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Video Game: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (Dracula X: Nocturne in the Moonlight in Japan), a PlayStation game released in 1997 (and later re-released in Japan with extra content on the Sega Saturn), has since become regarded by critics and fans alike as one of the highpoints of the Castlevania series. Symphony helped coin the term "Metroidvania", provided the earliest known entry in the series to avert the Excuse Plot trope (well, first released outside of Japan), and contained a number of oft-repeated lines about the nature of mankind that helped seal its place in gaming history.

The game begins in 1792 with Richter Belmont banishing Dracula back to Hell. Four years later, Richter disappears — and a year after that, he summons Castlevania in an attempt to resurrect the Dark Lord. The reappearance of Dracula's home causes Alucard, Dracula's half-vampire son, to awaken from a three-hundred-year slumber and enter Castlevania to figure out what drove Richter's actions. During his exploration of Castlevania, Alucard finds Maria Renard, Richter's sister-in-law, who joins up with Alucard to figure out what the hell happened to Richter.

Since Metroid was on hiatus at the time, Symphony introduced a generation of new gamers to an innovative gameplay style: Alucard could wander to any point on the map that he wished, but he had to find specific relics to explore new areas. Most of these relics had bosses guarding them, which forced players to level up to increase Alucard's stats. Alucard could also find equipment to change his attacks or cast spells. Anyone who's played any Castlevania game after this one will likely find this formula familiar — back in 1997, however, this game became a Killer App for the PlayStation (whether Sony liked it or not).

Symphony of the Night had two major Updated Rereleases:
  • The Sega Saturn version (released only in Japan) added a number of exclusive areas, new music, and two new bosses — but fans typically consider it inferior to the original PlayStation version due to horrible load times and downgraded graphics.
  • The PSP game Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles included Symphony to round out the Rondo saga. The Chronicles version included additions from both the Saturn and Japanese PS1 versions, including Maria as a Secret Character (although her moveset wasn't as close to her Rondo self in the Saturn version) and the ability to have the Fairy sing to you in the Library. A number of fans didn't like the new voice acting and updated script, though.

Gamers seeking the original version of Symphony can find it on both Xbox LIVE Arcade and PlayStation Network.

What is a trope? A miserable little pile of secrets! But enough descriptions, have some examples!

    open/close all folders 

     A - E 
  • 100% Completion: The game allows you to explore 100% of the map. This score can then be increased to 200.6% in a "mirror" version of the castle; if you exploit a couple of wall bugs, you can increase this to ~240%.
  • Action Prologue: The opening level is a reproduction of the final boss fight from Rondo of Blood; Richter can't lose it.
  • Absurdly High Level Cap: Max level is 99, and the game ends when the player is around 50. Since the hardest enemies in the game are also in level 50 (who start giving you one point of experience if you reach level 70), it would take absurd amounts of grinding to reach level 99.
  • After Boss Recovery: Alucard receives an item that raises his max HP whenever a boss is defeated, which consequently heals him completely upon collection.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Dracula's defeat in the ending of the game pretty much reeks of this. When Alucard basically defeats Dracula, he expresses shock, and upon learning the reason for his defeat, he seems to have an epiphany about the cost of his soul (quoting the book of Matthew), and then asks Alucard what Lisa's (Dracula's second wife and Alucard's mother) last words were, and upon learning them, develops regret that his attempts at avenging her ended up meaning that he didn't fulfill her last wish.
  • All Swords Are the Same: Averted. Of the approximately 60 bladed weapons in the game at least half of them have significant differences in animations, reach or status effects than any other weapon in the game.
  • All Your Powers Combined: The animation for the Alucard Shield's special move shows all the shields joining forces, even if you don't have them.
  • Alucard: His given name is Adrian, but he took the alias Alucard to express that he opposes Dracula, his father.
  • Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: The background of the final battle is a vortex of swirly colors.
  • American Kirby Is Hardcore: The American cover uses a simple picture of the castle, probably because the publishers thought that the image of the Bishonen Alucard that appears on the Japanese and European covers would be a turn off to macho American gamers.
  • Anachronism Stew: A lot of the food items are stuff that didn't exist in 1797. And Dracula quotes from Anti-Memoirs, a book by Andre Malraux ("What is a man? A miserable little pile of secrets.") that wasn't published until 1967.
  • And I Must Scream: The fate of the Succubus upon Alucard killing her. "Death in the dream world will set your soul wandering for eternity, demon."
  • Animated Armor: The axe-flinging armor are back yet again. There also bigger ones that are swinging huge swords.
  • Another Side, Another Story: Richter Mode and the additional Maria Mode in the PSP version let you play through castle as the side characters.
  • Anti-Grinding: The experience you gain depends on the result of [Enemy's Level] minus [Your Level]. Therefore, grinding against the same types of enemies for extended periods of time will yield diminishing returns, forcing you to seek out stronger enemies. However, this can make grinding ridiculously easy, depending on the order you go through certain areas.
  • Art Shift: Maria asks Alucard if he has seen Richter Belmont. Maria has a thought bubble depicting the previously seen Richter sprite. Alucard responds with a remembering of when he fought alongside Trevor Belmont in Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse, whom he remembers in the form of the NES sprite.
  • As the Good Book Says: Dracula quotes Matthew 16:26 upon his defeat.
  • Ascended Extra: Alucard himself, who was merely one of Trevor's optional sidekicks in Castlevania III. This game not only promoted him to protagonist status, but also gave him his now-iconic character design and made him a recurring character in subsequent entries. Shaft and Deathare also more prominent in the game's story, in contrast to Rondo of Blood, where they were merely bosses (Death himself was already a Recurring Boss since Castlevania I by this point, but had no involvement in the series' storyline up to this game).
  • Attack Drone: Alucard's familiars float around him and attack enemies.
  • Attack of the Monster Appendage: Before fighting Scylla, you first fight one of her snake-tentacles in a seperate boss room.
  • Attractive Bent Species: If the Bat familliar is active, a cartoon heart flies out of it and it starts to follow Alucard upon turning himself into one: at higher levels, more bats will join in and they all shoot out a fireball whenever Alucard does in bat form. When Alucard turns back into human form, a prominent "?" appears over the head of each bat.
  • Audio Adaptation: The radio drama: Nocturne of Recollection is meant to be the sequel to Symphony of the Night. The is a drama cd available in Japanese. note 
  • Auto-Revive: The fairy familiar will automatically use a Life Apple to resurrect you if you have one in your inventory.
  • Award Bait Song: The Solemn Ending Theme "I Am the Wind", which was excised from the PSP remake and the Xbox Live Arcade version (in a later update) due to copyright reasons. They ended up replaced with a new track by Michiru Yamane herself (Mournful Symphony/Nocturne) and the ending song from Castlevania: Lament of Innocence (Admiration of the Clan), respectively.
  • Back Tracking: There are plenty of unreachable places to force you to return to the past areas.
  • Background Boss: The final fight against Dracula has him sitting on his dragonlike throne while various appendages from it attack you.
  • Badass Baritone: Alucard in the original version, Dracula in the PSP version.
    • Shaft is a close second
  • Battle Theme Music: There is "Festival of Servants" for Normal boss battles, "Death Ballad" for Major boss battles like Death or Shaft, "Enchanted Banquet" for Medusa and Succubus, "Dance of Illusions" for Dracula in the intro, "Blood Relations" for Richter, and "Black Banquet" for the Final Boss fight against Dracula again.
  • Berserk Button: Unless you want Alucard to give you a Fate Worse Than Death, trying to lure him over to the dark side by playing with his memories of his mother is a terrible idea.
  • Big "WHAT?!": Alucard has this reaction if he's poisoned, cursed or turned into stone. And when he wears the Axe Armor. And in some cutscenes as well...
    • Also, amusingly, if you shift back to Alucard's normal form in a space too small for him to stand. Clearly he wasn't expecting to get stuck in a crouch.
  • Bishonen: Pretty much the start of the trend in Castlevania with everyone male being pretty here. Previously the original hero Simon was a whip-wielding barbarian wearing a fur loincloth and the other Belmonts were only a tad less butch.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • All of the four endings, two of which are particularly depressing. The two bad ones have the legendary Richter killed off tragically, without letting Alucard be able to see the true mastermind behind all the madness. The other two endings, which are good ones, have Alucard break the curse from Richter successfully, thus saving his life, and they also have Alucard confront the true mastermind, Shaft, as well as Dracula. However, even after preventing the disaster from further poisoning the rest of Europe, Alucard chooses to seal himself again, knowing his blood is cursed with darkness. In the Golden Ending, Maria goes after him.
