Have you binge-watched season 3 of the Castlevania Netflix series yet? It’s all too easy to watch all 10 episodes in one sitting, and you might be looking for a little more content to scratch that Castlevania itch. Today you’re in luck, because Castlevania: Symphony of the Night has just been released for Android and iOS devices, making the classic side-scrolling platformer finally playable on your smartphone.
Symphony of the Night is the first Castlevania game to be developed for the PlayStation 1, with the only previous PS1 Castlevania game being Chronicles which was originally developed for the Sharp X68000 in 1993. Taking advantage of the PS1’s greater processing power, Symphony of the Night boasted RPG elements and advanced-for-its-time non-linear exploration and combat systems.
In Symphony of the Night you play as Alucard the son of Dracula, as you try to prevent a possessed Richter from resurrecting Dracula and once again unleashing his wrath upon the world. Along the way you meet Maria, who had once worked with Richter to defeat Dracula four years prior. The game features different endings that depend on how much you explore the large map, providing an incentive for players to check every nook and cranny in search of key items and weapons.
As the creepier parent of the metroidvania genre, Symphony of the Night encourages exploration as not every door leads to a key story event in the game. There are areas and items in the game that are completely optional, although choosing not to explore and obtain these can change the ending. You can choose your way through the map collecting weapons and items and grinding experience points in order to prepare for certain bosses or stages that might require some powering up.
Symphony of the Night is also the first Castlevania game in which you can switch weapons. In the previous games, you mostly just use a whip, but Alucard is able to equip several weapon types allowing the player to choose their own playstyle. Aside from weapons, you can also obtain armor and accessories to equip Alucard with, and although they don’t change Alucard’s appearance, the equipment customization is a nice touch as it encourages the player to scour the map for stronger equipment, just like in regular RPGs where the best equipment always requires some kind of EXP grinding or grand quest.
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is one of the best games of all time, and it’s easy to see why: its exploration, combat, and customization systems continue to inspire many of today’s games. There would be no Devil May Cry, no Soulsborne games, and no action platformer indie hits on Steam without Symphony of the Night. For a game to be more than two decades old and still have its gameplay be influential to the current generation is no small feat, and even though it isn’t the first Castlevania game, it’s the one that broke through to the Western market to become an instant classic.
Whether you’re nostalgic for the PS1 days of yore, or a new fan looking to try some old school Castlevania, the mobile port of Symphony of the Night remains as fun an experience as the original game, and it’s worth every penny of its ₱149 price tag. My only complaint is that the app doesn’t boot up with the PS1 startup cinematic.
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