#1 Posted by BisonHero (6531 posts) -

I don't have a lot of personal knowledge of Symphony of the Night (that's the first Castlevania with permanent upgrades that you explore to find, right?). SotN seems like one of those Earthbound sort of games where apparently it is well regarded, but somehow nobody I knew at the time was talking about it at all, so I don't know any of the specifics about what kind of explore-for-upgrades stuff it has. And I haven't played any other recent Castlevania games on the DS or whatever, so my knowledge of the series pretty much ends at Super Castlevania IV.

I ask because of all the recent Metroidvania games I've seen over the past 5-10 years, the exploration/upgrade game design seems to pretty much match what was in Super Metroid. So did Castlevania actually add some new element to that formula, or was SotN pretty much "Super Metroid with a melee character in a castle"? I'd like to know if if the "-vania" part of "Metroidvania" was added just because it was the 2nd series to adopt that style, or because it legitimately added some influential ideas to that style.

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#2 Posted by sodacat (217 posts) -

Simon's Quest was the first Castlevania like that, but it was super obscure and esotetic (a lot like the first Metroid, really). Honestly the two series don't have much in common. The IGAvanias (those with loot collecting) have been about collecting that loot and leveling up. Metroid on the other hand has remained about speedrunning. In IGA's CVs you poke corners to add to your item list. In Metroid you do it to find a more efficient way of 100%ing the game in the fastest time.

#3 Posted by BisonHero (6531 posts) -

@sodacat said:

In Metroid you do it to find a more efficient way of 100%ing the game in the fastest time.

While obviously there is a tradition of speedrunning in the Metroid series, and finding sequence breaks and all that, the vast majority of players do not play the Metroid series in the way you describe. I'd go so far as to say that not only do players not play it that way, they also don't think of the series in that way, as some sort of high score game where you're always trying to exceed your previous best effort.

The Metroidvania concept I'm referring to is the fact that in both series, there is an element of "You can stroll into a boss fight one of two ways: somewhat unprepared because you've been skimming your way through the game, or very well prepared because you spent some extra time poking around everywhere, getting every max ammo upgrade, health upgrade, damage upgrade, etc." The two series have that element in common, despite their differences.

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#4 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

Some? It added RPG elements and upside down castles.

#5 Posted by Brodehouse (9950 posts) -

As much as I like Castlevania and Symphony in particular, basically nothing. They added leveling and loot.

#6 Posted by StarvingGamer (8244 posts) -
@Brodehouse
As much as I like Castlevania and Symphony in particular, basically nothing. They added leveling and loot.
Those 2 things are important, especially the loot part imo.

In a Metroid game we know exactly what kind of kit you're running with based on your progression into the game. In most Castlevania games post SotN it's impossible to know because of the myriad weapons/attacks you may or may not have acquired.

Farming for a Crissaegrim ia very Castlevania concept that can drastically alter the way you play.
#7 Posted by Anupsis (293 posts) -

@BisonHero: Do yourself a favor and play Symphony of the Night on Xbox live arcade or playstation network. I played it when it came out on xbox and it is one of my favourite games. Not enough games like that in my opinion.

#8 Posted by ZeForgotten (10397 posts) -

The "Vania" part of "Metroidvania" 
Other than that I guess there's loot and levels and vampires.. I dunno. 

#9 Posted by Superkenon (1436 posts) -

I think the term 'Metroidvania' came out when people played Castlevania and one day realized "this is fucking Metroid."

#10 Posted by stonepawfox (236 posts) -

it added A MISERABLE LITTLE PILE OF SECRETS

#11 Posted by wjb (1662 posts) -

It's more fun to say Metroidvania than Metroid-esque/Metroid-ish.

#12 Posted by Nottle (1914 posts) -

@Brodehouse said:

As much as I like Castlevania and Symphony in particular, basically nothing. They added leveling and loot.

Though I think those 2 things can go a long way.

@BisonHero: Yeah it basically added loot and leveling, also the upside down castle was pretty cool, and I enjoy the cheesy story. The spells were also pretty cool. To be honest I think every metroidvania should have leveling. I'd say Metroid created it, castlevania refined it, Shadow Coplex perfected it.

#13 Posted by Ravenlight (8040 posts) -

How much did Castlevania add to the Metroidvania formula?

Half.

#14 Posted by ArbitraryWater (11739 posts) -

You use the shield rod's special ability with the Alucard Shield and then you break the last 20% of the game.

That's most of it, really.

#15 Posted by CornBREDX (5295 posts) -

*Spoilers* but when you first complete SOTN (or DID YOU?) the castle turns upside down! 
 
But ya, its about half and half. Both have that exploration feel, the map, collectible power ups that block new areas, and what not.

#16 Posted by ExplodeMode (852 posts) -

It added RPG elements to the formula about 10 years ahead of the 'add rpg elements to everything' curve so now it probably doesn't seem like they did a lot, but at the time it was a big deal.

#17 Posted by sodacat (217 posts) -

@BisonHero said:

@sodacat said:

In Metroid you do it to find a more efficient way of 100%ing the game in the fastest time.

While obviously there is a tradition of speedrunning in the Metroid series, and finding sequence breaks and all that, the vast majority of players do not play the Metroid series in the way you describe. I'd go so far as to say that not only do players not play it that way, they also don't think of the series in that way, as some sort of high score game where you're always trying to exceed your previous best effort.

I don't think your "vast majority" claim pans out. Talk to metroid fans about their memories of Super Metroid and they're going to bring up speed running eventually. Plus, never mind how they are played, look at how they are designed. The only Castlevania game that even cared how long you took to play the game was Rondo of Blood. Meanwhile every first-party Metroid game, back to the original, had reward endings based on how quickly you completed the game.

