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Video Game / Castlevania II: Simon's Quest

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Since Dracula was dead at the time, Count Strahd von Zarovich filled in for him for the box art.

"What a horrible night to have a curse."note 

The second entry in the Castlevania series, set seven years after the original. Simon Belmont was victorious over Dracula, yet it feels like someone's driven a stake through his heart: He's been struck with Dracula's curse (not to be confused with the game called Dracula's Curse), preserving the injuries he sustained in that battle.

With not long to live, Simon is met by a Waif Prophet in a dream who reveals how to shatter the curse: Simon must collect the five body parts of Dracula from five well guarded mansions and deliver them to the ruins of Castlevania. There, Simon can resurrect Dracula in order to face him again in a final battle to decide the fate of both himself and Transylvania.

A very ambitious title for its day, Simon's Quest took the basic gameplay of its predecessor and mixed in RPG Elements such as experience levels, shops, a day/night cycle, and a freely-explorable world. It is the first Castlevania game in the Metroidvania genre. As a result of this (particularly its ambition perhaps exceeding the capabilities of its target platform and alloted development cycle), it received a very mixed reception and its triumphs and failings remain topics of debate even today.


The next game in the series would abandon most of the innovations in Simon's Quest to focus on improving the original Platform Game model. However, Konami would revisit the Castlevania II mold with Symphony of the Night ten years later, and this style would end up defining the subsequent decade of the franchise.

Not to be confused with Castlevania II: Belmont's Revenge.


