CASTLEVANIA: SYMPHONY OF THE NIGHT
I first heard about this game way back when it was the era of the PS1 and I have to say when I first heard this was going to Xbox Live Arcade I was delighted. Castlevania Symphony Of The Night is an action adventure 2D scrolling game that was developed by KCET and published by Konami. The game is available for the PS1, Sega Saturn and Xbox Live Arcade. This is my all time favourite Castlevania game and this one was the 14th in the series of games by Konami. This Castlevania was the first in the series to steer away from the level by level type game and actually feature a mix of platforming and role playing elements as well. It also features an easy to follow story as you play as the character known as Alucard.
The game starts with you controlling a different character called Richter who is on a final battle against Dracula. After defeating Dracula in which you cant really lose the game starts properly with Alucard who has returned to the castle several years on to finish what is left of it. Inside Alucard meets Death who tells him to stop his mission and also rells him not to destroy the castle. Death strips Alucard of all his good equipment. Now Alucard must work his way through the castle defeating whatever stands in his way. On the way he meets several people some of which are helpful. Can you bring down the castle once and for all?
The game is a 2D scrolling game but its not like most 2D games because not only do you go from right to left but you can also go up levels, down levels or even from right to left because there are numerous different ways in the castle. You basically can go exploring finding items and new equipment but there isn't an awful lot you can do to go wrong in the game. Its actually common sense on where you have to go because there will only be one or two ways that lead somewhere at first but later more and more open with keys and other items.
As you're scrolling along you will encounter lots of different enemy types which most are monsters such as lizard creatures, zombies, skeletons and much more. You also get bosses which are usually much more tricky than the average monsters and much bigger too. Defeating enemies is quite simple really and all you need to do is attack with one of two buttons or mix them up depending if you have weapons in both of your hands. You can choose to equip either two weapons or a weapon and shield. There are lots of different items scattered throughout the castle and even enemies drop them.
Equipment can be picked up from numerous places such as enemies or even things such as lights which can be hit to reveal items. Alucard is a great looking character and can equip numerous items in different places from things such as cloaks, glasses, hats and more but when equipped the look of the character doesn't change at all. You also have a secondary weapon available and this can be changed unlimited times. You can find secondary weapons in lights and candles that are easily destroyed. The only downside is that you need to collect little love hearts to use it numerous times and the hearts fill up so you can use it again and again.
Alucard can also level up and has stats like a normal role playing game character would have. Things such as his health can be increased after gaining a level or finding a vial to increase it a little also. Stats also increase sometimes when you level up and this comes in very handy later in the game when the enemies become much tougher and bosses become even stronger and deal more damage. You must also keep Alucards equipment up to date. As you get roughly around an hour into the game you should find a shop in which you can buy tons of items and equipment from as well as some key items. You get your money from a few places such as if an enemy drops some or from lights and candles which can be destroyed again. When you go into the next screen and come back enemies and lights will return but bosses and items will not.
The games graphics are a little outdated because the game was originally a PS1 release and on a few other older systems. Also the game is a 2D game so its obviously not going to loo that great. however for the time it was released the graphics were great and I still believe its one of the better looking 2D games. One fault i had about the game was the border around the actual game when you're playing it because it does make your game screen a little smaller. Other than that there isn't that much wrong with how the game looks with characters looking reasonably good and monsters looking fairly detailed overall. The castle layout doesn't change an awful lot but you barely notice when you're hacking and slashing your way through the game.
The sound effects are still quite effective for an old game and still makes the game more entertaining. The music is okay but not spectacular. Characters do actually speak in the game when they meet but its a little creepy at times and sounds a little hollow. The action sound effects are fantastic especially when you kill certain enemies or get hit by enemies yourself. Overall I like the sound effects and think they're definitely a plus to the game overall.
DIFFICULTY & LONGEVITY
The game can be a little difficult at times and the game can also lead you going round in circles trying to find where to go because it doesn't actually direct you on where the right path is. Most enemies are easy but there will be some that can be more difficult because of them being a higher level or having different types of attacks. Also the controls to the game are very simple. I would say the hardest part of the game are the bosses but once you master there moves then the game becomes much easier.The length of the game depends really on if you do much exploring. You can almost start the game and within an hour get to the end of it and kill the last boss but there will be tons you would of missed such as other parts to the main story, items and more. If you plan on playing the game properly you're looking at around 10 hours which is reasonable for an arcade game but could be much longer in my opinion.
PRICE ON XBOX LIVE
Castlevania Symphony Of The Night costs a total of 800 Microsoft Points which is equivalent to about £8. You can simply link your bank card or credit card to your gamertag and buy points for the game that way or you can buy points from places at reasonable prices. 800 Microsoft Points for a game like this is totally worth it.
Like most arcade games on Xbox Live there are a total of just 12 achievements to get totaling 200 gamerscore. Most of the achievements are hidden and you will only get them when you do what is required which you cannot find out until you have them unlocked or you can just look on the internet. Overall the 12 achievements that you can get are varied so its not all that bad.
- Its a 2D scrolling hack and slash game with role playing elements.
- Tons of different enemies, items and equipment scattered throughout the castle.
- The sound effects are still really effective.
- The game has its replay value and its very enjoyable even second time around!
- 800 Microsoft Points is really cheap for an arcade game like this.
- The main story is a little plain and you don't even need to follow it.
- the graphics are a little outdated but it doesn't show an awful lot.
- The castle is misleading and a little bit ordinary looking.
- The game could of been a little bigger in terms of length.
- No multiplayer.
Castlevania Symphony Of The Night is probably my favourite Castlevania game out there because its a lot of fun to play. I used to play this a lot on PS1 and so when i had the chance to get it on Xbox Live I immediately went for it and I'm so glad I did. Its still a very addictive game. One thing that impresses me about the game is the constant enemies and bosses the game throws at you.
If you like the Castlevania games or a hack and slash adventure then this could be just for you because not only does it have role playing elements as well but it also has some very tricky platforming elements also. If you are looking for a cheap arcade game for Xbox Live then I really recommend this one.
A fun, addictive and time consuming arcade game that I would give a solid 8/10!
Review also on dooyoo under the username: simon020187!