So I didn’t do an update last week due to not being in town, and I didn’t do one this week due to not being in town last week and thus not playing many (or any) video games at all. Basically just Desert Golf and I tried to run RealMYST on and off for like an hour on my Dell, but the internet connection wasn’t good enough for Steam or something. Don’t ask for specifics, I don’t know them. There is no point to trying to troubleshoot what happened last Wednesday where I was stuck at a dorm at Michigan State University using public Wi-Fi because that situation will never happen again.
Anyway, I downloaded Castlevania: Symphony of the Night on to my PlayStation Vita back in May (I figured out what the Vita is for. It’s Tearaway and PS1 games) and started really getting into it on a ten-hour ride back from Michigan. If you’re wondering why I didn’t start playing this game until three months after I purchased it, blame the fact I downloaded Suikoden at the same time.
Typically, I have a short attention span and somewhat short temper (not a real “temper” per se, I don’t break things, I just quit) for more than moderate amounts of challenge in my games. Something about Symphony of the Night, possibly just the fact that I only had the ability to play Symphony of the Night but I assume something more, kept me coming back past the point where I’d quit in a lesser game. I think it’s the atmosphere of the castle.
I’m into games that keep you confined to one major structure. Well, I’m into the two games I can name that do that (SOTN and Super Mario 64). Over the course of the game, one travels back through every level at least a couple of times. It’s almost learning and living somewhere – what starts out as confusing becomes familiar over time. Once the leveling-up starts, there’s no stopping a player from easily getting anywhere. Yet, outside of the scattered warps, the castle’s hallways are still required to be navigated to find most places. This would be a detriment in many games, but it’s not a problem for the most part here. As previously stated, the few warps take some time off the trip. Getting to the location from there gets easier and easier as time goes on, as Alucard gains levels. Fights against formidable enemies become one or two-hit affairs. You don’t just see the progression, you can feel it.
To continue a trend of mine wherein I use a quote by a friend of mine to make my own writing seem better, when Clay played SOTN in 2013, he stated that the whole exploration and re-exploration aspect wouldn’t have been enjoyable had it not been for the music. I agree with that – going back to the Marble Gallery and hearing the theme every few hours is a treat, and reminds me of my original mindset going through those areas. You’ll also only see a few non-enemy characters scattered throughout, making the castle feel large, and they’re so completely outnumbered by basic enemies and mini-bosses that you feel effectively alone. I mean, “feel” is the wrong word, you are alone.
It’s a long game based around one character and few others. The conflict between Alucard and Dracula manifests as a conflict between Alucard and the castle itself, which is the most memorable aspect of the game personally. It’s probably the reason I kept trying over and over again to find just one save point after the fight with the doppelganger boss even after several deaths and several returns to the title screen after repeated viewings of the game over screen.