I finished Simon’s Quest! Yes, indeed, even after my podcasting buddy and good friend Chris Caskie suggested that I wouldn’t be able to stick it out to the end… I did!
It wasn’t even entirely down to stubbornness or a desire to prove him wrong. I actually enjoyed the whole experience. Well, all right, most of the experience. I didn’t love the bits where progression was dependent on doing something arbitrary in an equally arbitrary location, and the three bosses in the game were all complete garbage, being both ridiculously easy and mechanically uninteresting… but aside from that, I had a great time.
Let’s review what I’ve learned from my experiences, then.
Continue reading Delving Into Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest – #3
I’m enjoying Castlevania II, but I’m also seeing some of the reasons people might bounce off it a bit.
There’s not really anything fundamentally wrong with it when taken in the context of its original release, but when revisited from a modern perspective it’s easy to find yourself missing the conveniences of modern games.
Let’s take a look at some of those areas where newcomers might struggle!
Continue reading Delving Into Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest – #2
Minigolf is, to borrow a phrase from a completely different sport, a funny old game.
Typically implied to be a rather silly, chaotic affair rather than something to be taken seriously, your average minigolf course nonetheless tends to include a variety of fiendish obstacles to negotiate, many of which will tax even the most skilled putters among us.
Kirby’s Dream Course, being a minigolf game that takes place entirely in a digitally rendered dreamworld, is free to do even more ridiculous things with its course design than would be possible in reality. And herein lies its main appeal.
Continue reading Delving Into Kirby’s Dream Course – #2
One of the games in Konami’s Castlevania Anniversary Collection that I was most interested to dig into was Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest.
I say this with the full knowledge that it has a bit of a reputation as being one of the least well-regarded Castlevania titles out there — but that was, in part, why I was curious to check it out for myself.
The other reasons I was keen to explore it was that the very concept and ambition of it intrigued me — and it’s one of the few early-era Castlevania titles that I’ve never, ever played before at all. So let’s take a first look!
Continue reading Delving Into Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest – #1
Last time around, we looked at how Castlevania’s overall mechanics and sense of game design can be traced forward to technical action games such as From Software’s popular titles.
Today, I wanted to focus on some other important and distinctive aspects of this original NES installment: specifically the platforming component, and the boss fights.
All of the elements we’ll have talked about by the end of today combine together to create the distinctive experience that is Castlevania — not just for this first game, but for much of the early series.
Continue reading Delving Into Castlevania – #2
One of the nice things about revisiting old games from a modern perspective is the fact that you can see how certain genres have evolved over time… and sometimes seemingly morphed into different things altogether.
The original Castlevania is a great example of this. Far from being your common-or-garden everyday mascot platformer that we saw a fair bit throughout the 8- and 16-bit home console eras, Castlevania provided an experience that was altogether its own thing, immediately recognisable and immensely influential.
Atmospheric, idiosyncratic and consistently challenging, it’s a game that still holds its own today — just don’t expect an easy ride!
Continue reading Delving Into Castlevania – #1
During my exploration of Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush, I mentioned that I wasn’t sure what to expect from a Kirby game other than, well, the unexpected.
I was expecting at least some of the games in the series to be relatively conventional platform games — and I know they’re there somewhere! — but the next one I happened to alight upon, courtesy of the SNES Mini’s built-in lineup of games, was Kirby’s Dream Course.
I had no set expectations for what Kirby’s Dream Course was going to be before firing it up for the first time. But I can tell you I didn’t expect it to be a thoroughly charming minigolf game!
Continue reading Delving Into Kirby’s Dream Course – #1