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Offline Sonic_Reaper

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Re: So... why exactly was SotN such a huge runaway success in 1997?
« Reply #15 on: February 24, 2021, 09:01:39 AM »
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As Darkmoon and others mentioned, it ... wasn't' a runaway success though?
SotN was very much a game that saw "success" over time. Even then, the sales were great, but not amazing by any means.

I remember when I first played it, the intro confused the crap out of me. Being familiar with Bloodlines, I had no idea what was going on. It was only later that I became familiar with Rondo of Blood, and didn't play it for years later through an emulator. Then it all clicked.

But regardless, the intro didn't hamper my enjoyment of the game. But I figure for many fans that didn't play or were familiar with Rondo, the intro was just as confusing. Though in the context of the story, it was an essential to setup the rest of the story.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2021, 09:03:52 AM by Sonic_Reaper »

Offline Darkmoon

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Re: So... why exactly was SotN such a huge runaway success in 1997?
« Reply #16 on: February 24, 2021, 06:25:43 PM »
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Yeah, the game was successful in Japan but it didn't land well in the U.S. and Europe. Common consensus in the West was that the game was "old" and "boring" because it was 2D when "everyone wants 3D". Nevermind the fact that the game was brilliant.

Of course, within a year everyone realized their mistake and the sales of SotN steadily took off. But it wasn't a runaway success by any means.

It's part of why I attribute the success of Circle of the Moon (which was the Million Seller Konami wanted) to SotN: people wanted another shot at the Metroidvania formula and Circle was the first one to strike while the iron was hot.

Offline Flame

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Re: So... why exactly was SotN such a huge runaway success in 1997?
« Reply #17 on: February 28, 2021, 03:47:32 PM »
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A lot of games considered "classics" today were not initially successes, but became that way over time.

That said, if you want to look at why SotN was a success regardless of the fact it was not initially so- it was just a good game. But also a good game in that pre-reflectionist kind of way, if that makes sense. The franchise as a whole post SotN, sort of became self reflective once Konami started trying to replicate it's success. Everything up until it was a slow march of progress (for better or for worse) but also represented the old school way of making games. The sort of wild-west-ness of classic game design. Where everything was a lot more flexible and fast and loose, and you were never guaranteed to have the same people working between one game and the next, and thus tones and directions would be wildly different, and the approach was just to try things and see what sticks. (and the simpler development of sprite based games vs nowadays meant you had way more freedom to experiment- as a Mega Man fan, despite when interviews point out weird development and troubles for classic MM games, we still had a new mainline megaman game every single year between MM1 and 6 Can you imagine making what would be considered a "proper" game, from a big studio, 1 every year, with like 90% new assets every year?)

SotN was yet another differently toned castlevania. It was yet another new idea.

post SotN, or I guess post CotM when they saw that people actually liked that formula, it became *the* Castlevania formula. Basically every castlevania game from there up until LoS was looking *back* at SotN specifically. Whereas pre SotN, what castlevania looked to was the greater classic horror media. Universal Horror obviously always being the big core influence. But Simon's popular media design was clearly Conan the barbarian.

back to SotN itself though, it was elegant, which was somewhat new. Before this it was all mostly universal horror themed, and it had a certain roughness to it, considering you were the rough n tumble belmont on his way to brute force through Dracula's castle. (and other environments, of which the castle was merely one of) SotN though put way greater emphasis on the castle, and Alucard was not the typical Castlevania manly man protagonist. Nor was he the monstrous thin veneer of humanity over a monster archetype of classic horror vampires. He was less Christopher Lee, and more interview with the vampire.

the environment was also way more detailed than previous games. And had some real unique effects. SotN was unlike anything, even the cavalcade of IGAvanias that followed it- SotN is decidedly 90's in some of it's quirks and oddities. future games really dialed in to the gothic elements and anime elements more heavily, while discarding some of the fluff.

Some of that "decidedly 90's" stuff is for instance, the soundtrack. Future games, again, went heavy on the gothic and such, even for music- But for every Requiem for the Gods, or Dracula's own boss theme, you have a track like Wandering Ghosts. or Crystal Teardrops. Which are more jazzy.

I guess the TLDR is it was fresh in a way that you can argue the games haven't really been since, while at the same time, having a lot of content and replay-ability.

not sure if any of my rambling made sense or im just talking out of my ass, but that's my 2 cents as to why SotN was a success in general since it's release. Why it's stuck around so long. (the general gaming public remembers SotN way more than something like, say, Mega Man X4- it had broad appeal while MM was already starting to suffer from stagnation, where really only MM fans paid attention to MM games)
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Offline Darkmoon

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Re: So... why exactly was SotN such a huge runaway success in 1997?
« Reply #18 on: February 28, 2021, 08:00:31 PM »
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That is a well thought out argument, and very true. The one Metroidvania in the franchise (during IGA's tenure, anyway) that feels different from the batch is CotM, and once IGA came in he took the series back to the way he wanted to do it, shunning that game. But it tried different things and, even now, still feels different enough to be a fresh take.

Mind you, I think a number of the IGA-vanias are great, but he has a very different style and his games were minor evolutions on a theme, not revolutionary like SotN.

Offline Flame

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Re: So... why exactly was SotN such a huge runaway success in 1997?
« Reply #19 on: February 28, 2021, 11:04:25 PM »
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Absolutely. the observation that they are all derivative of SotN doesnt diminish them as fun games. But makes SotN stand out more. As that is the game that they all look back to. Which increases it's stature as "the" progenitor, "the" legendary game.

Arguably the only one that to me anyway- stands out, is Aria of Sorrow, where they tried *just enough* of a different idea to break the monotony of SotN derivation. And that example of "actually managing to recapture that lightning in a bottle" (somewhat) is evident in that after SotN, the soul mechanic from Aria has remained. Consider, Bloodstained is basically using the same mechanic. 18 years later. Not order of Ecclesia's mechanic, or PoR's mechanics, Bloodstained takes from SotN obviously- and Aria.

I should say that I was never really a castlevania fan growing up. I can't say I was even *aware* of the franchise at all, focusing mainly on Mega Man.

But I was aware of Aria when it came out, and I remember seeing it and having it stand out to me in the videogame section of stores.
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