Castlevania Symphony of the Night
Image: Damien McFerran / Time Extension

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is one of the jewels of the PlayStation catalogue. Released in 1997, it took the core gameplay of the Castlevania series and skillfully combined it with the non-linear exploration of Super Metroid while adding RPG elements such as experience points and equipment. The end result was one of the most influential video games of the 1990s – and a whole new genre, the 'Metroidvania'.

Symphony of the Night wasn't exclusive to Sony's system, however; Konami also released it on the Sega Saturn, complete with additional modes and levels – but the poor performance of that console in the West meant that it never got released outside of Japan.

In a roundabout way, this was something of a blessing as the Saturn version wasn't quite as good as the PlayStation one, due to the porting process being handled by Konami's short-lived Nagoya studio – but even so, the fact that such a legendary game was denied an English-language release still grates on fans to this day.

Thankfully, the community has finally found a way to make this a reality via a special patch which not only translates the game's text, but also adds some much-needed enhancements, too. The translation project for the game has been active for quite some time, but this new patch creates the 'ultimate' version as it is combined with other features which improve the game's overall playability and visuals.

Using the PSP version as its template, this patch for Dracula X: Nocturne in the Moonlight (the game's Japanese title) reduces load times, fixes bugs and even allows you to use the Saturn's 4MB RAM cartridge. Transparency effects which were missing from the original port are restored as much as possible, while certain sprites have been resized so they more accurately match those in the PlayStation version.

Here's a full list of the changes:

  • Full translation into English
  • Restoring the translucency of many objects
  • Direct access to the global map
  • Finalization of the global map
  • Restoring the original proportions of some sprites
  • Removing horizontal blacks
  • Skip videos and dialogues
  • Access to Richter's alternate costume
  • Reduced loading time
  • Supports 4MB expansion card
  • Bug fixes
  • Hard mode

The patch is available here. You can apply it to the game and play via emulation, or run it on original hardware using an ODE, like the Satiator.