44 thoughts on “Simply put… a Masterpiece.”

  1. I always get the feeling with SOTN that the developers were having a lot of fun with how much more space they had with CDs compared to cartridges, just from the sheer amount of items, enemies, small details, etc.

    Reply
    • >played the LoS games first
      Fuck me, I adore the LoS games and even I’m not entirely sure how to answer this, because they’re more or less a 3D clusterfuck of elements of the previous games with combat as their bread and butter. That’s really going to depend on what you liked most about the LoS games, but putting that aside? I would say Castlevania 1 for being a great foundation and learning experience for arguably every game afterwards. If you’re drawn in by the gameplay, then probably the DS games and perhaps CoTM, because those ones tend to have the best overall design in that regard, having options that actually matter in regards to when, where, and how you use them, though they rather different in how they go about it. If you’re gripped by aesthetics, then I would say Rondo of Blood, SoTN, and Aria of Sorrow. I wouldn’t consider them to be the best in their class like so many including OP do, but hot damn do they have class.

      Alternatively, and you arguably might as well do this since you already went through the LoS games, you could play the other 3Dvanias. The differences in design between the N64 games, the PS2 games, and the LoS games are more pronounced, but at the same time, will perhaps feel like familiar territory for you. The N64 games play more like the classic games probably more than other CV game past Rondo, 2D and 3D both, and as such, got a lot more platforming going on that’s not at all "on rails", and your combat moveset is, uh, way more pared down compared to what you get in LoS, but it’s nonetheless effective. PS2 games, on the other hand, have far greater emphasis on combat and a lot of mechanics to toy with, but approach to level and enemy design is a good deal more arcadey, videogamey, even. Course, the level design is also repetitious as fuck and not really anything at all like the LoS games, but if you can get past that, you should probably be fine.

      Reply
  2. Agreed, don’t listen to these sub-human contrarians. They’re the same people who suck off Castlevania 2 for being "different"

    Reply
  3. Like 60% of it at least looks so samey and brown. Yeah, I get it’s inside a castle, but it gets old fast. The chapel, the underground caverns, and the few outside locations look pretty neat. It doesn’t look like shit but it’s nothing I’d write home about.

    Map completion fucking sucks. I know I’m overthinking things, but it’s like, why am I fucking around trying to fill out a map when I can literally go fight Dracula right the fuck now? Like, I realize percentage completed affects the ending, but I mean why would Alucard be wasting his time on this tedious bullshit in-universe? I feel like most platformers and probably a decent chunk of RPGs don’t have this problem, like once you’ve reached a certain point there’s a clearer transition to the end.

    I feel like equipping/switching items should have been real-time, or been done on a timer (ex. like 5 seconds to pick out your shit before the menus close), or just had a cooldown period after an item’s equipped mid-battle. It honestly feels like I’m getting away with too much if I can just pause in the middle of a battle so I can take my time looking at stats and deciding what will be most effective. Yeah, limiting the menu system would only be asking for my dumb ass to get fucked even harder by Galamoth or whoever, but at least it wouldn’t feel almost like cheating.

    Related to the above, maybe the whole game should’ve been on a timer too. 200.6% looks a lot more impressive if you can only do it within a set timeframe, and addresses the question of why I’m wasting my time on all this bullshit: because I’d get a BAD END if I can’t do it efficiently enough. It’d be pretty easy to work some story reason into it too: like in X hours Dracula is fully resurrected and kills everyone. Bam, done.

    I hope this whole post doesn’t come off like I want every game to be HYPERREALISTIC or some shit. Part of it’s definitely the fact that the game as a whole does feel somehow both easy and padded.

    The soundtrack is fine.

    Reply
    • >>Many useless collectables
      I never understood why this was such a problem for people, many of the gear you do find is in general immediately useful though it might be out phased later, but even so there are games that have collectables that are literally useless and have no tangible benefit at all and yet no one criticizes them for having it. Ultimately what’s deemed useless is decided by how the player wants to engage with the game. Some people want the sword with the highest attack and other want a sword that fucking summons skeletons, most of the fun is just seeing whatever weird shit you can find but it’s always reduced to "useless collectables"

      Reply
      • >I never understood why this was such a problem for people
        I think it comes from people trying to categorize "metroidvania" as some kind of all encompassing genre. If you compare to Super Metroid’s upgrade system where ever piece of equipment is useful, then I could see why SOTN’s traditional RPG style would feel weird. Either way, the item bloat doesn’t really start until you get to the reverse castle anyways. At that point the game is more of a free-for-all where you can explore everywhere, so it doesn’t really matter.

