Why Symphony of the Night Is Not True Castlevania

Why Symphony of the Night Is Not True Castlevania

While Castlevania: Symphony of the Night was an exceptional game, it and its successors did not really belong in the series. The last "true" Castlevania title was Super Castlevania IV.

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Umm... Rondo of Blood? More research required for this article.

EDIT: I'd also be wary of using words like "true" in these kind of articles. I know what you mean, and I don't disagree, but it kind of sounds like black metal fans talking about their music. Usually, people go with Classicvania. It gets the point across without coming off as claiming one style is superior to the other.

No offense, but the wording in this article reeks of elitism.

Kaimax:
No offense, but the wording in this article reeks of elitism.

Misplaced elitism at that for gushing about classic Castlevania without even realizing that Rondo of Blood exists. I know it was never released outside of Japan, but any hardcore Castlevania fan should know about it. It was the last of the classics, and considered by many to be the best of them.

Now Ms. Finnegan, I hate to pick a bone with you, but defining "true" successors of a game by what came before is at best a subjective term. It'd be like a Super Mario Purist saying that Mario64 and the subsequent 3D style Mario games not being true Mario games because of their more open-ish world approach to the game. It certainly isn't the same feeling playing M64 as playing say the titular SMB3. Both are essentially platformers, yes but in the same vein, Castlevania was a linear platformer as well and SOTN, while following the more open level design of Metroid, is still essentially a platformer with added RPG elements. It is still at heart a Castlevania Game, it comes directly after the previous game, is tied to the story of that game, and has returning characters from earlier entries of the more "traditional" Castlevania series (Alucard, Dracula, and the everpresent incarnation of Death).
Previously, though it doesn't have Dracula as the antagonist, Castlevania Bloodlines for the SEGA Genesis and Bloodlines X (which reintroduces Dracula as the antagonist) are the last "traditional" linear Castlevania entries, not Super Castlevania IV. Bloodlines X segues into the main story of SOTN.
So at heart it is still a Castlevania game. Just because the setup doesn't match the previous entries does not make it not a "true" Castlevania. I'd dare say that the Lords of Shadow series is less Castlevania than SOTN.
Also Simon's Quest was ambitious, though a lot of people didn't enjoy it, I loved it. It broke away from the linear aspect and made an interesting and (for me) fun quest through the post Castlevania I storyline. Castlevania III added in a wonderfully realized system of having "companions" to aid you in your quest to defeat Dracula as well as semi-non-linear paths to the endgame.
I'm of course very passionate about Castlevania, I grew up with the series as a staple, and found most of the entries (aside from the N64 games) to be mostly excellent executions of the theme, gameplay and all. Except for those damnable medusa heads. Fuck them.
The post SOTN "Metroidvania" entries are still great, they still carry the weight of the previous games (my personal post-SOTN favorite is Dawn of Sorrow).
Honestly ma'am, you're making the "no true Scotsman" argument, and that honestly is poor journalism even in an op-ed piece.

Lizzy Finnegan:
Why Symphony of the Night Is Not True Castlevania

While Castlevania: Symphony of the Night was an exceptional game, it and its successors did not really belong in the series. The last "true" Castlevania title was Super Castlevania IV.

Read Full Article

Yeah... No. Rondo of Blood and Bloodlines would like to have a few words with that statement.

Misplaced elitism at that for gushing about classic Castlevania without even realizing that Rondo of Blood exists. I know it was never released outside of Japan, but any hardcore Castlevania fan should know about it. It was the last of the classics, and considered by many to be the best of them.

Second-to-last of the classics. The last one was Bloodlines.

I have a number of issues with this article, and only one of them is immediately apparent. The title is painfully misleading. This isn't a "why SotN isn't Castlevania" so much as "why I have a boner for Super Castlevania 4, and all the misguided opinion-laden reasons why this is the only true Castlevania game"...

Seriously... I got bored reading halfway through the damn article because all it was is the author gushing about how Super Castlevania 4 is the best while, as others have pointed out, it wasn't the last of the classic Castlevania-styled games. I mean god, when an article reads like a press release for trying to generate game hype than an actual look into the games, you've written a pretty terrible piece. And backtracking... Really? SotN may of had back tracking, but it was made quite lenient in all honesty.

And I'm going to agree with the whole "misguided garbage elitism" thing a couple others pointed out. It comes from the same place as people whining about how anything Final Fantasy after 6 isn't a "true final fantasy game", when not even final fantasy 2 played the same as final fantasy. No two games ever really played quite the same, because each one changed up mechanics to an extent here or there.

