Released in September 1997, Symphony of the Night follows the quest of Alucard, Dracula's son. Alucard awakens from his centuries long sleep by the disturbing presence of a Belmont family vampirehunter who has apparently turned evil.
Category Note: The Xbox Live Arcade and Playstation Network version of the game is a separate category from the Playstation version because of differences in lag and timing. The in-game timer is used for the Live Arcade and Playstation Network versions because time is tracked throughout the entire game.
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0:34:34 by Chris Kirk
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This run is dedicated to my grandfather. It's been very stressful with him in the hospital, so that's one of the reasons why this run wasn't here sooner. Let's hope as you're reading this, he's still with us.
This is a (most requested, perhaps) improvement to my last run, shaving off more than 3 minutes. A list of the things changed:
I don't think I'd be lying if I said every mistake I made previously has been fixed in this run. However, there are new mistakes in their place. The most notable mistake is what I will refer to as "The Flea Rider Fiasco." You'll see what I mean. There are also little things spritzed throughout. Nothing too minor though.
And thank you the viewer for watching. Watch the run, watch it again with the commentary, and enjoy.
Xbox Live Arcade single-segment: 0:29:16 by Andrew Schroeder
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First of all, many thanks to the SDA team for maintaining a great site for hosting speed runs and making the process of submitting mine a smooth one. Secondly, there are many other SotN runners who have helped me improve my runs in some way or another, but among them I would especially like to thank Andrew "RaneOfSOTN" Melnyk, Chris "Satoryu" Kirk, MarkSoupial, Lenophis, and Kevin "xarugas" Areopagita. I would also like to show my appreciation to all of my friends, SDA members, and stream viewers who supported me during races and the total process of running the game. There is commentary on audio track 2 of the video for those who want a little extra entertainment while watching the run. The people involved are mainly me, RaneOfSOTN and Mike Uyama. Satoryu, MarkSoupial and Nick Houser also say stuff once in a while. We had a lot of fun recording this and hope you have just as much fun listening to it. Please note that the commentary does not always focus on the action in the run. There are also a handful of references to old SDA SotN runs. In case you don't understand anything we're talking about, you can download the runs on these Archive.org pages:
For those not inclined to listen to the audio commentary or who want a little more basic information, this run was submitted as an improvement to my previous SDA record of 31:19 on the XBLA version of SotN. It uses the same basic route and strategies as the previous record, but my execution has improved significantly since then and I developed a few minor enhancements after watching how Satoryu played the game at the Awesome Games Done Quick marathon (the SDA charity event where we raised over $50,000 for the Prevent Cancer Foundation) in January 2011. The XBLA version of SotN uses the in-game timer (which doesn't count menu time), has faster loading times and less lag than the PlayStation or PSN versions of the game, but the same ideas can be used for making an optimal real-time attack in the standard any% category for those other releases. Here are some of the more important tricks and techniques used in the run for those who are unfamiliar with them:
Unlike my previous runs, I feel that this one would take a gargantuan effort to top in the same category. The run's certainly not perfect, but my level of execution far exceeds that of any other attempt I've put forth so far and the strategies within the route are as good as they've ever been. There are still some further improvements that could be made, but many of them would require activating the "MP refill glitch", which involves pausing the screen through a level up, relic collection, spell cast, heart refresh usage, etc. on the same frame that your MP is replenishing so that the refill is extended for the entirety of the pause. This would avoid having to use a Manna Prism or a save room to gain full MP. I may do any% attempts that take more advantage of this eventually, but for now I'd like to concentrate on other games I've been meaning to run. Playing SotN for speed always remains fun to me though, so don't be surprised if I try to improve this run again or go after other categories that the game has to offer.
I've been seriously working on the SotN any% run on and off for about a year now, so I hope you enjoy watching my latest effort and listening to the audio commentary if you choose to do so. If you liked this run, stay tuned to my JustinTV stream channel so that you can watch me perform speed runs and races live with commentary. You can also see other runs of mine on my YouTube channel, including some that I upload before submitting to SDA.
Xbox Live Arcade as Richter Single-segment: 0:05:19 by Todd Foreman
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It's very rare when I say this about games I run, but I am VERY happy with this run.
I have been working on this game for about 3 years now, and the run has come a long way. I can't remember what my first time was when I started timing my runs, but I think it was something like 15 minutes. hahaha. Like I said, it has come a long way. Now, onto the run.