  • Bizarrchitecture: The reverse castle.
  • Black Blood: The Scarecrow enemies have green blood instead of red, the only such example in the entire game, in fact. Perhaps done as a minor concession to good taste, since the enemy —a male or half-naked female corpse, gorily impaled on a pole— is already rather gruesome even with green blood.
  • Blackout Basement: The Spikes Of Doom-lined tunnel that must be crossed with the bat form. Said bat form needs to be upgraded with a sonar ability that will allow you to see in this dark passageway. Once you cross it and step on a lit-up platform at the end, the entire room lights up permanently.
  • Blade on a Stick: Slogra's weapon of choice. It loses it after enough damage.
  • Blade Spam: The Spam Attack from the Crissaegrim sword, which unleashes a flurry of around five strikes every time you swing it. It's not Split-Second as individual slashes are clearly animated and visible, and it's not fast enough to quite be Simultaneous. It is however fast enough to be the most damaging weapon in the game despite having nowhere near the highest attack power.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: An interesting subversion. The prologue is called "Final Stage: Bloodlines". Most players assumed it meant the Sega Genesis game, Castlevania: Bloodlines. What it actually is, though, is the name of the final stage from Castlevania: Rondo of Blood.
  • Blown Across the Room: Some attacks will cause intense knockback to Alucard, especially if his defense is too low. This is required to skip the cutscene in which Death steals Alucard's equipment. Knockback strength based on the % of your maximum health lost per attack. The skip glitch works because Luck-Mode Alucard has a tiny amount of hp, and the enemy used deals enough damage to wipe out all but a 1-4 hp, which results in a MASSIVE knockback (If done in the opposite direction, it'll carry you all the way back out to the castle gate).
  • Boisterous Bruiser: The Sword familiar, believe it or not. SLICE! And The Demon Familiar. DIE!
  • Bonus Boss: Galamoth, who is so powerful that in the bestiary, the game doesn't show his HP. Defeating him nets you the Gas Cloud relic, which makes your mist form harm enemies.
  • Bonus Dungeon: The Floating Catacombs, which is home to the above-mentioned Galamoth. Its completely optional, since there are no Vlad relics up there.
  • Bookcase Passage: A room is hidden behind a rotating bookcase in The Long Library. It identifiable by the fact that it is the only bookcase directly on your way (and made with 3D graphics), whereas the others reside in the background.
  • Books That Bite: There are two varieties in The Long Library. The first type merely flies at you and tries to slam into you. The second type opens up and tries to skewer you with an array of magically summoned weapons.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: Some of the armors until you level up enough. And Cthulhu when you first encounter it at Marble Gallery, depending on your level.
  • Burn the Witch!: It is revealed that Alucard's mother Lisa was burnt at the stake, which inspired Dracula to destroy humanity.
  • But Now I Must Go: After saving the day, Alucard bids farewell and simply leaves in the good endings.
  • Calling Your Attacks: The Demon Familiar. "Fire Spear!" etc. Some of Alucard's spells get in on the action, as well. Which makes it all the more rewarding when you hear Alucard yell out Soul STEAL!!.
  • The Cameo: Konami Man sometimes appears in the File Select screen as a icon.
  • Cannot Cross Running Water: Without the right upgrade Alucard takes damage from any water over knee height.
  • Cape Swish: The sprite animation for Alucard is quite fluid, especially when turning around quickly.
  • Cape Wings: Doing a double jump briefly flips Alucard's cape up in the back; with the trailing animation that activates when he jumps, this looks like wingtips.
  • Cartography Sidequest:
    • The power of the Walk Armor increases by how much of the map you have explored, becoming the strongest armor in the game when both maps are completely filled.
    • Percentage of the map explored also affects which of the Multiple Endings you receive.
  • Cave Behind the Falls: There's a secret room behind a waterfall in the caverns under the castle.
  • Chain Reaction Destruction: Dracula shows that in action in the intro. Most of the larger enemies and other bosses also meet their fate that way.
  • Changing Clothes Is a Free Action: All equipment can be changed in the pause menu instantaneously. Consumable items however require you to equip them, and use them outside of it.
  • Chaos Architecture: Alucard explicitly says, "This castle is a creature of Chaos. It may take many incarnations."
  • Character Portrait: Used for the characters in the dialogue scenes.
  • Cherubic Choir: The theme of the Royal Chapel, "Requiem of the Gods," consists of this trope, bells and organ music.
  • Chest Monster: The fake Save Point. In one room is a real save point and, just across the hall, is another room that looks like a different-colored save point, but will in fact trigger a battle with a succubus.
  • Chewing the Scenery: Dracula is always acting the hell out of his lines, but he goes above and beyond for the final boss fight.
    Dracula: Behold my true form, and DESPAAAAAAAAIR!
  • Classical Mythology: Various Public Domain Characters from Greek mythology make appearances, including Scylla, the Minotaur, and Medusa.
  • Clockworks Area: The ever-present Clock Tower level.
  • Collision Damage: Simply touching an enemy sends Alucard reeling back. If his defence is high enough, he'll simply flinch.
  • Combat Stilettos: Alucard wears high-heeled boots. While unequipped, you can press down and attack while falling and he'll do a kick.
  • Completely Different Title: The game's original Japanese subtitle was Nocturne in the Moonlight.
  • The Computer Is A Lying Bastard: The original PS1 translation tells that you must use Gold and Silver Rings at the Clock Tower, but the right room to use them is the central clock room in the Marble Gallery.
  • Confessional: There's a confessional in the Royal Chapel, where Alucard take a seat on either side.
    • Sitting in the chair on the left side causes the ghost of a priest to appear; he will nod his head as though listening to confession, cross himself, and disappear, dropping the grape juice item. Alternately, he'll laugh, pull the curtain closed, and try to impale Alucard with a half-dozen pointy objects through the screen.
    • Sitting on the right makes a ghostly woman appear and sit on the left. She will mime a tearful confession and disappear when Alucard gets up. Or laugh, pull the curtain closed, and try to impale Alucard with a spear through the screen. Confessional ghosts are weird like that.
  • Continuity Nod:
  • Cool Sword: Crissaegrim. It is a sword made from wind.
    • Most of the swords are cool in this game including Sword of the Dawn allows you to summon weak minions, Mourneblade returns health to you every time you hit something, Marsil which generates a small firestorm, Masamune which lets you teleport forward and spam a storm of blades. This is only a fraction of what's out there and that's just the swords.
  • Costume Porn: Ayami Kojima's art features some very detailed clothing. For example, the inside of Alucard's coat has an extreme amount of detail.
  • Cowardly Lion: The Lion enemy would rather slide away from Alucard than to fight him.
  • Cthulhumanoid: Malachi. It is a flying demon with an octopus-head.
  • Cut-and-Paste Environments: The reverse castle is a version of this, but its positioning gives the environments a new spin.
  • Cute Witch: The cat-slinging Salomes in the Floating Catacombs.
  • Cycle of Hurting: The Spikes Of Doom are not immediately lethal, but some spike pits are arranged so that you can end up bouncing from one spike to another until reduced to Ludicrous Gibs. This becomes less of a problem later in the game, as you can simply turn to mist, or pause the game and equip the Spike Breaker Armor.
  • Dance Battler: Ghost Dancers leap all over the place.
  • Dark Reprise: A dark version of Richter's theme plays when you battle him. It is of course a clue that he's being controlled.
  • Deadly Disc: The Disc Armour aenemy uses a disc on a tether to attack you with.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts: The Knife item crash. What one knife can't do, a stream of hundreds can.
  • Degraded Boss: Several bosses, like Slogra, Gaibon and Karusuman appear as common enemies in the inverted castle.
  • Dem Bones: Common enemies. Sega Saturn version even has one as a boss, called the Skeleton Leader.
  • Demonic Dummy: Floating female dummies are enemies in Marble Gallery.
  • Demoted to Extra:
    • The Peeping Eye is one of the few enemies from Rondo who does not appear during the game as a fightable enemy, but it sometimes appears as a icon in the File Select screen. However, it does appear in the background, watching you as you trek through the hallway between the Marble Gallery and Outer Wall.
    • Also, the Behemoth which chased Richter in Castlevania X is now laying dead in the background in the coliseum.
  • Dhampyr: Alucard, son to a vampire lord and a human mother.
