GAMES I REGRET PARTING WITH: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

In today’s GAMES I REGRET PARTING WITH, the parting with aspect was not of my doing. I did not choose to remove what is probably going to be known as the greatest Castlevania game in the franchise for all of time so long as there is time from my growing videogames collection. I did not. No way, no how. And this is the exact moment where I began living life via a new rule, one that might seem greedy or childish, but one I feel has kept me–and my gaming collection–safe for many years since: no one gets to borrow my games. Sorry, just ain’t happening.

Anyways, what happened was this, though details are fuzzy for certain as we’re now looking deep into the past, some ten-plus years at least: I let a good high school friend of mine borrow my copy of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. I was done playing with it at the time, so there was no real reason for me to hoard it goblin-like. That’s the main of it, and some time passed, and then my friend and I drifted away from each other to the point where we last spoke shortly after I graduated college. Certainly a heavy chunk of that is my fault, as I’m too stubborn and sensitive to be alive, but there were other factors at play as well. Regardless, with the friend gone, so was my game I let him borrow. Boo hoo, a thousand tears. No, really. A thousand. Who knew then at the time what kind of legendary status it would come to hold, and who knows where it is today; he probably just sold it on eBay for like a bazillion bucks and is out now on his yacht, drinking spiced wine and watching marathons of Downton Abbey. Actually, wait–that’s my fantasy.

Thankfully, I did get to experience Castlevania: Symphony of the Night to its dang-near fullest before it slipped from my fingers. Yup, I even went through the second castle, which is really an inverted version of the first one. Still, coming upon that was revolutionary, as well as exhilarating to learn that there was still so much more to see and do. I certainly didn’t discover it on my own, but it rocked nonetheless. It was like the second coming of Super Metroid for me, with so much hidden behind the cracks.

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is both your standard Castlevania gameplay, with platforming and whipping, and not, with a bonus RPG system tossed in that let’s Alucard level up and equip things other than whips. It’s totally non-linear, with plenty of hidden passageways to discover. Various weapons and equipment help keep Alucard alive in combat, as well as sub-weapons, like tossing holy water or mini throwing axes. There were spells, too. A shop. No kitchen sink though. And with friendly familiars that can also gain levels, you really could customize him to be the vampire hunter you wanted. I don’t remember exactly what my build was, but I know I used the faerie familiar for extra healing and used plenty of throwable weapons to keep my distance.

I have not played many Castlevania games since my abbreviated time with Symphony of the Night. Actually, just one–Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin. That was all right. It was for the DS and featured some of the same elements as SotN, as well as new ideas, like switching between Jonathan and Charlotte to solve puzzles. No idea if I ever finished it or not; I remember struggling on some bosses and focused more on completing odd sub-missions…for some reason. Perks? New gear? Ah, who knows. Maybe I’ll go back to it soon just to see and remember. It was an “airplane game” back when I visited my sister in Arizona back in 2008. Just something to distract myself while soaring through the sky on a thing that seems impossible from the outside for soaring through skies. Oh man, if only there was a remake of SotN for the DS/3DS. Yes please.

And I know that it’s a pretty easy game to obtain these days as it’s now available on current services like Xbox Live and the PSP, but that’s not really what I’m after, a port. If only it was that easy to get friends back.

GAMES I REGRET PARTING WITH is a regular feature here at Grinding Down where I reminisce about videogames I either sold or traded in when I was young and dumb. To read up on other games I parted with, follow the tag.

2 responses to “GAMES I REGRET PARTING WITH: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

  1. Ohhh man, that sucks! I’m always super hesitant about lending out my games for the exact reason! At least you got to play and beat the game: otherwise it’d be a total loss.

    Here’s some hope for you: I was actually able to find a Black Label version of SotN at a used game/movie store for only $10 a few years back. So it’s possible to find a nice copy at a good price, just keep looking. 🙂

  2. True story: I lent a copy of Metroid to a classmate in trade of a game who’s name I can’t recall in grade school, and my pop promptly sent me back to him the next day to get it back.

    I used to think it was because I made a poor decision, and in a lot of ways it was, but as I got older and realized my father was a Metroid fanboy, it all started to make a lot more sense.

    I love, LOVE, Symphony of the Night, and even though I don’t own the disc anymore, I’m very content with owning a digital copy so I can continue replaying it. It’s when that’s not an option and eBay comes a calling that I get pissed off…

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