Simons Quest review
I always knew one day I would play Simons Quest for the NES. It was my destiny. I had dreaded it, as I have heard bad reviews of it not nearly as good as the other games. I have also watched The Nerds review on it, and made it final I would never play this game (yet I played Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde on the NES, despite The Nerd saying do not play it on any accord. That didn't stop me, and I turned out to like it). Yet the game nagged me a little, very slightly for me to play the game everyday. It urged me to journey through out the land collecting Dracula's body parts. It wanted me to die by falling through the walls that looked the same. It wanted me to play the game. To torture me. At first, the urge was weak. But over time, I just had to play it. And so begins the final review in the retro saga.
One thing I want to point out first is that after you press start, you get to choose to start game, or to enter a password. The graphics are scrambled at the top. And in the password screen, the graphics are even more scrambled. rest assure that this is just the game, and the game works perfectly. Ok, lets start with the story. This has a more in depth story than the other games. Instead of the normal "get to Dracula kill Dracula wait 100 years", you must find Dracula's body parts and put him together to rid his curse from Simon. Simon was cursed from Dracula when Simon slayed him. So you must travel to five different mansions and get all his body parts, defeat Dracula and be rid of the curse once and for all!
I had to admit, when I first started playing this game, I instantly enjoyed it. The music was great, although it seemed ti have less music than the first game, which is a bit of a shame. In the first game, each level has it's own music. Here' there's only a theme, as in, day theme, night theme, mansion theme, etc. Although the music in this game is limited, it does have better music than the first game. The one most people remember from this game is "Bloody Tears". This piece is so great, it appeared in future games such as, Super Castlevania IV. If the game has Castlevania in the title, even if the game isn't so great, and as long it's not on the N64, the music will be great.
The graphics are also nice, but the enemies too are limited. Instead of having a whole load of different enemies, they just used the same six or seven and recoloured them to make them stronger. Yeah, that's creative (sarcasm =P). So I have to move from town to town, collecting hearts to buy stuff, which is odd, because who wants to trade in hearts for a dagger? The people of Pennsylvania are pretty weird if you ask me. You can talk to the town folk and they might give you a handy hint. Other times, they just give you useless dialog. One of them is "Lets live here together" Riiiiiiight.....Wait, where have I heard this before? I heard it somewhere before, I just can't put my finger on it.
The game play has some flaws in it. Someone says that "A magic potion will destroy the evil wall." You can easily work out that the magic potion is the "Holy Water", but what is the evil wall? You would expect it to look different to the ordinary wall. Otherwise how would you tell evil from normal? Well, as it turns out, evil wall looks like normal wall. So next time to see an empty room, throw some holy water and you might find something that could help you, for a price of course. What are people going to do with all these hearts anyway? Another thing that many people will agree on is the transition from day time to night time. Why must it interrupt your game play like this? Why does it take so long? Why can't it be smooth like in Friday the 13th on the NES? Well, your going to go through this quite a lot. And it's going to get annoying. Especially when you get enough hearts and you need to go and buy that item, and just when your on the foot of that door....WHAM! "What a horrible night to have a curse." pops up and you need to wait some time to get that item. I have realized that it feels better getting from night time to day time. Might as well fight some zombies and get your exp up.
Oh yeah, it wouldn't be a proper RPG if you didn't have exp. When you collect some hearts, you get a bit of exp as well. Once you get 100 exp (for each new level, the exp you need to get increases by 50) you'll level up and get more health. That's it, no increase of weapon power or anything like that, just an increase of health. Although this can be pretty helpful, as when you level up, your health also gets restored. So when your low of health, grab some exp to the next level and your problem is solved. One thing I have noticed about this game is when you die, you don't re-spawn back at the beginning of that stage. You re-spawn back exactly where you died, give the excuses of dying in water or a marsh. This is rather odd, and you expect to re-spawn at the beginning of the area, then you would walk forward normally and WHAM! You fall into some water and die. Then you get a game over and lose all your hearts and exp. If you die once, you get to keep your hearts and exp. It's only at a game over than you lose it. Now, normally this makes sense and seems fair, but when you re-spawn at where ever you died even at a game over, this gives the impression that it's unfair.
