Zero Punctuation: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

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Two nitpicks:

1. "Alucard" was first used in the movie Son of Dracula (1943), where he wasn't actually Dracula's son. The more direct source is the Hammer film Dracula A.D. 1972 (1972) which had a character called "Johnny Alucard", and also introduced the idea of Dracula resurrecting every 100 years which Castlevania has copied.

2. The giant wolves at the beginning are only easy because you have great equipment. Once you lose the equipment they're harder.

Not to sound like a snob, but Alucard comes from Son of Dracula, an movie by universal studios in 1943. The trick of it being Dracula backwards is also pointed out in that movie. Although the japanese abuse this fact (seen in hellsing, SOTN, Blazblue etc) it wasn't their idea.

LOL Patrick Stewart

and ouch to William Shatner, but admittedly in this current generation he's just not doing much that isn't just backwards step in his huge nerdom legacy (maybe the next Star Trek film really will retcon old Kirk in...old fat Kirk that is)

haha SOCOM 4 with the character accent changing...interesting. although I'm not sure if I could take some accents seriously (like say...Irish, although that would be bloody amazing :p)

Ellen of Kitten:
How funny you should do this review now! Summer Vaccation just let out for (some of) us, and I decided to get in some wholesome gaming. Symphony of the Night was the first game I considered settling into. But sadly I can't play the game anymore. I loved it when it was still fresh for me. But I've played the game over 20 times now. I know all the spells and special moves- not by conventional memory, but rather by muscle memory. No matter how much I change up the game, or equip weaker items to make the experience harder, I just can't get interested anymore.

SotN is one of those rare games they don't make anymore (Shadow Complex aside). It's awesome for those that have played it less than 5 times. :) There really needs to be more games like it, too.

There's a challenge document somewhere in the net that details a 200.6% Map Completion with only one monster kill. Try that if you want a "Challenge". Or beat the 425.5% Map Completion record (current highest).

how odd, I actually recently downloaded this from the XBLA and have been loving it myself. What crazy timing.

Well what a pleasant surprise. I personally love the Castlevania series. Definetly one of my favorite game series of all time.

woah, that was unexpected. i thought he only did new games. i was very curious to see this review since it's about a game i really like. i'm glad he enjoyed it.

A definite surprise review. It is one of the best games I have played.

I only have two 100% completion games on my 360 and I'm proud to say this is one of them. I would say the hardest achievement was to preform all the different magic combos, each part had to be entered so fast that it was hard to do with the 360 controller.

My favorite achievement was "Explore all 200.6% of the castle."

Caramel Frappe:

Also.. since when does a vampire turn into poisonous gas?! That's overdoing it, but what character doesn't these days?

Well if he can change into a bat, why not poisonous gas and a purple wolf as well? =P

I didn't find out about the fucked up up-side down second part until about a year after I 'beat' it the first time.
It was awesome.

Caramel Frappe:

Also.. since when does a vampire turn into poisonous gas?! That's overdoing it, but what character doesn't these days?

I have to think that you are joking, but I will take the bait. Dracula, in Bram Stroker's Dracula, could change into mist. Changing into mist is usually a standard vampire power, making it poisonous doesn't seem like too much of a stretch to me.

interesting choice in game. fuckin funny though. i was kind of expecting O.F. Red river but this was a nice choice. "symphony of the night isnt here to impress you youre here to impress symphony of the night" LOL

Syntax Error:

Ellen of Kitten:
How funny you should do this review now! Summer Vaccation just let out for (some of) us, and I decided to get in some wholesome gaming. Symphony of the Night was the first game I considered settling into. But sadly I can't play the game anymore. I loved it when it was still fresh for me. But I've played the game over 20 times now. I know all the spells and special moves- not by conventional memory, but rather by muscle memory. No matter how much I change up the game, or equip weaker items to make the experience harder, I just can't get interested anymore.

SotN is one of those rare games they don't make anymore (Shadow Complex aside). It's awesome for those that have played it less than 5 times. :) There really needs to be more games like it, too.

There's a challenge document somewhere in the net that details a 200.6% Map Completion with only one monster kill. Try that if you want a "Challenge". Or beat the 425.5% Map Completion record (current highest).

It's content now. That's what's killed the game for me, not challenge. It know where everything is front and back, what the spells are, how to get into other areas without the right abilities, etc.

Although, I admit, one monster kill through all of the game?? How would you manage that? Dracula, I'm assuming. But what about boss fights? They're manditory kills.

wait, does this mean Yahtzee liked Shadow Complex? I'd love to see a full review of that...my GOTY when it came back (though it definitely has flaws to be torn apart with).

Too bad the half-off sale is over already

The Universal Studios movie Son of Dracula (1943) was the first to reverse Drac's name. I'm sure that's been said before in the first five pages of comments but knowing is half the battle. The other half is getting that knowledge thrown at you again and again by pretentious fanboys like myself.

"Ah fanboys, children of the night. What nerdy music they make."

