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Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (PlayStation) artwork

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (PlayStation) review

"Castlevania: Symphony of the Night in my mind was the highest plateau of the Castlevania series. Everything grand that was made throughout the series was packed into this one game, and it has become what some would call the greatest 2D adventure game of all time, rivaled only by the original Super Mario Brothers Games. Castlevania: SOTN is just that good. At first it may look complicated and bland, but the game picks up fast, and it never dies out. With classic bosses revised, and just an overal..."

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night in my mind was the highest plateau of the Castlevania series. Everything grand that was made throughout the series was packed into this one game, and it has become what some would call the greatest 2D adventure game of all time, rivaled only by the original Super Mario Brothers Games. Castlevania: SOTN is just that good. At first it may look complicated and bland, but the game picks up fast, and it never dies out. With classic bosses revised, and just an overall feel that never dies down, Castlevania is a game no gamer should pass up.

STORY (14/15): Castlevania is not known for having complex stories, and this is no exception to that cause. However, the story is much more apparent than before. A man named Shaft wants to ressurect count Dracula, and will use any method possible to reach that goal, including controlling a classic characters body. The story develops around those central character, and while there is really no plotwists, the story is always there and fits the game perfectly.

GRAPHICS (14/15): Castlevania has very smooth graphics that flow throughout the game. However, to really show the graphics, you only need to look at the bosses. I have never seen such a realistic and frightening crew of villains ever in a videogame, each with their own distinct and appealing appearence. The major characters all look fairly detailed, although Richter does look a bit bland but he is taken from an SNES game. The stages are varied, and look very beautiful no matter what stage you are visiting. The clock tower has beautful bells, and the catacombs have the gloomy feel. Besides a little flaw in character pictures, and an infrequent slowdown at various parts, the graphics are superb.

SOUND (10/10): First of all, the voice acting needs to be mentioned. Voice acting is not very common on the original Playstation system, but it is present in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. The voice acting is very loud and crisped, and seems almsot out of place at times, and yet each character matches well with their own given voice, and you will grow fond of it near the end of the game.

Of course, what would Castlevania be without the beautiful orchestra music throughout the game. The Castlevania series has been known for strong orchestra music in each installment, and C:SOTN burts through beautifully, with a great variety of music, and some that almost move you to tears (ex: credit music) and some that seems right out of the 60's with medievals twists (ex: Collesium). The music gives a great feel to each stage, and something not easily overlook.

GAMEPLAY (45/45): C:SOTN plays like a typical Castlevania game in some aspects, but is a complete game of its own in other. You play as Alucard, son of Dracula, in a sidescrolling adventure with stages such as the clock tower, collesium, and chapel. You fight against Skeletons, imps, and axe wielding monsters, until you reach the final boss against Dracula (and even Death along the way). You can gain subweapons like the cross and dagger, and they cost hearts to wield. Besides those facts, that is where all the resemblances ended. Instead of wielding a whip, you wield a sword, rod, or other various weapons of that nature. You are affective with a shield, and you gain upgrades on both weapons and clothing for defensive aspects. This weapon variety is a new addition to the Castlevania series, where before only a whip was wielded in battle.

One of the biggest innovations to this installment of the Castlevania series, is the newly added ''level-up'' system. Like an RPG, when you defeat enemies, you gain experience points. These experience points will add up, until you gain a level. By gaining a level you will increase critical stats like strength, luck, defence, etc. Not only do you level-up those categories, you also have an ever increasing hit points. You can increase these amounts during a level-up, or gaining a special item that will increase your opponents (frequently gained after defeating bosses) The thing is, this level system fits right into the Castlevania system; something that many gamers worried about at first.

Of course, Alucard is the son of Dracula, and has various abilities to his display. He can turn into a wolf, bat, or mist. While two of these play little role at all (kinda disapointingly) the bat is very useful throughout the game. Not only can he change form, but throughout the game he can gain relics, which give him various skills like increased jumping, double jumping, and things of that nature. Some of these relics will be needed to beat Castlevania, other of these will just help out in the cause.

Finally, the size of the Castle itself. The castle is huge with many rooms to visit and a variety of enemies to face-off against. Each little stage has it's own collection of enemies, and its own particular design. That gives each moment of Castlevania that special feel, and make each moment different from the last. You will need to find secret passages in walls, and just journey every point of the map to fully enjoy Castlevania, which many gamers will spend their time to do.

REPLAYABILITY (10/10): When you conquer Castlevania's castle at what you belive is the end of the game, you are only halfway done. Konami added what is called the inverted castle, which has completely different bosses, a continous of the story, and the final showdown all added in. So when most believe the game is completed, you are truly only halfway done. Of course, with a special castle add-in, that means there must also be multiple endings, and that is true. There are at least 4 confirmed endings, and one that lies in doubt. These endings have to do with the percent of the castle(s) you have completed, and I can't see why you would not want to defeat every corner, and collect every relic. There is just so much to do in Castlevania, and I do not see why any person would not dedicate their time to searching every corner of it.

DIFFICULTY (5/5): Castlevania is not a very difficult game. At first the castle seems complicated, because there are so many locations you can journey to, but then you realize that the order does not matter. At times you may need to keep your level up, but that is not really too much of a hassle, seeing if you go to the right locations you can level up in minutes. Near the end, the boss battles may become a bit to simple (besides one of massive power), but working through the levels themselves still holds a difficulty, as you will be baraged by all locatoins. However, you will beat the game even if your not the most dedicated gamer, as long as you keep your mind on what is at hand.

OVERALL (98/100): Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is not a game to be overlooked. While it is rare in modern stores, it can be purchased for about thirty dollars off E-Bay, and that is worth this game easily. It is as entertaining as most modern games, as you will be able to journey a vast castle, with superb music and a much improved upon story. Castlevania is not a game that should be overlooked, just because it is a few years old, cause it is still a superb game.

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Community review by ratking (May 21, 2003)

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