Note: this text incorporates minor spoilers for Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.
“What is a man? A miserable little pile of secrets.”
These phrases, uttered by Dracula Vlad Țepeș throughout the opening trade with Richter Belmont in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, have develop into fully synonymous with the Castlevania franchise. Referenced and parodied by a number of different video games within the 25 years since — maybe most just lately by Drinkbox Studio’s Guacamelee! 2 — it is a phrase that has been mocked and revered in equal measure. However, regardless of how iconic such a easy phrase has develop into, it pales compared to the affect and legacy that Symphony of the Night itself has left on gaming.
Hot take time: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is the best ‘Metroidvania’ ever created. Yes, that features the likes of Hollow Knight, Metroid Dread, and Dead Cells. It’s even leagues forward of Super Metroid — sorry, however that is the reality. [Hmm, we’ll discuss this on Monday – Ed.]
Released in 1997 for the PlayStation and directed by Toru Hagihara, it serves as a direct sequel to Castlevania: Rondo of Blood (although you won’t have identified this on the time, since Rondo of Blood was a Japanese unique for a superb 15 years or so), opening the place Rondo of Blood ended with Richter Belmont’s last confrontation with Dracula. Reviews on the time known as it “spectacular” (Next Generation Magazine) and “easily one of the best games ever released” (GameSpot).
We’ve seen so many homages in recent times, but Symphony of the Night stands head and shoulders above all of them.
Shortly after the introductory sequence with Richter, you are thrust into the sneakers of the game’s major protagonist, Alucard, and it is right here that Symphony of the Night units itself other than earlier Castlevania entries in dramatic model, casting apart linear ranges for a sprawling, interconnected citadel full with quite a few sections and numerous secrets and techniques. Although we have seen a plethora of excellent Metroidvania video games since its launch, Symphony of the Night nonetheless stands as probably the most chic instance of the style; an ideal mix of exploration and fight that has but to be bested, even by its personal successors.
Looking at Symphony of the Night right now, you would be forgiven for considering it to be an genuine, but altogether extra fashionable tackle a ‘retro’ 2D platformer. We’ve seen so many homages in recent times — each good and unhealthy — but at 25 years of age, Symphony of the Night stands head and shoulders above all of them. The fantastically detailed environments; the lethal, but mesmerising enemies and boss characters; the best way Alucard’s motion briefly leaves behind a path of power. It all comes collectively to provide one of the beautiful video video games of all time, a textbook instance of the continued validity of 2D gaming in an age of photorealist 3D sandboxes.
Dracula’s citadel itself stays a marvel of game design and is the important thing to Symphony of the Night’s standing as a real pioneer of the style. It’s a fantastically intricate maze that astounds at each nook. But it is whenever you get to the center portion of the game that you simply really start to understand its ingenuity; simply whenever you suppose you’ve got overwhelmed the game, Symphony of the Night pulls one of many best methods in video game historical past by actually flipping the citadel on its head.
As you navigate the ‘inverted citadel’, the sheer quantity of effort required for its creation begins to hit residence; not solely did it have to work as a completely explorable atmosphere with interconnected segments, however each room, each hall, and each spire needed to additionally work the other way up. It’s an unbelievable feat in game design.
So, what provides, Konami? When are you going to port such a masterpiece onto the Switch?
As it stands, Symphony of the Night is playable on each the PlayStation 4/5 and the Xbox One/S/X through Castlevania Requiem and the Xbox Live Arcade launch respectively. You can even play it on the PS3, PSP, and PS Vita through the ‘PSOne Classic’ re-release and even on Android and iOS because of a latest port of the Dracula X Chronicles model. Just remember that some variations of the game include reworked dialogue and voice appearing, which is arguably inferior to the unique.
So, if you wish to play Symphony of the Night (and simply in case it is not clear, we actually suggest you do), there are many choices obtainable to you already. But we would argue that — like many, many video games — it will maybe be greatest suited to Switch. 2D pixel artwork appears nice on Switch (particularly when you’ve received that lovely OLED display) and, coupled with the console’s namesake skill to modify between TV and Handheld modes, we reckon Symphony of the Night would discover appreciable success on Nintendo’s platform with new audiences. At 25 years outdated, there’s a whole era of players who may have missed out on this traditional, and there isn’t any extra handy system to play it on.
Konami is not precisely unfamiliar with the console, both: it is already launched two in depth Castlevania collections previously few years with Castlevania Anniversary Collection and Castlevania Advance Collection, the latter of which might not even exist had been it not for the success of Symphony of the Night. Indeed, aside from the obtrusive omission of the fantastic DS Castlevania video games Dawn of Sorrow, Portrait of Ruin, and Order of Ecclesia (we would like these too, please!), you may argue that Symphony of the Night is the final lacking piece in Konami’s 2D Casllevania period. It’s additionally, with out query, probably the most influential game in the complete franchise, and one of the vital video games launched within the final 30 years.
So if anybody at Konami is studying this… You know what to do.
“But enough talk… Have at you!”