Flashback: The Best Games of 1997

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
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Konami5/13

With Sony and Nintendo riding high as Sega faltered, this one year defined genres and built franchises like almost no other

With Sony and Nintendo riding high as Sega faltered, this one year defined genres and built franchises like almost no other

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

When other games were going 3D, Castlevania remained staunchly side-scrolling (even if some of the enemy animations and clouds and cutscenes did incorporate a dash of 3D like someone experimenting with chili for the first time). Symphony of the Night managed to shake up the Castlevania formula in other ways, with a little bit of RPG sauce and a new art style. It also took inspiration from Super Metroid and Zelda, giving you new weapons and abilities like double-jumping, transforming into mist, and flying like a bat, each of which opened up new areas. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night was so influential, it's the reason for the "-vania" suffix in the made-up genre: "Metroidvania." Sure, it's the ugliest genre name in video games – and that's counting "MOBA" – but you can't blame Symphony of the Night for that.

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