  • All There in the Manual: A lot of the things the townspeople tell you that are chalked up to "Blind Idiot" Translation are actually just plain lies. The manual tells you that townsfolk, and even some of the books, lie. The Japanese version also had the dialogue boxes themselves hint you as to whether their content was true or false (anything presented as truth was true, anything presented as a rumor wasn't), but it got lost in translation.
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  • Anti-Grinding: Collecting hearts also gives you experience points, but once you reach a given threshold of experience in any given area, this stops. It's roughly analogous to one level per mansion visited.
  • Batman Gambit: Either Simon succumbs to the curse and dies, leaving House Belmont too extinct to oppose Dracula (though obviously this is a flawed benefit), or Simon gets desperate enough to try and burn his body parts to break the curse. Since he will need the Ring to even get in, he won't think to discard it after he's done with it, and hopefully by that time Simon will be weak enough that even a newly resurrected Dracula can utterly pwn him. What takes this out of Xanatos territory is that Dracula clearly didn't expect that Simon WOULD be able to defeat Dracula after accidentally resurrecting him, even if well over 16 days has passed since Simon set out.
  • Beef Gate: Left from the starting town, the fireball spitting fast-moving monsters that take 8 hits with the starting whip to kill ensure that the player knows he's supposed to start out by going to the right. Their first hit generally knocks you back into town, but if you get past them, there's also a poisonous marsh with additional monsters in said marsh that inflict heavy damage.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: The game was already full of vague or straight-up lying NPCs — the English translation added some more by accident. Thoroughly dissected here.
  • Blob Monster: One of the blue enemies.
  • Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: The wounds from Simon's battle with Dracula in the previous game are the setup for this one.
  • Cap: You can only carry 256 hearts, and Simon's level caps at a mere 6.
  • Collision Damage
  • Continuing Is Painful: Dying on your last life results in the reduction of your heart count to zero. Since hearts are used as currency and ammunition and every item has an expensive price tag, this always equates to a severe loss of time invested in collecting them. It also adds several hours to the in-game clock, making it that much harder to get one of the better endings. This bit from the Angriest-Gamer-You've-Ever-Heard himself sums it best:
    Oh look! I finally got enough hearts to go and buy a plant that I need to cross the swamp. Now let me get to the store. *Transition between day and night occurs* Oh shit! It's fucking night time!! Now the stores are all closed, and I have to wait for it to turn day again! Oh well, I might as well kill some zombies in the meantime and stock up on some more hearts. *Dies on his last life* OH SHIT!! Now I have to start all over again!
  • Continuity Nod: The final part of the game has you revisiting the ruins of Dracula's Castle from the previous game.
  • Cue the Sun: Whenever the game changes from night to day.
  • Cycle of Hurting/Flash of Pain: All of the enemies, bosses included, go into stun-lock when damaged, making them easy pickings, especially in comparison to other pre-SOTN games, where they are more strategically positioned, crafty, and/or more aggressive.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Losing all your lives will simply dump you back at the start of the screen you were currently on. Sure, it'll strip away your hearts, but it doesn't take long to mine those (especially at night).
  • Decapitation Presentation: An infamous Nintendo Power cover had a very 300 Spartan looking Simon Belmont holding the severed head of Dracula. It was certainly Bloodier and Gorier than the series and game were presented as and made tons of 13 year old boys want to buy the game. The heavy coverage of the game by Nintendo Power only added to the fond memories the game had from fans.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: This game has a few parallels with Zelda II: The Adventure of Link; in both games, the main villains are dead and their minions are causing havoc across the countryside, and the entire format changes from their respective originals, which many people complained about, thus making both games the "Black Sheep" of their respective series.
    • Later entries in both franchises would elaborate on the goals of these two games as being a means to grant wishes. Also the plot of both games involves an attempt to resurrect the main villain (either by the hero or by enemies), and according to the manual they are both being stalked by monsters. The last town before the final level of both games is even all but abandoned! Really, the list goes on and on between Castlevania II and Zelda II.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Carmilla is portrayed in this game as a weeping mask. Later games would portray her as a seductive vampire woman and/or a bleeding skull; her weeping mask form wouldn't be seen again until Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
  • Earn Your Bad Ending: The ending you get depends on how quickly you beat the game. Beating it within 8 days grants you the only ending where Dracula comes back to life. The other endings have Dracula permanently dead.
    • Earn Your Happy Ending: However, in that ending, Simon is free from the curse and he can live the rest of his life until the next time Dracula rises. In the other endings, Simon succumbs to his wounds and dies as well.
  • Eternal Equinox: Day always starts when the timer hits 06:00, night always starts when the timer hits 18:00. The timer resets at 24:00, making day and night equal length.