The entrance was pretty standard. Got 32 seconds entering the door. If I get anything more than that, I reset, so not much going on here.
Alchemy Lag was good except for a small mistake where I was a bit too high and air slashed into a wall. Minor time loss. Still got 1:02 which is standard.
Chapel was perfect apart from the boss fight. I missed the quick kill on Hippogryph, but he didn't fly and didn't use his fire attack a second time, so I was able to whip him a couple times and make the time loss minimal. Lost maybe half a second.
Keep was perfect.
Reverse Keep was weird. Uppercutted in the wrong direction (if you're not aware, my controllers can be very unresponsive sometimes). This probably cost me half a second at the most. I got the keep skip first try though. That is a frame perfect / pixel perfect / alignment dependant trick that saves one second. This part of the run is the deal breaker. Got it first try so, cool. Missed and air slash in the loading screen room, but very minor time loss.
Reverse Chapel was perfect, apart from missing the quick kill on Medusa, but she dies so quickly anyway that I barely lost any time.
Reverse Colosseum was perfect except for the last room where I missed an air slash. Miraculously, I didn't get hit.
Reverse Olrox Quarters. Perfect! Hit everything in the zig zag room which is crucial. There's four frames after an uppercut when you hit the ceiling where there's dead input. That means any input you do during those four frames won't register, and having to air slash in that small corridor makes it very difficult. I was very nervous at this point.
Shaft fight cost me the most time. Missing the quick kill on him is the worst because it costs 2 seconds or if you're not quick enough, he can kill you real easily.
Overall, I'm happy with the run, but I'm not finished. I want to at least get the quick kill on Shaft and have zero mistakes in the run, which will be next to impossible, but I know it can be done.
Xbox Live Arcade All bosses as Richter Single-segment: 0:27:49 by Todd Foreman
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Note: There is no audio commentary for this run despite the StatID saying that it has.
Hello there fellow gamers! If you're reading this, then you're in for a treat. This run has come a long way since I first started speed running all bosses with Richter. When I first started, beating all bosses without saving was unheard of, then later, I depended on grabbing as much health as possible. Naturally, as time went on, I got more comfortable skipping health if it wasn't standing right in front of me, because frankly, everything pretty much kills Richter in one hit anyway, so what's the point of grabbing health?
Now, onto the run.
The first two minutes are probably the most lax when it comes to losing time because as long as I get to the clock room in before two minutes, I'm good because the statue only moves back every other minute. I can't be too lax though because I need enough hearts for later.
The Slogra/Gaibon fight is something I'm personally proud of because it took a lot of experimenting to get it just right. Basically I slide kick and get as close to Slogra as possible without hitting him (if you hit him, Gaibon will pick him up). After that, axe item crash. As you're falling, whip in the opposite direction then all you have to do after that is to airdash through Slogra. It's pretty sexy when it goes well. :)
Olrox is the first big annoying thing in this run, because the quick kills is practically random (I'll explain quick kill later), so if I don't get the quick kill, I lose a few seconds. Unfortunately, I only got the first form, but whatever.
There's something I do after the Olrox fight that I just recently started to do. When I airdash in the big room, I whip after. Whipping very slightly propels me forward and I just catch the platform to start sliding immediately. A minor thing but still effective.
Chapel and Castle Keep were sexy as shit. Love it when airdashes do their job!
During the Karasuman, you'll probably notice that I cast Hydro Storm and can start moving immediately. As far as I know, this is the only room you can do this, because as soon as I enter, the door shuts and pushes me off the ledge. If you do something like Hydro Storm where you can't move for a few seconds, getting pushed off the platform will allow you to move. I use this as a chance to get a really quick kill. Unfortunately, I didn't get it in this run.
Clock Tower and Outer Wall went alright I guess.
Library went pretty well until I somehow slide kicked into Lesser Demon's face. He was looking at me wrong, so I had to do somehting about it.
The long hallway in Marble Gallery went really well. I have to be pretty precise in this room, or else my timing can get really messed up. Right before entering Underground Caverns, you'll see that whip action again.
Scylla "Wrym". There's something interesting about this room. After I kill her, you see I have to wait until she dies before the door opens, right? Well sometimes, the door won't be there after the fight, which means you can kill her then just run straight out of the room. After a bunch of testing, me and romscout have pretty much concluded it's just a random occurance (it's not, but we couldn't find a consistent way to do it, at least in Richter mode).
