Discussing: Is Castlevania II that bad?

When it comes to video games before the 90s, I’m not too familiar with them. My first console was an NES but I didn’t have it for very long and I truly became a gamer when I received an SNES. However, I began looking back at older games around the PlayStation era, thanks in no small part to the Namco Museum series. Since then, I’ve returned to the NES and have played games I’ve missed in the past. The first Legend of Zelda game is actually what finally made me a Zelda fan, I got learned in the original Mega Man games after being a fan of the X series and I fell in love with the original Metroid game and is now one of my favorite games on the NES. One series that has never quite sparked my interest is the Castlevania series. When I had a SNES, I never played Super Castlevania IV. When I had a PSone, I passed on Symphony of the Night. Now I’m more aware of the series but I still haven’t actually sat down and played a Castlevania game for an extended period of time, except for some game on the Xbox. It sucked.

I have played Symphony of the Night on Xbox 360. I bought it but never actually played it for very long. When I had the Wii, I bought Super Castlevania IV but I just play tested it real quick before putting in Super Mario Galaxy. I did play the first NES game on an emulator but it was only for a small amount of time and I think I only completed the first level. I finally played Castlevania: Bloodlines on the Sega Genesis and played it to completion. I really enjoyed the jumping mechanics and action filled gameplay and although I got frustrated, I thought the game offered challenge while not being impossible. I now would like to truly immerse myself in this series and I would like to start with the beginning of the series on the NES. I know I’ll probably try to play the first game to begin with but from what I’ve heard, the second game in the NES trilogy is not exactly a classic.

Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest falls prey to the same fate other NES games fell to with their first sequel. Developers tried something new with the sequel and received mixed results. Other NES games with this problem are Super Mario Bros. 2, Zelda II: The Adventures of Link, and of course, Mega Man 2 (just kidding). Simon’s Quest was more of an adventure game like Metroid or the aforementioned Zelda II instead of being like the previous game, a side scrolling platformer. There are also several annoying aspects about the game that many feel made the game below average and not up to the Castlevania standard. The constant switching between day and night, losing all your money when you die, and the bland town seem to be common complaints. There is also the infamous whirlwind you need to summon, and easy boss battle at the end. I’ve seen reviews of this game online and heard all of the complaints, including the review by James Rolfe, The Angry Video Game Nerd. Both of them. But despite all of their warnings, I still want to play this game.

I don’t know if I just don’t learn or if I’m a masochist when it comes to video games. I want to play this game even more so than I do other iterations of Castlevania. I’ll admit that a small part of me wants to start with the NES Castlevania games first because I’ll get to the second game sooner. I can’t quite explain why I do want to play this game either. Maybe it’s because the game reminds me of a more current game. Titles with stores and currency that have action stages where you do the actual gameplay are common nowadays. Borderlands, Oblivion, Bastion, the list goes on. I suppose playing a game that did something similar to that back then intrigues me. Also, the setting and mystique the Castlevania games have is quite good, especially back in the late 80s. I’m not a big classic horror movie fan but my mother is. I bought her the Wolfman and Frankenstein collections for her birthday a few years ago. She loves them and will pop them in every once and awhile, so I’m not unfamiliar with the content. Although she thinks that Dracula is a sissy and therefore, doesn’t watch those movies. Then again, she likes Bram Stoker’s Dracula, the Francis Ford Coppola movie, but I digress.

Maybe the true reason why I want to try it is because everyone hates it. It’s an underdog in a successful franchise and doesn’t get the love the other games do, aside from the 3D games and Castlevania Judgement. Seriously, a fighting game? That’s not even a good idea! Simon’s Quest is a game that tried something new that apparently didn’t work, however it actually did. Symphony of the Night has been revered as the best in the series and it most likely used the second game as inspiration. Of course, its blueprint is Metroid but Simon’s Quest is what most likely made developers think, “Do you think we can do that but better?” Also, I just think that the game can’t be that bad. It’s just not as good as the others. If the first game is a 5 out of 5 and the second is a 4, the second isn’t bad and is still fun.

Well, I’ve rambled about my thoughts on Simon’s Quest and now I want you to tell me why I should or shouldn’t play this game. Is there something game breaking that I don’t seem to understand? Am I going to need that issue of Nintendo Power? Is it a good game, just not great? Should I just play it to see for myself? Comment below and let me know.

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