Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is an action-adventure game developed and published by Konami in 1997 for the PlayStation. It was directed and produced by Toru Hagihara, with Koji Igarashi acting as assistant director. It is the sequel to Castlevania: Rondo of Blood, taking place four years later, and is the 10th entry into the Castlevania series. It features Dracula’s dhampir son Alucard as the protagonist, rising from his slumber to explore Dracula’s castle which has re-appeared after Richter Belmont vanished. It marks a break from previous games in the series, re-introducing the exploration, non-linear level design and role-playing elements first experimented with in Simon’s Quest.
The game’s commercial performance was initially mediocre, but it later gained sales through word-of-mouth and became a hit, selling over 700,000 units in the United States and Japan. It has been re-released on several consoles.
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night begins during the ending of the previous game in the series, Castlevania: Rondo of Blood, where Richter Belmont (Kiyoyuki Yanada / Scott McCulloch; David Vincent) confronts and defeats Count Dracula (Norio Wakamoto / Michael G.; Patrick Seitz). Four years later, in 1796, Richter goes missing and Dracula’s castle reappears. Alucard (Ryōtarō Okiayu / Robert Belgrade; Yuri Lowenthal) arrives at the castle to destroy it, meeting Maria Renard (Chisa Yokoyama / Kimberly Forsythe; Michelle Ruff), who once fought alongside Richter and is searching for him. Alucard meets Richter, who claims to be the new lord of the castle. Convinced that Richter is under somebody else’s control, Maria urges Alucard not to hurt him and gives him the Holy Glasses, which allows him to see past illusions. In the castle’s keep, Alucard confronts Richter and learns that he plans to resurrect Dracula so the two can fight for an eternity. During a fight, Alucard breaks the spell controlling Richter, and Dracula’s servant Shaft (Dai Matsumoto / Jeff Manning; Tony Oliver) appears and tells them that Dracula will still be resurrected soon.
Alucard leaves Richter and Maria to confront Shaft, venturing into an upside-down duplicate of the castle to seek him out. Shaft reveals he planned to end the threat of the Belmont clan by controlling one of them and forcing the clan to fight one another. After defeating Shaft, Alucard faces his father, who vows to bring an end to humankind because Alucard’s mother Lisa (Rika Fukami / Alison Lester; Jessica Straus) was executed as a witch. Alucard refuses to join his father in his revenge and he defeats him. Alucard tells Dracula that he has been thwarted many times because he lost the ability to love after Lisa’s death, and that Lisa’s final words were of eternal love for him and a plea not to hate or at least harm humanity. Before Dracula dies, he asks for Lisa’s forgiveness and bids his son farewell.
After escaping the collapsing castle, Alucard rejoins Maria and Richter. Maria is relieved that he escaped while Richter blames himself as the reason for Alucard’s fight with his father. Alucard tells Richter, “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”, (a quote attributed to Edmund Burke) and resolves to disappear from the world because of his cursed bloodline. Depending on how much of the castle the player has explored, Maria either chases Alucard in the hope of changing his mind, or resigns herself to Alucard’s fate and leaves with Richter.