The toads and frogs, man. Scary shit. Amazingly, none of them hit me, which is unheard of!
No quick kill on Cerberus. :(
The room after, I use the whip to propel me forward to get some sexy results.
And again in Catacombs. This is one of the areas I'm most proud of, mainly because it's so hard to get through it at all. What I mean is the Lossoths can randomly turn around and shoot fire at me as I'm passing them, and they're strong. In an amazing twist, I got through all of that without getting hit!!! One imp hit me at the end, but that's mainly the result of an uppercut that failed to register, so whatever.
Fast forwarding to Reverse Clock Tower. The game was being a little picky about airdashing in one spot. Blegh.
Reverse Outer Wall. Goddamn hotness!
Long hallway in the Reverse Marble Gallery. I always have a lot of trouble in this room, and I don't know why. Still went fairly well I guess.
Doppleganger40 is what nightmares are made of. There's a super easy strat to take him out, but it's much slower. Basically, what I'm doing here is uppercutting him the exact moment he swings his sword. This is the only time you can hit him with the uppercut without him misting. I do lose time if he mists obviously, but I can still catch him the moment he recovers from it. Despite what you might think, that fight went really well.
Cave sucks. Simply put.
Reverse Catacombs (Floating Catacombs) went about as well as I could have hoped. I missed an air dash in the room before the witches that would've saved me a second or two, and it looks badass, but that's the game being a troll I guess.
Fast forward to Ctulhu room because everything else went about as well as it usually does. The reason and move back to a certain point in the room after my air dashes give me shit is because there's a certain point I need to stand before I start chaining air dashes to be able to get through Ctuhlu without taking damage.
Going back to the Anti-Chapel. The imp room is so scary. There's one certain imp that if I miss him, I'm almost guaranteed to die (I say "almost" because I made it through there once without dying and made a highlight of it because it was that amazing).
Reverse Colloseum. Well, I didn't die I guess. I use an item crash if I miss an air dash as a safeguard because it makes me invincible, and Minotaurs' axes are super strong.
Fast forward to Beelzebub fight. Another fight I'm really proud of. After a while, I found out it's actually faster to use and axe item crash on him and Shaft, so I grab it right before Beelz. Originally, I using two axe crashes on Beelz, then after more testing, I found a surefire way to kill him using just one really well placed crash and an air dash.
Right before entering Bitterfly room pissed me off a bit. The reason that airdash is vital is because I have to get through the Bitterfly room a very specific way. Otherwise, the Bitterflies will tear me a new ass, and this close to the end, I wasn't willing to challenge them.
Fast forward to Shaft. You could say he got "Shafted". YEAAAAAAAAAAAH!
So yeah, sub-28. When I first started running this category, I never have thought I would even get sub-30. Hell, I was bent on submitting at 32-something, so to get this much time shaved off is mind-blowing for me.
And now, to explain a couple things people might be asking...
Hyrdo Storm quick kills: Basically when you use Hydro Storm, it's possible for it to attack twice as fast if you throw a holy water at the right frame. This can save a lot of time if I get a lot of them. On the downside, it's pretty much random because it's frame perfect.
Jumping out of Air Dashes: This is one that got me all excited when I discovered it. Basically, it's possible to jump in the air the moment an air dash ends. I use this a lot to regain height when I'm air dashing sometimes. There's other spots I use it too. It's pretty precise where you can do it, but also pretty lenient. About as lenient as an airdash input I guess.
I hope that covers everything.
In closing, I'd like to thank romscout for coming up with the effective route and just being overall supportive. Cosmo Wright for finding a faster route in the reverse castle. He found a way to skip the need for an extra warp room. I'd also like to thank everyone that watched me while I streamed attempts or kept me company via Skype call. If it wasn't for you guys, I probably wouldn't have gotten this far! Lastly, I'd like to thank the verifiers and Flip for handling the verification. I love you guys! ^_^
PSP single-segment 0:28:51 by Kevin Areopagita.
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A few months ago I watched one of SDA's best runs, Satoryu's 34:34 of Castlevania: SoTN. Amazed at how the game looked and played, I got a copy of Dracula X Chronicles only so I could play SoTN. My first ever CV game was Portrait of Ruin, and I've collected all the DS titles after that, but I've never experienced the masterpiece that is Symphony of the Night until a few months ago. Needless to say I got hooked. Better late than never right?
