Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest
Nintendo Entertainment System
I came into Castlevania late. Despite the fact that this series is considered one of the classics, I had made it to the 21st century having never played any title in the series. Once I found myself in possession of an NES, I figured I’d give one of the games in the series a playthrough and right this wrong. Unfortunately, the random Castlevania I picked up was Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest. This asspile of a game almost tricked me into skipping a brilliant PS1 game, so convinced was I that the series was worthless.
Simon’s Quest is a genre fusing blend between the Shitty Platformer genre and the Shitty RPG genre. The end result is, well, really shitty. The game’s main schtick is that it is sometimes daytime and sometimes nighttime, and the game’s supernatural monsters are much tougher at night.
I’ll grant you that this is a pretty cool idea, and if it had been produced by, oh, let’s say, Hideo Kojima, you could have yourself a pretty neat game. However, in this particular game, the mechanic just leads to a constant pingponging between slightly annoying gameplay and overwhelmingly annoying gameplay.
Even worse, the game makes you talk to people and buy stuff at towns. The towns shut down at night. That means that you will either find yourself sitting around, waiting for night to turn to day so you can continue to play, or, more likely, you will find yourself playing a different video game. Isaac’s #1 Rule of Game Design: Every game mechanic should encourage the player to do things that are fun.
The game was terrible, but the concept of a rpg/platformer hybrid was a righteous idea. Symphony of the Night, a later Castlevania, would deliver the goods that Simon’s Quest lacks. I almost never knew that, because of the anti-Castlevania bias this game created for me. It just proves that you can’t judge a video game series on any one title.