        Reply
  4. >perfect gameplay
    It’s a great game, but come on. It controls very well, the castle is inspired and interesting, there’s a lot of neat stuff going on with the side-scrolling and RPG-inspired stats, equipment, item and familiar options, but "perfect gameplay?" It’s an extremely flawed game. The most notable flaw is the absence of any difficulty. You get a taste of what the game might have been like if it posed anything resembling a challenge for the first hour or so, then the rest of it is a joke. The entertainment value comes from exploring the castle and messing about. But it’s mindless even if you’re unfamiliar with the game, and especially so if you know a few of the ins and outs. (like how cheap Alucard’s spells are, which can all be used off the bat as long as you know the motions.) Yes, you can impose self-limitations like not equipping armor, certain weapons or using items, spells or familiars, yes you can even try using a challenge romhack.

    But it still lacks the one thing that made Castlevania what it was up to then, while presenting itself as an epic challenging game that takes the nonlinear Metroid format and applies it to Castlevania. (Metroid would be the more challenging game in this case.)

    Reply
      • Even if you play the game on luck mode and take the shortest path between all the required bosses and never saving, the only challenges are the inverse chapel, Death, Shaft, and Drac. To have a chance to beat the latter two you have to trick Death at the start of the game to keep your Alucard equipment. I’ve never beaten Dracula this way, though; he simply has an enormous amount of HP compared to every other required boss

        Reply
      • There’s a dev sanctioned "hard mode" e.g. Gradius Gaiden Loop 2 (where you may fight an extra boss, stages have different layouts etc). And then there’s "U can just nerf some statz lol". SotN is the latter.

        Reply
      • Luck mode sucks as a difficulty measure, dude. I’ve gotten all the way up to Shaft with no armor or weapons in luck mode.

        Even if you play the game on luck mode and take the shortest path between all the required bosses and never saving, the only challenges are the inverse chapel, Death, Shaft, and Drac. To have a chance to beat the latter two you have to trick Death at the start of the game to keep your Alucard equipment. I’ve never beaten Dracula this way, though; he simply has an enormous amount of HP compared to every other required boss

        Except Dracula, I can’t deal with Shaft yet but I’ve beaten Dracula naked. It helps if you can consistently dive kick his ham hands during his attacks with the heads and triangles.

        Reply
        • Shaft has some unblockable attacks (the lightning attack?) that will wear down and kill a minimal level luck mode player, so I have no qualms equipping the Alucard items just for this fight. I feel like I could beat Dracula with cheese, but have never pulled it off, so I wear the Alucard gear against him too. Maybe I’ll figure out the right tactics against him one day

          Reply
  5. >difficulty was all over the place but mostly easy
    >had to equip an item to use it, including healing potions
    Otherwise pretty good. I still prefer Super Metroid and Zero Mission.

    Reply
  6. It’s one of the best in terms on music and aesthetics but the Igavania gameplay loop has always suffered from serious problems and SoTN is maybe the worst offender in that regard – not surprising seeing as it was the first one.

    Reply
  7. Without going in and arguing how you got barely 1 out of 4, it’s definitely a nice game totally worth playing. I really can’t imagine having such a horribly warped relationship with the hobby as a whole that would prevent somebody from agreeing on that at least.

    Reply
    • The western PS1 version removed the fairy familiar that sings a song while Alucard sleeps.
      Not sure if the Saturn version has that, but the western PSP version on dracula X chronicles restored that familiar and it included not only the original song in japanese but also a (very nice) english version as well.

      Reply
  8. It’s great, but I still prefer Classicvania style.
    Because you can never really die from falling off pits, SOTN feels very tame in terms of platforming, plus most of the platforming feels very copy-paste and at one point you don’t even need to do any platforming at all, it’s mostly just navigating the castle doing a mix of backdashing and mist form.
    Art style it also owes a lot to Castlevania IV and Rondo of Blood, but yeah, visually it’s still amazing.

    Reply
    • FPBP – you really can never really recover from this OP. From now on Symphony of the Night will forever be known as the poo poo pee per game…

      Reply

Add to the conversation