  • Diabolus Ex Machina: In Rondo of Blood, Richter killed Shaft twice - once in his human form, and once as a ghost. And yet, five years later he's alive and well, and easily takes control of a Belmont (which raises the question of why he didn't do so the first time), something not even Dracula seemed capable of doing! All because they wanted to have Alucard as the hero of the game. Then again, he may still be a ghost. If you look closely during the dialogue before you fight him, you can see that he's translucent.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Yup, and he gave me a Bat Pentagram! FUN FACT: The "Cthulhu" monster was supposed to be the tentacle-faced thing in the inverted castle, but his name got switched around with the demon in the Marble Gallery, which was supposed to be called "Malachi."
  • Difficulty Spike: The Inverted Castle has one when you first get there, which sticks for most of it. New enemies suddenly do significantly more damage and are more annoying placed, as well as the level design being a bit against you at times.
  • Disc One Final Boss: Alucard's final foe appears to be Richter Belmont, but if he is defeated properly, the Disc One Final Dungeon is over and a whole new area to be explored opens.
  • Disc One Nuke:
    • The combat knife, which is basically one of those modern, vicious looking knives like the kind you can get at pretty much any weapon shop (At least in the US). At the cost of slightly shorter range, it has an attack power of almost twice what you would probably have at that point in the game, and you can attack with it much more rapidly than with most of the other weapons. It stays a viable weapon well into the inverted castle.
    • Also the jewel knuckles, which you can pick up early in the game with the aid of a hidden elevator.
    • The Holy Sword is also really good, because of its decent power and more importantly the holy elemental which so many enemies are owned by.
    • Many people overlook the Holy Rod. It is found fairly early in the first castle, does Holy-Type damage that most monsters in the evil castle are weak to, but it also does blunt damage that most skeletons are weak against. Only a handful of enemies are strong against blunt. Also, the rod itself has a small area of effect around the rod tip itself, especially if you do a turn attack, which makes sure that you will almost always hit your target, which is a lot more forgiving than most swords tend to be. It is a very nice weapon until/unless you get the Sword of Dawn, Terminus Est, Crissaegrim, or perhaps Alucard's sword back. Not to mention, Richter is immune to it, and it is very easy to hit Shaft's sphere with it, so you don't have to worry about accidentally killing Richter, or wounding him, causing him to Turn Red.
    • The Shield Rod/Iron Shield combo is one of the most powerful in the game. It summons a pair of swords that go forth in a straight line and destroy just about anything in the first castle, even bosses, in one shot. The Shield Rod is available early on, and the Iron Shield can be bought from the librarian for an easy to obtain amount of cash.
  • Distressed Dude: Richter has disappeared, and Maria is looking for him.
  • Do Not Run with a Gun: Most of the weapons stop Alucard dead on his tracks for an attack. Some blades, like Crissaegrim and Holbein Dagger, avert it.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The end of the Succubus fight, at least in the original version. The Dracula X Chronicles port made her final cry sound a lot more like a death cry than a... you know.
  • Door To Before: One room blocks your path with a wall, and has a conveniently placed cannon on the other side. Obvisouly, you get to destroy the wall and return to the previous area when you get there.
  • Doppelgänger Spin: The Succubus does this as part of her attack chain, filling up the top of the screen with duplicates.
  • Double Jump: Thanks to the Leap Stone.
  • Down the Drain: The underground caverns, being filled with deep water pits and rushing waterfalls and all.
  • The Dragon: Shaft, who is pulling the strings behind the scenes is the second-to-last boss in the game.
  • Dramatic Shattering: After Dracula rhetorically asks about the nature of a man and before answering his own question, he throws his goblet dramatically on the floor.
  • Dream Weaver: The circumstances of the Succubus fight. She tries to mess up Alucard's memories through dreams.
  • Dual Boss: Three of them. Slogra and Gaibon from Super Castlevania IV team up early, and Werewolf and Minotaur from Rondo of Blood try it again later. And then there's the Dracula's Curse impersonators, which up the ante into a TRIO Boss.
  • Dual Tonfas: Shows up as a findable weapon, although it's misnamed as "nunchaku". It hits twice.
  • Dual Wielding: Alucard can equip any weapon in either hand (save two handed weapons, obviously). Though his swing speed doesn't pick up any, it can be convenient to not have to go into the sub menu if you're using elementally aligned weapons.
  • Dummied Out: In the PS1 version, a glitch allows you to drop into a normally-inaccessible area that in the Saturn port serves as the entrance to a Saturn-exclusive area. There's even a save point down there. And Richter once had a taunt, a low kick, and a spinning kick that was eventually brought back.
  • Dungeon Shop: The shopkeeper is Dracula's librarian and an old friend to Alucard. Note that he won't help Richter and Maria at all.
  • Dying as Yourself: The Werewolf boss in the Colloseum, and the mook version in the Reverce Colloseum both revert to a more human form before fading when defeated.
  • Dynamic Loading: Different areas of the castle are connected by dark hallways that are exactly one screen long. By the time the player walks from one side of the hall to the other, the next level has finished loading.
  • Easter Egg: Try returning to the room where Death stole Alucard's equipment right after you enter the first room of the Alchemy Laboratory. You will meet Slogra and Gaibon. There are many other little secrets as well.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Alucard specifically says the castle is a creature of chaos and may take many forms. There's also some of the bosses, like Granfaloon (Legion).
  • Eldritch Location: The inverted castle which turns the laws of physics on its head. There's a reason why all the outdoor levels have ceilings to walk on.
  • Embedded Precursor: The game has the final boss fight from the preceding game as the opening level. Furthermore, the player's performance in the flashback level determines Alucard's starting stats and items.
  • Empathic Weapon: The Sword Familiar. May or may not qualify as a Living Weapon.
  • Empty Room Psych: It is a disapointment to find that the Lesser Demon and the Succubus have no counterparts in the Inverted Castle.
  • Escape Rope: The Library Card warps Alucard back to the Master Librarian's room even if he's just struck the final hit on Dracula, which is actually needed for the game to record you've visited the final boss room and fought it. (though you can actually use a card as soon as the Shaft fight starts)
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Dracula loved Lisa dearly, and he expresses remorse upon finding out that his actions go against her last words. He is also implied to have some feelings towards his son Alucard, even though Alucard is his enemy.
  • Evil Elevator: The elevator in the Outer Wall wasn't made with OSHA in mind. Alucard sounds terrified while riding it.
  • Evolving Weapon
    • The Muramasa becomes stronger as Alucard absorbs blood from his enemies. It takes a lot of time, but its attack power can reach the 999 value.
    • The Sword Familiar levels up as Alucard kills enemies. At level 50, it will change form and lets Alucard wield it. On level 70, it changes its attack pattern, and at 90-99, it starts glowing and is able to do the Sword Brothers spell on its own.
    • While not a weapon, the Walk Armor's defense power increases as you explore more map regions. It eventually becomes more powerful than any other armor.
  • Extended Gameplay: Most of the areas in the endgame, since only five bosses are required to be beaten to reach Dracula.

     F - J 
  • Fairy Companion: One of the Familiars is a summonable fairy that can use items to heal you and cure status changes.
  • Fake Ultimate Mook: Wargs look menacing, but die in a single hit just like other early-game enemies.
  • The Ferry Man: He appears in the underground areas, rowing you over bodies of water before you can jump in them without getting hurt.
  • Fire, Ice, Lightning: Three Brands, sold by the Librarian or found elsewhere. And three mailshirts.
  • Fish People: The firebreathing Merman enemies appear in one of the early areas.
  • Flaming Skulls: Large flaming skulls serve as mid-level enemies.
  • Flaming Sword: There's a pair of flaming swords, the Firebrand and Marsil. Not only does both swords have a fire aura, but with a command input both can generate a wave of flame, with Marsil's long enough to hit something a 1/5 of the screen away.
  • Flash Step: Alucard Sword has a special attack that allows Alucard to teleport across the screen, turn around, slash twice, and return, all in about a second or less. There's also atleast one katana that allows similar attacks.
  • Flying Books: A few appear in the library to attack you.
  • Fog of Doom: Alucard can actually change into a playable Fog of Doom once you've found the right items: with the "Form of Mist" and "Gas Cloud" relics, his mist form is invincible and causes damage to any enemies within it, while constantly draining a small amount of MP.
  • Food Porn: The game includes dozens of different inexplicably preserved healing food items to find on top of the standard Pot Roast, ranging from fresh fruit all the way up to modern dishes that shouldn't even exist in the depicted time period, each one with a well-drawn sprite and a brief description.
  • Foreshadowing: Way before you reach the core area of the castle, you might notice that some things in certain rooms' backgrounds are clearly upside-down... Also, the Cat-Eye Circlet. It gives you a huge HP recharge... if you get hit by a cat, of which there are none to be found in the castle...
