Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

From Before I Play
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  • You don't need to buy a spell to be able to use it (just use its movement combo).
  • A lot of the spells aren't very useful, but Soul Steal will let you breeze through most boss battles and some of the tougher regular enemies (giant floating swords, hammer and blade, etc.).
  • The game is pretty good about this for the most part. I'd say you can explore about 95% of the game (the game itself, NOT the percent gauge on the save file) without a guide. If you want to get every room, though, you're going to need outside assistance. You'll probably also need a guide to get the best ending. There are four endings total.
  • If you've never played a metroidvania game before, remember that the point is exploration. Make liberal use of the map as a reference and just explore. It will be patently obvious where the final boss is located when you get there, so don't worry about being blindsided by that.
  • If you don't save often, this game will frustrate you one too many times and you'll end up putting it down.
  • Towards the beginning of the game your goal is mobility. You explore new areas of the castle by finding relics that enhance how high you can jump, or let you fly, or phase through grates. You should be on the lookout for these relics and should remember what new areas they open up once you get them.
  • Depending on your luck (literally luck, not the "luck" stat), a lot of boss fights tend to be extremely easy or extremely hard. There are many items which can totally break the game by making it too easy, but you can choose not to use them.
  • Some items have (fighting games-style) special moves.
  • The goal for total exploration is not 100%.
  • Save points are usually pretty close to where boss rooms are. Save often and prepare to run into a boss without saving for a long time once or twice. If this happens, I just suggest you hit up a walkthrough for the boss as to not lose a lot of progress. It's really annoying.
  • The only familiar worth using is the sword.
  • Attack suspicious-looking walls to find secret passages.
  • Get the gold and silver rings and wear them where the game tells you to.