It’s time for us to recommend a new classic to you – one of the greatest games of all time, possibly the best game for the original PlayStation… Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. This game not only received near-universal praise for every aspect of the game(well, other than the voice acting…), but it also gave birth to the ‘Metroidvania’ subgenre.
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night starred Alucard, the son of Dracula, in his quest to figure out why his father’s castle has returned outside of it’s normal centennial cycle. Alucard is fully equipable with a myriad of weapons, armour, talismans, and relics to use. The things that made people lovingly call the game ‘Metroidvania’ were the relics though. Relics were special items that gave you unique powers, and the game forced you to retread the same ground in typical Metroid style opening up new areas, secrets, and passages using new abilities you’d uncovered as you got new relics.
The combat was fun, there were awesome spells to use, amazing items including some ultra-rare items that you had to either get extremely lucky or farm a great deal to find, and a truly unique progression through a dark Gothic castle with a myriad of amazingly distinct areas. Aside from the voice acting, it’s hard to find flaw with any aspect of this game’s design – it was just that lovingly and skillfully crafted.
But it’s the little things that truly make this game feel so complete. Little things like them designing a hidden secret that allows you to play the entire game as a completely different character with different abilities… little things like designing one room in the castle to look… wrong until you get to the very end of the second half of the game and realize just why it was designed how it was. The amount of incredible detail that went into this game is staggering, and thinking that they did all of that on a regular old CD is just mind-boggling.
If you haven’t treated yourself to the joys of this fantastic gaming experience before now… you shouldn’t wait any longer. It’s available as a PS1 Classic on the PSN, and it runs beautifully on the PS3(unlike some other PS1 Classics alas) – I know, I’ve been playing it through again. Trust me on this, this is one of the greatest games you’ll ever play, and it’ll hook you just as thoroughly as it has re-hooked me with it’s charm.
Written by: Sean