  • Fragile Speedster: Richter has special moves that allow him to move extremely fast and Sequence Break like a mofo; a dextrous Richter player can beat the game in less than ten minutes, and this is without glitches. However, he has as much health and defense as a classical Castlevania character (i.e. Simon, Trevor, and his Rondo of Blood self).
  • Frankenstein's Monster: One of the bosses is a version of him with a huge hammer and a Rolling Attack.
  • Frogs and Toads: They appear in the underground levels. Frogs are a returning enemy from Rondo of Blood, while the bigger and slower Toads are a new addition.
  • Frothy Mugs of Water: In the Royal Chapel you can go to the Confession Room and sit at a chair, and at one time a blue-robed ghostly figure will hear your confession and give you... sparkling grape juice! Grape juice in a confession booth? That may have been the result of the drink being modified from wine in the Japanese version. Hmmm... Does This Remind You of Anything?? Also, the Green Tea was originally sake, and the Barley Tea was beer.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: The succubus. The official art for her has exposed breasts with defined nipples.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: By using the Sword Brothers spell in a save room to enable them to open the menu mid-save and rapidly change their equipment around, the player is able to completely screw up the game's save file. Depending on your timing, you might end up screwing up your map and end up with random squares explored and unexplored, respawning items you find lying around and thus being able to collect them twice, or just corrupt your save.
  • Gemstone Assault: One of the morningstar weapons ends on a gemstone, and then there is the Jewel Knuckles.
  • Glass Cannon:
    • The Nova Skeleton enemy will die to a single knife, but has a laser attack that can easily hit you for 200+ damage.
    • The Ring of Ares will turn Alucard into this, as it both increases STR and weapon damage and lowers defense by 24.
  • A Glass in the Hand: Dracula angrily throws the glass of wine he had in hand to the floor when he expresses his distaste for humanity to Richter.
  • Golden Ending: If you clear the game after exploring more than 195% of the Castles, Maria decides to go after Alucard in the end.
  • Good Bad Translation: The original translation appears to have been done by a mildly concussed Lord of the Rings fan with a very tenuous grasp of the English language.
  • Gravity Screw: The Inverted Castle.
  • Guide Dang It: Getting to the second castle (thanks to an inexcusably misleading clue), or obtaining the beryl circlet, or using the Gravity Boots.
  • Guns Are Worthless: Subverted with the skeletal Bone Musket enemy. They appear in groups of three and stagger while they're reloading to lay down about one shot every two seconds, but they send you reeling back like any other attack. About the only advantage you have is that most of the time you're above or below them, and they can only shoot straight ahead.
  • Have a Nice Death: "Let us go out this evening for pleasure. The night is still young."
  • A Head at Each End: Diplocephalus is a crocodile-like beast with the upper body of a fireball-slinging human woman attached to its tail.
  • Healing Potion: Potions are introduced into the series with this game, and they're the most common healing items.
  • Heart Container: There are items that boost your max HP, MP and Hearts.
  • Heavily Armored Mook: Some areas feature fleamen wearing armor and an axe, and who are just spry like their regular counterparts.
  • Hellfire: Alucard can pull off his father's "teleport and fireballs" attack from earlier titles.
  • Helpful Mook: The Ouroboros becomes golden and helps Alucard for a while if its rider is killed but it isn't.
  • Heroic Albino: Some say Alucard is responsible for the tropes popularity.
  • Hidden Track: If you put the original PlayStation disc on an audio CD player, a hidden track "Alucard's Vengeance" can be heard.
  • High-Pressure Blood: The aptly named Bloody Zombies release a fountain of blood as their death scream echoes in the castle's hallways.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: If you defeat Richter properly, the rest of the game is spent hunting down Dracula, who, starting the tradition here, is behind it all.
  • Holy Burns Evil: Some weapons are imbued with the Holy element, making them useful against most of the enemies.
  • Holy Hand Grenade: The Holy Water and Holy Ash subweapons, along with the Holy Sword and Holy Rod.
  • Homing Projectile: One of Alucard's spells has him summoning one enemy-seeking orb. Later he can gain an upgraded spell that summons a whole bunch of them.
  • I Am X, Son of Y:
  • Idle Animation: Alucard's idle animation is him standing in a relaxed, yet regal pose. It works with his fairy familiar: she lands on his shoulder and if he moves even an inch, she falls off, complete with "Oof!"
  • Impossible Item Drop: One sword is dropped by Shmoo monster, which is basically just a bloody, flying burlap sack with a face.
  • In-Universe Game Clock: The game clock in the menu and the Marble Gallery is actually a 24-hour clock; the game starts at midnight and continues from there. Relevant in that the status buffs of the Moonstone and Sunstone are affected by the time on the clock. In the Saturn version, the current time is instead taken from its system clock, since it has one while the PS1 doesn't.
  • Infinity+1 Sword: Many. SotN is full of broken (but fun!) weaponry.
    • The Crissaegrim. This obscene weapon makes pretty much everything else in the game obsolete, due to:
      • Being able to attack while moving.
      • Doing 4 slashes in quick succession.
      • High damage output.
      • Sweeps a large arc in front of you, unlike other swords which only execute a narrow and miss-prone "stabbing" attack.
      • Being able to attack as fast as you can press the button, with little lag.
    • Once you get it, you can pretty much button mash through most enemies. Especially if you equip two.
    • The Shield Rod (or Mablung Sword). Use it and a shield at the same time and you will gain various buffs. With the Alucard Shield, you can shield bash enemies for a ludicrous amount of damage while healing yourself and turning invincible. You can literally walk through any boss if his weakpoint is exposed.
    • The Muramasa starts off weak, but becomes more powerful every time you hit an enemy and draw blood with it equipped. Through grinding, it can become obscenely powerful.
    • Alucard's namesake sword is a 'weaker' infinity plus one weapon, but has a fast attack speed, is relatively easy to find, and has a special attack that lets you teleport behind an enemy and strike twice rapidly while invulnerable before moving back to your previous position.
    • The Badelaire ges stronger the more time you play, one attack point per hour. Leave the game running overnight a couple times and when the clock maxes out at 99 hours, you'll have a very strong sword with high single hit power with very little effort involved.
    • Many overlook it, but the Dainslef sword has a rather high attack power. However, inputting down, down-forward and forward before attacking gives an even stronger blow... and its attack strength is doubled with Dark Metamorphosis active. Get ready to see some huge numbers!
    • Sweet Jesus, the Sword Familiar. It's one of the strongest familiars at any rate, but at level 50, you can wield it with its attack power equal to its level, making it deadly at level 99. At level 75, it gets a new, more accurate attack animation.
    • The Ring of Varda, a very powerful stat-boosting ring that won't drop unless your memory card has a completed save on it.
    • Another item available only on a 'cleared' file is the Duplicator, an accessory which slightly drains your stats but lets you use items without losing them. Combining it with a Power of Sire will result in you just casually strolling around the castle, killing everything without lifting a finger by using a painting to summon a hologram of Vlad the Impaler shooting exploding stars from his eyes.
    • Richter's item crashes, particularly Thousand Daggers and Hydro Storm, can take out bosses with no effort at all - also qualify as a disk one nuke.
  • Informed Equipment: Played straight with most equipment that isn't a weapon or shield (which appear when you use them), but averted with capes, which actually change the color of the cape on Alucard's sprite, and the Secret Boots, which make his sprite a bit taller.
  • Inn Security: One of the save points is a trap, and triggers a boss fight against a succubus posing as Alucard's dead human mother, Lisa. This is glaringly obvious, because this save point is not the same color as the others in the game, and yet you have to use it to proceed through the game... at least if you want to get the good ending.
  • Instant 180 Degree Turn: Averted. Alucard takes a few frames to turn around.
  • Invincible Minor Minion: The floating giant skulls in have the standard "not phased by anything" invincibility, although you can use Soul Steal on them to heal yourself.
  • Invisible Monsters: Bitterflies, which phase in and out of visibility in large, seemingly empty rooms.
  • Joke Character: One of the armors Alucard can equip turns him into a Axe Armor from Rondo. Sadly, he can't jump in this form and thus can't explore much. Oddly, he can't even throw his axe as you'd expect. What's amusing about it is his idle animation, in which he raises the axe and shouts "Hah! Hah! Hah! Ho!".