Before I get into the run comments, I have to thank the following:
This run was done in the PSP version of the game included in Dracula X Chronicles. Apparently, it was based on the Japanese version, with a few alterations here and there to resemble its US PSX counterpart. Luckily for me, the PSP version has a handful of tricks/glitches that are NOT available in the PSX version, so I take full advantage of that.
Here are some of the glitches/tricks used in this run:
Hydrostorm + Holy Water trick- In the Bloodlines Dracula fight, tossing a Holy Water at the right time during a Hydrostorm will cause massive damage in a very short span of time.
Keep Alucard equipment- Simply enter and exit the room where you first encounter Death. The cutscene won't activate and the BGM will stop, then you get to keep all your starting equipment. Originally this was only doable in Luck Mode.
Warp Room trick- Press Up while backdashing at the hole in a warp room. This will make Alucard slide "into" the warp (he'll sort of enter the hole) before the screen fades. Upon reloading in the new warp room, Alucard will be closer to the door. (depending on where you backdash) Although it does save a bit of time to get into the door, I mess up the whole thing in the one and ONLY time I needed to do it.
Outer Wall floor drop- After entering and exitting the CD room leading to the scorpion warp, hold the backdash button and Alucard will get pushed through the floor landing him right in front of the elevator. This saves around 2 seconds.
Relic Heart Refresh Cancel- Not an official name :P Simply open the menu as you obtain a relic. (in this run, the Soul of Bat) Equip a Heart Refresh and hold the appropriate button as you exit the menu. You will automatically use the item, BUT instead of being stuck in its lengthy animation, you will cancel it halfway right when the words "Obtained Soul of Bat" disappear. This allows me to use a Library Card earlier than usual, saving 3 seconds.
Divekick Shortcut- With the Leap Stone and Soul of Bat, pressing Down+R or Down/Forward+R will make Alucard perform a drop kick->bat morph even if you didn't double jump. I use this as a speed boost mostly in the last stretch of the Inverted Castle from Medusa to Dracula.
Library Card Richter Skip- After killing Richter, immediately use a Library card. This version of the Richter Skip is around 1:3x faster than the Wolf Jump one, since you don't have to collect the 2 Wolf Relics. However, not having the Wolf Dash for Inverted Castle dilutes the time saved, especially if the Infinite Wing Smash isn't used.
Shaft Room Skip- If you move towards the entrance of Shaft's room from the left (the gap in the ceiling) as a bat or wolf, the game will unmorph you automatically and you land in the room. After that, touching the left wall will warp you directly to Dracula. This saves around 15+ seconds.
Alucard Shield Combo cancel- Opening the menu while the Alucard Shield Combo is in effect will cancel the effect. I do this after killing bosses so I don't waste MP while shield-dashing.
Originally my goal was simply sub-30 minutes. After realizing that manual timing (from start of control to loss of control) is around 30-40 seconds longer than the in-game clock, I was almost satisfied of an initial 29:47 run. Around 80+ attempts later, I get a NEARLY sub-29 time. (in-game clock was 28:36 after killing Dracula) I submitted that, but I wasn't satisfied. After optimizing my IC route even further and around 60 more attempts, here we are at sub-29.
I hope the mistakes in the first 8 minutes of the run are negligible, since I reach the giant clock room just under 8 minutes. There are a couple of areas where I had trouble activating the wing smash due to being too hasty, some of which cost around 2-4 seconds each. Like they say, haste makes waste..even in speedruns. As for the rest of my big blunders:
The rest of the errors are pretty minor and I don't think I could've shaved off 50+ seconds even if the run was 99% perfect. What would REALLY save alot of time is the Infinite Wing Smash. I hope its absence in the run is tolerable, as I can't execute the trick at all. I've tried pulling off the darn thing so much that I almost think that it's non-existent in the PSP version. If I ever learn to do AND master the trick properly, expect a BIG improvement in the near future.
The run isn't perfect, but if the execution is near-perfect and the infinite wing smash is used for the 6 or so rooms that benefit from it, this run could be 30+ seconds faster, or possibly even sub-28. SoTN has been the most fun game to speedrun so far and I hope you guys enjoyed watching it. :)
Saturn version Single-segment as Maria 0:07:45 by 'wild mouse' on 2015-05-21.