I'm pretty sure the Alucard/Dracula name backwards shows up wherever good vampire stories can be found.

a good review, though his comment about games not doing that anymore is wrong. every castlevania i've seen has some unrevealed ability set/item/plot-line you must do or get to get the rest of the game. apparently it hasn't been a negative selling point for them so far though. after finding out about it in aria of sorrow and portrait of ruin i tried harder to get it.

the biggest problems i have with castlevania is:

1. the damage curve, which can be ignored if your good at dodging, and bad if your petrified+land on spikes and have enemies flying around. and that's any normal corridor you go through a zillion times.

2. the attack patterns of bosses (this kinda ties into #1) become so progressively hard to dodge and do so much damage, its easier to grind monsters to level until you can take most of the hits because its difficult to get to that one safe spot.

3. vampire killer isn't a very good name for the whip. its a small complaint, but with all the stuff you come up with, you can't come up something better than "vampire killer"?

I think someone should tell Yahtzee that the name "Alucard" originated in an American-made Dracula movie in the 40s. Well, it may or may not have originated in that movie, but it's the earliest mention I could find in my 5 minutes of searching.

Wow, Yahtzee actually LIKED a classic beloved older game. Consider me surprised.

Calcium:
Alucard = Dracula backards!? Mind = Blown.

Strangely I was complaining about the lack of variety of enemies in Fable 3 only a couple of hours ago - that this game had such a large range and was for the ps1 makes me more disapointed at the current gen's variety.

The whole Alucard = Dracula backwards thing actually came from the US. It was the pseudonym Dracula (played by Lon Chaney, Jr.) used in Son of Dracula (1943). It has been overused to the point of bad joke LONG before the Japanese thought using it was a good idea (which actually occurred in the OVA Master of Mosquiton which predates the Hellsing manga by a full year)

I really really really hope this is game is one of the goodies we get one PSN is restored. Please.

My god. It isn't illegal for him to import Mortal Kombat, despite GameSpot's stupid story saying otherwise (the law they quoted from 1956 was superceded by a law in 1996). He lives in Queensland, which is one of the states in Australia that allows the import of Refused Classification material.

Unless you live in Western Australia or Northern Territory, or it falls into the sub-set of RC material occupied by things like CP, or torture porn, it is absolutely legal to import Mortal Kombat.

Hence, why import sites get a boost every time the ACB likes being a bitch.

Ellen of Kitten:

Syntax Error:

Ellen of Kitten:
How funny you should do this review now! Summer Vaccation just let out for (some of) us, and I decided to get in some wholesome gaming. Symphony of the Night was the first game I considered settling into. But sadly I can't play the game anymore. I loved it when it was still fresh for me. But I've played the game over 20 times now. I know all the spells and special moves- not by conventional memory, but rather by muscle memory. No matter how much I change up the game, or equip weaker items to make the experience harder, I just can't get interested anymore.

SotN is one of those rare games they don't make anymore (Shadow Complex aside). It's awesome for those that have played it less than 5 times. :) There really needs to be more games like it, too.

There's a challenge document somewhere in the net that details a 200.6% Map Completion with only one monster kill. Try that if you want a "Challenge". Or beat the 425.5% Map Completion record (current highest).

It's content now. That's what's killed the game for me, not challenge. It know where everything is front and back, what the spells are, how to get into other areas without the right abilities, etc.

Although, I admit, one monster kill through all of the game?? How would you manage that? Dracula, I'm assuming. But what about boss fights? They're manditory kills.

Through glitching, you can Schrodinger most monsters (kill them but not up the kill count). Also, the mandatory kill is a mook. Also, the point of the challenge was to explore every nook and cranny that can be (normally) explored, and not to kill Dracula.

I have played this as an unlockable in the Dracula Chronicles on the PSP. Never finished it. Maybe I should go back to it. Thinking about it though, I also never finished Super Metroid. Maybe those games just aren't for me(*) :)

Up Next:

Ultimate

Ghosts

n

Goblins

Do it.

(*) edit. p.s. I am lost in both and dont know where to go next ;) and too lazy to look it up :p

For everyone regarding SOTN (One of my Top 3 favorite games of all time)

1. Do not get the Ring of Varda or Crissaegrim if you want to retain any semblence of challenge in this game.

2. Playing as Richter is bloody annoying. Deal.

3. Play it on the Saturn. 4 new levels, play as the good Maria, and Bloody Tears and Vampire Killer are actually on the SDTK.

4. The Shield Rod + Alucard Shield/Iron Shield combos also bust the game wide open.

Current record for beating Dracula:

7.12 seconds (Crissagrim, 2 Rings of Varda, Walk Armor, Twilight Cloak, Alucard Shield, STR Potion used)

Come to think of it, when is the next Metroidvania DS or 3DS game coming out? It's been about 3 years since Order of Ecclesia came out.

Alufear:
This one really came from left field, but a good and funny review. I just wish Yahtzee had played this and more Castlevania games before completely panning Lords of Shadow...

