Ah Castlevania... One of the best gaming series ever to be invented for us all. And with one of the best games on the PS1, it can never disappoint the public. But can it disappoint me? I will break down my review based on its storyline, graphics, gameplay and extras.
In the beginning of the game, you will first play as one of the legends from the Belmont Clan, Richter Belmont who will face his final encounter again Dracula himself. After the battle has won, time will fast forward by five years as Richter disappeared into nowhere whilst Alucard, Dracula's son reawakened from his slumber after over 300 years without any reason for it. To find out the cause of his awakening, Alucard marched on back towards Dracula's Castle to find out what's going on and embark on an epic journey.
The storyline is basic and linear with different four endings; it's a journey to fight through monsters and demons while you clash against bosses before you will inevitably fight the big boss himself in the end. Nothing too special, but it's part of the Castlevania Franchise.
The graphics in the game is 2D with some 3D elements added to either the background or the enemies. I find it very impressive just how the background is detailed to an extent with a cloud of fog surrounding the outside. The frames per second to how your character moves are seamless with the colour of your cape that changes as you equip with different capes. Even though it's on the PS1, I found it very impressive with how the graphics are done.
You will definitely be happy with the gameplay of Symphony of the Night. Unlike the previous series whence you will go through an arcade style side scrolling adventure with different stages, you will go through the Castle by entering different rooms, equipping different weapons and armory at your disposal against the horde of Dracula. You will be given the use of the save point that allows you to save your game at certain points (self explanatory) and level-up with every monster you kill as you progress. As you fight your way through bosses, you gain items known as Relics, which has different abilities based on what you've found. For example, the Cube lets you gain hearts and sub-weapons from candles, the Orb of Bat changes you into a Bat and many others that are available. The gameplay is absolutely superb.
I had to add in the extras of what I've thought upon Symphony of the Night. When you first hear the music of Dracula's Castle by Yamane, Michiru, you KNOW that you will be through an epic adventure with jazzy beats, ambient tunes and shredding guitars. Although there are a couple of things that I have to point out about this game, which is to my annoyance. First off, the voice works. The voice actors failed to deliver much drama with bland emotions. Also, the level design with the Reverse Castle. It's like the castle you been in but REVERSED! Pretty much lazy if you ask me. (The use of the same two soundtracks within the reversed castle was being lazy as well)
Well sure there's the downside of Voice acting and level designing. But I can guarantee you that this game has to be one of the best that's ever been released of all time. And thankfully, XBLA and PSN are happy enough to re-release the game online for you to purchase. You WILL play this game!
With all the hype and attention on other Playstation titles like your Tomb Raiders, Resident Evils, Crash Bandicoots and even your Final Fantasies, people may overlook one of the Playstation's best games ever made; Konami's huge 2D adventure game and cult favouite CastleVania: Symphony Of The Night.
The storyline starts off as vampire killer, Richter Belmont, is about to fight Count Dracula (the ending to Dracula X: Rondo of Blood for the Super NES and PC Engine), after Richter wins the battle the game now jumps ahead 4 years later as Count Dracula's Castle suddenly returns yet again and Richter is no where to be found. Alucard (originally from CastleVania III: Dracula's Curse) awakes from his 400 year sleep after a intense nightmare only to realize now that he must enter CastleVania and try to stop his father, the evil Count Dracula, once again from taking over all of Europe ........ but where is Richter Belmont and his step sister Maria?
Alucard actually prefers to use swords and magic spells compared to the traditional whips found in the usually CastleVania games plus our new hero as the ability to transform into a bat, wolf, or even mist after you find the right power ups to help reach new areas. Because he is the son of Count Dracula and half vampire he will take damage from water and the holy Boomerang Crosses so he's not perfect and that reflects his storyline down the road too. Although Alucard is Dracula's only son, he's not really welcome back with open arms when he returns to CastleVania. He starts off the game fully equipped with weapons and armour but Death himself robs him of everything after their talk doesn't go too well.
Luckily the castle is filled with several treasures and items to gather so you power up Alucard over time plus you can even purchase various goods from an old friend of yours which is another first for the series. Alucard can also gain experience and equip weapons and armour just like in a real RPG's similar to that of a Final Fantasy and Phantasy Star game although this game is still all action plat former, so even if you're not a fan of RPG's changes are you'll still like CastleVania: Symphony of the Night.
