Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
Timeless classics in the gaming world are few and far between. They are the gems that consistently rise to the top of many "Best Games of All Time" lists. When one of these venerable classics gets a modern revival, it's a momentous achievement not just for the game's original creators but also for the platform that breathes new life into it. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is one of these gems, and Microsoft has done an impressive job of reviving it for the Xbox Live Arcade.
A Deep Dive into the Gameplay
The Castlevania franchise has been around almost as long as gaming itself. With a few stumbling blocks along the way, it found a strong footing with the original release of Symphony of the Night in 1997 on Sony's PlayStation. During an era dominated by 3D game development, Castlevania stood its ground, resulting in one of the best platformers ever created. The game has an impressive replay value, combining classic platforming with a vast array of weapons and items, a comprehensive RPG level-up system, eight magic spells, five familiars to discover and level up, multiple endings, and countless well-designed boss battles. It’s a complete game that sets a high standard for all XBLA games.
The Graphics: A Slight Upgrade
Symphony of the Night has not received a complete graphical overhaul. While it may have been too much to expect a full HD conversion, the game has been given a "slight" enhancement. Some basic pixel-blending, shading, and contrast adjustments provide a marginally more rounded and warmer look. While it isn't a drastic change, the enhancements will likely be appreciated by hardcore gamers and fans of Symphony.
A Few Shortcomings
However, the game does have a few shortcomings. Some aspects of the original PSX performance are missing or diminished, such as the exclusion of two low-end cinemas and a slight degradation in the game's audio compression. Furthermore, the Xbox's d-pad controllers aren't the best fit for the game's primary control, which can lead to occasional hiccups.
Conclusion: A Must-Have for Any Gamers
Despite a few shortcomings, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is an absolute must-have for any self-respecting gamer. Priced at just $10, it's a steal. While we might have wished for more enhancements and features, the essence of this timeless classic remains intact. This resuscitation of one of the greatest games of all time on Microsoft's system is an important milestone in digital distribution.
- High replay value;
- Comprehensive RPG level-up system;
- Slight graphical enhancement;
- Affordable price;
- Missing some aspects of the original PSX game;
- Occasional issues with the Xbox's d-pad controllers;
- Limited enhancements and new features;