The good news is that Symphony of the Night is available on multiple platforms and relatively easy to track down. However, that can make finding the definitive version a daunting task for new fans. One version stands above the rest, but you’d be surprised to discover that — despite what retro gaming purists might insist — it’s not the original PlayStation or Sega Saturn releases. While the PlayStation version does hold up nearly a quarter-century after its release, a physical copy of Symphony is prohibitively expensive.
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night was a revolutionary game when it was released on the PlayStation in 1997. In addition to inspiring the Metroidvania gameplay style, it forever changed the Castlevania franchise. That’s illustrated by the recent Castlevania Advance Collection, consisting of three games heavily influenced by Symphony of the Night, which may inspire players to track down a copy of Symphony of the Night.
However, while the Xbox Live version of Symphony of the Night port is a good option, the best version of the game on a modern console has to be the PlayStation 4 version included in the Castlevania Requiem collection. Castlevania Requiem is really a repackaging of the version previously released as part of Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles for the PSP. This version of Symphony of the Night is closer to the infamous Sega Saturn release, which was never released stateside and suffered some significant performance issues. Requiem restores some of those features, such as a playable Maria Renard, as well as running the smoothest of any other port of Symphony.
As an added bonus, Requiem pairs Symphony of the Night with the PC Engine version of Rondo of Blood, which was previously unreleased in the U.S. Its console exclusivity is really the only downside here, as Requiem is only available on PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 5, where it can be played via backwards compatibility. The PS5 does offer 60 FPS gameplay and 1080p resolution, though. Still, that isn’t even a limiting factor for playing Symphony of the Night these days. For those outside of the home console ecosystem, there’s a perfectly serviceable port on iOS and Android that is also based on the Dracula X Chronicles version of the game. As a mobile game, it’s the most accessible and cheapest version of Symphony of the Night. While it does offer some cumbersome touch controls, it does offer controller support if you have a device that can pair with your phone.