I think it’s about time that I cover a game that I think is true musical genius, since this is a site about music, right? If someone were to ask me what video game had the best soundtrack of all time, I’d have to tell them Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. This game was released in the U.S. by Konami for the Playstation way back in 1997 but it’s one of the greatest games I’ve ever played.
There are a handful of games that I truly love for the music in them, but what’s great about Castlevania is that the music meshes with the levels to really bring the player into the game. Michiru Yamane skillfully covers a wide range of genres in an effort to affect the moods of various stages. There are classical waltzes, ominous, gothic themes whose melodies sparkle, and upbeat toccatas that seem tailor-made for Castlevania, and that’s just to name a few. You end up talking with your friends about the music while you’re playing almost more than the gameplay. In fact, a group of musician friends I hang out with got onto the subject of games one night. These guys are NOT gamers at all. Still, though they have never picked up a sports game in their lives, and have never heard of Grand Theft Auto, they unanimously agreed that if you’re going to play just one video game, it has to be Symphony of the Night because “even if you don’t like that type of game, the music makes it worth it”.
The gameplay, mind you, is some of the best there’s to be had in any game, and Symphony of the Night is definitely one of the greatest 2-D games of all time. The artwork of the game, done by Ayami Kojima, is detailed and nothing short of gorgeous. The 2-D graphics within the game itself are a great testament to the outstanding Castlevania series.
The voice acting could definitely be better, but the music helps you forget how over-the-top it is. It’s intriguing, and certain levels are going to get stuck in your head. There are also several hidden levels and all sorts of secrets in the game that really make you want to explore the whole map 100%. There’s still the classic Castlevania element of being able to explore certain areas only after obtaining certain items or skills or beating other areas.
It might be hard to get your hands on an original copy of the game, but there are versions of it available for PS3, Xbox, and PSP. If you can, play this game. There’s no way you’d regret it.