  • Fake Platform: Plenty.
  • Fan Remake:
    • There's been numerous attempts at 'fixing' the game, especially after The Angry Video Game Nerd made his first video. But the most complete one is called Castlevania II: Dracula's Shadow. Adding new characters, item crashes, alchemy, new areas, bosses, and a host of other improvements while making the game a whole lot clearer. You can check out this review for more details.
    • Related to this, but more of a Game Mod, is Castlevania 2: Simon's Redaction, as seen below.
  • Game Mod: Like a lot of classic NES games, multiple hacks exist, such as one that replaces the townsfolk and enemies with characters from other games. One of the more noteable mods, despite changing very little, is Castlevania 2: Simon's Redaction, which replaces the cryptic dialog with more well-written and accurate dialog, speeds up the day/night transition, and even changes Dracula's face to look more like Dracula as we know him.
  • Gold Makes Everything Shiny: The gold knife.
  • Guide Dang It!: The Angry Video Game Nerd had a field day with this one as his first episode.
  • Hard Levels, Easy Bosses: Or rather, easy bosses, period. The levels can be pretty hard at times, but the boss fights are pathetic. You can literally walk past and ignore them. And even if you do fight them, they usually have one attack that's very easy to dodge, and they stun-lock whenever hit. See Cycle of Hurting for more.
    • Sequel Difficulty Drop applies, but the mansions are full of dead ends, pitfalls, secret passages through seemingly solid walls, and strategically placed enemies that can make things really challenging. It doesn't help that, even when you get the body part inside the mansion and defeat the boss (if there is one), you have to backtrack to the entrance.
  • The Hero Dies: Implied in the worst ending, since Simon is not standing by Dracula's grave, though the text is cheerful. Outright stated in the moderate ending, though he is standing in front of the grave.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: The reason the townspeople often lie to you is because they blame Simon for Dracula's curse that has befallen the land. In one of the last towns, the locals are hostile and tell you to leave, and it also doesn't help that Simon intends to resurrect Dracula in order to kill him.
  • Infallible Babble: Averted. The townspeople will often offer clues that are misleading, confusing, or just plain false. This was deliberate from the get-go rather than a case of mistranslation, since the Japanese version also has plenty of bogus clues.
  • In-Universe Game Clock: There is a day/night cycle. Enemies take twice as many hits to kill at night, but give greater amounts of currency for doing so. Towns are also closed at night. Time moves at 240x real time — that is, 6 minutes of real life equals 1 day in the game. Time is frozen when indoors. Finally, the number of days that pass in the game determines which ending you get.
  • Invincibility Power-Up: Laurels, which make you invincible and can be stockpiled.
  • Kill It with Fire: The Sacred Flame, the Flame Whip.
  • Level Up Fill Up: Your only way of restoring life short of visiting a church. Or dying on purpose.
  • Loads and Loads of Loading: The Famicom Disk System version takes a while to load between each screen, particularly bad if an enemy causes you knockback that sends you back to the previous screen. Fixed in the international/cartridge version where the loading became instantaneous.
  • Low-Level Run: It's possible to beat the game at level 0. The trick is to immediately go LEFT from the first town and get to the Morning Star with your original 50 hearts plus every small heart you can get. Your defense will suffer, but your attack won't. Dracula can kill you in one hit.
  • Metroidvania: Predates SotN by eight years.
  • Made of Iron: Simon was relatively fragile in the first game, but by the time you reach the maximum level, he can take 96 hits without dying from all but the strongest enemies. But he still sinks in water like...well...iron.
  • Mood Dissonance: Related to the Multiple Endings, the worst ending (the one you get if you take too long) is in black and white and Simon is not standing at Dracula's grave, implying that he died, but the text is the most uplifting of the three endings and there is no mention of Simon dying. The middle ending is in color on a bright sunny day, and Simon is at Dracula's grave, but the text is the most bleak and depressing of the three, explicitly stating that Simon dies. And finally, the best ending has a good but unenthusiastic description, and shows Dracula's hand breaking through the soil. Some fans have mistaken this for a mix-up during localization, but it's actually accurate to the Japanese version.
  • Multiple Endings: Take too long to kill Dracula, and it's Downer Ending time for you! Of course, once you know where time runs and where it doesn't, the bad ending is easily avoidable.
    • Some guide at GameFAQs or somewhere once made an elaborate explanation of the three endings pointing out how there is an extremely complex system that calculates several other things in addition to time, but almost no one can understand it and somehow time always seems to be the main deciding factor.
    • The Best Ending requires you to beat the game in less than 8 day-night cycles, the bad ending in 8 to 15 cycles, and the worst ending in +15 cycles.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: The second-to-last town thinks you're the direct cause of all the havoc that's being wreaked throughout Transylvania. Dracula's minions are still out for blood, after all. (To be fair, they have a point: Simon is trying to resurrect Dracula purely for his own sake, now.) The last town is deserted.
    "After Castlevania, I warned you not to return."
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Possibly what the developers were going for with Dracula's Castle, which is completely abandoned.
