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Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
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.

 

PSP, Alucard run (Single Segment): 0:28:51 by Kevin 'xarugas' 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. :)

PlayStation, Alucard run (Single Segment): 0:34:34 by Chris 'Satoryu' Kirk
commentary available as audio track 2

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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.

Thanks to:

And thank you the viewer for watching. Watch the run, watch it again with the commentary, and enjoy.

PlayStation, Richter run (Single Segment): 0:07:14 by Adam 'Psyrell' Van't Hul

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Well, this is my second time speedrunning Symphony of the Night using Richter. Credit goes to Mike Uyama who let me know that I didn't use the right path the first time around, which eventually brought me to Persona's video. Persona had some useful techniques to get through many of the rooms so credit goes to him as well.

Unfortunately, there were issues between the VCR used to record the video and the VCR used to capture the video, so there is a lot of rolling, and bouncing of the screen. It's quite unsightly, and I apologize but since I don't have my own capture equipment, it's the best we could do.

Now, for the video itself. You might notice that I pick up the Dagger subweapon early on, rather than grabbing the Holy Water. I use the dagger to fight the Hippogryph, which cuts off a few seconds and just looks cool. Otherwise, I run into my first mistake in one of the Chapel Hallways. I poorly judge one of my slide jumps and it puts me right in front of a skeleton, so I try to improvise, and things go a little weird from there. I take a few hits, but other than looking really pathetic, it only takes a few seconds from my time.

My other, rather massive, mistake is in the Castle Keep. I must have started my ascent farther away than usual, and I end up missing a ledge. I was pretty shocked when it happened and it took me a while to recover. Five or so seconds wasted, so there's room for improvement there.

Other than those two mistakes, I only have a few areas where movement wasn't as smooth as I wanted it to be, but overall, it's fairly minor.

Two areas that I think could be done differently are Shaft, and the hallway in the Coliseum that contains the Minotaurs and Werewolves. Rather than using the Hydro Storm to get past them, it might be faster to air dash through the entire room. It would be difficult, but it could save a few seconds. As for Shaft, there might be a way to sneak in some extra attacks to finish him a few seconds quicker.

It's a little hard to stomach the rolling, but otherwise, I hope you enjoy!

Psyrell.

XBLA, Alucard run (Single Segment): 0:29:16 by Andrew 'romscout' 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.

My JustinTV channel: http://www.justin.tv/romscout
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/romscout

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