The graphics actually got the game here in a lot trouble because they are still in 2D (Sony hates that) but you'll be glad Konami didn't cave to the pressure because these visuals will blow you away. The game is filled with a large amount of detail from every stage to the dark and cloudy Clock Tower area to the enclosed halls filled with books of the Library. Don't forget about the ugly bosses too like a Frankenstein robot with a giant hammer to a huge ball of dead bodies. I was surprised when this game only got a Teen (T) rating because of all gruesome stuff here. First there is one giant disgusting boss that is rotting on meat hooks with huge bees circling it which you got to see to belief, and secondly there is tons of blood pouring from almost every enemy so sometimes you don't even have to kill them to see the red stuff (like the jousting skeleton on a decapitated horse torso). I'm not complaining here because this is actually based on a horror story but I wouldn't let young kids play it. Symphony of the Night could easily be a PlayStation2 game thanks to its amazing level of detail.
As if the games killer 2D graphics werent enough just wait till you check out the knockout sound tracks here too. The music is a mixture of classical and heavy rock n' roll themes to get your energy pumping while still reminding you that are in the 17th century. This game is so huge that the game has over with 20 different music tracks available plus the fantastic sound effects are just as good as well. Unlike the Gameboy Advance CastleVania his edition also uses real voices for the most of the major confrontation scenes and the voices are not too bad (but they are not too good either). Wait till you hear the Succubus women early on in the adventure, her acting just plain sucked!
Bottom line: This amazing game not only includes the classic CastleVania platforming game play we all know and love but it also has advanced new RPG elements too that really draws you into the adventure. Another cool thing about the game it's a big one too (easily one of the biggest CastleVania ever) with multiple endings so don't expect to finish this one the same day you bought it. The game even lets play as Richter Belmont after you finish the game once (by starting a new game as 'Richter'). With its stunning 2D visuals that make it one of the best looking games of the console and great musical numbers it's almost too much. This is one legendary game here!
*Uncommon Playstation game
CASTLEVANIA: SYMPHONY OF THE NIGHT
overall rating: 97/100
Original release: June 1997
For 1 player only
Rated (T) for Teen
This review is also on:
(Ryan Genno) 2007
Castlevania is back leading where the last incarnation left off. It introduces the game with the original ending to the last SNES game and draws you in from there. The first thing that hits you when playing this game is the basic graphics. Fair enough they are adequet but still in 2d and not even sharp or hi-res for that matter. The game works with platform based real time fights with monsters but manages to throw in the better parts of RPGs such as leveling up. This game may remind a lot of people of Super Metroid on the SNES which is'nt a bad thing as this was a Nintendo classic. The in game sounds and music are'nt particulary brilliant but serve the cartoon vampire image a lot. Straight away you feel compelled to play and the difficulty is just right so all age groups can play without too much difficulty getting through the game bit by bit. There is a wide variety of enemies and bosses to kill and the castle itself is fairly large. Searching around will unveil many secret areas and items and the inventory works well to help you choose the ideal weapon for the right occassion. There is even a bit of virtual pets in here as you can find friendly creeps who can attack the enemy for you and these can be trained up as they kill more bad guys. Now for the bad news. As it is such a good game you will continually play it for a while and then suddenly realise you have completed it with ease. This is not helped by the fact that you do not have to visit every area and face every boss and enemy. In all it can be completed in under 4 hours which is pretty poor if you have bought the game. However this makes it ideal for renting and it should be very cheap to buy anyway- under £20 probably. I would recommend that you at least rent it as it is a classic and if you have played Super Metroid a few yaers ago then you will know what i mean when i say its a corking game.
I played this on my Snes and looked forward to getting my hands on a copy. I couldn’t wait for the official release so I got this game on Import. I like 2d platforms and this is a very good game especially when you get turned upside down it plays like a very new game and there are new areas which open up. Some very large bosses with a few practice attempts were very easy to kill and open up new areas of the game you would then get a new ability or a Heart. Get this 2nd hand is quite cheap and well worth the money.
