Nut Load. Mini reviews of games old and new. No fuss. No spoilers. Occasional shock face.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (1997)


Genre: Action, Platformer, RPG | Players: 1 | Developer: KCET

This is the game that redefined its franchise’s legacy to the point that a significant amount of the subsequent games were modeled directly after its gameplay. It was the birth of the sub-hybrid-genre Metroidvania: Power-up driven exploration wrapped in the comfortably quaint trappings of everyone’s favorite, overexposed (but thankfully not sparkly) vampire lord.

In a time when 3D games were finding their stride, SOTN instead provided sex-tight 2D hack-and-slash platforming at its finest. It’s still every bit as buttery-smooth today, I’m proud to say. Regardless of what this says for the rest of the franchise, it at least means you won’t be disappointed in tracking it down on its quest to be ported to every platform in existence.

The power-ups feel appropriate given the lineage of the main protagonist and are outnumbered only by the multitude of weapons, which bank on combo-specific moves just waiting to be discovered through simple trial and error. A tight list of spells and familiars are also at your disposal assuming you’re willing to tour the castle and experiment enough. Covering the castle’s map is the central focus and it is incredibly satisfying. Even if you are backtracking, you’ll usually have new toys to try on the monsters you’ll be taking out countless times during each pass.

The castle is one continuous area, separated only by short loading zones masquerading as hallways roughly the size of Mega Man boss corridors; literally nothing to worry over, on the PS1/PSN release, at any rate.

The voice acting is SUPREMELY cheesy, I’ll admit, but it is so iconic that I’d question your sanity if you weren’t quoting it for the rest of your life. And, you’ll easily remember this game for that long, as it’s rounded out by, what is in pragmatic terms, the biggest easter egg a video game could ever hold without wearing out its welcome on players.

You will not regret trying this game if you are a fan of the genres and setting at play. You won’t.

Buyer’s Guide: Available on PS1, PSN, and XBLA, most easily. It is an unlockable extra in the PSP game Dracula X Chronicles and available as Dracula X: Nocturne in the Moonlight on the Sega Saturn. The Saturn version has extra modes not available in any other release, but longer loading times, regrettably. It is also noteworthy that the XBLA version is said to eliminate a good degree of the lag.

5 Miserable Little Piles of Secrets out of 5

1 comment:

Impudent Urinal said...

I don't know about the downloadable ones but the PSP version also redid all of the cheesy iconic dialogue, for better or worse.

Yes, still replayable and infinitely entertaining.

5 Totally rockin soundtrack out of 5