Last year I highlighted the main themes from each Castlevania game released before Symphony of the Night. It was just a look back at the music from the “classic” era of the series. This time, continuing on from there, here are the main themes from each of the more exploration-based Castlevanias (or “Metroidvanias”), starting with Symphony of the Night and ending with Order of Ecclesia.
And be sure the check out last year’s post here: The Music of Castlevania
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
“Dracula’s Castle” – Michiru Yamane
Alucard entered the darkened hallway of his father’s domain as this rocking tune played in the background, and a new era of Castlevania began.
While this wasn’t the first time Michiru Yamane scored a Castlevania game, this was the one that earned her recognition, and she had been associated with the series ever since.
Castlevania: Circle of the Moon
“Awake” – Sotaru Tojima
Circle of the Moon was released as a launch title for the Game Boy Advance in 2001. It was the first game I bought when I got the system, and I remember being blown away by the choir singing on the title screen. Having previously owned an original Game Boy and Game Boy Color, I wasn’t used to hearing that kind of sound quality coming out of a portable game system.
The game is often criticized for having bland graphics and simple animations, and that’s usually attributed to the system’s power being spent on the audio. But the music truly is incredible, and it’s the best sounding of all the Castlevania games released for the GBA.
Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance
“Successor of Fate (Juste Belmont’s Theme, Variation)” – Soshiro Hokkai
On the other end of the spectrum, we have Harmony of Dissonance. Unlike the previous game, the graphics were pretty impressive this time, but the music took a big hit. The sequencing actually does sound like something coming from the original Game Boy, and the compositions have a bit of an “unpleasant” tone to them. Then again, with a name like “Harmony of Dissonance,” maybe it was intentional.
Despite the sound quality of most of the game, the main theme did have a fully orchestrated version that played during the credits, and that’s the version I’ve included here. Too bad the rest of the music couldn’t sound this good.
Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow
“Ruined Castle Corridor” – Michiru Yamane
Aria of Sorrow found the best balance between the two extremes of the previous games. It looked and sounded great all around.
As I write this, it’s been several years since I’ve played this one, but I seem to remember thinking that the soundtrack didn’t quite have the energy of previous Castlevania games. Maybe I’m just remembering wrong, but this main theme is still great as usual.
Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow
“Pitch Black Intrusion” – Masahiko Kimura
Moving on to more powerful hardware, Dawn of Sorrow on the Nintendo DS was able to combine great graphics with fantastic audio. It was a real treat for the senses, and exemplified why fans wanted a new 2D Castlevania game on a home console.
Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin
“Invitation of a Crazed Moon” – Yuzo Koshiro
Legendary composer Yuzo Koshiro (Ys, Streets of Rage, Etrian Odyssey) was brought on to contribute to Portrait of Ruin‘s soundtrack, including the main theme. In my opinion, his classic style fits the series perfectly.
Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia
“An Empty Tome” – Michiru Yamane
And just as she was a part of its beginning, Yamane rings out the era of “Metroidvania.” Not the most memorable of Castlevania soundtracks, but as usual, still pretty good.