Taking place seven years after the original Castlevania, this installment takes a rather large departure from what fans knew from the first title. Simon is on a pilgrimage to visit his family’s resting place and meets a lady that tells him that Dracula has placed a curse on the Belmont family (bummer). Unlike the first title, Simon’s Quest is more of an adventure title than action oriented – Simon can talk with townsfolk and learn details and information about what to do, where to go/avoid and generally get cryptic tips (par for the course of an adventure title).
This was my first real interaction with the Castlevania series. I dabbled with the first one at a friends house but not enough to really form an opinion on it other than I would rather play Super Mario Bros (and I still stand by that stance to this day). Simon’s Quest was more my style, it was easy to play, the game play changed when the game world went from day to night and there was a lot of interaction with the characters in the game. Rather than obliterating everything in your path like the first and third titles, here there were shops, different directions to go in if one area is too tough, turn around and more.
There is somewhat of a Metroid vibe with the levels of Simon’s Quest, not to the point that the maps sprawl up and down but they do go left and right for long periods and sometimes ending in a dead end that requires serious interaction with the townsfolk to figure out what to do next. Simon’s Quest also carries a bad taste with it for many fans of the series due to its departure from straight action. For gamers like me though, that is a good reason to give it a try if the other Castlevania titles on NES are too “tough” or action based for your tastes.
Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest by Konami
Platform: Nintendo Entertainment System
Availability: Wii Virtual Console or Ebay or Amazon.com or similar used game store offering retro titles