Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is considered one of the finest video games of its generation, if not all time. This RPG/platformer hybrid had gorgeous, hand-drawn visuals and was an absolute blast to play with its super-tight control and nonlinear progression. It also had an absolutely stellar soundtrack that not only captured Castlevania’s gothic vibe, but also showcased the unique areas of the castle and its inhabitants with a wide variety of musical styles.
The synthesizer based compositions sounded great. Many pieces expectedly utilized organ and string sounds, but there were pieces that experimented with a variety of other, more modern instruments such as electric guitar. As I listened to this soundtrack, my mind immediately visualized my progression through the game. I could recall the sections of the castle and battles that each song represented. Every time I discovered a new area of the castle, hearing the new music was a treat.
The fast pieces such as “Dracula’s Castle” were exciting to listen to while running through corridors and boss themes such as “Our Festival” had the feel of an epic battle. That being said, my favorite pieces were the slower tempo pieces such as “Lost Painting,” my personal favorite track in the entire game. When I first heard “Lost Painting” in the game, I fell in love with it and spent hours of time in that area of the castle just to hear it. I did that with a lot of the music, but more so with “Lost Painting” than anything else. A very pleasant surprise in the soundtrack was the track “Nocturne” which I certainly do not remember hearing in the game. The shimmering instrumental and shimmering vocal meshed beautifully.
Unfortunately, the soundtrack was not without a few downsides. I was also not too happy that many songs, like the one that plays in the merchant’s shop, were absent. I liked that one. In addition, though the tracks themselves generally being around two minutes long allowed the soundtrack good momentum throughout, many listeners may wish that the tracks looped a bit longer. My biggest complaint was with the ending theme song “I Am the Wind.” Quite frankly, I found that song boring and lame when I first heard it during the game’s end credits and hearing it again in this soundtrack did not change my mind.
It is no secret that I think Symphony of the Night is a fantastic game with fantastic music. Even with all the shiny cool new video games out there to play, I still revisit Symphony of the Night every so often, and the music is a major reason why. I would have liked a more complete soundtrack, but I did not leave unsatisfied.