Castlevania: Symphony Of The Night (Xbox 360 Live Arcade)

Was that the sound of a decade whizzing by? It certainly doesn’t feel like ten years when I think back to the time when I heard about the Playstation’s Castlevania back in 1997. I didn’t have a Playstation back then, and the game has since reached collector’s item status. It remains one of two games I still want for the original Playstation, the other being Final Fantasy IX.

I’ve been looking forward to this and really, I haven’t been expecting a new game this way in a long time. I downloaded the demo right when it came out on Wednesday this week and have been counting the hours to this night when I finally got to play it. I just did and I only stopped because of becoming stuck on the second boss (the mirror thing). The difficulty level overall feels spot-on: you need to concentrate on what you’re doing, but it doesn’t make you cry.

The graphics are untouched, I think, in the supplied “original” mode. Music is still great and the voice acting is dreadful, but in amusing way. Translation is not up to scratch, but it adds to the hammy overall feel, with homoerotic vampires and whipping all over the place.

With the addition of the highly addictive Xbox Live Achievements, this is retro entertainment of the highest calibre. Now, if they only could come up with less ugly menu screens for these ports of old titles. Really, why is it so hard?

I do expect to consult a FAQ a great many times, with dozens of items with their own special abilities in play, let alone the fighting game -like special moves and magic. Old games never were big on instructions!






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