RealRT:

Lizzy Finnegan:
Why Symphony of the Night Is Not True Castlevania

While Castlevania: Symphony of the Night was an exceptional game, it and its successors did not really belong in the series. The last "true" Castlevania title was Super Castlevania IV.

Read Full Article

Yeah... No. Rondo of Blood and Bloodlines would like to have a few words with that statement.

Misplaced elitism at that for gushing about classic Castlevania without even realizing that Rondo of Blood exists. I know it was never released outside of Japan, but any hardcore Castlevania fan should know about it. It was the last of the classics, and considered by many to be the best of them.

Second-to-last of the classics. The last one was Bloodlines.

Ha, you're right! I forgot that Bloodlines came after because Rondo looked so much better. But yeah, that's two that came after SCv4.

Click-bait title with nothing of any real substance. Cool. +1 for "misguided garbage elitism"

Last "true" Castlevania was IV? A minute on google would have told you that is hilariously incorrect. Rondo of Blood, Bloodlines, Chronicles (original and PS1 port) and Adventure Rebirth all came out after IV and are (with the exception of maybe Bloodlines) better than IV, and than there was shit like Dracula X and Legends(which came out after SOTN).

Funny thing you would mention Simon's Quest as the one outlier in the early history of the franchise, since only 2 months after CV was released on NES a completely different version of the game (called Vampire Killer), so different in fact, that it is considered a seperate entry in the series, was released on MSX, and it featured segmented open levels where you had to search an area for keys to progress. It also had merchants, several types of items and shields (a feature that would later reappear in CV2). Kinda seems like CV2 was just a sequel to that game, moreso than 1 atleast. But it's important to note that this CV "gameplay heritage" thing lasted all of 1 game before the next 2 games started doing different things with it.

I find it weird that you had to emphasize how SOTN isn't a true CV game (I am ignoring past experiments with gameplay formula here) as if someone has claimed otherwise. There are 2 common terms in this fanbase that differentiates the old games and the newer ones, those being classicvania and metroidvania. There is literally a different word to categorise SOTN's gameplay style, which in itself shows that it is a departure from the older style, aka "not a true CV". This whole spiel comes off as you saying "metroidvania isn't Castlevania" for the sake of it, while presenting it as some sort of deep seated problem when it comes to understanding certain aspects of this franchise. Also, clickbait.

It is also peculiar when you talk about artstyle, as your statements relating to it seems to be based on a lack of knowledge and a desire to heap praises on CVIV, rather than actual facts. The series really became known as a "gothic" thing when Ayami Kojima's artstyle, the thing you called "anime", was introduced into the franchise, which just so happens to be at SOTN. Despite CV having a lot of gothic hallmarks and themes even before it, it was never quite at the forefront when the artstyle was being described, it was mostly just called medieval with horror monsters in it, instead of just calling it gothic.

The comments about music in and post SOTN is hilarious though. Doesn't seem like you played much CV after Symphony. They do rely a lot on remakes of songs though, but hey, they're really good. Funny thing, CVIV's music is kind of an outlier, since Castlevania before and after that always has really swift, upbeat and energetic music, as opposed to IV's low key atmoshperic stuff, that is kinda forgettable outside of the few songs, like the intro music, or the more pompous ones like Dance of The Holy Man and the few remixes(heh) of songs from CV1(?I think).

This whole article just came off as a giant nostalgia trip of someone who had a NES and SNES as a kid and associates Castlevania only with those. Games that weren't on those platforms? Nope, not even acknowledging them. The game that redefined the franchise? Nope, old one was better. Not that that's a bad perspective, but it's a really narrow lens under which you can view this franchise. I mean 4 of the 5 best classicvanias weren't even on Nintendo platforms, and those 4 only get a paltry amount of recognition, even before being compared to IV (hell, it's mainly just Rondo and sometimes Bloodlines that are even brought up), which is a damn shame, because those game are fucking awesome.

I'm a self proclaimed fan of and expert on all things Castlevania and I disagree with this article!

Claiming that Castlevania games past symphony of the night had bad music. Let me prove you wrong.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fg1PDaOnU2Q

there you go!

RealRT:
Second-to-last of the classics. The last one was Bloodlines.

If I wanted to be cheeky I'd say Dracula X on SNES was last(atleast in that era). But I won't cus' that game is gunk. Atleast it I think it qualifies, it's way too different compared to Rondo to just be treated as a port.

