Wait no, not that one. Not Simon’s Quest. I meant my second Castlevania article. But sure, let’s talk Simon’s Quest.
For starters it is a total outlier to the series and single handedly almost destroyed my previous article everytime I thought about it. It’s closer to Symphony of the Night than it is to Castlevania. To clarify games back then, they uh… didn’t care if it was a sequel. They treated it like a new game. Usually that means everything is different.
Take Zelda to Zelda 2, a top down isometric adventure turning into a ball squezingly hard sidescroller. There are other differences in there as well like magic and whatever, but this is the Castlevania article. Just felt that was a poignant example so back to Drac.
I know the cool thing is to say this game suck, and so the counter culture vibe is to say it’s good. How about neither of those options? How about it’s just okay. It’s a playable game, with some changes. It’s not particularly fun, but it’s not particularly hard. Sure it’s cryptic.
Sound life advice, I mean I do it, just not sure how to pull it off in game. Yes most dialogue was like this. Yes it was confusing. Did we all forget that we usually played these games when we were like 5 or at the most 10. Any dialogue would have been either confusing or emersion ruining blunt. Would you honestly expect random villagers to have the answers to beat Dracula? Exactly. Also if you played it back then, get a strategy guide. They had a full run down in Nintendo Power. Our local library had every issue, I bet you’re did too. Or call that power support number. They could have helped. You had options. Playing it today, well there is the internet.
I know everyone brings this up. Everyone likes to complain about the tornado. I’ve figured out more convoluted things in games on accident. See games are not straight forward often it’s trail and error. Trying everything everywhere is how these old games expected you to play. I am not saying that makes it okay, just saying that makes it excusable. We can’t view these games as more than they are. These were shakey times. Sorry if they experimented with new ideas and they didn’t hit the ground perfectly. The enemies were more random in placement making them more interesting to walk through. Also you needed to kill lots of them for money hearts to buy stuff to progress. In fact I’d say it’s no more trail and error than Zelda 2. Unless you knew that you had to find Bagu in the woods, get his note, and then be able to cross the bridge in that river town. Oh and find the wise man’s daughter’s mirror under the table in the same town so you can learn heal. Because you knew all that right? The game sure as shit won’t tell you. All you ever hear is Zelda 2 is hard. The never call it sloppy or poorly made. Yet it’s very much like Castlevania 2 in so many regards.
Double standards much you video game critics. It’s almost as if you saw a funny video 12 years ago and now treat it like gospel truth. Play the game yourself and judge it.
I mean yeah, good point I don’t know what half that stuff does either. That said I love finding out. Adventure games can be more than a linear progression to the finish. That is what happens when you use to many FAQs. Walkthroughs and the like have made most people view adventure games very differently. Well that and the additional story elements we get now. Almost all but gone are the days of just exploring and poking about every inch to find a secret or just the way out.
Crawling through castles and seeking out orbs and body parts. Ya know just another day for a Belmont. Castlevania 2 started to bring the narative to the forefront. This is when they decided to be more than a one off. It started the Castlevania Anthology of stories that are still going to this day. Granted a large amount of Castlevania leans on the old book and movies, but that only makes it better. If those are the connections you want to see dive into Bloodlines on the Sega Genesis.
Just know it’s hard. Like Super Castlevania IV is pretty easy so you would be forgiven for thinking this one wouldn’t knock you dick in the dirt but it does. It does several times and it doesn’t say sorry. So why do I make such a big deal about Symphony of the Night? Everyone loves it, I am part of everyone, I do love that game. Just from then onwards they take the RPG elements of Castlevania 2 and double down. It’s all about gear, equipment, spells and growth. Having a hard time? It’s fine just level up. Not able to be a boss? I bet you just don’t have the right weapon or skill yet go take a little peak around the castle maybe you missed something.
In the first few minutes they strip Alucard down from even his basic power set to nothing. After giving you some time to see how good you could become and so you aren’t completely overwhelmed when starting out at how utterly weak you are. So you adventure through reclaiming your equipment and abilities as well as many many more from the ancient secrets of Dracula’s Keep. Eventually you are to quote Trevor Belmont a “Shiny Vampire Jesus” and just slap down boss after boss.
This is no easy feat, you do earn that power for sure. Just the victory at the end feels different. Used to be you had to improve to beat Dracula. Now just your wardrobe needs to get better. You don’t manage your hit points, you mange their growth. And so on and so on so on to the biggest point. Old Castlevania games you were as ready to take on Dracula from the time you hit start until the credits roll. You felt like you accomplished the task of saving the land. Now it’s more like you found all the goodies and completed the puzzle. Both good, but both are different.