole character I couldn't wait to see die, but the gameplay was truly awesome, and the story was actually written pretty well, along with sating my appetite for blood and gore.

Anyway, I hope I get the chance to play Portrait of Ruin, someday cause I'd like to see if they have any info on why no Belmont wielded the whip after Richter. NO SPOILERS, PLEASE, I wanna experience this myself.

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Spoiler:
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Re: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

Post by Zane the pure on Thu Aug 02, 2012 3:35 pm

Spoiler:
It's likely there wasn't a TRUE successor the the vampire killer until 1999
With the world being so torn by war at the time.

And Erel:
Dunno if you got to play Lament of innocence, but that game outlines dracula's motives pretty well. Won't spoil it, but his reasoning is very interesting, more so than Celica in Dawn of Sorrow...

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Re: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

Post by Erel on Fri Aug 03, 2012 8:49 pm

I did not play Lament of innocence; and I am a big fan of a bit more articulate Dracula than the cliche EVIL for the sake of EVIL.

And Nemo, if you can withstand DMC/GoW genre for a bit, then perhaps Lords of Shadow can be in your liking. The story itself is great; narration is excellent, and combat is easy but can be challenging on harder difficulty. That and the fresh new take on Castlevania is more than adequate to please the old timers.

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Re: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

Post by Claire on Fri Aug 03, 2012 11:04 pm

One thing Lament of Innocence kept to the original attraction of the Castlevania franchise is epic boss fights. I remember Queen Medusa being my favorite so far, and she is no less the awesome challenge she was in the original game. That's what convinced me to play Symphony of the Night as my first Castlevania (sorry, I didn't have a huge library of games back in the NES and SNES days.), not only trying out the Metroidvania style. The boss fights were all exciting and challenging the first few times around, and still continue to make me walk away with a feeling of accomplishing something.

And I'm very excited to try out Lords of Shadow, as soon as I can find it at my local GameStop (lemme know if you find it, Zane). I like the hack'n'slash genre, because it demands you to figure out the boss pattern, and after a while, the character becomes an extension of yourself. I'll come back to that once I find the copy, if you guys want, you can start another topic on LoS so we can keep from talking about that in this topic. Neutral

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