And if I really want to be a technical asshole, Legends came out in 97'(a gameboy game, how and why the fuck I don't know), shit too, to boot. And we got a port of the 1993 X68000 remake of CV1 on PS1 in 01' in the form of Chronicles, with both the original version and a new arrange mode added, which is a great game(original mode, arrange has hit or miss music) on the level of Bloodlines and co (though you could say it belongs in the Rondo era, we just never got to play it as it was only in Japan). And we had a wiiware hidden gem in Rebirth released in 09', a remake of the first handheld game, it's an amazing final classicvania game. I also forgot about that 2.5D Rondo remake in Dracula X Chronicles, looks kinda shunky, but it plays really, really well. It seems classicvania had a habbit of reappearing out of nowhere once in a while.

Unfortunately, both Rebirth and Chronicles are very underrepresented when it comes to the old style, they were both kind of low key releases so not a lot of people played or even know about them.

Scars Unseen:
Ha, you're right! I forgot that Bloodlines came after because Rondo looked so much better. But yeah, that's two that came after SCv4.

Castlevania Chronicles (really awesome one too) originally came out right before or after Rondo, I think, so make that 3. And there are 5 or so throwbacks, handheld games and ports which you can include or not based on personal preference and criteria.

This follows the same logical fallacy as saying the last Final Fantasy was FFVI.

But say that to the scores of fans who cheered when the Remake for FFVII was just confirmed yesterday.

You're entitled to your opinion, but you're also factually wrong. Anything Konami marks with the brand is official. In the realm of opinion, the megaphone you have as a journalist does not validate your opinion above any others. I respectfully disagree with your opinion, and I must question the reason behind such an article, as it feels more like the first post in a thread looking to spark debate.

They're all Castlevania in my view - to various levels of success in being good games, for sure. Fortunately the spiritual successor, Bloodstained, will have the "Classic" mode you seek.

But it's not a true Castlevania.

And even if the rest of the article was flawlessly worded, this one sentence would still kill the entire thing. Heck, the rest of the article could BE flawlessly written for all I know, but I don't know because I didn't read it because the first thing I noticed as I skimmed over it was this No True Scottsman statement. So that's it. That's all I'm reading of the article, because it's all I need to read of the article.

Now, I dunno, maybe you weren't intending the article to come-off as elitist as it did (based on that one sentence), but that's how it is. Maybe you intended to write an article simply talking about how you prefer the original style level-by-level model of Castlevania, and that's fine. There's a reason that the series lasted long enough for SotN to be a thing. That said though, SotN is still a Castlevania sequel. It might use a new gameplay style, but it's as much a true Castlevania title as Metroid Prime is a true Metroid title.

Scars Unseen:

Kaimax:
No offense, but the wording in this article reeks of elitism.

Misplaced elitism at that for gushing about classic Castlevania without even realizing that Rondo of Blood exists. I know it was never released outside of Japan, but any hardcore Castlevania fan should know about it. It was the last of the classics, and considered by many to be the best of them.

In certain way it was released in USA; but as a SNES port. Castlevania: Dracula X

This article is rather conveniently written after Bloodstained just finished it's campaign... Coincidence, I THINK NOT!

Obvious click bait title is obvious. Top notch hard hitting journalism, right here.

I'm going to have to disagree. Others put it better before I even got here, but SotN is true Castlevania because it's a flipping Castlevania title! It has Castlevania right there in the title! It might have a different style to what you think of as true Castlevania, but that doesn't change the fact that it is an official Castlevania product.

SotN was basically Castlevania II, only done properly this time. Now I miss whipping it up in Castlevania games, and I certainly miss 8-way whipping because Simon was boss, but your entire central premise is bunk.

Still my favourite Castlevania game to date. Also features the best soundtrack I've heard from the series so far (in my opinion).

You forgot your *This was exaggerated for effect* bit there, Lizzy. lol

Yeah, I understand why you said it is the last. It improved on so many features, so the rest that came out after don't feel like it improved as much (or at all) or didn't live up to the preferred game play style I've seen so many praise.

I've been down that road many times. Super Metroid, Super Smash Brothers Melee, and some others, but I don't agree with you at all when it comes to Castlevania though. I'd say they were still as fun as before because they were still designed around the new game play well, plus it improved where I felt it needed to.