  • Joke Item: The Alucart equipment, not to be confused with the Alucard equipment. Even the shield has the "honor" of being the only shield in the game to have absolutely no effect when equipped with the Shield Rod. (The sword at least has the reach and fast attack speed of the real deal, but that doesn't really make up for the lack of power.) A complete set of Alucart equipment does have a use, though: it dramatically increases your LCK. It's still not enough to make it qualify as a Lethal Joke Item, though. There's also Tyrfing, a cursed sword that passes through enemies and does no damage due to reducing your attack to 0 unless you equip enough stat-boosting items and level up enough to compensate for it, and the Saturn version has Sain Irishitajiki, a useless, goofy picture of Alucard, which the game (for some reason) treats as a medicine.
    • Alucart shield special is likely to be a nod to the Key Item Crash in Vampire Kiss/Rondo of Blood, which hilariously made the character act as if they were going to use a powerful Item Crash, only to drop back down to the ground with a "?" text balloon on their head.
  • Jump Physics: The game allows the player full jump control and Double Jump capabilities.
  • Justified Save Point: It's a coffin because Alucard is a Dhampyr, and he needs to sleep in those too.

     K - O 
  • Kamehame Hadoken: The Fist Of Tulkas, a rare drop weapon in the Reverse Library, has two special moves, one a flurry of blows that is activated by a fighting game type combo. The other is a blue fireball that is utilized the same way as entering a Hadoken.
  • Kukris Are Kool: There's an enemy called Gurkha, who wields what is supposed to be a very stylized giant kukri.
  • Lag Cancel: Slow attacks and such can be cancelled with the backdash.
  • Large Ham: Dracula in every version of the game.
  • Last Lousy Point: Many hard-to-reach map squares frustrate completionists, particularly some of the water areas in the Inverted Castle. The secret: Swim up to them using the wolf form.
  • Lethal Joke Item:
    • Alucard gets a Luck boost when he wears all Alucart equipment at once — this effect is often used to up the chances of obtaining the rarely-dropped Crissaegrim. Also, the "effect" of the Alucart Shield is a nod to the Key Subweapon from Rondo, which was the strongest, yet almost useless subweapon from that game.
    • The Cat's-Eye Circlet, which protects you from... cat damage. Even so, it comes in surprisingly handy in one of the game's hardest areas.
    • The Red Rust, a two-handed sword which deals less damage than the first shortsword you pick up at the same time that randomly causes Alucard to freeze in place when he tries to swing it but which can be invaluable against both Doppelganger bosses since it curses them on hit, basically making them helpless and unable to attack.
    • Using the Alucart equipment while playing in Luck Mode (gives 99 Luck but sets all other stats to 1 or 0, with 35 HP and 5 MP - far below usual starting stats) will allow him to attack extremely fast and do crit damage high enough to kill many bosses in a few hits.
  • Lethal Lava Land: The Catacombs area takes you so below the ground that at one point you go through a lava cavern. However, the lava is just part of the scenery. And then, in the Inverted Catacombs, there's a part with molten ice in the background.
  • Level In Reverse: The Inverted Castle, naturally. In both direction travelled, and the flipped geometry.
  • Light Is Not Good: The divine-looking Amalaric (or Goth Sniper), a minor enemy that looks like a white torso with wings and a bow and is described as a fallen angel.
  • Lightning Gun: One of the sub-weapons, which has a super attack that causes a full-blown thunderstorm.
  • Living Weapon: Spectral Swords, which surround themselves with other weapons while flying around.
  • Load-Bearing Boss: Dracula, as usual.
  • A Load of Bull: Minotaur is a Dual Boss with Werewolf in the Colosseum, then reappears as a Degraded Boss in the inverted castle.
  • Loading Screen: The game lets you play with the loading text, making it swirl and spin all over, or see if you can get it perfectly still before the game finishes loading.
  • Long Song, Short Scene: The most notable example is Prologue, only played during the intro stage, which has no enemies aside from Dracula and consists of a walk up a staircase and down a hallway, and when you fight Dracula, his own theme plays. Another example could be The Door to the Abyss, arguably the most scary song in the soundtrack, which only plays in the centre of the castle which again, features no enemies except for Shaft and Dracula in the inverted castle version (and Maria, on Sega Saturn's first castle) and is extremely short.
  • Looks Like Orlok: Olrox.
  • Lost Forever: The bestiary entry for the Mudman, if you kill the Lesser Demon (boss) without waiting for him to summon a Mudman; and Richter's entry, if you save him without hitting him at least once.
  • Luck Stat: It determines the item drops and critical hits.
  • Luckily My Shield Will Protect Me: Alucard can use various shields—activating them blocks missile attacks, and some of them can be used for magic attacks with the Shield Rod or Mablung Sword weapons
  • Magikarp Power: Familiars are, at first, completely useless and watch idly as you get smacked around by monsters. However, if you suffer them long enough, they will eventually level up and become able to kill most enemies before you can (this is especially true of the Sword familiar which you can even wield as a weapon once its level gets high enough).
  • Male Frontal Nudity: There are nude statues for both genders.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Richter struts around the castle and makes himself look like the Big Bad until it's revealed that he's being mind controlled by Shaft. Who is, of course, Dracula's puppet.
  • Mercy Invincibility: A split-second, which sometimes makes it difficult to escape if you surrounded by hazards.
  • Metal Slime: The Dodo Bird, who will run away as soon as he sees Alucard. He drops the Runesword and the Heart Broach.
  • Metroidvania: The first Castlevania game in this genre, if we don't count the much-less-well-received Simon's Quest.
  • Mind Screw: In the Reverse Catacombs, instead of lava there is molten ice. Not water, molten ice.
  • Mini-Boss: The first Armor Lord in the Outer Wall, which never returns after its defeat.
  • Minus World: Familiar spells can be abused to warp through walls into areas outside the normal castle map
  • Mirror Boss: You fight two doppleganger-type bosses, which use your subweapons and abilities.
  • Mirror World: The inverted castle.
  • Monster Compendium: You can check the info on the monsters you defeated in the shop at the library.
  • Morphic Resonance: When Alucard transforms (except to mist), he still keeps a number of features, including a sword tied at his waist. The bat form goes one step further, and keeps the color of the currently equipped cloak as the color of its wings. The former becomes increasingly odd if you're completing a "naked" challenge run, where equipping things like swords are not allowed...
  • Musical Gag: If you put the PS1 disc on a CD-player, Alucard would inform you that this disc only has game data. It would then play some music before going into the game data and being annoying static.
    "Track one contains computer data, so please don't play it. But you probably won't listen to me anyway, will you?"
  • Musical Spoiler: You know you've walked into a boss room when the music stops.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Richter Belmont screams this once he's freed from being Brainwashed and Crazy, since he's inadvertently helped resurrect Dracula once again.
  • Near Villain Victory: Dracula can almost beat you in the prologue, but then Maria runs in and casts a crap load of buff spells, turning the fight into a Foregone Victory.
  • New World Tease: The game teases you with the Clock Tower, Colosseum and Olrox's Quarters should you choose to enter them, but you need abilities to get through them fully.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Two of the four possible endings involve an underinformed Alucard eliminating the Belmont bloodline by beating the stuffing out of one extremely possessed Richter. Seeing as the Belmonts are humanity's best and perhaps only hope in the fight against Alucard's infamous father... Oops.
  • No-Gear Level: Death appears early on to take away every one of Alucard's items, including weapons.
  • No Hero Discount: Justified. The Librarian is actually in the employ of Dracula, and only helps Alucard at all as he's a greedy bastard. And if you use any of the extra characters, he'll refuse to deal with them at all; Alucard is permissible because he's the Master's son, estranged or not, but dealing with the Belmonts would be outright treason.
  • Nostalgia Level: The Clock Tower and Castle Keep areas are pretty much the same as they were in Rondo of Blood, with new graphics and some new rooms.
  • Nothing but Skulls: There are two rooms in in which the floor is made entirely of skulls, and there are huge piles of them in the background. The boss fought in this room is a giant floating ball of corpses that was hiding in said skulls before you entered, and the alternate version of that room, you face Galamoth.
  • Notice This: The Imp familiar suddenly takes interest in two breakable walls/pushable levers. The hundreds of other secrets in the castle don't seem to catch his interest.
  • Number of the Beast: Death is level 66, the vampire Olrox and the Succubus have 666 HP, and the Malachi and the Fire Demon give 666 experience points.
  • Of Corsets Sexy: The succubus wears a corset, albeit one that only covers her waist and leaves her breasts exposed.
  • Offscreen Start Bonus: It isn't intentional, but if you immediately slide left when the game starts with Alucard, you can access a secret deleted area and increase your map percentage.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Maria does this a lot. How in the hell does she keep getting ahead of Alucard?
