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By: The Apocalypse

Game info:
Genre: Adventure
Designed by: Konami
Year Released: 1997
Players: 1
Save Capable
Other: None

Ok, so Richter Belmont slays ol' Drac, and then 4 years later, he mysteriously vanishes. This chick, Maria Renard sets out to look for him. On her way, she accidently causes ol' Drac's castle, Castlevania, to reappear, which comes out about every century. Poor Maria. Anywho, this bad-ass half-vampire dude named Alucard awakens from his beauty sleep cuz he senses that his dads pissed. So uh..."The time has once again come for the forces of Good and Evil to engage in their ancient battle. Dracula's castle beckons you... And no man can say who shall emerge victorious." My bets on the half-breed.
-The story from the manual, in my own words.

Gameplay: (10/10)
Castlevania takes a jump into another genre, while still keeping the flavor of past titles. RPG elements are added, such as the ability to level up by way of experience points. Another neat feature is the ability to shape-change into a wolf, mist, or bat, which is necessary to finish the game. Many weapons are also at Alucard's disposal, if he finds them. Most of them have special attacks, done by certain button combinations, which you must find out on your own. Spells are also available, provided you know how to do them, which is really neat. Also available are different armors, cloaks, potions, etc. The additions of these equipment add incredible depth to an already deep game. Like it says on the back of the case, "If you think you've seen it all -- you haven't". When you get the first're only halfway done.
The game has a dark, gothic feel with an intrigueing storyline thats keeps you playing.
The bosses provide a nice challenge, and some normal enemies are incredibly hard. The game never gets too hard, though, and consistently keeps you addicted to its flawless, fun-filled gameplay.
Everything previously mentioned blends together into one awesome game. Possibly the best in the series. Konami really tried really hard on Symphony and it shows.

Sound: (8/10)
The acting is absolutely hilarious, but cool at times. The actor that plays Richter is terrible. Alucard sounds like he has a cold. Maria and Shaft are ok, but Dracula's voice is awesome. "What is a man? A miserable little pile of secrets! But enough talk, have at you!". Great. Alucards' as well as his enemies' "Rahh!"s and "Argh!"s are neat, and never repetitive. The music is superb, and fits the gothic mood. At times its a bit to frolicky, but other than that its perfect.

Graphics: (10/10)
Great 2D effects. I'm glad Konami didn't make the jump to 3D just yet. All the enemies and backgrounds are super-detailed, and Alucard looks friggin awesome. His looks change as he changes his equipment, which is another plus. Its neat how they make the backgrounds look polygonal. Cool effect. Awesome transparencies and layering. Good job. 2D still kicks ass! The FMV is totally sh*tty!

Control: (9/10)
The control feels like classic Castlevania, only with so many bells and whistles, you'll hardly recognize it. The spells and weapon attacks aren't impossible to pull off in a tight situation, and shape-changing is a breeze. A nice addition is the triangle button as a back-slide sorta thing. My only complaint is the awkwardness of the different forms. The 3 different forms' controls are stiff and don't feel correct. If you're a wolf, you should be galloping along a quite a fast pace, not stiffly prancing everywhere. The same goes for the bat and mist.

Overall: (9/10)
The only reason not to buy this game is if you're a strict Tetris fan.

"Die monster."
-Richter Belmont