Where are we going? No one knows.


Matt Allen

Map of the Inverse castle

Castlevania is a game series dating back to 1986, with Symphony of the Night (SOTN) being the most popular game in the series. Castlevania games are known for their non-linear exploration, which means that it does not follow a standard A to B format; this style of exploration usually gets a game to be called a “Metroidvania”, which is a mashup of the two most well-known non-linear games: Metroid and Castlevania. But how is SOTN as a game?

The Good

SOTN revolves around exploring Dracula’s castle as Alucard (Dracula’s son) fighting various monsters while travelling through the many halls of the castle. As you begin the game you’ll find areas that seem just out of reach, and these will require you to return with a new ability or item. Some of the abilities include a double jump or being able to turn into mist – as you acquire these abilities, previously inaccessible areas allow you to progress further into the game.

The game also has multiple endings to reflect the actions of the player as Alucard. SOTD has many items that can only be found by backtracking to places you’ve previously been, like when you need to go back to the start of the game when you gain the bat upgrade to fly up and gain a new power for the wolf form. Another example of this exploration is needed in order to get the true ending for the game. You have to acquire a gold and silver ring, both of which reveal a hidden route in the clock room in order to ultimately gain access to the reverse castle. The silver ring has you go back to a hallway filled with spikes after you get the spike breaker armor, which (as the name entails) breaks spikes, allowing you to get the ring. The game is loaded full of elements like this, especially in the reverse castle (which is the regular castle, but – as you guessed it – inverted).


SOTN does not have the best combat, as you either annihilate things so quickly it doesn’t matter, or spam the spirit attack for the free-homing attack and I-Frames. Also, there are special moves with a large number of the weapons, but good luck proccing them on mobile (which in my opinion is the only platform that’s reasonably priced). For reference: it’s around five bucks on mobile, and $20 on Xbox…for a game from the 80’s.

Furthermore, there are some areas that are extremely convoluted to access; for example, in the clock tower there is a room that requires you to hit four cogs that look to be part of the background, but that are in fact hidden mechanisms to open a room; unfortunately, the only way to find this out is through a Google search or via good-ole trial and error.

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is a very good exploration game, and has many cool areas and hidden areas. The game overall is a solid Season 2 of the Castlevania show.