  • Oh, Crap: When Alucard enters the Coliseum, and the Lord of the Castle makes an appearance:
    Alucard: Your blood... The scent of your blood... YOU'RE A BELMONT!
  • One-Winged Angel:
    • "Behold my true form and DESPAIR!!!!"
    • Death has one too.
    • In the final boss fight, Dracula doesn't even bother with the first form (after all, we already had it at the beginning of the game).
    • Olrox goes from humanoid into some weird green dinosaur thing. He is more dangerous in this form, as you'd expect.
  • One-Woman Wail: The "Enchanted Banquet" boss music, appropriately enough used only when fighting female bosses.
  • Opening Scroll: The game puts its scrolling intro text at the end of the Action Prologue.
  • Our Fairies Are Different: The faerie familiar.
  • Our Gryphons Are Different: Flying Gryphon that breathes fire is one of the bosses.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: One of the enemies is a traditional bipedal wolf-man, and Alucard can turn himself into a regular wolf (as per old vampire myths).
  • Out-of-Character Alert: Someone Alucard thinks is his mother appears to be executed and attempts to trick him into committing murder against some humans via his mom's supposed final wish. Alucard remembers the event of Lisa's death far too well for him to fall for it, realizing that was something she would never tell him to do, and immediately deduces that "Lisa" was an imposter.

     P - T 
  • Player Tic: Constant backdashing, especially by speedrunners.
  • Plot Coupon: The parts of Dracula's body (for the second time) late in the game.
  • Polite Villains, Rude Heroes: The opening has Richter barging into Dracula's castle and interrupting the Count's relaxed wine drinking, greeting him with "Die, monster!" He then insults Dracula, to which Dracula replies very calmly and philosophically. Richter continues insulting Dracula until he provokes a fight.
  • Poltergeist: The Spectral Sword causes this phenomenon, as well as the Ouija board. Once you get the perk that lets you see the enemy's name, you'll occasionally find an actual Poltergeist in the game.
  • Post-End Game Content: The Duplicator Item and various cheats become available in a new game if you have a Clear or Replay save.
  • The Power of Love: "You have been doomed ever since you lost the ability to love."
  • Power Makes Your Voice Deep: Dracula's voice deepens as he turns into his demonic form in the prologue.
  • Powers Do the Fighting: With higher levels of the Wolf transformation, the player can just run through most enemies and kill them on contact.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: "Go back whence you came! Trouble the soul of my mother no more!"
  • Precision-Guided Boomerang: Skelerangs throw two boomerangs at the player, and will continue to do so until defeated.
  • Prepare to Die: Richter's "Die, monster!" from the prologue.
  • Previous Player-Character Cameo: Both from Rondo of Blood; Richter as a Rogue Protagonist and Maria as a friendly NPC looking for him.
  • Previously On: The prologue, which remakes the final battle of Castlevania: Rondo of Blood.
  • Progressively Prettier: In his previous appearance in Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse, Alucard looked like a craggy middle aged man. Now he is a pretty boy with white hair.
  • Promoted to Playable: Richter (and Maria in Sega Saturn and PSP versions) after you finish the game once.
  • Public Domain Artifact: The swords Joyeuse (Charlemagne's personal sword) and Cortana (aka "Sword of Mercy", English regalia sword), among others.
  • Purposely Overpowered: The Ring of Varda (the most powerful stat-boosting ring in the game, by far) cannot be obtained until you have cleared the game at least once.
  • Rage Helm: A scowling helmet known as Dragon Helm is described as frightening to enemies, and it halves their defense because of it.
  • Random Drop: Most of the items, perhaps a first for the series.
  • Rare Random Drop: Enjoy your grinding if you want the Crissaegrim.
  • Retcon: In the prologue, Richter and Dracula's conversation occurs before their battle, unlike in Rondo where it happened after Dracula is defeated. The Dracula X Chronicles remake maintains this while adding new post-battle dialogue.
  • Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs: Both Kaiser Knuckle and Fist of Tulkas have a blurry-punch-spam special attack.
  • Reflecting Laser: The Crystal subweapon, which bounces around angularly before disappearing.
  • Remixed Level: The inverted castle has not only levels upside down and new enemies, the backgrounds on some of them are different.
  • Retraux: In the prologue, the HUD looks like Rondo of Blood's. It also appears when you play as Richter or Maria.
  • Reverse Shrapnel: Spectral Sword is this trope, as it is an evil sword ghost/spirit that possesses nearby weapons into a circle around itself to attack you.
  • Rings of Death: The chakram item, which can be thrown to damage enemies.
  • RPG Elements: The game features stats, meters for HP and MP, experience points, and equipment coupled with 2D platforming.
  • Run Don't Walk: With a powerup, Richter Belmont can start running by pressing left or right buttons twice. Alucard can get it too, but only in the Saturn version.
  • Scenery Porn: The game combines 3D graphics and 2D graphics for this effect.
  • Schmuck Bait: Putting the game disc in a cd player will play a hidden track that starts with Alucard warning the listener that "cut number one contains computer data, so please do not play it" and notes that he doubts you'll listen to him anyways. CD players at the time of the game's release were already smart enough to skip the data track, so it was safe to take the bait. The joke is that back when CD players weren't smart enough, there was often a REAL audio warning at the start of track 1 explaining not to try to play it back.
  • Sealed Evil in a Duel: This is brainwashed Richter Belmont's motive for reviving Dracula:
    Richter Belmont: Count Dracula rises but once every century, and my role is over. If I can resurrect him, then the battle will last for eternity!
  • Secret Character: Richter (and Maria in the PSP version) can be unlocked after beating the game at least once with enough percentage of the map completed, and then starting a new game. In the Saturn version, they are playable from the start.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: The 1-kill playthrough, which requires you to kill only ONE enemy throughout the entire game. You're still beating it at 200.6%; you're just limited to killing a puny Blademaster. This is quite difficult, as the mandatory boss fights count as kills. Once you become extremely adept at glitching through walls, it's not terribly difficult, but it will give you a run for your money if you aren't mentally prepared.
  • Sequence Breaking: Once you get the Soul of Wolf in the Outer Wall, you can use it to get across the crumbling platforms in the Clock Tower and and then traverse it normally, albeit in reverse, to get to what would normally be the final area of the castle. The timing is VERY strict, however, and likely takes multiple tries. You still, however, need to explore the rest of the castle to actually fight the boss, as the stairs are out.
  • Sequential Boss: Dracula in the prologue and Death.
  • Set Bonus: Equpping all Alucart items (not to be confused with them Alucard items); the Alucart Sword, Shield, and Mail. On their own, they have pitiful stats and no special properties. Put them together and they grant you +30 LCK, greatly increasing the chances of critical hits and rare drops.
  • Shape Shifter Mashup: Scylla, and potentially Dracula in his final form.
  • Shaped Like Itself: The game features a sword named Gram, the description of which reads "The sword named Gram." It also features a sword named Harper. The description for it reads "The sword named Harper."
  • Shapeshifting: Alucard can take the shape of a bat, a wolf and a cloud of mist with the right relics.
  • Shear Menace: Underground Garden area in the Sega Saturn version of the game has gardeners wielding huge shears as enemies.
  • Shoryuken: A rising uppercut is one of Richter's moves when he becomes playable.
  • Showgirl Skirt: The faerie familiar's outfit.
  • Shout-Out: Konami loves having fun in its games, and this one is no exception.
    • Symphony is especially chock full of references to other Konami titles as well as other works.
    • A lot of item names in the US release are references to The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion. The Fist of Tulkas (one of the more powerful gods), the Crissaegrim (named after a mountain range in the books), the Mormegil (a black sword featured in one of the major tales) and the "Ring of Varda", for example.
    • Don't forget the enemies, Lion, Scarecrow, and Tin Man.
      • The Medusa Boss in the Inverted Castle says "I'm petrifyiiing!" when you beat her, to top that reference chain off.
    • The Capsule Monster rare items are from Ultraman.
    • The Gold and Silver Rings as well as the clock face are a reference to The Castle of Cagliostro.
    • The morphing Black Panthers are a reference to Lodem from Babel II. More people probably remember its cameo in Giant Robo. The actual panther sprite is ripped directly from this old Konami game, which featured a cyborg panther that moved at high speeds.
    • The Moon Rod is from Sailor Moon.
    • In Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle, a Granfaloon was a group of people who falsely believed they shared the same identity or purpose, but in fact their association was meaningless.
    • A portrait of Vlad Tepes is a usable item.
