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Lotus Crystal

Lotus Crystal

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PostSubject: Castlevania Symphony of the Night Review   1st October 2014, 2:49 pm

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is an action, role-playing, Platform-adventure, sidescroller developed and published by Konami, released for the Sony PlayStation in 1997. Since then it has been ported to the Sega Saturn, Tiger Handheld (Tiger Handheld? Who the hell would play this on Tiger Handheld?), PlayStation Network, and Xbox Live Arcade. Despite little commercial advertising, the game became a critical success and is considered by many fans to be the best in the series. So, let's start Halloween Month off right with Castlevania!


The game opens up with Richter Belmont during the ending of the previous game, Castlevania: Rondo of Blood, where you go one on one with Count Dracula. You have the trademark whip and items like Holy Water to use in battle. As soon as you take control of Richter and Prologue plays in the background it immediately gets you pumped up for the action. The opening dialog between Richter and Dracula is – there's nothing I can do or say that could do it justice. You just have to watch it for yourself.

There's no way to die during this stage, but if you're able to defeat Dracula without any sub weapons or taking damage you'll start out with better stats for Alucard. A game that rewards you for skill? What is this madness?! Additionally, you can find a bunch of different items by destroying candles, rocks, walls, and uncovering hidden passages throughout the castle, so the game rewards you for exploration and basically hitting random things.


Once you take control of Alucard the game becomes an RPG. You have your usual hit and magic points, strength, constitution, intelligence, and luck. You can equip different weapons and items to increase your stats accordingly and grind to increase your level. Alucard is able to hold a weapon in both hands unless it requires two hands, allowing you to equip a sword and a shield to attack and defend. The stats page also takes inspiration from another popular Japanese RPG.


In the beginning you start off with a bunch of cool equipment and killing monsters left and right like they're nothing but fodder, then Death takes everything away from you and you have to start from scratch. Like Metroid, the game provides a feeling of isolation as you're cut off from the outside world and just have Dracula's castle filled with all kinds of monsters to contend with. The occasional person you do meet just leaves on their own because nobody ever thinks to team up in these kinds of games. Another thing it has in common with Metroid is that the castle is just one big area with several rooms that connects with each other and save rooms you can find throughout. That empty, quiet room with the crystal hanging above is a save point, by the way. Don't just walk out of it like I did going “what the chibi?” I ended up having to start over from the beginning again.


Different enemies have different strategies needed to take them down. Some can be taken out in a couple of hits or just one. Enemies like the Cthulhu in this picture needs to be killed quickly before it has the chance of finishing you off. Some times it's in your best interest just to dodge and make a break for it, because if you ever need to revisit that room the enemies are just going to respawn anyway.

Something else that may catch you off guard (especially if this is your first Castlevania) is the hearts not being used to restore health. They're used to restore your Magic Power instead. In order to restore health you need to find a pork chop or potions, which when you think about it actually makes sense to use in place of traditional hearts. But then the hearts for magic makes no sense.

There are also Relics like “Cube of Zoe,” and “Spirit Orb” which allows you to do different things like get items from candles, and see how much damage you're inflicting on an enemy. Spells can be cast from pushing the right buttons like a combo and later in the game you can summon familiars to aid you in battle.

Sub weapons come in the form of knives, axes, holy water, clocks, crosses, and several more things you'll find if you keep an eye out. They're especially handy in dealing with bosses early on in the game and that damn Cthulhu. The thing to remember is that you can only have one sub weapon at a time, so if you pick up another one the previous sub weapon will drop and vanish before too long. You'll want to think long and hard about which sub weapon you want to have equipped.


Back on the RPG side of thing, there's money you can collect throughout the castle that can be put into buying and selling items and equipment at the shop. Here you can also buy a map of the area to use to help you navigate the castle. The map also works just like the one in Metroid, letting you know where you have been and where you haven't.

Alucard is a poor, tortured soul who allied with humans to eliminate his own kin. Something that was kind of a trend back in the nineties and hasn't really gone away. A man of few words who has a serious and somewhat elegant tone about him whenever he does speak. To top it all off, he's the son of Dracula. Talk about the apple falling far from the tree. He's even willing to go to such extremes as entering an eternal sleep just so his bloodline doesn't continue. That's about as self-sacrificial as it gets.

Conclusion: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is a fun, challenging that's sure to give you plenty to do. If you like vampires, monsters, good music, and being isolated, then it may be just what the doctor subscribed.

Get it.


Ayen's Reviews
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