Castlevania is literally one of the franchises that got me into gaming. My favourite Castlevania game of all time is Super Castlevania IV for the Super Nintendo, because of it’s amazing soundtrack, tight controls and rewarding classic side-scrolling gameplay. People often tell me that my opinion is wrong because I don’t rate Symphony of the Night as my favourite one, but my reply is that it can’t be my favourite game because that’s where it all started to go wrong.
BLASPHEMY! I know, right? Symphony of the Night was an amazing game that was released onto the Playstation 1 and is regarded by many as the best in the series. I would agree, but I prefer Castlevania IV; don’t get me wrong – I love it, and if you want to rip me a new one, feel free. I honestly think Symphony of the Night is where Konami started to get things wrong. Yes, Simons Quest had that annoying dialogue box that everyone hates, but Symphony of the Night revolutionised the gameplay for future games to come. And when you get a game as good as Symphony of the Night, and you inevitably have to come up with a sequel – that is one tough act to follow.
What I’m trying to say is that Konami made a game so good, too good even, that even they could not top it. The expectation level was legendary, and sadly every sequel and spin-off to date has not lived up to the same standard that Symphony of the Night had set. We saw Konami try and take things in a different direction with the 3D games, but they were well..terrible, and even worse just poor copies of games such as God of War.
The Symphony of the Night bandwagon rolled on, though, for those who had bought into the handheld market; with games trying to be like Symphony of the Night, but just not quite being as polished. I think a lot of the handheld games are actually very good, but the sad fact is that they weren’t as good as Symphony of the Night, and even worse was the fact that we would never see a sequel to Super Castlevania IV. The side scrolling action that we used to see was to be lost forever, with the exception of Dracula X which was okay but didn’t have the tight controls that IV had, which put many fans off.
So, why am I ranting about this now? Well, with the news that Konami is looking to focus their attention onto mobile gaming, we may see a resurgence in old Castlevania titles being re-released or revamped (haha…vamped). None of this is confirmed with Konami, but it would seem the logical step to boost handheld gaming in the right direction. I can only hope that Konami doesn’t drop the ball with yet another Castlevania project since it would completely confirm the almost obvious – that they are incapable of any good these days and that all the franchises we once loved are truly dead. Prove me wrong.