    • Olrox is based on Orlok from the film Nosferatu, complete with the movie poster on his door.
    • Trevor Belmont is remembered in NES graphic form, and later as an imitation boss along with Sypha and Grant, the other two partners you could meet besides Alucard in Castlevania III.
    • Galamoth was originally a boss in Kid Dracula.
    • The sword Mourneblade, which heals Alucard everytime he strikes something with it, is a reference to Mournblade, the sister-sword to Elric's runesword Stormbringer, in Michael Moorcock's Elric saga. Stormbringer, as well as Mournblade, stole their victim's souls, strengthening their wielders in the process. The Dragon Helm is also a reference to the Elric saga's Dragon Helm which was a symbol of rulership among the Melniboneans and last worn by fellow white-haired pretty boy Elric.
    • The Sword of the Dawn, a hidden sword with a special ability to summon minions that attack Alucard's foes, is also a reference to Michael Moorcock's work. His character Hawkmoon wielded The Sword of Dawn, a weapon that summoned warriors to aid Hawkmoon.
    • In game, Terminus Est is described as a poisonous executioner sword. This is a shoutout to the Book of the New Sun, the Terminus Est was the protagonist's executioner sword filled with mercury to increase the force of its stroke depending on how the wielder uses it.
    • The monster Cthulhu is obviously a shout out to H.P Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos
    • The Shield Rod can create the Shield powerups from Gradius.
    • The Bat Familiar, when leveled up enough, can summon more bats when you take bat form. These bats move much like Options.
    • Among the many items that Alucard can wear on his head, one of them is an ancient ceremonial stone mask.
    • A rare drop is a red gemstone belt called the "King's Stone".
    • This is even inverted in this game. Have a save file of this game on your memory card when you fight Psycho Mantis in Metal Gear Solid. Yeah!
    • Very occasionally, Alucard will turn into a gargoyle when petrified. While pure speculation, he shares his crouching "thinker" pose with Goliath of Gargoyles, a series which was very popular at the time of this game's development due in no small part to casting several Star Trek alums as one-off, recurring and even principal characters.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: When Dracula brings up the evils of religion in the original version prologue, Richter says that his words are as empty as his soul.
  • Shut Up, Kirk!: Dracula's last line in the prologue (WHAT IS A MAN etc). This and the preceding are incidentally the game's Signature Lines.
  • Situational Sword: Badelaire, which powers up as the in-game clock counter increases.
  • Skippable Boss: In the first castle, there's Scylla, Granfaloon, and Karasuman. In the inverted castle, there's Beelzebub, Doppelganger40, and the Fake Hunters (not counting Bonus Boss Galamoth).
  • Slouch of Villainy: Taken to new extremes in the true final battle, which Dracula spends sitting on a throne that turns into a dragonic Eldritch Abomination.
  • Smashing Hallway Traps of Doom: The rooms past the Clock Tower features various spiked blocks on a chain.
  • So What Do We Do Now?: Why did the titular castle reappear a mere five years after Richter Belmont banished Dracula? It seems like Richter couldn't go back to a normal life after saving the world from the Prince of Darkness and he wants Dracula back so he can be the hero again. Luckily he's just been brainwashed into thinking this, although you can get a Non Standard Game Over by killing him.
  • Some Dexterity Required: Making Alucard eat a peanut can be like this, since unlike other restoratives, they only work a specific way. Instead of dropping the food on the ground to be (re)collected, Alucard flicks a peanut up into the air, and you have to catch it in his mouth.
  • Space-Filling Path: Zigzagging corridors, long vertical shafts... generally a case of size for the sake of size.
  • Special Attack: Several weapons have alternate attacks, either activated with back-forward-attack or down-down/forward-forward attack, such as the Shield Rod's powers and the Fist of Tulkas' special moves. Sometimes they're simply more powerful, other times they have interesting or useful side effects.
  • Speed Echoes: Whatever the vampiric Alucard does, afterimages follow.
  • Speed Run: It's quite possible to finish Richter mode in less than ten minutes. After the game is beaten once with Alucard, a Time Attack section appears in his menu, allowing the player to see how long it took them to reach the final save room and clear the game.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": the game can't quite decide between American 's' and British 'c' spellings in some areas, leading to the spelling "Reverce" in some cases.
  • Spikes Of Doom: But with the Spike Breaker armor, you can render them harmless by destroying any spikes you touch. This is necessary to complete the entire game. With some glitches, it is possible to skip the spike breaker entirely.
  • Sprite/Polygon Mix: Few polygon backgrounds or objects, notably the clock tower before Dracula, and the save points.
  • Standard Status Effects: Poison (gradual damage), curse (character is unable to attack or defend, they just stagger) and stone (character is petrified, and must wriggle free).
  • Start X to Stop X: This is essentially Shaft's plan all along. Being tired of Vampire Hunters continuously hunting Dracula, he figured the best way to stop them is to mind control the strongest one ever, IE Richter, and use his own Holy power against other hunters, thereby making sure Dracula would never be defeated again.
  • Stationary Boss: Beelzebub, a stationary, giant rotting corpse on hooks that attacks with flies and maggots.
  • Summon Magic: The Power of Sire -item summons an image of Vlad Tepes Dracula (the real Dracula) to damage enemies.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Alucard, being half-vampire and all, until he obtains the Holy Symbol. After which, in a series' first, the player character can freely explore water without sustaining any damage. Note that in this particular game water doesn't kill you outright, even if you don't have the symbol - you will take a lot of damage but it's still possible to jump out. One of the lesser used tropes of vampire weaknesses is their inability to cross running water under their own power, which this weakness is a reference to, though the Holy Symbol being a snorkel is a fun sight gag.
  • Super Smoke: A relic grants Alucard a skill to momentarily to turn into smoke, which can be used to get through bars and avoid attacks. This is a nod to old legends which state that vampires can turn into mist.
  • Sword Lines: Featured. One sword's line even has the word "verboten" (German for "forbidden") written on it.
  • Talking Weapon: Sword Familiar, when not equipped, shouts victoriously and taunts enemies (and Alucard himself, at lower levels).
  • A Taste of Power: At the beginning of the game, you have a ridiculously powerful suit of armor and a sword that makes short work of every enemy. However, when you run into Death, he uses his magic to make all of it go away... unless you deliberately glitch the cutscene to keep your equipment (which is possible on some platforms). This is almost universally considered a Good Bad Bug by the player community.
  • Teleporters and Transporters: Five of them in each castle. You can 'port to the second on finding the first (per castle), but the rest can only be accessed after you've reached them normally. There is one more in Sega Saturn version, at additional area.
  • This Cannot Be!: Said by Dracula himself, word for word.
  • This Is Unforgivable!: Alucard confronts a succubus who has been imitating his dead mother just to mess with his head, and conveys his intentions rather stoically before an inevitable boss fight:
    Alucard: Demon. Death is too good for you.
  • Throwing Down the Gauntlet: In the introductory battle, Richter throws down a challenge to Dracula, shouting out all the reasons why the vampire lord is unfit to rule the world. Dracula responds by throwing down his wine glass and a hearty "Have at you!" and the battle begins.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: The Runesword and the Heaven Sword.
  • Time Keeps On Ticking: Alucard's initial stats depend on, among other things, how fast you beat the opening battle with Richter. However, the timer keeps going while Richter and Dracula are talking, and you cannot skip this conversation unless you have already beaten the game once. Hence, it is impossible to get the best initial stats unless you are doing a replay.
  • Time Skip: It has been four years since Rondo of Blood. It has mostly has affected Maria Renard, who has become more mature.
  • Time Stands Still: The Stopwatch subweapon. It's oddly selective, though — some enemies will be frozen, some will merely slow down and some (including most bosses) are entirely unaffected.
  • Too Awesome to Use: The game has many number of powerful, one-shot items that most players will hang onto "until the right time". But as the game is relatively easy compared to later Metroidvania-style games (and possesses what many consider the easiest Dracula fight in the series), that time will never come. On the second or later playthrough of the game, it is possible to obtain an item called the Duplicator, making those single-use items infinitely reusable.
  • Took a Shortcut: Most of the conversations with Maria take place in rooms she really should not have been able to access before you.
  • Tragic Bigot: Played straight and also defied. Dracula certainly winds up hating the humans for burning Lisa at the stake, but Alucard was there when they killed her, and her last words made sure that he at least would not go down the same path:
    Do not hate the humans. If you cannot live with them, at least do them no harm. For theirs is already a hard lot.
  • Transsexual: An example of the term "newhalf" appearing in videogames is the Frozen Half, an ice magician described as such.
