Castlevania 2: Simon’s Quest on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) – Good or Bad?
Ho Hum. Is It Bad? Is It Good?
With many old Nintendo games, it’s easy to place them in the good or bad category – but Castlevania 2: Simon’s Quest is hard to place. Is this game a good game, or a crappy game? One thing is certain, the box that pops up and interrupts gameplay during the day/night transition sucks complete ass. The villagers in the towns are supposed to give you clues to make the game less cryptic, but their garbled Japanese translations just plain suck. Some of the design elements are terrible, like the invisible stones in the mansions that are downright annoying to walk over. The bosses are cheesy and easy, and the final fight with Dracula is nothing like the blood gushing, heart pounding original game’s epic battle.
The point of the game is to collect all the bones from Dracula, whom you killed in the first game but apparently forgot to dispose of properly. This game should be called Castlevania 2: Simon's Garbage Disposal Problem.
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The Epic Final Boss Battle.
Have Fun Throwing That Holy Water Everywhere You Go
So, It Sucks, Right?
It should be easy to just say that this game sucks, but can we really say that? The Castlevania series is way too close to our gamer hearts to just flat out say that this game sucks. It’s a disappointment, but I still enjoy playing Simon's Quest on my Nintendo despite all of its flaws.
Let’s face it – without help, the game is impossible. You could never beat it. You would never know all the cryptic things that you have to do with various gems, kneeling here and there for various things - etc. Giving garlic to random dudes is weird. Who would know to do that without a clue? The game just has a lot of weirdness to it. The mansions often don’t even have a boss – you just throw a stake at an orb (who the heck would ever know to do that intuitively?). I thought stakes were supposed to be thrown at Dracula.
There are only like 3 bosses in the whole game, and Dracula's mansion is completely empty. I guess there was free pizza in the office that day.You can just walk by Death, so he doesn't even count as a boss.
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Okay, So There Is a Lot of Negativity...
For all the negativity that you can throw at it, the game had some very strong points working in its favor. Castlevania II wasn’t a complete failure. It had RPG elements designed into it – you could level Simon Belmont up during gameplay. That was neat. The music was great, despite the entire length of the soundtrack being under 10 minutes. Short as it is, “Bloody Tears” is considered to be one of the greatest pieces of video game music ever composed. The game has an epic feel to it – a sort of final confrontation with Dracula for our adventurer (the 3rd game in the series was a prequel).
You get various endings depending on how long it takes you to beat the game. That was an interesting design similar to Metroid. Another great thing about the game is the open feel that the game has – it’s not straight up linear. You get choices in how to proceed and where to go, but it isn't all that detailed. It was meant to have a puzzle solving feel, but the designers dropped the ball with the horrible translations. There’s a new edition of the game that has been redisgned to fix all of the flaws, and it’s surprisingly a decent game. Not a great game, mind you – but it is playable.
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But Yeah... It Sucks. No Surprises Here. Just Nostalgia.
Ultimately, do I think this game is horrible? I have to grudgingly say that the game is horrible because of its many flaws. The fact that you absolutely must have clues in order to proceed, and that those clues are not there, just makes the game a joke. When these simple flaws are fixed, though, the game is much better. Have I played through this game and enjoyed it? As a matter of fact, I have. I would only recommend it to the most die hard of Castlevania enthusiasts, because otherwise it's a pretty lame game.
Basically, Konami knew they had a hit with the first game, so they pooped in a bag and wrote "Castlevania 2" on it as fast as they possibly could. If only they had done something called product testing on an American audience... that would've helped a lot.
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