It may be nearly 20 years old, but Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is still amazing

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Castlevania Symphony of the Night header

A couple of weeks ago, I began prepping for my trip to Paris. This included the usual stuff, like packing, getting my passports together, double checking flights and dates, and of course, making sure I had something to play during those long hours of transit. Unfortunately, I didn’t have anything new or worthwhile to dabble with on my Vita or 3DS, so I took to Twitter to get some recommendations.

And recommendations I got, for games such as Persona, Bravely Default, Danganronpa, and many more. One suggestion however, really caught my eye. It was from none other than our lovable, mean editor, Geoff. He suggested picking up Castlevania: Symphony of the Night for my Vita, at an unbelievable price of just R69 (it was on special).

The legacy of evil returns… As a descendent of Dracula, you must end the vampire bloodline and rid the world of this unspeakable terror. Uncover the mystery of Castlevania and an adventure as legendary as its name in this classic PSone® adventure.

Having heard so much about the title, and having seen it appear in countless top gaming lists, I decided that it would be the travel companion I needed. Besides, I think I owed it to myself as a gamer to play what many have labelled the best game of all time.

You know what? They’re not wrong. I’ve not yet finished it, but I can see why exactly people hold Castlevania: Symphony of the Night in such high regard. The combat, the items, the design, the music, and everything else – they’re all top notch. I’ve loving every aspect of this game, despite it being nearly 20 years old (it launched in Japan on March 20th, 1997).

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I’ve stopped playing everything else in my library entirely as a matter of fact, even Overwatch. After pouring hour upon hour into Symphony of the Night on my flights, I now find myself sitting at my PC, looking not at my two large screens, but down at my Vita, playing relentlessly. I don’t think I’ll stop until I see those credits roll.

Which if you’ve played the game, you may (or may not) know can happen earlier than intended. I got to what I thought was the end of Symphony of the Night, only to realize that more awaited if I dug a little deeper, or searched a little harder for secrets. Imagine my glee when I reached what I thought was the end of an excellent game, only to have it dawn on me that I was only about halfway. There’s a moment when the plot gets turned on its head, and it’s amazing – this game is far longer and larger than I could have ever imagined!

If you’ve played Symphony of the Night, you know exactly which moment I’m talking about. I’ve only just started the second half of the game, and it has perfectly illustrated why its lauded for having some of the best design ever seen. I don’t even want to imagine the sort of play testing and such that had to happen in order to get everything working as intended.

Geoff tells me that each time I play Symphony of the Night, whether it be after another year or five, it’ll feel entirely different – like a whole new experience. I can now see why that’s the case. My first play through saw a plethora of unnecessary backtracking. I admit, in this day and age it was unbelievably hard to resist looking up solutions on how to proceed. I plodded Dracula’s castle relentlessly though, and each time I picked away at it, I found something new.

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Next time I start the game afresh, I’ll spend less time roaming, and more time calculating the most effective routes through the labyrinth. Next time, I’ll be able to equip different gear, or focus on other aspects of the game, like which familiar I want to level up exclusively for example. I’m not even done, and yet here I am, eager to start the game afresh the moment I am. I think that says a lot about it, or at least, I hope it does.

Honestly, if you’ve not played Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, I’d strongly suggest you do*. I now I get why people love it so much. I even consider myself one of them, even though I haven’t even finished the game. The next time I see Koji Igarashi, he’s getting a hug for sure!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to defeat Dracula. How long will it take me to get to him? I’m not sure. It depends on whether I feel like I’ve explored every nook and cranny of his blasted castle I suppose, which could take forever. I’m not complaining mind you – that’s a prospect that’s very, very exciting.

*You can grab it on any PlayStation console as a classic, and even on the Xbox One as a backward compatible Xbox 360 game. 

Last Updated: January 31, 2017

Matthew Figueira

Defence of the Ancients? More like Defence of the cabbages! Have you seen my head? I look like a Merino Sheep on pole. NO SHANGE only SHAPPIES! :D

  • I have a handful of streamers I follow on Twitch just because they speedrun this game. It’s by far the bestest Castlevania.

    • Matthew Figueira

      Oh yeah? What sort of times do they clock?

      • Around the 40 min mark.

        • Matthew Figueira

          WHAT! That’s insane xD I’m on like 12ish hours and I’m like 60% done 😛

          • And one they did blindfolded. 1 hour 8 min 😛

          • I do remember the run, he screwed up a bit in the middle with a selection screen and it would have been much faster if he did not get stuck there.

          • Hammersteyn

            WTF!

          • PurplePariah

            Doom all secrets is just over an hour at the moment. That’s basically how long it takes me to finish one level with half the secrets.

        • Matthew Figueira

          You lied… they did it in 18 minutes O_O THE HELL????????

          • That’s probably the any% category then xD

          • Matthew Figueira

            Yeah any%… BUT STILL! That’s insane.

          • Indeed. That’s why I always geek out when it comes to speedrunning xD

            *Vibrates with anticipation for SGDQ to come*

        • Hammersteyn

          Impossibru!

  • Oh my god I love this game.

    • Hammersteyn

      Same. here’s hoping Bloodstained is at least half as good. The first and only game I’ve backed on Kickstarter

    • PurplePariah

      So logic dictates that this game is fine cuisine.

  • Umar

    One of the greats! Geoff must be so proud :p

    • Hammersteyn

      Never did finish it 🙁

  • Umar

    This game will turn your expectations of Castlevania game…upside down. HEYOOOO

    • Matthew Figueira

      Omg <3

    • xD

    • Hammersteyn

      XD

  • Admiral Chief

    Typical console graphics…

    😛

    • And today you get pretty game with kak game play 🙂

      • Admiral Chief

        Don’t forget EXPENSIVE FLUFFY DLC

      • Hammersteyn

        And crappy PC ports

      • miaau

        What if, and just putting this out there, I get a great game, but my “twitchy” reflex’s suck and I get boared, i.e. I cannot play platform type games, like Mirrors edge, run, jump, do that, press that, on wall, now kick. I get bored quickly. And I am bad at them.

    • Hammersteyn

      XD

  • justlikemo

    GOGs 🙂

  • Hammersteyn

    #FucKonami

  • PurplePariah

    Also I’ve never played this.

  • Ediner Perez

    Matthew you shouldn’t get the sword that drops from the impaled people from the library in the “second” part of the castle, really, you shouldn’t. Also, if you clear the game, don’t get the ring that drops from the big golden skeleton that has a bone-club, that ring is to rule over all. Finally, don’t try to do a sky jump bellow the librarian, that may be a little odd.

    • Matthew Figueira

      Fine, I won’t get or do any of this stuff 😛

  • miaau

    Hi. So, I tried to get this on my Xbox One, but cannot find it anywhere in the store.

    I am SA Account, cause I live in SA, right?

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