Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

It was Richter Belmont, the legendary vampire hunter, who succeeded in finally ending the menace of Count Dracula, Lord of the Vampires who had been brought back from the grave by the dark priest Shaft. However, one night 4 years later, under the glare of a full moon, Richter mysteriously vanished.

With no idea where to begin her search, Maria Renard set out to look for him. It was then that fate intervened. Castlevania, the castle of Dracula, which is rumored to appear once every century, suddenly materialized from out of the mist as if to show her the way.

Meanwhile, powerful forces were struggling for the soul of a man named Alucard. The very same Alucard who had teamed up with Trevor Belmont to battle his immortal father, Count Vlad Tepes Dracula. Alucard, in order to purge the world of his own cursed blood line, had submerged his vampiric powers and entered into what was supposed to be an eternal slumber. But now, he is awake and aware of the evil once again at work in his homeland. The time has once again come for the forces of Good and Evil to engage in their ancient battle. Dracula's castle beckons you...

And no man can say who shall emerge victorious.

Released on October 2nd, 1997 for the Sony PlayStation, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is to many, the greatest game of the franchise. While most video games were transitioning to 3D gameplay, due to the emergence of Sony's PlayStation, Symphony of the Night instead kept the traditional Castlevania 2D format. The level layout, changed to a Metroid style, included save rooms located in various parts of the castle, rather than using the old password format from the NES and SNES games. The RPG elements which originally appeared in Simon's Quest were brought back as you are able to gain experience points and level up. Also added for the first time in a Castlevania game was a vast amount of weapons, armor, shields, helmets, and items to choose from. Like a traditional RPG, equipping certain weapons and armor increases statistics, like attack and defense. One of the biggest changes in the game, and another major first for Castlevania is that instead of playing as a Belmont, or some other type of vampire hunter you play as Alucard, the son of Dracula. The same Alucard that fought along side Trevor Belmont in 1990's Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse. Alucard must find his way through Castlevania for a final showdown between himself and his father, Count Dracula. On his way to meeting his father, he must do battle against the most vicious creatures known to man, in a castle that is the largest of all the games of the series.

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night features superb graphics and an excellent storyline, which has many movie type scenes throughout the game to keep you interested and wondering just what will happen next. The soundtrack on Symphony of the Night is one of the finest of all Castlevania games. The music tracks match the levels and rooms perfectly. The gothic castle is so large, and has so many different passages and routes to take that you will find yourself not being able to put the game down, even after hours of play. There really is never a dull moment while playing Symphony of the Night. The Metroid style castle layout that made this game so successful has been used in many Castlevania releases after Symphony of the Night, including Harmony of Dissonance, Aria of Sorrow, Order of Ecclesia, and others. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is an edge of your seat, action packed adventure which will always be remembered as the shining moment for the franchise. This is without a doubt the most popular Castlevania game, and will be cherished by fans of the series until the end of time.