25 years ago, Castlevania changed games forever with one innovative touch

Modern 2D work games owe a lot to likes Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, a game that promoted the “Metroidvania” genre we know and love today. Sure, there were a lot of great Castlevania and Metroid games before, but symphony of the night It was the culmination of over a decade of interesting design decisions – which amount to one of the best games ever made.

Issued on March 20, 1997, symphony of the night She turns 25 this Sunday, and while it makes sense to get rid of all the things Castlevania does right, there is one mechanic, in particular, that steals the show, and it’s arguably underappreciated to this day.

in upside down

Symphony of the Night’s best feature is likely to be skipped by a lot of players.Konami

several hours in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, you reach a point where you must face Richter, a vampire hunter controlled by a dark priest named Shaft. However, especially sacred The glasses instead allow you to see and defeat Shaft, unlocking a secret section of the game.

If you don’t have the glasses, Richter will fight, win, and the credits will roll. You may feel a little disappointed. Sure, that can’t be all there is, right?

Defeating the Shaft leads to one of the most exciting sections of video games ever. I spent several hours exploring the entire castle Upside downforming the famous inverted castle which symphony of the night known b. That’s right, it’s the same castle from before, but now that it’s completely flipped on its head, it’s unlocked new modes, enemies, and features that expand on what you’ve already experienced.

The castle feels impressive enough in normal gameplay. It is full of secrets, branching paths, and diverse areas that make it feel like a place to live. But the fact that the entire map has also been designed to work upside down is a testament to the careful planning and design that has been done symphony of the night.

The sheer genius of this experiment really sinks in when you restart the right-hand version of the castle after learning about this twist. You’ll start to look at certain sections of platforming in a new way. Some specific areas like the main entrance you walk into after entering the castle for the first time (designed specifically early in the game before you unlock the double jump) seem to have been intentionally designed.

Floors are ceilings and platforms that used to be elevated off the ground and are now easily accessible. Areas that were once impossible to reach are now at your fingertips. “Oh, this How am I supposed to get there.”

Playing with the reverse version evokes a sense of victorious victory. Some sections of platforming that might get you in trouble at first are now a picnic when you back off. It is as if you are taking revenge on a very difficult level.

Dealing with available resources

Exploring the upside-down Symphony of the Night Castle is an amazing experience. Konami

Aside from how impressive the inverted castle is from a gameplay perspective, it’s also great at the end of development. In 1997, the games were much smaller in size. The developers had to get creative with the use of resources and budget, allowing players to enjoy full Experience without requiring a decade and hundreds of millions of dollars to make a game.

That’s why many games from the late ’90s were so challenging. Developers will introduce fierce enemies to make players spend more time in each game. It was a way of artificially inflating playtime and making players feel like they were making their money.

These days, it’s not that prominent unless you’re playing an intentionally challenging game like elden ring, but in 1997, this design philosophy took off. That’s why it was so impressive to see Konami give players a huge package that never felt superficially difficult.

Konami / Inverse

Even in 2022, level reusing in this way is not uncommon – mostly because it is difficult to implement correctly. Sure, there are games that make you hold back, but often these parts feel repetitive and are designed to artificially inflate playtime. Until the talk of the beloved Metroid dread It requires you to back off, and re-visit the Cataris area after getting a powerup from Samus’ Wide Beam. it’s not bad Choice of design, but it tells us a lot about how Konami can give you more without doing it symphony of the night I feel repetitive.

symphony of the nightInverted Castle works on all fronts, simultaneously feeling new and fresh while also rewarding exploration. Out of necessity to make the most of limited time, space and money, Konami has created something truly remarkable. Sometimes necessity is truly the mother of invention.

It’s also possible that working with a medium-sized map gave the studio an opportunity to inject more love into every nook and cranny, rather than creating a large, empty experience. That’s why even after 25 years, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night It still stands the test of time, due in large part to its beautifully designed castle – both right-hand side up, and upside-down.

you can play Castlevania: Symphony of the Night On a variety of platforms, but the most practical way is Castlevania Requiem: Symphony of the Night and the Blood Rondo for PS4. This set doesn’t do much to celebrate the beloved game, but it is the easiest and most affordable way to get to it.

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