Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

I didn’t know the night had a symphony. I better see what this is about.


  • Review Date: July 8, 2021
  • Release Date: October 2, 1997
  • Platform: PlayStation
  • Publisher: Konami
  • Developer: Konami
  • Genre: Nonlinear Platformer

Anecdotes: When I studied up on the Castlevania series, a clear trend emerged. Fans divided the series into two subgroups: the earlier, stage based games, which were standard platformers like Super Mario or Ghosts ‘N Goblins, but Simon’s Quest is seen rightfully as an outlier; and a later, less linear format, similar to Metroid. The latter starts with SOTN.

I often see these games referred to by a Portmanteau word combining Metroid and Castlevania. However, I can’t stand the term. First, I hate Portmanteaus, probably because they remind me of that stupid “shipping” nonsense some fans of TV shows do. They’re rarely clever, as it’s 95% of the time just changing the initial of one person’s name to the initial of the other. It also takes the individuality out. Castlevania and Metroid are two VERY different series. Second, it does NOTHING to tell players that have never played either game what the genre is like. No genre should ever be named after specific games within it.

Description: Essentially a sequel to Rondo of Blood, Symphony of the Night stars Alucard as he explores the castle trying to find who or what is controlling Richter. Once Alucard enters the castle, he will need to defeat bosses and find items that will enable him to access different areas.


  • Konami completely uprooted the gameplay. They dumped the linear stages in favor of an open map. This is good as there are no longer holes everywhere that cost lives, with bats purposely placed just to knock players in them. There’s an equipment system and Alucard has much more HP than any previous protagonist. The downside to this is that it’s very easy to lose track of where to go.


  • The difficulty just spiked once I got to the Clock Tower. the game was at a nice pace, maybe even too easy, up to that point, but once I got there, ouch. They threw a ton of junk at Alucard. The Medusa Heads alone are bad enough, but then they add Harpies and yellow Medusa Heads, the latter of which turn Alucard to stone so he can get whacked around some more. Worse yet, this Alucard recoils from being hit, and there’s almost always spikes, water, or another enemies waiting below…and then he has to climb back up! On top of all that, I can’t find a save point nearby, either.


Who does Death think he is coming around here and threatening people like that?
I found a boss; I quickly discovered that good positioning is the key to this battle.
That giant eyeball looking in from the window on the left is so creepy!
I don’t even know what to say here.
Alucard was acting up, so they threw the book at him.
I seriously thought this was a boss.
MARIA!!! Too bad I can’t play as her here…
Hey, I got ferry good news! The Ferryman has become a regular.
This was funny, too. The first time I did this, a guy appeared and left an item. The second time, a woman came along and stabbed me with a spear.
This was the start of my pain. The waterfalls look nice, though.
Harpies are back and worse than ever. They’ve picked up some new techniques since Rondo of Blood.

My Progress: Getting clobbered in the clock tower

Final Opinion: It’s clear Konami still had some refining of the format. This was the first attempt since Simon’s Quest to use this format, and it shows.

Grade: B

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