That One Room in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

Time to confess.

In Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, many mysterious rooms lie within the shape shifting walls of Castle Dracula. Breakable walls, secret paths, and easter eggs litter the map, but there’s one particular room that has always stuck out to me for its eerie atmosphere and unpredictability.

Housed within the Royal Chapel is a small room containing an empty confession booth. The vibe is immediately unsettling due in part to a piece of music that sounds more like creepy, midi church bells than any of the rip-roaring Michiru Yamane tunes that you’ve grown accustomed to. Sitting at either side of the booth summons a ghostly apparition (a priest or a confessor depending on the side) that will either reward you with a healing item, or viciously attack you with all manner of sharp weapons. To drive home that feeling of uneasiness even harder, the outcome is random.

It’s a striking moment that doesn’t serve any major purpose other than to exist as a brief, exciting piece of environmental storytelling. It’s to be expected that Dracula’s castle would be filled with hostility at nearly every turn, but the tonal shift to something more quiet and foreboding makes this one particular room stand out to me. This isn’t something that you can easily solve with your sword or a few extra levels.

I’ve played Symphony of the Night dozens of times by now; it’s my favorite game of all time. But there’s something about the confession room that always unnerves me in the best way. Its melancholic dread is palpable, and I can’t stop thinking about it.

By Joshua Delaney

Joshua Delaney is a freelance writer with a passion for games and the emotions they can bring out of a person. He also loves metroidvanias and shoot ‘em ups, and you can see what kick he’s on over at his Twitter @jarshzone

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