Another thing that's weird is the health bar. Normally, it would be white and the red bits are your lost health. But here it's the reverse. This can be confusing as your bar is red, and the white bars are lost health. It even starts from the bottom and goes up. This gives them impression sometimes that you are in fact getting healed instead of hurt. I once jumped into some poisonous looking stuff and I though it was a healing spa or something. I then turned out to be dead. Now lets move onto the mansions. The are, overall, a good level design. But three things get my goat. The first one is the missing blocks. They look like you can walk on them, but you could fall through them and waste your time. The only way to know that they are there is to throw something on the ground like Holy Water or the Sacred Flame. I don't see how this is fair, but to be honest, this doesn't happen too often. It's pretty rare in fact, but keep your wits about you in mansions.
The second thing is the oak stake. Someone offers you an oak stake for 50 hearts. Why? Why can't you just give it to me for free? Well you pay the 50 hearts, and assume it's a weapon. The Holy Water cost 50 hearts, and you could use that as many times as you like, but not with the oak stake. It's used to open the orbs at the end of a mansion, and you only get to use it once. Maybe the an
in "an oak stake" might have given it away. But it might have helped if you didn't make it seem like a weapon by putting it on the same line as the Holy Water. The third thing is a lack of bosses. there are only three bosses in the entire game. Death, that weeping sad face, and Dracula. And there are five mansions! And the bosses are way too easy. Death in the first game was murder to defeat. That's why I liked him as a boss so much. Here's you could just walk pass him and take no damage. What a disgrace! They don't even make you fight the bosses. Although you should, as you are rewarded when you defeat them. They are easy to defeat, so it's worth doing.
Look at those spikes. Looking all pointy and shiny in blood, even if they don't appear to have any, they plan on having mine in. It just wouldn't be a Castlevania game if there weren't spikes in it. *mumbles* Go away spikes! No-one loves you! Instantly kill me will you? Kill me when I just lightly brush against you, will you? Well, how do you like it when I jump over you? Arrrgggg! Mis-jumped.....wait a minute.....the spikes.......the spikes don't instantly kill you....The spikes don't instantly kill you!
They did something right with the spikes! THEY DID SOMETHING RIGHT WITH THE SPIKES! *runs outside and grabs the first person he sees by the shoulder* They did something right with the spikes! *runs off into the marketplace* They did something right with the spikes! *suddenly on top of a hill side* They finally got something right with the spikes! *after a moment, he returns back to his seat* Sorry about that. But can you believe that they did something right with the spikes? Before, just touching the spikes will kill you instantly, which seems unfair if you just walk on them or just touch the side. It's like having your arm cut off if you mis-spell a work and you were going to correct it anyway. It's ok if you get crushed
by them or fall into them via a pit, that applies force. But if you just touch them, you should only receive some damage, not die straight away. This is the only game I know that does this. Oh what? I have an obsession with spikes? No, no, don't be silly....They are my arch-nemesis! Yeah, it's a long story, now where was I?
Ah yes, some things are almost impossible to figure out. So when in doubt, throw some garlic or select a crystal and hold down for about five seconds. Although to be honest, they do leave some clues that are hidden in "evil walls" for you to figure out, so that's good. And this game, despite the flaws, it rather enjoyable. It even has some sweet features, like almost all of Dracula's body parts has a power you can use. The most helpful is Dracula's Rib, which deflects fireballs, as long as you have it selected. That's pretty nice of them to give you a power-up after you collect parts of his body. And as you go along, the selection of enemies does get better, such as mummies, ghosts and ravens. If only they gave that to the mansions....
Overall, I give this game a 7.9/10 This game plays like a Castlevania game, no matter the flaws. In fact, I really enjoyed playing this game. It's really fun to play and deserves a little more respect. So I'll have to disagree on you Mr. AVGN on this one. This game is worth a play, even if it is a little anti-climatic and not as epic as the others. In fact, this is the only Castlevania game I know that doesn't get to Dracula the normal way (walk up stairs at a 45 degree angle, drop down a little, and walk on a bit to enter the counts room), but that's besides the point. The point is the music is great, it has a lot to offer, and the game play, even though it's a little odd, it still fun. Get those body parts!