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[ 06/23/05 ] = What A Horrible Night To Have A Curse

Castlevania II is probably the best in the series. Maybe Symphony or X or IV are good contenders, but at the very least, Simon's Quest is the most original. It has the best soundtrack (in all of its repetitive, MIDI glory), and it was the first in the series to have a character inventory. In fact, a lot of things that people associate with Castlevania is discarded with Castlevania II: Simon's Quest.







[ Believe In Magic ] = And You Will Be Saved
Neither a promo for McDonalds nor for religion, magic items make up the majority of where you can go and what you can do. Daggers, holy water, and all the other up + button techniques are here, but in this world, most are unlimited and do not use hearts in the traditional sense. In CIISQ, hearts are the currency of the game, and, also in tradional fashion, the currency falls out of your victims as your reward for being Simon and bringing death. Townfolk will accept said currency too, but only for items that you absolutely cannot do without. Simon's inventory is small and specific, so you won't be buying armor and weapons; just garlic and laurels (and maybe some holy water too). Menus just weren't as complicated back then.




[ Don't Make Me Stay ] = I'll Die
Programmers can have a sick sense of humor. The townsperson that tells you the aforementioned quote is stuck walking on a 4-brick platform back and forth, vice versa, and then back and forth again, for all eternity. Poor bastard. The quote makes more sense, however, for Simon, who doesn't have to stay ANYWHERE, much less in an oversized castle. Once again, CIISQ is utterly unique in the fact that you travel across an entire land in search for Dracula (or his pieces). No other Castlevania gives this much feeling of exploration (although Castlevania 64 comes close). There are multiple towns, swamps, forests, mountains, caverns, dungeons...everything a Belmont/Cruz/Schnieder would take over one elborate castle. Nothing against those castles of course, just that it's kind of nice not to have all the story's problems/solutions under one roof. Then again, Dracula never was the most clever of villians. Probably why he keeps getting beat over and over again.









[ Don't Look At The Death Star ] = Or You Will Die
Lots of death in C2SQ. The enemies you fight are dead, Dracula's dead, the conversations with townspeople are dead; a very appropriate world for a vampire hunter. And like most worlds, this one turns from day into night, and the subsequent curse that follows doubles the strength of your enemies in both damage and hits; yet another area in which CIISQ shines. The town's buildings become haunted and inaccessable, and the music changes to fit this new darker context. A small but substantial addition to the series. It's FEELS like you're hunting Dracula: nighttime = bad, daytime = not so bad. It's still very much Castlevania though, and one just has to go into the dungeons to remind themselves of the nightmarish platforming/stair-walking that occurs within. But don't be fooled, the dungeons are not as difficult as, say, Castlevania Chronicles. NOTHING is as difficult as Castlevania Chronicles.




[ Take My Daughter ] = Please
Simon hasn't done anything yet and already the villagers are offering him items, proposals, and their children. But seeing how Simon is the man, HER daughter is probably HIS daughter too. Especially when you take into account the curiously accurate, circa 1400s London that each town remarkably resembles (complete with matching villager attire and plently of churches), a whip-whielding, red tunic-wearing, pixillated hero-guy must look a dream in this curse-filled tea shanty. Unfortunately, though they mean well, the townsfolk aren't much help. Their subtle, seemingly trite, localized sentences don't help Simon off in the right direction (Town of Veros? They all look the same!). Although one villager in particular reveals a key puzzle solving element never before used in a game before: kneeling. Oh, it has been used, just not to solve puzzles. In CIISQ, it's not enough that you kneel in the right spot with the right item equipped (and your guess is as good as any as to what is "right"), but that you kneel for roughly five seconds. Don't misinterpret; this isn't a flaw in the game, but rather, a flaw with the villagers. Good thing Castlevania isn't about talking to people.









[ Push ] = Start Key
With that being said, go forth and enjoy, genuinely, this amazing game. "Quest" isn't just some random title picked by the localization department, but rather a vivid description of what CIISQ is: a journey to kill Dracula, and the most effective realization of the Castlevania series to date.