  • Trick Boss: In one room in the Underground Caverns, you fight a single snake-like creature. It goes down rather easily. In the next couple of rooms, you realise it is just one of several, all attached to Scylla, the actual boss.
  • True Final Boss: Dracula, who resides at the end of the Inverted Castle.
  • Turns Red: The zombie doppelgängers imitating Trevor, Grant, and Sypha from Dracula's Curse all gain new or stronger attacks when one of their allies fall in battle. Sypha even gains the ability to re-revive Trevor, albeit as a shambling, mostly-dead shell.

     U - Z 
  • Underground Level: Underground Caverns, Abandoned Mines, and Catacombs. The Sega Saturn version also has the Underground Garden.
  • Unique Enemy: Absolutely loads. Often more than one of them appear, just that they only ever appear in a single room in the entire game. There's the dodo that runs when you go into the room, the discus lord that only appears in a single room in the Catacombs, the giant blue hammer enemy (his kin appear again, he doesn't), the mudmen only appearing in the Lesser Demon boss fight, the Alura Une, the slimes (particularly the giant one), Yorick... you get the point. Some enemies appear to be this, but then later in the game they become more numerous as you become stronger to deal with them (notably the demon who is accidentally called "Cthulu"). According to Yahtzee, the philosophy behind the enemy designs seems to be, "Every time you palette swap, A BABY DIES".
  • Useless Item: The game has plenty of weapons with obscure bonuses, one of which (the Were-Bane) gives bonuses against Were-Beasts. Unfortunately there's only one Were-creature in the game (the Werewolf) and although a mini-boss originally, by the time you get this weapon is encountered as just as a random grunt in one specific area and is not much of a challenge as you're now a much higher level, and there's plenty of weapons with much higher base damage that eclipse the bonus you'd get anyway. On top of this, though, the sword is glitched, in that it does absolutely zero extra damage to them anyway! Mind you, the sword isn't /completely/ useless, as it's QCF+Attack move is a flurry of thrusts in the same vein as the Rapier's, and Were-Bane is stronger than the Rapier. It makes for a good off-hand weapon if you decide to forgo two-handed weapons and shields.
  • Useless Useful Spell:
    • Dark Metamorphosis, which allows our hero to heal with the blood shed by enemies... of course, most things, exploding into flames on death and dying in one hit, or being animated armor or skeletons or whatever else, don't bleed; the most powerful early-game weapons (Jewel Knuckles and spells) won't draw blood from any enemy.
    • Similarly, an early-acquired weapon, the Red Rust, will curse enemies (preventing them from attacking). Of course, it's slower and weaker than punching with fists, has a random chance of failing to swing on Alucard's part, and only affects the two Doppelganger boss enemies in the game.
  • Vendor Trash: There's an array of different jewels, which you could only sell to the Librarian for cash.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: The Inverted Castle.
  • Victory Is Boring: Richter's reasoning was that he wanted to duel Dracula for all eternity. That's what Shaft told him to say.
  • Video Game Dashing: The backdash.
  • Video Game Flight: True to his vampire heritage, Alucard can fly by transforming into a bat. This slowly uses mana, and you can only attack if you've collected the Fire of Bat powerup. The mist form can also be upgraded to grant infinite, invincible flight, but it uses mana much more quickly than the bat.
  • Villain Decay: Slogra and Gaibon were tough bosses in Super Castlevania IV, now they are the weak duo for the first boss battle.
  • Villain Forgot to Level Grind: Some early bosses, such as Slogra, Gaibon, Werewolf, and Minotaur, are encountered later in the game, but with the same stats as before, and are considered normal, respawning enemies. Of course, with your stronger weapons and abilities, they are not nearly as difficult. Even when you're fighting as many as four of them in the same room.
  • Villain Pedigree: When the player gets to the endgame levels and is vastly more powerful, many of the regular mobs are actually the bosses from the first castle.
  • Violation of Common Sense: Alucard's speedy backdash to get through the game. Would you backstep through an entire castle full of things trying to kill you?
  • Violence Is the Only Option: What starts as a theological/philosophical debate in the prologue (this being more prominent in the Japanese version) ends in a fight to the death.
  • Visible Silence: Alucard often goes "........." in his dialogue. Either he's completely silent or takes a while to say something.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Alucard can turn into a bat, a wolf and mist. The Axe Armor transformation seems to be unexpected, though.
  • The War Sequence: The Granfalloon boss has a seemingly infinite number of animated corpses attack you (they do eventually run out) while a horrific monster, with a shell composed of said corpses, shoots beams at you.
  • We Will Meet Again: Death says this to Alucard at the end of their confrontation at the castle entrance. Indeed they do, but only if you unlock the second half of the game by freeing Richter from his Brainwashed and Crazy state.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: If Alucard can reach the high platform on the wall behind Galamoth quickly enough, he can easily punch him in the face until he dies.
  • Weird Moon: The moon appears crescent when viewed from the Clock Tower, full when viewed from the outer wall and Olrox's Quarters, and full with a blood red tint when viewed from the castle keep. In all but Olrox's quarters, the moon is also terrifyingly HUGE. And yet, all of these locations are a short walk from each other, with the outer wall, clock tower, and castle keep all being right next door.
  • What Does This Button Do?: In one area of the castle there's a room with a switch that's out of reach. Once you obtain the Demon familiar, head back to that room. The Demon is curious:
    Demon: Hmmm... a switch! Why don't I press it and see...
  • What the Hell, Townspeople?: As revealed in the backstory, just when Dracula appears to have redeemed himself from the whole Vlad the Impaler bit via The Power of Love, some jackasses from a nearby village burn his beautiful wife alive. For being a healer. A Despair Event Horizon crossing later, and an Omnicidal Maniac was born.
  • When Trees Attack: Trees with creepily grinning faces appear in Saturn version's Underground Garden level, which attack you with fruits, which also have faces.
  • Who Needs Their Whole Body?: When a Flying Zombie takes enough damage, they are cut in half horizontally and the separates start acting invidually.
  • Wind from Beneath My Wings: The Darkwing Bat attacks like this, flapping its wing to hurt you.
  • With This Herring: Subverted. Your character starts out as a level 1 character, but is wearing some of the best equipment available in the game... until Death steals it all from you and scatters it around the game map. One wonders why he doesn't bother to do so again when they re-encounter one another later in the game...
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Dracula is turned into one by this game, showing he wasn't always evil and even realizes how hopeless his life is.
  • World of Ham: There's maybe one scene in the entire game where the characters aren't taking a bite out of Castlevania. Richter is incapable of even thinking to himself without hamming it up. And then, there's Dracula. There's a reason he has a Large Ham entry to himself on this page, even when this is a World of Ham.
  • X-Ray Sparks: Maria will show her skeleton whenever she's electrocuted.
  • You Don't Look Like You: Richter's portrait, thanks to the Art Shift from anime-esque Rondo of Blood to more gothic Symphony.
  • You Have Researched Breathing: Alucard has to find the Cube of Zoe relic in order to... find items from destroyed candles.
  • You Shouldn't Know This Already: Averted. Even before you have officially learned any of Alucard's spells, inputing the button command will perform it and even add it to your technique menu for you instead of having to buy the respective spell scrolls from the Librarian.
  • Your Little Dismissive Diminutive: What is a man, rhetorically asks Dracula. His answer is not just a little pile of secrets, but a miserable little pile of secrets.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle: After Richter is defeated, Dracula has still to be found in the Inverted Castle.
  • Zettai Ryouiki: Part of Maria's outfit as an adult is a pair of over-knee-high stockings.


CastlevaniaUsefulNotes/The Fifth Generation of Console Video GamesCastlevania 64
Castlevania II: Simon's QuestAction RPGChantelise
Castlevania: Dracula XCreator/KonamiCastlevania 64
Castlevania II: Simon's QuestEastern RPGChantelise
Burning RangersSega SaturnClockWerx
Castlevania: Dracula XHorror Video GamesCastlevania Legends
Castlevania II: Simon's QuestAction AdventureCastlevania 64
Castlevania: Dracula XVideo Games of the 1990sCastlevania Legends
CarmageddonUsefulNotes/Play StationCastlevania Chronicles
Castlevania: Dracula XFranchise/CastlevaniaCastlevania Legends
Final BossImageSource/Video GamesEnemies with Death
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of FateXbox LIVE ArcadeThe Cave
Castlevania: Harmony of DespairPlay Station NetworkThe Cave

alternative title(s): Symphony Of The Night; Nocturne In The Moonlight; Castlevania Symphony Of The Night
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