As it was in one of its inspirations in Castlevania II: Simon's Quest, Symphony's is a largely nonlinear experience. In that vein, you can travel to and from any castle location as you so please assuming you're able to meet certain goals. The castle is broken up into several areas, each populated with anywhere from 0-2 bosses of differing nature (mandatory confrontations and those meant for storyline advancement). Throw in the upside-down castle and you've got plenty of ground to cover. It's due to the sheer amount of information that I'm using two pages to cover this title. Too, as a preamble to the main mission, the game starts with you controlling Richter in sort of a pre-mission measuring stick, which is covered separately. Any Saturn-exclusive stages will be shown last in the order, and any other of its unique elements will be noted.

     
 
"Final Stage"
 

The opening of Symphony takes you back to the end of Rondo of Blood--a game that's ending was missed because our U.S. replacement, Castlevania: Dracula X, didn't recognize Shaft or Maria's proper place in the storyline--thus the "Final Stage." So as a recreation of the events that happened four years before, you control Richter in the castle keep for that final fateful battle with Dracula. The area is the same as you'll encounter later on, with a hidden stairway leading to some power-ups that'll transfer to Alucard's mission if collected. This is a test, however, to judge how you'll start that real mission. A bad performance here (read: you needed Maria's help) will lead to mediocre stats to start to the game.

         

Lesser Enemies: None
Boss: Dracula and Dracula's Ghost
Music Track: Prologue
     

Castle Areas

     
 
Castle Entrance
 

The castle entrance encompasses those famous castle halls. At first, the place seems abandoned, the thunder storm and strong winds accentuating the quiet atmosphere, and the place is guarded only by a few Wargs. But the castle soon comes alive when you enter. The opening structures will be familiar, and they'll be no surprises early on. A big wall will block the the center area between the two halls, as usual, and the fishmen will crowd the watery lower half. In the courtyard area, you'll have your first meeting with Death before exiting into the next area.

         

Lesser Enemies: Warg, Zombie, Bat, Blade, Bloody Zombie, Bone Scimitar, Gurkha, Merman and Owl Knight
Boss: None
Music Track: Dracula's Castle
Richter (Saturn): Bloody Tears
Maria (Saturn): Vampire Killer (Remix 2)
     

     
 
Alchemy Lab
 

This is, no doubt, a lab used for evil experiments and the creation of new torture devices. This area has a lot of long vertical shafts, and it has switches that make spikes rise and lower from the ground--this acting as a puzzle element. Most of the latter chambers of the lab are maze-like, within which you'll have to navigate narrow paths guarded by axe knights, spittle bones and the deceptive blood skeletons. The area contains exits back to the castle entrance, the Marble Gallery and the Royal Chapel.

         

Lesser Enemies: Axe Knight, Blood Skeleton, Bloody Zombie, Bone Scimitar, Skeleton and Spittle Bone
Boss: Slogra and Gaibon
Music Track: Dance of Gold
     

     
 
Marble Gallery
 

The Marble Gallery is a rather large area, built around a clock room that's sandwiched between two halls that are filled with grandfather clocks; this is where you'll meet Maria the first time. You'll meet Maria again in this area once you discover the secret of the rings and their connection to the clock room. The place was designed to be Dracula's own personal museum, which will give you a glimpse of the creativity of the chaotic evil surrounding the castle. It exits into the Outer Wall, Olrox's Quarters and the Underground Cavern.

         

Lesser Enemies: Axe Knight, Ctulhu, Diplocephalus, Fleaman, Ghost, Marionette, Ouija Table, Plate Lord, Slinger, Skelerang, Skeleton and Stone Rose
Boss: None
Saturn and PSP Boss: Maria Renard
Music Track: Marble Gallery
Marble Gallery Pit: The Door to the Abyss
     

     
 
Outer Wall
 

The Outer Wall is just one long vertical area. Sometimes it rains so much that the whole area becomes consumed by a fog--only exiting and reentering the area can offset this. The only novelty here is a telescope at the bottom of the area which lets you see the Ferryman floating along the sea from afar. The biggest danger in this area is the yellow Medusa heads, which can stone you long enough so that the more powerful enemies can devastate you with their attacks. From here, you can exit into the Long Library, Clock Tower or the Marble Gallery.