I actually found the design in SC4 rather boring and samey, and not even interesting to look at, honestly. It may of had the original theme, but it didn't do it very well. Meanwhile Bloodlines had some really interesting design, colour choices, and allowed for good movement and powerful abilities. And Symphony of the Night allowed you to warp back and fro saving lots of time, and new enemy's spawned in frequent paths to add to the flavour. And I can see how they repeated some of the soundtrack, but they suited each area and most players were too busy to notice anyway. Plus I can see the anime-ish trend setting over the series, but they never had the best writing, though SotN had the most interesting dialogue to me.

And to you agro's here who need to use those labels. Will you lot knock it off with the elitist crap! Seriously, we're allowed to have an opinion on how we see things. Getting pissy all over nothing. It's embarrassing.

After years of seeing it placed before the word "fan," I think the word "true" has become one of my least favorite words in the English language.

My sentiments are the same as just about everyone here. SotN can be vaguely summed up as "Simon's Quest, except not shit." The last classic Castlevania game I played was Dracula X Chronicles, which is ironically how I got my first exposure to SotN. (Classic-looking Richter bothers me to this day; he looks like a freaking Street Fighter character.)

Irritating clickbait is clickbait, but in the authors defense this is an actual 'controversy' for some people. Kind of like how the FGC hates any 'fighting' game (and they refuse to call them that) that isn't strictly 2d w/o powerups.

The butt-hurt when SMASH got brought to EVO that came out of them was glorious.

The problem with this article can be summed up in list form:
Super Mario 64
Final Fantasy VII
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
Fallout 3
Grand Theft Auto 3
XCom: Enemy Unknown
Metroid Prime
Fire Emblem: Awakening (In my opinion. Also this is the best game ever made.)

It's castlevania because it's literally castlevania. If your definition on what 'castlevania' is doesn't match the game, then your definition is wrong.

This article is not up to the quality I expect from The Escapist. It's rhetoric is poor and it's argument feels like one side of a shouting match at a comic book store. I expected, with the given title, a than a well thought out piece about two classic video games and what it means to be a sequel or alternatively a deconstruction of the Castlevania series as a whole and not a review of one particular game and criticism of another.

I came here to find out why SotN isn't a true Castlevania, but the author doesn't do a good job summing up their evidence to that effect. The article seemed to kind devolve into rimming Super Castlevania IV's ass half way through, and forgot to circle back around to the original point. There's a couple lines right near the end about SotN having a lot of backtracking and the music being recycled, but there's no definitive explanation of WHY SotN isn't a "true" Castlevania.

Plus, I have an issue with the first proper sentence of this article: "Even the most casual of game enthusiasts have heard the term". I talk to people not only in my backwards-ass country but also online all the goddamn time, and even people who actually still OWN THE SYSTEMS for the two franchises don't know that the Metroid or Castlevania games exist. Even among the rare few that do know of both, saying the word "Metroidvania" causes a momentary BsoD of the eyes as they figure out what the hell that means, and that it relates to genre.

Scars Unseen:

Kaimax:
No offense, but the wording in this article reeks of elitism.

Misplaced elitism at that for gushing about classic Castlevania without even realizing that Rondo of Blood exists. I know it was never released outside of Japan, but any hardcore Castlevania fan should know about it. It was the last of the classics, and considered by many to be the best of them.

I'll do you one better, this reads like the elitist bullshit I used to say and write when I was 12, and didn't comprehend that everyone hadn't played all the same videogames as me, and assumed everyone had the same opinion about everything as I do.

Read subjective statements (in no particular order) such as:
-"I already know what you're going to say" | followed by the author's own personal opinion.

-"And for what it's worth, Not that you care, I love it too." | best oxymoron I've ever read

-"Treacherously difficult franchise darling" | everyone has their own personal favourite boss

-"...everyone knows that the music from Symphony of the Night is legendary" | And yet so few even know the series exists

Also, read that last line of the article about "abandonment of gothic themes" and such. That little bit of opinionated rapid-fire there sums up that the whole article is written purely as an exercise in tasting Super Castle IV's ring-piece and is pretty much based on the idea the game should be as close to a time-locked nostalgia property as possible. Sure, it hasn't evolved in a way that the majority of fans agree with, but at least it's not stagnating in identical gameplay mechanics the way LoZ and Mario are.

Final Grade: C-
In summary, an amusing read, but a misguided opinion-piece that takes far too much for granted, makes a lot of generalizations, and even contradicts itself in small measures. I wrote essays similar to this when I was in highschool suffering from sleep deprivation.

Kaimax:
No offense, but the wording in this article reeks of elitism.

The title should have given that way; it's a textbook example of No true Scotsman, and without reading one can infer the author is probably exclusionary or a purist in some excessively personal way.

 

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