NES - Simon's Quest
By: - at August 18, 2014

Is Castlevania II: Simon's Quest Good or Bad?

Castlevania 2 NES BoxIt's sad to say, but Castlevania 2 is overall the least favorite Castlevania game among many people. Why is this? This is probably because of the cryptic nature of the game and how it was poorly translated to English.  The people in the towns and the books you find throughout the American version of the game barely give you any tips that are vital in completing the game.  The game itself can be a cryptic maze if you do not look up a guide online to tell you where to go and where to use your items at.

Behind this translated mess is actually a very fun game, in my opinion.  Castlevania 2 players from Japan probably appreciated the game a whole lot more than people playing the American version. Besides the translated mess, these are the other factors of why people do not like this game:

Bad Aspects of Castlevania II

  • Grinding - You need to grind in this game in order to collect hearts to buy all the items you need and to use your special abilities.  This can be a bit tedious for some.  I personally do not mind some grinding, but it can become a chore every now and then.
  • Back Tracking - The game plays more like Castlevania Sympathy of the Night more so than Castlevania 1, 3, and 4.  This isn't a bad thing, but I feel like they could have made the level design more unique throughout the game, then the back tracking wouldn't be so mind numbing as you would be able to tell where you are at, or at least give you a map system to tell you where your at.
  • Easy Bosses - The bosses in Castlevania II are not as fun as other Castlevania games, and Dracula is a joke in this game.
  • Day to Night Transition - This happens to be the only Castlevania game where there is a day and night cycle. Overall I feel like it is a nice touch and I appreciate it overall. The enemies get stronger at night and things seem to be a bit creepier as well, which I think is definitely castlevaniaish for sure. It turns day and night every 7 minutes throughout this game. The problem is when this happens, the gameplay pauses for about 10 seconds. Many people hate this. I have to admit, the transition could be a little bit faster, but this little set back shouldn't be the deciding factor of why you shouldn't like this game.

Negative aspects aside, these are the highlights of this game that make Castlevania 2 stand out from the rest:

Good Aspects of Castlevania II

  • Fun RPG elements - This was the first RPG game I played as a kid, and I really liked it. This was the first time in my life (when I was 7 years old) when I had the feeling of collecting currency to buy something, it felt good! Not only that but feeling the power when your character levels up, it really felt like I was conquering Castlevania. Obtaining special items, talking to towns folk, finding books hidden in walls, I felt like a detective for the first time in my life as well. Too bad the translation was poor, arghhhh!!! Oh well.  A smart detective had to use Nintendo Power in order to beat this game.  I wonder how many people figured out how to kneel with a red crystal at a certain spot in order to summon a tornado to take you to the next area? Probably not many!
  • Game Feel - The controls in Castlevania 2 are rock solid, even better than Castlevania 1 and 3 in my opinion.  Simon just feels good to control, whipping, jumping, kneeling and turning at the same time, it all feels great.  The hit feedback you get after whipping enemies feels better. The music is awesome. The graphics are good. My only complaint is that I feel the level design could be a little bit better and more in-depth, especially in the outside areas.
  • Fun to Speed Run - I personally love Castlevania 2, and I rank it as my second favorite Castlevania game after Castlevania 4.  I was obsessed with beating Castlevania II casually almost once a day all through out 2012, and then decided to speed run it in 2013.  I spent about 6 hours a day for 8 months speed running Castlevania II and have produced many amazing world record speed runs for it.

So is this game Good or Bad?
It really comes down to personal opinion. I personally think this game is good and bad. If you want to play this game, then I suggest you use a certain ROM titled Castlevania 2 Redaction, with this version, the game itself remains 100% intact, the only thing that is changed is the translation is all fixed up. This version correctly fixes all the hints, clues, and text that the towns folk gives you along with the hidden books throughout the game.  There is also a few other improvements such as the transition from day to night is more seamless. So using Castlevania 2 Redaction should allow you to thoroughly enjoy this game if you are a newcomer. You can also use this awesome map to help you get around the game. And this smaller version of the map as well.





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Castlevania II: Simon's Quest World Record Speedruns


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