Castlevania: Symphony of the Night introduced a non-linear and role-playing aspect to the series. It opened Dracula’s castle up to exploration and allowed Alucard to level up and collect new weapons.
Alucard could equip sub-weapons like Holy Water and axes that consume hearts to use in combat. He also gained the ability to use magic spells learned through incantation scrolls and activated with specific button combinations.
Why is Castlevania: Symphony of the Night So Expensive?
A direct sequel to Rondo of Blood, Symphony is one of the series’ most iconic titles. It redefined the Castlevania franchise by pulling inspiration from the Metroid series and adding some RPG elements to its aaction-basedgameplay.
The game shifted away from the linear levels of its predecessors and threw players into Dracula’s vast castle with many different areas that could be explored freely. This allowed for some amazing boss fights that stretched the designer’s creative muscles. A great example is the writhing mass of bodies that surrounds a demonic core in the level Legion. Slashing away at the writhing bodies eventually exposes the core for some very satisfying destruction.
It also added some RPG elements that made the hero level up as they defeated enemies and gave players money to purchase weapons and items. These elements helped to make the game feel more like a full-blown RPG than previous titles. It’s these innovations that set it apart and led to the coining of the term “Metroidvania”. A true classic that still holds up even to this day.
The gameplay is very similar to the earlier Castlevania games, though it does change a few things. Alucard now can back-dash and a new attack move (down-kick while jumping). The game also introduces magic spells that can be learned through incantation scrolls and activated by certain button combinations. These spells range from the standard holy water to hellfire and can be used to damage enemies or even heal Alucard himself.
This is also the first time that the series has featured a level-based experience system, where Alucard gains levels by defeating enemies and exploring areas of the map. He can also collect items such as swords, armor, and single-use items that improve his abilities.
In addition to its fluid 2D gameplay and excellent character animation, Symphony of the Night is praised for its atmospheric music and art style. The soundtrack is credited as one of the best in gaming history, and Michiru Yamane’s hypnotic orchestrations set an unsettling mood for the game. The art style was also influential to many subsequent Castlevania games.
As far as 2D side-scrollers go, Symphony of the Night is a ggreat-lookinggame. It’s also the first Castlevania title to incorporate RPG elements like leveling up and loot collecting, earning it the title of the “first Metroidvania”.
Unlike previous Castlevania games, which were very linear, Symphony of the Night gives you a massive map to explore in Dracula’s castle. This could have led to a confusing layout or loads of tedious backtracking, but the team behind the game pulled it off perfectly.
The art style is a combination of the classic pixel art from the older Castlevania games, with 3D backgrounds and characters. It’s a beautiful blend that makes it feel like one last hoorah for the 2D era before 3D graphics were the norm. Michiru Yamane’s soundtrack is also fantastic, blending moody orchestral music with traditional rock-style Castlevania songs. This is the perfect soundtrack for this dark adventure. It adds a sense of drama to Richter’s quest to confront his vampiric father.
Compared to video games that settled for tinny beeps and blips, this game set a new standard for music composition. Even songs that were not original to the game exhibited great artisanship and musical complexity. For example, “Wood Carving Partita”, played on the Library stage, is a Rococo masterpiece that puts the harpsichord center stage.
The main theme of the game is one that also shows the first step in good song composition, a melody with a catchy hook and an underlying tension that properly embodies the ambiance of the castle. It is a song that is not easily forgotten and one that has become a trademark of the Castlevania series.
The rest of the score is comprised of arrangements of other Castlevania themes. These are well done, especially the longest track, “VK2K2”, which is used in a secret boss battle. It is a song that skilfully blends Castlevania II’s “Vampire Killer” and III’s “Clockwork” into one.