         

Lesser Enemies: Armor Lord, Axe Knight, Bone Archer, Bone Musket, Medusa Head, Skeleton, Skeleton Ape, Spear Guard, Sword Lord and Yellow Medusa Head
Boss: Doppelganger10
Music Track: Tower of Mist
     

     
 
Long Library
 

There are more books here than in half the country, I'd guess. The layout of the library is a little maze-like, with areas that closely resemble each other. The Master Librarian can be found here, and he'll sell you many good--some of which are necessary to completing the game. Early on, you'll find a lot of out-of-reach platforms; when you find double-jump relic, you'll be able to reach the library's storage room, where all of the area's stronger enemies reside. The library exits only back to the Outer Wall.

         

Lesser Enemies: Corpseweed, Dhuron, Ectoplasm, Flea Armor, Fleaman, Magic Tome, Mudman, Spellbook and Thornweed
Boss: Lesser Demon
Music Track: Wood Carving Partita
     

     
 
Clock Tower
 

The actual clock tower is preceded by a heavily guarded split path, with a collapsing bridge. If the bridge collapses before you can complete a jump, you'll have to exit at screen's bottom and try again. The tower itself is three separate vertical chambers with moving gears and tons of Medusa Heads--you've seen this whole area before if you've played Rondo of Blood. A pendulum room lurks afterward, a true maze of broken stairways and heavily equipped enemies. The tower exits into the Castle Keep and back to the Outer Wall. You'll fight a boss where you fought Shaft's Ghost in Rondo.

         

Lesser Enemies: Cloaked Knight, Flail Guard, Flea Armor, Harpy, Medusa Head, Sword Lord, Phantom Skull, Skull Lord and Yellow Medusa Head
Boss: Karasuman
Music Track: The Tragic Prince
     

     
 
Underground Cavern
 

No matter where you enter into the cavern, you'll find that this is an area of similar-looking caves, rocky or ice, and vertical chambers. As a whole, the caverns are mostly water-filled, which will require the help of the Ferryman (who you saw using the telescope in the Outer Wall) to cross over some chasms. This is necessary because you probably haven't yet found the relic that lets you move freely in the water. You can exit to the castle entrance, the Marble Gallery and the Abandoned Mine from here.

         

Lesser Enemies: Bone Archer, Fishhead, Frog, Frozen Shade, Killer Fish, Scylla Wyrm, Skeleton Ape, Spear Guard and Toad
Boss: (1) Scylla, (2) Succubus
Music Track: Crystal Teardrops
     

     
 
Royal Chapel
 

Dracula's castle actually includes its own church, with a number of bell towers. It's mostly upward, so you'll have to climb on the giant bells, aged wooden platforms and attic-like structures. Each tower is connected to another by a narrow hall filled with some of the more trickier enemies. The chapel even has its own confession room--a trap that sees a ghostly priest stab you when you confess your sins. It exits into the Castle Keep, The Colosseum and the Alchemy Lab.

         

Lesser Enemies: Bat, Black Crow, Blue Raven, Bone Halberd, Bone Pillar, Corner Guard, Hunting Girl, Skelerang, Spectral Sword and Winged Guard
Boss: Hippogryph
Music Track: Requiem for the Gods
Confession Room Track: Confession
     

     
 
Castle Keep
 

Moving platforms will take you from the Clock Tower's end upward toward the famous stairway, which has been destroyed from a four-year holdover. Dracula doesn't await you here, however, as you'll be facing Richter himself in the throne room. This bottom part of this area is accessible earlier, and it includes castle ruins area, complete with eagles and fleamen (flea riders), and a short den that serves as the keep's last line of defense--axe lords act as that defense. This area exits into the Royal Chapel and the Clock Tower.

         

Lesser Enemies: Axe Knight and Flea Rider
Boss: Richter Belmont
Music Track: Heavenly Doorway
     

     
 
Olrox's Quarters
 

Being a fellow vampire, Olrox gets his own area of the castle. To get to the heart of this area, you'll have to pass through a couple of rooms filled with advanced knights and make your way up and around the spikey dungeon that's guarded by bloody zombies. All of the horizontal chambers (one of which is the part of stage 4 from the first game--namely Franky's cave area) here branch into an outside, wide-open area--the castle center, complete with fountain and Villa. Olrox is hiding in one of those branching caves. This exits back to the Marble Gallery and into the Colosseum.

