Video Game Rentals Delivered

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (XBLA)

David Yun (Xbox Live Gamertag - Vawce) David Yun (Xbox Live Gamertag - Vawce): (contact-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2008-04-08 06:04:03

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (XBLA) - Rank A

Developer: Konami, ported by Digital Eclipse
Publisher: Konami
Date: 3/21/07

Also available on PlayStation 3 (PSN), PSP (as an unlockable in Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles), and PlayStation 1

Woah, calm down Castlevania fanboys. Symphony of the Night is one of the greatest games of all time. I'm just docking it a grade for less than perfect adaptation to the Xbox 360.

After all these years, Symphony of the Night endures as a brilliantly designed and eminently playable masterpiece. I'm going to wait until my Retro column reaches the PlayStation to fully review this game, but in a nutshell, it's a side-scrolling action-RPG with puzzle solving elements, most notably the "Metroidvania" acquisition of abilities that allows you to progress into previously inaccessible areas. It's a sprawling epic of a 2-D actioner, featuring magnificent aesthetics and gameplay, and is in every way deserving of the label "classic".

The Xbox 360 version drops a grade for compressing it just a little too hard. In order to get the game under the mandated XBLA size limit, a few sacrifices apparently had to be made. The audio pops here and there, and the game runs in a window instead of comfortably filling your screen. If you also own a PlayStation 3, I would suggest downloading and purchasing Symphony of the Night from the PlayStation Store instead. Nevertheless, these Xbox 360 issues are negligible, and if you have never played Symphony of the Night, you should definitely not hesitate.

Note: the PSP unlockable in The Dracula X Chronicles is apparently a reworked version with new translation and voice acting. Booo! Part of the charm was the cheesy voice work and borderline Engrish lines like, "What is a man? A miserable little pile of secrets!"

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