This is certainly one of the best platformers that I've played in a long time. It was getting to the stage where I thought that nothing new could be injected into the genre, but this game managed to add some great original ideas, and provided an enjoyable and worthwhile game-playing experience. Basically, the plot is that after finally defeating Count Dracula, Richter Belmont has suddenly disappeared, and Castlevania, the castle of Dracula has mysteriously materialised. You play Alucard, who has previously teamed up with the Belmont family to defeat his father, Count Dracula, and who must discover what has caused Castlevania to reappear, find Richter, and defeat the forces of evil once again. As you progress through the game, defeating the various creatures inhabiting Dracula's castle, Alucard gains levels, becoming more powerful, gaining more health, magic points and heart-carrying capacity. Throughout the game, you collect different sub-weapons, which consume hearts that you collect along the way, but which do considerably more damage than your basic attacks. The various sub-weapons vary in their effectiveness, and in the heart cost required to use them, but only one can be carried at any one time. The fact that hearts don't represent health, but your ability to use sub-weapons is a bit counterintuitive, but you soon get used to it. Also, throughout the game, you collect relics, which endow Alucard with various powers. For example, the "Soul of Bat" relic which allows you to turn into a bat or the "Form of Mist" relic which allows you to turn into a cloud of mist. Use of relics such as these consume your magical ability, and so should only be used sparingly. However, they add a lot to the gameplay. For example, only when in the form of a cloud of mist can you go down certain corridors, and only as a bat can you fly to certain parts of the castle. Some relics, when used, give you familiars, which follow you
r character around the screen, and either offer assistance in combat, or help by pointing out secret rooms. As you continue playing, the familiars also gain experience, and become more helpful. You can also collect equipment items, such as new weaponry, armour, potions and so on, throughout the game. And you can even collect money throughout the game, which can be spent on buying relics, equipment items, and information from the Master Librarian in the Long Library. The game can be saved at Save Rooms throughout the castle, which also restore your health. The game is saved very rapidly, and with a nice animation on screen, so this isn't as tiresome as it can be in some games. Also, when you enter new areas of the castle and the graphics for that region have to be loaded, you walk through a short corridor with a "CD" logo over the passage, so that even this isn't as dull as it is in most games. Both of these features ensure that gameplay is never significantly interrupted by disc or memory access. The control system takes a bit of getting used to, but once you've mastered the controls, it's a very easy game to play. The variety of creatures that you encounter throughout Dracula's castle make the game an enjoyable one, and the various bosses are generally stunningly well-rendered graphically. Sound is fairly good throughout the game, and while the plot is minimal, it's nice to see one in a platform game. There are so many clever features, that this game definitely deserved to do better than it did. Certainly, I never saw it on the shelves in any computer stores when it was released, and I only see it occasionally in second-hand stores. If you do see it, it's well worth looking at, especially if you see the limited edition version with an artbook of character sketches by Ayami Kojima and a CD of music from earlier versions of the game on other formats.
If you ask people for a list of their favorite SNES games, there is a good chance they'll say Castlevania. If you ask a Playstation gamer their favorite Playstation games, I'd be very surprised if this title was mentioned. In this title you start the game as Richter Bellmont, in the scene from the end of the second (less popular) SNES game. After defeating Dracula, the game shifts time to many years in the future, with you taking control of Dracula's son Alucard. Alucard is only half vampire, and fearing something nasty is afoot, he heads into the new resurfaced castle of Dracula to set things right. This game doesn't play a huge amount like the SNES Castlevania. Instead, it apes another SNES game, the absolutely classic Super Metroid. Basically, the castle is open ended, and your route is up to you at many points in the game. After completing certain areas, you will receive a new item or ability which will allow you to open up a previously locked area of the map. The main reason this game was painfully overlooked was the fact that it is resolutely 2D. Personally, I still like 2D games, and this is a beautiful example. The animation us lush, especially the large bosses. The backgrounds are also beautifully drawn. The game is also an impressive size, infact twice as large as you may first expect. It has a simple but massively gripping storyline as well, and fuses the best elements of an RPG and a platformer. Pick a second hand copy up if you can - in particular look for the first edition, which was shipped with a mini artbook of the lush illustrations (and an untranslated manga short) and a CD featuring music from all of the previous Castlevania games. Nice!
Castlevania for the playstation will probably prove quite hard to track down now. It never made much of an impact wqhen it first came out and I was able to pick it up cheaply in a sale. It's a shame really because this really is an excellent platformer. The graphics and music are atmospheric and well produced. It uses large detailed sprites with smooth animation. You play Alucard a vampire who must fight his way through Draculas castle and kill him. Progress isn't always easy with many tough opponents to destroy and a large number of bosses. You're helped along the way by a variety of weapons and power ups. Later you will be able to turn into a bat to fly to hard to reach areas, orform into mist to move through bars. You can gain familiars later who will help to fight off enemies. They level up with you, their abilities improving as yours do. The game is very large, complete the castle once and you still have to complete it upside down. It provided me with about 18 hours of gameplay, a lot for a platformer. It's highly addictive with a strong incentive to progress further and level up your character more. If you see a copy buy it, chances are it'll be cheap and it'll be worth every penny you pay for it. Platformers are rarely this well thought out.