This is the game's first boss encounter.

"Why, hello there..."

C:SOTN has great special effects!

Alucard has got the skills!

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

It was a dark night over the castle of the menacing Dracula. The cold wind blew over the landscape, and the smell of death and fate swept over the deadlands. This was going to be a battle like no other. This was the moment when Richter Belmont would take his final stand against the Dark Lord. It was a noble battle, but unfortunately, Richter never went home again... Enter Alucard, the son of Dracula. You have heard strange sounds in your dreams, and now you have been beckoned to Dracula's evil castle... Castlevania.

Welcome to Konami's latest (as of now) installment of the awesome 2D series of Castlevania games. This edition has outdid the original gems by adding RPG elements, sweet music, and lots of new gameplay additions. Not to mention, the incredibly smooth graphics and animations which dominate this slick looking title.

Starting with the graphics, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night looks totally awesome. Even those nimrods out there who say that 2D is dead will not be able to help but be impressed by the pure artistic quality that works it way into the game. The scrolling backgrounds are beautiful, and the character animations give the game a very suitable look and feel. Enemies are incredible and most of them are geniously designed. Bosses range from small to HUGE (and I mean "HUGE"), making this adventurous title one of grandeur scale.

The music is a powerful mix of classic gothic platform music and really sweet guitar riffs. The tunes fit the game like a pair of boxer briefs... ahh, comfort and support. The lyrical ending score was a nice touch also. The sound is also with its merit, and the voice acting is a welcome addition, although it can be a tad obnoxious sometimes. Game enthusiasts may have picked up on the fact that Ritcher's voice is done by the same guy that did Chris Redfield's voice in the first Resident Evil (one who is no stranger to obnoxious voice acting).

The gameplay is there also, and boy is it! Platform purists will feel right at home, while RPG veterans will also get a taste of candy. C:SOTN uses the classic side scrolling engine, but with a touch of role playing. In other words while you work your way from left to right (and up to down), you will be collecting a massive quantity of items, gaining experience, equipping armor, and even casting spells. This is all a welcome addition to the series and it translates into very fun, entertaining, and ultimately engrossing gameplay. And talk about replay value! If you play your cards right, the end is only the beginning......

There is not really any negative things to say about this game. It kept me going for weeks and it is STILL fun to go back to (this review is written with over a year in retrospect). That has to say something for the integrity of the game. So if this suits your fancy, then go out and buy C:SOTN. It is a real gem.

Andrew the Game Master