Yeah, the god awful 3d Castlevania games feel like vague memory to good 3d games, but when you compare it to the magnificent stallion of 2d gaming that Castlvania SotC has been its not even possible to call them similar in genre.
Castlevania: Symphony of the night is basically the last 2d Castlevania and pretty much gave something as close to a perfect formula and something we probably will never see again. RPG elements (leveling, stats, item drops), many different enemies, combined with alot of exploration (even going back to previous levels to find secrets, which you either missed or couldn't reach with having a power first) excellent art work, the best sound track in a video game I've ever heard..
(combining classical music, and hard core metal in others, with lots of unique sounds, some opera, organ, violins, piano even!).
It provides a long play length given you fight all the bosses and explore thoroughly.
Theres even a secret to find that opens up a new portion of the game (inverted castle) where it continues the game where you thought was the ending! Which ends up making the game even longer. A secret this big shocked alot of people.

The game is by no means perfect... but its the greatest achievement 2d gaming has made to this day, and it was essentially marked the end of a era of 2d gaming which is a real shame, I still think 2d games can have alot to offer.
Story was a little flat and the voice acting was hilariously cheezy, aside from that the difficulty curve being a little off at times. Like figuring out the button combinations for a weapons special attacks, finding out the spells Alucard can do with random button pressing can be seen as difficult (but alot of people liked this 'secret' factor... that the game didn't hand everything to you on a silver platter, you had to figure things out on your own... experimentation) and with some luck you can find some random drops of powerful weapons that end up making the game to easy (but that's up to chance really).

Overall its a game that I would have paid $50 & more (which is alot for me) whereas 400 MS points is a steal for such a 'classic' (and that's a word I don't use lightly). If you haven't already, play it.

Liked the barcelona reference in there, too.

getbonus:
This is the third week in a row Yahtzee's review has been fair, accurate, and even-handed. Just what is he up to?

I have no idea, I'm guessing he'll be back on track dissecting guaranteed-to-be-shit games in no time though.

I'd like to think that what got Yahtzee to play this game was the hilariously bad Dracula's line at the intro. "WHAT IS A MAN?!" -tosses wine glass- "A MISERABLE LITTLE PILE OF SECRETS!" XD

Also, wholeheartedly agreed on the "Find your own path, bitch!" design basis that SotN, nay, the whole classic Castlevania games have been built upon. A lot of modern adventure games, pretty as their visuals and engaging as their gameplay (and storylines) may be, all felt a bit too hand-holding, nannying the players even past the point where they can do fine on their own. Seriously, they need to stop doing this.

So what if it makes the game slightly more difficult? That could even actually add up to the satisfaction the player gets upon finally conquering "this really hard game". It's what kept me coming back to the "Metroidvania" series, really, tho right about now I also felt that the easy-game plague is starting to plague the series as well.

Good to know that the title still holds up for SoTN first timers even today. I "borrowed" a copy from my buddy in college when this came out, the poor guy hasn't seen it since.

Great Yahtzee, now play it a bunch of times by going through all the portable Castlevania titles on GBA and DS.

TheIronRuler:
Well done, you shrewd man.
Though you said you never did play it at the time, it couldn't have been a distraction while your mother was drinking booze....
Overall, I wasted five minutes of my life on a (review of a) game that I never heard of, played on a console I'll never acquire, and don't care about.

Are you like a PC only player? You have never had a PS1, PS2, PS3, PSP, or Xbox360? This game can be played on any of those. Maybe you are really attached to your Wii or something...
And you live in a cave on the moon with your eyes closed and your ears plugged if you never heard of SOTN. If it isn't your cup of tea, that's fine, but there is no reason to make up nonsense about how you never heard of it.

Oh, and can another person please point out the Alucard reference from Son of Dracula again? That hasn't been mentioned like a fucking million times yet and really needs to be pointed out like ten thousand more fucking times. I mean shit, it was mentioned on the first damn page, isn't that quite enough?

Mister Linton:

TheIronRuler:
Well done, you shrewd man.
Though you said you never did play it at the time, it couldn't have been a distraction while your mother was drinking booze....
Overall, I wasted five minutes of my life on a (review of a) game that I never heard of, played on a console I'll never acquire, and don't care about.

Are you like a PC only player? You have never had a PS1, PS2, PS3, PSP, or Xbox360? This game can be played on any of those. Maybe you are really attached to your Wii or something...
And you live in a cave on the moon with your eyes closed and your ears plugged if you never heard of SOTN. If it isn't your cup of tea, that's fine, but there is no reason to make up nonsense about how you never heard of it.

Oh, and can another person please point out the Alucard reference from Son of Dracula again? That hasn't been mentioned like a fucking million times yet and really needs to be pointed out like ten thousand more fucking times. I mean shit, it was mentioned on the first damn page, isn't that quite enough?

Aye, I'm a PC exclusive 'gamer'.
Never heard of Castlevania before.

SOTN is one of my favorite games. I'm glad to see you review it. It was a funny one.

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