  • Point of No Return: There's a long drop just before Dracula. Simon doesn't have the means to get out of this pit once he falls down.
  • Plot Coupon: This game introduced the concept of collecting body parts to reach the final Dracula fight, which was repeated in Symphony of the Night and Harmony of Dissonance.
    • Plot Coupon That Does Something: Four of the five parts give you secondary benefits if you equip them. Dracula's Rib gives you a shield that takes effect when standing or crouching, Dracula's Eye makes hidden clues visible, Dracula's Heart prompts the ferryman to take you to a different location, and Dracula's Nail lets you destroy walls with your whip. Meanwhile, you need to equip both Dracula's Ring and the Magic Cross to break the bricks on the bridge leading to Castlevania.
  • Raised Hand of Survival: If you beat the game quickly enough, the ending you receive will show what happens to Simon, then the screen goes dark except for Dracula's tombstone and a hand reaches through the ground.
  • Sealed Evil in a Six Pack: After the first game, Dracula was defeated and his body was divided into five parts, which Simon Belmont must put together, to resurrect Dracula and kill him again.
  • Sequel Difficulty Drop: Getting past the obtuse hints, the sequel to the first is ridiculously easy due to a variety of factors, such as:
    • Permanent whip upgrades which do a lot more damage than in other Belmont-based titles.
    • Less aggressive enemies that freeze more than usual on hit.
    • A relative lack of Bottomless Pits and Ledge Bats.
    • Simon getting a ridiculous amount of health thanks to the game's leveling system, as well as respawning in the same location after dying and continuing.
    • The overpowered sacred flame and golden dagger.
    • Only three bosses in the game, two of which can be skipped and the last of which can be defeated easily with one of several exploits.
  • Sequel Hook: The "best" ending shows Dracula's hand rising out of the dirt in front of his grave.
  • Short-Range Long-Range Weapon: Averted. The dagger has a short range, no cost to use, and can be spammed. The silver knife and golden knife can only be thrown one at a time, and they cover the whole screen.
  • Shout-Out: The infamous line "DON'T LOOK INTO THE DEATH STAR" likely refers to Fist of the North Star, rather than the more infamous battle station. In the manga, whenever someone sees the Shichosei (The Ominous Star of Death), that man will die soon.
    • The artwork of Dracula on the front cover of the game resembles the Clyde Caldwell cover of the original Ravenloft module from AD&D. "Resembles" here means "identical except that Dracula/Strahd is looking at the viewer instead of directly forward, and Simon Belmont is superimposed on the foreground."
    • The Black Dahlia Murder, the heavy metal band, named their first demo album after the quote at the top of the page.
  • Skippable Boss: Most avoidable Death fight ever. Even if you do fight him, he's pathetically easy, which is funny, considering he's usually the hardest boss of most of the Castlevania games he's in. Technically, he still is the hardest boss if not skipped, but see Hard Levels, Easy Bosses above.
  • Super Drowning Skills: For some reason, Simon Belmont sinks like a rock.
    This guy can go all over fighting hordes of evil monsters... but he can't even fucking swim!?
    The Angry Video Game Nerd
    • Simon is wearing metal armor (as depicted on the cover art), which would make anyone sink like a rock.
    • This game also has poison water, which is just a different color. But landing in poison water just drains your health slowly, compared to regular water which kills you instantly. Yes, in this universe, adding poison to water makes it LESS deadly.
  • Take Your Time: The in-game clock is paused whenever indoors, which means you can spend as much time inside the mansions as you want without it affecting the time of day or the game's overall runtime. Abusing this is essential to getting the best ending; you can level up and grind for hearts all you want inside mansions while the time is frozen.
  • Trailers: You can take your pick of the classic 80's commercial or the modern fan-made trailer here.
  • Überwald: Almost the entire game other than the mansions and the ruins of Dracula's Castle. It's one of the things that makes it stand out among other games where it's either all castle or a more balanced mix of outdoors and castle environments.
  • Unwitting Pawn: No one ever said Simon had to resurrect Dracula. Just that his body parts had to be burned in the castle ruins. Had he just thrown away Dracula's Ring once he was past the final obstacle that needed it, that being the magic bricks on the bridge to the castle, then he wouldn't have fought the easiest Dracula fight ever, since it was adding the Ring to the fire that resurrected Dracula.
    • The Un-Twist: Combines with a corrupted It Was His Sled in that everyone assumes Simon's knowingly trying to revive Dracula, purely because that's what happens.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Compared to other incarnations, this version of Dracula is perhaps the easiest to dispatch, with a couple of glaring "he can't hurt you if you use this" methods of taking him out. There's the obvious method of spamming laurels, which should last you more than long enough to win, or spamming the Golden Dagger or Sacred Flame at Drac, which freezes him in place and prevents him from attacking.
  • Wound That Will Not Heal: What Dracula's curse entails for Simon.
  • Zero-Effort Boss: Death is technically the hardest boss, but is also the easiest; a simple garlic dropped in his path will stunlock and render him completely unable to move or attack until he's defeated. How effortless is this strategy? The player can safely walk away from the game while they wait for Death to expire.


Example of: