You'll be forgiven for missing it (we did, at least initially), but Castlevania: Symphony of the Night celebrated its quarter-century anniversary at the weekend.
Akumajō Dracula X: Gekka no Yasōkyoku (the game's Japanese title) launched on March 20th, 1997 in the Land of the Rising Sun. One of the most notable titles in the entire 'Metroidvania' genre, the game fused 2D action platforming with a sprawling, non-linear map and RPG elements – such as experience points, weapons, armour, and other gear.
Symphony of the Night was directed and produced by Toru Hagihara, with Koji 'IGA' Igarashi acting as one of the main programmers. Igarashi, of course, would later become the custodian of the entire franchise before parting ways with Konami and working on Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, a spiritual successor to Symphony of the Night. During his tenure as the producer on the series, Igarashi would oversee the production of several games that attempted to ape the style of Symphony of the Night, including the superb Aria of Sorrow.
Aided by Michiru Yamane's incredible soundtrack and Ayami Kojima's sumptuous character designs, Symphony of the Night is considered by many to be the pinnacle of the entire Castlevania series. It achieved commercial success in North America (but not Europe, oddly), and was later ported to the Sega Saturn in Japan. It would be released digitally as a 'PS1 Classic' and was included as an unlockable extra on the PSP title Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles. Later still, it would be bundled alongside Dracula X: Rondo of Blood in the Castlevania Requiem double pack.
Castlevania has sadly fallen by the wayside as a video game franchise lately, but Netflix has managed to successfully adapt it into a line of rather good animated series.
Happy anniversary, Symphony of the Night! What are your thoughts on the game 25 years on? Is this an all-time classic, or maybe you've yet to play it? Let's discuss in the comments section below.
Why the heck are PS1 copies currently in the £300+ price bracket? Was it a limited print run or something?
My absolute favorite Castlevania game, and I've played most of them, it was always funny to me that some players might have missed half of the game thinking they finished it.
@roylaza great game, I did 200.6% 😀
Wasn't really feeling Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night at first, to me it was like it can't be castlevania if it's not castlevania, but I found a physical copy in game for £9.99, so it was the right thing to do and the more I played it the more it felt like sotn
Great game, pretty sad that we won’t get a game like this from Konami anytime soon.
1997 was really a good year for the PS1 especially with this and Final Fantasy VII. Such a shame Konami barely does anything with their IPs, I wish Sony or Nintendo could get them to do something with Metal Gear Solid, Silent Hill or Castlevania.
I've beaten SoTN for how many times now and is one of my favorite games on PS1. Definitely still stands out even today as one of the best of its genre. Even the soundtrack is still amazing.
@LN78 The PAL version sold really poorly (less than 15,000 copies, according to reports at the time) and the fact that it came with limited edition goodies that the NA version lacks (not to mention superior cover art) means that its price is always sky high.
@Damo That explains it. I'd love a copy but I'm not paying that much for one! Thanks for the reply.
@LN78 Are they really? I've still got my original but for that price, or a little more, i'd probably sell!
@Damo Good knowledge!
@themightyant My understanding is that the prices for retro games have been on a pretty much uninterrupted upwards trajectory for quite a while now, with no signs of stopping so you might be best advised to hang on to your copy. I was really surprised in this specific instance because I'd just always assumed it was a massively popular game with tons of copies floating around on the secondhand market. Obviously not.
I thought Castlevania 3: Dracula's Curse was more than 25 years old 😂
The first one on NES was the best. It was also the very first game I owned. Such fond memories...
i would argue that castlevania 4 was the best one but this one is very good even if i never beat it
It’s so good I don’t even wish for a modernization of it, it’s just that perfect.
The UK game magazines really did a disservice to this game when it released and they can be fully blamed for the game flopping here in the UK. If you want to see a complete joke of a review go look up the Official UK PSM review of this game.
They basically completely trashed it for being a 2D game in a time when 3D was all the rage and suggested it would have been better suited for SNES instead of PlayStation. Meanwhile they happily handed out 10/10 scores to every PS1 Tomb Raider game.
They certainly ended up on the wrong side of history here.
You guys like making people feel old don't ya?😩
Meantime the Suikoden series sits languishing on the psn legacy stores,unable to be played on ps4/5 gens,(First two being the best ones carrying over your saved game if you recruited everyone in the original for a hidden extra in the sequel)!!👍
Though not Konami,add Alundra to that list & The Adventures of Lomax,& Blood Omen Legacy of Kain to that list too!
Remarkable how well some of the 2d ps1 games have held up!
@LN78 SotN PAL ps1 was like €550 last month. It’s been on a downwards spiral recently.
I have the PAL copy I got on release date. I feel old. I also have lots of its re-releases. As you can guess I am a Castlevania fan.
We did not have euros back then obviously but I paid 55 euros todays money for it.
@darkswabber Sorry - I should've been clearer - I was referring to the retro games market in general but like I said I was surprised in this instance in particular because I always thought it was a common enough title. I've edited my original post accordingly.
It looks 25 years old.
I cant play stuff like this anymore. Not one to romanticize the past, it is just archaic.
Damn, already 25 years since Aria of Sorrow? Time flies, eh?
It's good, but I'll always like Rondo of Blood and Order of Ecclesia more. Classicvanias are more my jam in general.
@LN78 ah yes that’s because of investors having discovered the game market. Let me tell you, as a collector on a budget it hasn’t been fun anymore. Wish the second hand market would crash personally, rather have my collection be worth nothing but everyone being able to buy, play and enjoy the rare games I have (and vica versa for me) than having a high value collection but so many games not being accessible if you don’t invest in or care for emulation.
@darkswabber I was chatting to someone down in the forums about how even mediocre licensed games from the PS3/360 era have gone up in price - so it's not even just classic or graded games any more. I'm certainly priced out of a lot of JRPG stuff any further back than a generation or two at most. Crazy.
@Plankton-Warrior Wow, I don't really remember how much I uncovered but I don't think it was that much
@roylaza I got the platinum for the Castlevania Requiem: Symphony of the Night/Rondo of Blood, and it really wasn't easy, but loved every minute 😀
@Plankton-Warrior You convinced me to buy it it was even on sale, will replay it alongside Horizon zero dawn which I'm close to finishing
I'm always torn between SOTN and Resident Evil Remake on GC as my GOAT. Completed each of them several times more than anything else in my thirty odd years of gaming.
@roylaza awesome 😀 I still have so much to do in horizon forbidden west
Upside down castle. All I'm saying. I freaked out when I realised the game was twice as big. I'm no retro gamer by any means (not so nostalgic when it comes to games), but I play this on my old vita at least once a year.
Me: Hey Konami, I think is time for a proper Castlevania game.
Konami: What is a video game?
A miserable pile of pixels!!!
Oof, it’s a great game and all but I think I prefer Aria of Sorrow just a little bit.
This is truly a masterpiece, one of the best and more influential games of the history of videogames.
Music is so good in Symphony. Such a great game.
A classic thats a fact black.castlevania symphony of the night is amazing.word up son
If a new castlevania was to emerge, what would people want?
A 3d game? A 2.5d game, like metroid dread?
A remake, a remaster, a reboot?
Continuation of an old story or brand new character arc?
Olden times or present?
Brilliant game but I love Snes Castlevania 4, and Megadrive bloodlines more.
Back then a copy of this game was sat in a game shop near me for £19.99 for months. I always looked at it when i was in there, waiting for it to drop in price a bit but it never did.
I really enjoyed Castlevania II (esp. with the newer fan re-translation/feature patch) and the GBA Castlevania games, but my main memories of my attempts to play SOTN consist of being frustrated by how much slower Alucard was compared to the countless enemies and being mildly annoyed at the showy visual trails around him. Then again, I didn't encounter any of the newer games until I was in my late 30s, so I don't have the nostalgia for SOTN that a lot of other people have.
@PhhhCough I'd like to see a remake/remaster of Castlevania 2 based on the fan re-translation, akin to Metroid Zero Mission, Return of Samus or AM2R, preferably without having Simon given the overly-effeminate kind of appearance/movement common in later Castlevania games.
(After trying to play Castlevania 64 long ago and Mirror of Fate more recently, I'd be really hesitant to see the series go down the 3d or 2.5d roads again.)
My favorite game of all time and easily the greatest game of the 2D era. I remember the day I got it. I've long since lost count of how many times I've played it.
@nessisonett Symphony Of The Night and Aria Of Sorrow are considered to be the best Castlevania games iirc.
@Sam_ATLUS I think Nintendo could make good use of Castlevania and DDR while Sony would make good use of SH and MGS
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