Milon's Secret Castle is a sidescrolling game released on the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1986 in Japan and 1988 in North America, and developed by Hudson Soft. It's one of the least intuitive games of all time, second only to Activision's Super Pitfall. The game was later ported to the Game Boy in 1993.
Your Player Character, the titular Milon, is dressed in a very pixellated representation of blue overalls (or perhaps pajamas) and a blue hat. Your mission is to rescue Queen Eliza, who is held captive by the Evil Warlord Maharito, by struggling through several rooms filled with secrets and enemies. Your means of defense (or offense, as the case may be, although at times you may feel very much more hunted than hunter) is an infinite supply of bubbles. One hit is enough to take down most enemies, although the majority of them require concentration to be hit. Health capacity is small, but Milon can expand it by collecting items resembling honeycombs.
It received a Super Famicom sequel of sorts in Do Re Mi Fantasy, which exchanges the block puzzles for platforming and is only really related in that it also happens to star Milon, who still has his trademark Bubble Gun.
This game provides examples of:
- Bonus Stage: By touching certain boxes, Milon is transported to an area in which he collects music notes to earn money.
- Bubble Gun: Milon shoots bubbles to defeat his foes. It works.
- Check-Point Starvation: Subverted. You can continue if you know the code. Otherwise, you're screwed. Thankfully averted in the Game Boy port, which gives you a password on a Game Over.
- Classic Cheat Code: Want to continue your game when you get a Game Over? You'll need to know a special button input! Note
- Fake Difficulty: Infinitely Respawning Enemies, no Mercy Invincibility, and completely unintuitive roadblocks.
- Game Over: And over and over and over.
- Guide Dang It!:
- To continue in the game, you must push certain blocks aside. There is no "pushing" animation or change when you move up against a block. Nowhere in the game or manual does it say that this can be done. The one block you must push looks exactly like all the others in the game. The Angry Video Game Nerd was not amused.
- It got even worse when the Nerd found out the game's Nintendo Power hint section coverage was titled "Getting Started" as opposed to something like "Reaching the Minus World" or "Accessing Zelda's Second Quest."
- The Famicom release even came with a full detailed guide for the game, though you're encouraged not to read it unless you're completely stuck.
- Heart Container: Mercifully present, although rare and difficult to find.
- Improbable Weapon User: Milon and his Bubble Gun.
- In-Universe Game Clock: Only outside. Stay out too long and nighttime will slam into effect, along a torrential downpour of lightning flakes. It reverts back to day if you can survive the lightning.
- Jump Physics: Vital to success. Buying different kinds of shoes stacks up progressively more unrealistic and useful jumping abilities.
- Money for Nothing: Money is vitally important to progressing, but one particular room, unlike others, regenerates its money.
- Nintendo Hard: Just go look at the description for Nintendo Hard and you've basically got a summation of this game.
- Password Save: In the Game Boy port, The password saving was added.
- Respawning Enemies: The common enemies respawn after just a few seconds. The bosses never do, which is nice; some of their lairs are vital access points to other parts of the castle.
- Save the Princess: The point of the game to rescue a queen but, basically, it's the same.
- Standard Hero Reward: After Milon saves the queen, They get married.