I just got done playing through SOTN for the first time. It’s considered throughout the internet as the best Castlevania game. I love the Metroidvania genre, playing the crap out of Super Metroid, the original Metroid, more recent games like Traps n’ Gemstones, and games you may not consider to be in the genre like Tomba!
It’s the first Castlevania game that I’ve finished, although I’ve tried to play through Castlevania (I), Dracula’s Curse (III), and Super Castlevania IV a few times without it sticking. I think one problem is that I’ve found the other games to be just too punishing (although I recall Super Castlevania being easier than the other games). I really enjoyed SOTN because the difficulty felt just right to me. Not only were there frequent save locations, but the enemies were often straightforward and avoidable. The bosses had straightforward patterns that were sometimes difficult to determine but fair. I was only frustrated by two of the bosses: Galamoth and Dracula, himself.
I found the voice acting and dialogue, in general, to be poor and almost funny, but I appreciate the attempt. I’ve watched SOTN speedruns in the past, and it’s nice to finally experience some of the gameplay myself. My favorite boss was probably Galamoth, as I wound up using a technique to beat him that required a good amount of precision (and I had to retry this battle the most by far). My least favorite boss was “The Creature”, some Frankenstein’s monster rip-off. It died in about 5-hits. That’s one complaint I have about the game. The bosses seem to vary incredibly widely in HP (unless it’s just that I was just using the wrong weapons to battle them).
I’m very happy to have made the time to go back and experience this classic.