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You can always go faster, it seems. Even after submitting my first sub8 Maria run, I had to keep pushing the category lower. For most of attempts, my route and strategies were the same as Marksoupial's old attempts, and incorporating some of PKSL's movement optimizations. After getting a 7:59 I decided to start exploring new strategies, and here we are again 10 seconds faster, with my personal "good enough" run of 7:49 (RTA).
One of my first optimizations was to jump over Medusa as the fight began, allowing me to kill her from a position closer to the exit. In an RTA timed run, sacrifing this little bit of time before the fight actually saves over a second after the fight due to the quick escape, as the lag generated by the vessel sprites is pretty nasty.
I also independently discovered you can buffer some simple inputs during the transition through blue doors, although I found out shortly after this discovery that it was widely known in the SotN speedrunner community. Despite this, I was able to optimize it for Maria, by buffering a turn and a backdash, which the game applies correctly. This allows you to be propelled forward during an animation in which you briefly lose control of the character.
Next, I was able to save somewhere in the neighborhood of a second during the out-of-bounds clip by going backwards immediately after getting clipped out. How exactly this works involves some weird zipping, but it essentially teleports you a screen's length forward for free.
The last two discoveries go hand-in-hand. First, the Hippogryph fight. It's horrible. His attacks are based on RNG, and not getting crits can easily cost 5 to 10 seconds. Instead of softening him up with some melee damage then casting the fire spell, I started to cast the Four Beasts spell immediately before the fight, then unleashing a fury of uppercuts as he flys. It turned out to be a faster strategy, even if you get bad crit RNG, and has the bonus of killing Hippo on his take off, placing him far from the exit, thus reducing lag during your escape, similar to the Medusa strategy. Unfortunately, I got a pretty bad Hippo fight in this run because I messed up the last uppercut that most likely would have killed him midair. That's two or three seconds that someone can save eventually. Even more time could be saved with god crits here.
The Four Beasts spell is pretty over powered, but it comes at the cost of consuming more mana than the fire spell. I discovered this the hard way later on in my first attempt implementing 4beasts strats when getting to the reverse coloseum. The tried and true RTA strat is to use Guardian Knuckles on the first minotaur. Unfortunately, Maria's faster moves consume a slight bit of mana. It's not much, but it's enough to prevent mana regeneration during some portions of the run. If you go 4beasts on Hippo, cast fire on Medusa, and have perfect uppercuts during the OoB section, you have little to no mana by the time you reach the colosseum, and nowhere near enough to cast Guardian Knuckles. I ended up developing a method of damage boosting through the first minotaur which turned out being faster than casting knuckles, and nearly as fast as TAS.
If I go back to this category, I would love to acheive this level of execution, with a few notable improvements in some areas. The first chapel did not go very well. I meant to follow up my drop kick with a high jump to divekick, but I somehow missed the jump, causing me to slide on the middle platform. Recovery was shaky there. Probably lost a second there. The next notable mistake was in the reverse colosseum. After the room with all the werewolves and minotaurs, there are a series of drop kicks, followed by a slide. My positioning for the slide was bad, and instead of being able to follow it up with another drop kick, I fell into the pit with the life and heart vessels. This was probably less than half a second lost, but still a pain point for me in this run considering I had enough HP to finish the game already. I missed an impressive looking zip in the beginning of reverse Olrox quarters, but not much time loss there. All things considered this was a great run.
Many people have contributed to this run and I wouldn't know who they all are if I tried to thank them individually. The first Maria speedrun I watched was Marksoupial's 8:15. ArukAdo's TAS contains some RTA viable strats that I tried to implement in my attempts. Turbodog702 gave me valuable pointers on Maria's movement and encouraged me to keep pushing my times lower. PKSL optimized a lot of the movement in his emulator runs and was there for many of my attempts, helping me out with frusterating areas. Zexxxxxxx was the first runner to clue me in on the OoB clip after the Medusa fight. TalicZealot contributed to developing a reliable setup for the clip. Thanks to the continued support from my fellow Twitch streamers, to all the watchers of runs and especially to Aaron, Chris, and Willie. I stream all my attempts on my Twitch channel (http://twitch.tv/3snow_p7im). If you want to see more speedruns, be sure to stop by and follow.
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