FGC #087 Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

What I did on my Summer Vacation by Adrian F Tepes: Page 1
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FGC #87 Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

  • System: Playstation to start, but then it wound up on PSP (by way of another game), Vita, and Playstation 3/Xbox 360. There was also a Saturn version that does not in any way count. Interestingly, this means the Vita has two different versions (PSX/PSP) on one system.
  • Number of Players: Wouldn’t it be cool if a second controller could steer your familiars around? That wouldn’t be game breaking, would it? Bah, until that glorious day, just one player.
  • Port o’ Call: The Playstation version is the base, and that’s what’s been ported to future systems. The Saturn version features a playable (and fightable) Maria, and two new areas that add Crashabsolutely nothing to the game, but seemed like the coolest places in the universe back when importing was impossible(ly expensive). The PSP version, itself an unlockable in Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles, has a playable/fightable Maria, but she has totally different moves from her Saturn incarnation. And, of course, the Saturn areas have returned to the graveyard. Given the PSP game is on the PSP, that makes it kind of hard to choose a definitive version. Like, I like Maria and all, but I like proper proportions better.
  • Favorite Castle Denizen: Beelzebub drives me nuts. Dracula just decided to have a hanging, giant corpse in his upside-down castle? Why is he there? Do the flies know what they’re doing? Does Beelzebub summon them deliberately? How long can he operate without a head? So many questions for a boss that most people just randomly stumble into (and are then poisoned to death immediately).
  • Sword Problems: Has anyone ever gotten the Sword Familiar (or any familiar) up to Level 50 without dedicated grinding? I equip that dude the minute I find him, and he’s still barely level 20 by the time castles are falling.
  • Stumble into Success: From Iga’s own mouth, the claim has always been that Symphony of the Night was an attempt to ape The Legend of Zelda more than Super Metroid. Honestly, this makes sense for a lot of reasons, chief among them would be a Japanese developer copying Metroid over Zelda would be like a Western developer copying Dragon Quest over Final Fantasy. And, yes, there’s a lot of shared DNA between Alucard acquiring new movement “spells” and Link gaining new movement “items”. Does this mean the “Metroidvania” genre was created almost by accident, and each subsequent “Igavania” was an attempt to mimic a genre that wasn’t understood in the first place? Only the Librarian knows for sure…
  • Crash x 2Did you know? At over 50 MB, Symphony of the Night was once one of the largest games on the Xbox 360 Arcade service. I just downloaded a 7600 MB game the other day… and I got it for free!
  • Would I play again: Yes. A thousand times yes. Big gigantic yes. One of the most firm yes’s that has ever been on the site. That’s a yes, if you’re not paying attention.

What’s Next? Random ROB has chosen… Skullgirls! Guess I’ll tackle the most recent version, so you can see all your favorite Skullgirls like Beowulf and Big Band. Please look forward to it!

21 Responses »

  1. Yeah, I’d heard stories about the dark ages of early digital 360 releases and how the infernal file size limitations affected early ports and emulated games on the service.

    In Symphony’s case, it lost the FMVs…which frankly were pretty awful (untextured bad graphics castle), but still a shame to lose just ‘cuz of the original music. Ending theme I Am The Wind was swapped out with some orchestral thing from another Castlevania, but given it wasn’t on PSP either it’s probably more a case of being embarrassed by that cheesy ending song than file size or licensing issues.

    Anyway, love how you presented the SotN article as a school report.

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