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Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (Bradygames Strategy Guide) Paperback – October 22, 1997
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From the Publisher
The Castlevania guide includes complete maps of Dracula's castle and walkthroughs for both the normal and inverted castle. Secret codes, secret characters and hidden rooms. Separate bestiary, items, weapons and special item lists for both versions of the castle. - The game follows Alucard, the half-human/half vampire as he strives to end the vampire bloodline by exploring the vault-like castle and finding magic spells.
- There are extra secrets and additional items to find. For example, upon finding appropriate mystical abilities, players can transform Alucard into a bat, wolf or mist to fight with wicked bosses and accomplish his mission.
Top customer reviews
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It begins with a lot of basic stuff. Telling us about the enemies. The Bestiary shows screenshots of all the enemies and their actual data. It's mostly bosses, however. Normal enemies aren't listed and that's actually incredibly strange. This is primarily because there IS reason to list normal enemies. We're not just talking that one could learn of HP or anything. We're actually talking about learning about what the enemy potentially drops and how rare that drop could be. The game gives info on some enemies but not all. It's not exactly complete in this regard. After that it's all about the familiars, magic and items. All the descriptions of these things basically come from the game itself and thus the guide won't tell you much more.
There is one section that is VERY useful, however. A map index that shows the location of every item in the game. And each item is accompanied by a screenshot. If you want all the Life Max, Heart Max, and Pot Roasts or whatever, this guide will help you get them all. If it's hidden if it's out in the open the guide shows you it. That doesn't mean it'll always tell you how, but the player can easily figure out most of this stuff quite easily.
What isn't so great in the grand scheme of things is the walkthrough itself. There's a lot to look at in this guide. And a lot of it is pretty. The pages are pretty and glossed with a lot of great artwork, stylized fonts for the names of areas and the like. It compliments the look and feel of the game rather well. It's the actual info in the walkthrough that stings. Each section is given a map. And on these maps are waypoints that tell you what to do at a specific area. So in Dracula's Castle you'll find a 1 marked on the map. So find "1" in the text and it tells you what to do. The problem with the walkthrough is that it's not a straightforward one. On some maps early on, for instance, you'll find 116. Which means further in the walkthrough at step 116 it'll tell you what to do. And while it's great that it's a good time when, they don't exactly remind you where you should be going. If you get lost you'll have to flip all the way back to the page with the map that had 116 on it. And in some cases that map may be at the very beginning of the walkthrough. It simply doesn't allow itself to ease that well.
It doesn't matter much anyway as much of it is pretty dry. The boss strategies can be decent, but most of the time the guide just isn't telling you a whole lot of what to do in specific areas. It keeps exploration alive this way, but it hardly lends itself to good strategy.
The worst part about the guide, however, is that the inverted castle is given almost no coverage at all. It tells you how to beat the bosses, not exactly where to find them or anything. Just how to beat them. All the stuff provided for the normal castle is missing here. No item call outs, no maps... not even decent screenshots of what's going on. Granted many of the maps you could just turn upside down and be fine... but that doesn't exactly point out the items themselves. Life Maxes and Heart Maxes are in different places. Many of the items and enemies that appear are totally different. The guide prepares you for virtually none of this.
And there are even a few things that might've helped the guide out a little more. Perhaps taking a lesson from how Nintendo Power organized their Super Metroid guide was in order. Tell us about the enemies we'll encounter. When we reach a new area, list off the items that are there. I know they showed us in a map appendix, but again, page flipping is not something I want to constantly be doing when exploring Dracula's castle. Likewise, maybe even just a huge map of Dracula's castle on a page spread (or even a fold out poster) would've been nice. It's just odd how much was left out of this guide. And there's no reason as to why. Leaving out the Inverted Castle in and of itself is a pretty lazy effort. Granted, the Inverted Castle isn't exactly a LONG portion of the game, but there's more to it than just it being an upside down version of the same castle you just explored. With new enemies, items and in some cases traps, the guide really drops the ball.
After the walkthrough we get a few secrets that are nice to know, but it's still a shame that much of the walkthrough in and of itself is so poor. I suppose for exploring the right side up castle the guide is okay. It's got maps and item placements, but beyond that the guide is pretty useless, providing nothing for the player to benefit from. The strategies are poor and once you get to the inverted castle the guide just doesn't offer much more to the player.
With that in mind, I'm happy that they listed the button combinations for each of Alucard's spells. That's important, and sometimes when I stop playing the game for years, I will need the spells section of this guide to help remind me what buttons to press.
I have to agree with the other reviewers that the pictures throughout the book are kind of dark and hard to see, but not really bad enough to have trouble understanding where you're going. I wish the book featured more help with the second quest (the Inverted Castle). They kind of treat that whole castle with just tiny bits of information, and then the book ends. Kind of disappointing.
Also, the price for this book is outrageously high. Pay no more than 5 bucks for it. It's really not worth owning, though. You'll know what to do and where to go once you play the game for a while. It's not that hard to figure out. If you've read the reviews for the game, you'd know it's widely believed this game is WAY too easy for most people. Besides, if you're thinking about spending money for this strategy guide on the internet, that must mean you have access to the internet, which therefore means there's plenty of websites and stuff out there devoted exclusively to this game willing to give you any help you may need, making this book a pointless purchase.