Note: this text incorporates minor spoilers for Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.
“What is a person? A depressing little pile of secrets and techniques.”
These phrases, uttered by Dracula Vlad Țepeș through the opening alternate with Richter Belmont in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, have turn into utterly synonymous with the Castlevania franchise. Referenced and parodied by a number of different video games within the 25 years since — maybe most 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 turn into, it pales compared to the influence 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 recognized 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 closing confrontation with Dracula. Reviews on the time known as it “spectacular” (Next Generation Magazine) and “simply top-of-the-line video games ever launched” (GameSpot).
We’ve seen so many homages lately, 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 footwear of the sport’s main 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 fort 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 elegant 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 immediately, you would be forgiven for considering it to be an genuine, but altogether extra trendy tackle a ‘retro’ 2D platformer. We’ve seen so many homages lately — each good and dangerous — 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 supply some of the gorgeous 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 fort itself stays a marvel of recreation 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 while you get to the center portion of the sport that you simply really start to understand its ingenuity; simply while you assume you have overwhelmed the sport, Symphony of the Night pulls one of many biggest methods in online game historical past by actually flipping the fort on its head.
As you navigate the ‘inverted fort’, the sheer quantity of effort required for its creation begins to hit house; not solely did it must 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 recreation 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 by way of Castlevania Requiem and the Xbox Live Arcade launch respectively. You may play it on the PS3, PSP, and PS Vita by way of the ‘PSOne Classic’ re-release and even on Android and iOS due to a latest port of the Dracula X Chronicles model. Just bear in mind that some variations of the sport comprise reworked dialogue and voice performing, which is arguably inferior to the unique.
So, if you wish to play Symphony of the Night (and simply in case it isn’t clear, we actually advocate you do), there are many choices accessible to you already. But we might argue that — like many, many video games — it might maybe be finest suited to Switch. 2D pixel artwork seems nice on Switch (particularly if you happen to’ve bought that stunning OLED display) and, coupled with the console’s namesake skill to change 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 complete technology of avid gamers who could 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 intensive Castlevania collections prior to now 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, apart from the obvious omission of the great DS Castlevania video games Dawn of Sorrow, Portrait of Ruin, and Order of Ecclesia (we might 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 recreation in the whole franchise, and some 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 sufficient discuss… Have at you!”