#18 Posted by c0l0nelp0c0rn1 (1807 posts) -

It added the second half of the portmanteau.

#19 Posted by Brodehouse (9950 posts) -

@StarvingGamer said:

@Brodehouse
As much as I like Castlevania and Symphony in particular, basically nothing. They added leveling and loot.
Those 2 things are important, especially the loot part imo. In a Metroid game we know exactly what kind of kit you're running with based on your progression into the game. In most Castlevania games post SotN it's impossible to know because of the myriad weapons/attacks you may or may not have acquired. Farming for a Crissaegrim ia very Castlevania concept that can drastically alter the way you play.

In terms of making Castlevania better, absolutely. In terms of defining the term Metroidvania, I dunno. The random loot and levelling isn't necessarily required, Shadow Complex lacked the loot, Shadow Planet lacked both in fact. It absolutely adds to it, but I don't think it's a required element. Arcing spells around cover in Mass Effect make it a better cover based shooter, but if you took it out I will still call it a cover based shooter.

Ultimately I put Metroidvania as a wide open map that you can increasingly explore as you gain new abilities handed out through story progression. I've also heard it called Legend of Metroidvania for those same reasons. You can add stuff to it (loot, levels, side quests, minigames) but that core is key.

Also, modern day Legend of Metroidvania would be called Arkham Complexsiders.

#20 Posted by BisonHero (6531 posts) -

@sodacat said:

@BisonHero said:

@sodacat said:

In Metroid you do it to find a more efficient way of 100%ing the game in the fastest time.

While obviously there is a tradition of speedrunning in the Metroid series, and finding sequence breaks and all that, the vast majority of players do not play the Metroid series in the way you describe. I'd go so far as to say that not only do players not play it that way, they also don't think of the series in that way, as some sort of high score game where you're always trying to exceed your previous best effort.

I don't think your "vast majority" claim pans out. Talk to metroid fans about their memories of Super Metroid and they're going to bring up speed running eventually. Plus, never mind how they are played, look at how they are designed. The only Castlevania game that even cared how long you took to play the game was Rondo of Blood. Meanwhile every first-party Metroid game, back to the original, had reward endings based on how quickly you completed the game.

Metroid superfans are not representative of the millions of people that have played through a Metroid game a couple of times just for the hell of it, with little to no concern for their completion time.

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#21 Posted by Redbullet685 (6044 posts) -

@Ravenlight said:

How much did Castlevania add to the Metroidvania formula?

Half.

I was gonna be a smart-ass and say this. Well then, I guess I'll have to give a real answer to the question. Uh, Castlevania added loot and character leveling. Two very important things if I say so myself.

#22 Posted by jaycrockett (451 posts) -

Castlevania's have leveling, loot, and some sort of extra 'system' (sub weapons/glyphs/spells/souls etc) that allow you to change the way you play to suit your own style.

Also sometimes there are fake endings.

#23 Posted by phrali (646 posts) -

metroids have had alternate endings since the first game

#24 Posted by Dalai (7030 posts) -

@Redbullet685 said:

@Ravenlight said:

How much did Castlevania add to the Metroidvania formula?

Half.

I was gonna be a smart-ass and say this. Well then, I guess I'll have to give a real answer to the question. Uh, Castlevania added loot and character leveling. Two very important things if I say so myself.

Then I'll be the smart-ass and say it only added about 41.67%

#25 Posted by buzz_killington (3532 posts) -

@Ravenlight said:

How much did Castlevania add to the Metroidvania formula?

Half.

I see you misundertood. He was talking about the Metroidvania formula for that particular kind of 2D platformer. He was not talking about the word Metroidvania itself. Don't worry about it. It happens. Just learn from your past mistakes and try your best.

#26 Posted by dudeglove (7854 posts) -

Didn't Castlevania have a map before Metroid did?

#27 Posted by Cincaid (2956 posts) -

Somewhat off-topic, but I hate the term Metroidvania.

#28 Posted by Hunkulese (2724 posts) -

Still waiting for castleroid to catch on.

#29 Posted by NoelVeiga (1099 posts) -

@dudeglove said:

Didn't Castlevania have a map before Metroid did?

Nope. Map starts in Metroid 2, IIRC.

People downplay how much the RPG elements change the formula in this thread, I think. Depending on the game they go from letting you select the attacks you have, to mixing and matching collectible cards to create new effects. That's an entire new level of collectibles and progression on top of the Zelda-esque "find item to open new section" structure of Metroid. Then there's all the alternate endings, optional completion rates and open ended design. Ultimately Metroid is an action game first and foremost, the 2D-RPG Castlevanias have action in them, but there's more to it than that.

I do agree that the term is used too loosely, though. Metroidvania is a name people gave those Castlevania games, but not all nonlinear platform games are like the Castlevania games. Shadow Complex is like Metroid, but not like Castlevania (in that it lacks RPG elements), while Dust is very close to a "Metroidvania".

#30 Posted by BisonHero (6531 posts) -

@Cincaid said:

Somewhat off-topic, but I hate the term Metroidvania.

I think that's fairly on-topic, especially when the term gets used way too liberally. Also, since both of those series already have nonsense words for names, the combination is especially stupid sounding.

@NoelVeiga said:

I do agree that the term is used too loosely, though. Metroidvania is a name people gave those Castlevania games, but not all nonlinear platform games are like the Castlevania games. Shadow Complex is like Metroid, but not like Castlevania (in that it lacks RPG elements), while Dust is very close to a "Metroidvania".

Agreed. Shadow Complex is like Metroid, Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet is like Metroid. Most of the games that the GB staff Quick Look are much closer to the Metroid style than the Metroidvania style.

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