Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (Sega Saturn)
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is a video game originally released for the PlayStation in 1997, and later released for the Sega Saturn in 1998. This port was only released in Japan and, like the Japanese name of the PS1 version, was called Akumajō Dracula X: Gekka no Yasōkyoku (Devil's Castle Dracula X: Nocturne in the Moonlight).
While the original PlayStation version was critically acclaimed, the Saturn port fared poorly. This page will refer only to the Sega Saturn version of the game.
- Because of poor coding, loading is more frequent and takes longer in the Saturn version than in other versions, similar to the PlayStation 2 version of Super Monkey Ball Deluxe.
- In an absolutely baffling programming decision, the player character loads into every room inside the floor for one frame, leading to frequent glitches where the sprite ends up out of bounds or stuck in the floor.
- Effects involving translucency are either completely missing (e.g. the weather effects in Outer Wall) or absolutely murder the frame rate. An example of the latter is the mummy boss, Akmodan II, who takes over twice as long to complete his death animation as he does in the PS1 version.
- Effects involving 3D models (e.g. the book enemies in the Long Library) will slow the game to a crawl since the Saturn is even less optimized for working with polygons than the PS1.
- Sometimes the soundtrack does not play at all, i.e. it stops when you use the stopwatch sub-weapon.
- This port suffers from inconsistent resolution that makes certain things look blurry, and in at least one instance a background layer was removed.
- Rather than taking advantage of the Saturn's increased resolution, the graphics were stretched to fill the screen, causing some sprites and graphics to be distorted.
- The art style of the new areas and enemies is something of a poor match for the rest of the game.
- Richter and Maria still can't fight against Dracula.
- Unless you play this game on an emulator, you can't change the control scheme for Richter and Maria which is uncomfortable compared to the PlayStation version.
- The so "famous" third hand mechanic for Alucard is useless since it only throws items, and if you know how to heal or attack with your spells you have no reasons to use it in the game.
- This port didn't improve the difficulty overall, not even the exclusive boss of this port was spared from this since it's pretty easy to defeat.
- Features new areas, enemies, music, and items, which means there is extra content.
- Maria Renard is added as both a fully playable character and a boss fight. This was later revisited when Castlevania: Dracula X Chronicles was released with an updated port of Symphony of the Night in it, athough in that version, she plays like her younger self from Rondo of Blood rather than having an original moveset like in the Saturn port.
- Maria's theme, Guardian, is considered one of the best songs of the game and only plays in her boss battle of the Saturn version. Although this boss battle still exists in the PSP version, this song remains exclusive to the Saturn version.
- Richter Belmont is also selectable from the start alongside Alucard & Maria.
- His sprite matches his new design, unlike the PlayStation version that reuses the sprite from Rondo of Blood (where Richter is younger and with short hair).
- Richter and Maria have their own animations when entering the castle. In other versions, only Alucard has this.
Koji Igarashi, director of the original version has expressed disappointment with the Saturn version, claiming: "I understand why fans who've never played the Saturn version would be interested in those features, but I really, really don't feel good about them. I couldn't put my name on that stuff and present it to Castlevania fans."
The overall quality of the Saturn port's video is said, according to Igarashi, to be lower than the PlayStation version because it is a simple port handled by another team and was not recoded to take advantage of the Saturn's 2D capabilities.
Unfortunately, critics have often deemed the Saturn content as clashing with the original design of the game.