         

Lesser Enemies: Blade, Hammer Knight, Bloody Zombie, Valhalla Knight, Skelerang and Spectral Sword
Boss: Olrox and Olrox 2
Music Track: Dance of Pales
     

     
 
Colosseum
 

Dracula needs entertainment, and this is where poor saps have to battle each other for his enjoyment. As you deduce from the background's art and tone, many of the more armed enemies are found here. The quirk of the Colosseum is that it contains many long horizontal chambers that are absolutely packed with enemy combinations--this castle area will eat you alive if you're not ready. When you figure out which is the correct path, you'll meet Richter for the first time, and you'll battle his henchmen after he flees. Places this area exits to: The Royal Chapel and Olrox's Quarters. (Special note: As you can see in the fourth image, the remains of the Behemoth from the preceding Dracula X titles can be seen.)

         

Lesser Enemies: Armor Lord, Blade Soldier, Axe Lord, Blade Master, Bone Musket, Bone Scimitar, Hunting Girl, Owl Knight, Paranthropus, Plate Lord, Valhalla Knight and Grave Keeper
Boss: Werewolf and Minotaurus
Music Track: Wandering Ghosts
     

     
 
Abandoned Mine
 

These dark, dreary caves have been destroyed from years of neglect. It's basically downward, a few caves branching left or right. Climbing back up to the area's entrance will be the only real challenge. Gauging the background graphics, you can assume that Dracula's enslaved worked themselves to death to carve out the smaller caves of this area. Its only real exit is into the Catacombs, but you can also go back up to the Underground Cavern, which is the place from which you came.

                    

Lesser Enemies: Corpseweed, Gremlin, Salem Witch, Thornweed and Venus Weed
Boss: Cerberos
Music Track: Abandoned Pit
     

     
 
Catacombs
 

These are likely caves where misfits and deviant religious folk gathered for worship of their dark lord--some of which you can see entombed in the background. It's incredibly hot, as you'd expect being this far underground, so expect enemies of the like. A large chunk of the area is inaccessible at first since it's connected by a maze of spikes that can only be navigated in bat form; also, the room is pitch black, so you'll need to find a source of light. When you're finished here, you can only exit back to the Abandoned Mines.

         

Lesser Enemies: Blood Skeleton, Bone Ark, Discus Lord, Grave Keeper, Hellfire Beast, Large Slime, Lossoth, Slime, Thornweed and Wereskeleton
Boss: Granfalloon
Music Track: Rainbow Cemetery
     

Saturn-Exclusive Areas

     
 
Cursed Prison
 

The prison is a strange connector area that has been sewn in between the lowest floor of the Marble Gallery and the upper half of the Underground Cavern. If you enter from the Gallery's lower entrance, you'll only be to trek through the initial hall; the next room, you'll find, is blocked off by a steel gate. When you hit the switch in the upper part of the Gallery that opens up the sealed floors, you can sneak into the Prison and open the steel gate from the other side. The area itself is that initial hall--filled with a lot of ghoulish, nearly transparent visions--followed by the large one-room prison, a heavily guarded zigzagging nightmare where the prime visual is the remains of the many unfortunate people who have been sent to die here. Overall, this area is pointless in the grand scheme, unless you want a "shortcut" from the Gallery to the Underground Cavern--you could just as soon skip over it.

                    

Lesser Enemies: Gargoyle, Specter, Will-o'-Wisp, Bone Archer, Spear Guard and Slinger
Boss: None
Music Track: Chaconne C'Moll
     

     
 
Underground Garden
 

When you hit that switch in the upper part of the Marble Gallery, it'll also open a secret panel by the drawbridge in the Castle Entrance. It leads here, to the Garden. The first large room is a neglected courtyard, where you'll find damaged sculptures--spawned from these are some hellish-looking gargoyles. It also has its own little lake with what's left of an overpass bridge; the water foes will take advantage of its openings. A strange tree creature guards a save room and an upper path that leads to a greenhouse; it's in here where the castle's deadly plant life is grown via a system that's guarded by the resident gardeners. The liquid dripping from the pipes and onto the plants will surely damage the heroes. After two rooms of greenhouse madness, a boss awaits you in a rather serene setting highlighted by a gazebo.

                    

Lesser Enemies: Red Gargoyle, Skeleton Breeder, Slinger, Water Leaper, Jinnunja, Thornweed, Gardener and Corpseweed
Boss: Skeleton Leader
Music Track: Vampire Killer (Remix 1)
     

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