- Anti-Climax Boss: Dracula. As noted under Weaksauce Weakness, there are at least three different ways to fight him that make it impossible to lose life against him. This incarnation is arguably the easiest boss in the entire franchise.
- Awesome Music: Bloody Tears, in its first appearance.
- Critical Backlash: Castlvania II's departure from the level-based structure of parts I and III is still complained about today, along with its rather obtuse puzzles and several flat-out misleading clues. Those who grew up with the title or tried it in spite of contemporary internet critics' snarking, however, tend to be more charitable in their assessment, appreciating the game for its attempt at an open-world action/adventure style (which became the series bellwether once Castlevania: Symphony of the Night ironed out the kinks) and pointing out that plenty of other well-regarded games from the era had their fair share of Guide Dang It! moments.
- Disappointing Last Level: Dracula's castle. It's completely empty, and then you face one of the most piss-easy incarnations of Dracula in the entire series.
- Ear Worm: The first few bars of the night theme, "Monster Dance", though only because you will be hearing it over, and over, and over.
- Follow the Leader: After The Angry Video Game Nerd ripped this game a new one purely as a comedy bit he didn't really mean as James Rolfe, real angry video game nerds everywhere started bashing it furiously in droves for real. Even though the game was actually very fondly remembered until The Angry Video Game Nerd attacked it.
- Game-Breaker: The Golden Knife. Although it's prohibitively expensive to use to just mow down everything in your path, it's powerful enough to render any enemy — including Dracula — harmless.
- Goddamned Bats: Oddly enough, the actual bats aren't much of a nuisance apart from blending in too well with dark backgrounds, but the eyeballs that home in on Simon and those little hopping blue slime creatures are more than happy to step up as the most annoying enemies in this installment.
- Iconic Sequel Song: Bloody Tears
- It Was His Sled: Simon's quest to cure his condition is all a plot to resurrect Dracula early.
- Memetic Mutation: "WHAT A HORRIBLE NIGHT TO HAVE A CURSE." And then a notoriously heavy melodic death metal band decided to make a song... Named after that line.
- Mis-blamed: The translation is not good, but see Infallible Babble. The infamous "graveyard duck" line often cited as "Blind Idiot" Translation is actually a literal translation of the original Japanese dialogue — the best guess as to what it actually means is that it's either obscure slang for a night patrolman, or a Konami in-joke involving putting ducks in every game.
- Most Annoying Sound: By the end of the game, the beeping that accompanies dialogue is probably gonna be ingrained in your head in a bad way.
- Nightmare Fuel: Carmilla is a giant, grinning, disembodied mask that hovers about and weeps flaming tears from one eye, like an even creepier version of Phanto.
- Polished Port:
- In the reverse of what would happen to the next game, the soundtrack to the NES version is widely considered a massive improvement over the original Famicom Disk System version, which is generally hated by fans due to the tinny, whiny instrumentation, and a distinctly lacklustre version of "Bloody Tears."
- Some of the American versions of the music are even included as bonus tracks on the Japanese soundtrack release, one of the very very few times you'll see "NES" on a Japanese product.
- Scrappy Mechanic: There is no way to speed up the text box marking the change from day to night and back. And you'll be seeing it a lot. Fortunately time stands still when you're indoors.
- "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: Criticism of Castlevania II for being so different from I and III is relatively new. At the time, Nintendo of America believed that Mission Pack Sequels wouldn't sell and that a sequel had to be drastically different from the original (compare Super Mario Bros. 2, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, and to a lesser extent Metroid II: Return of Samus).
- Serial Numbers Filed Off: Compare the art for Ravenloft and this game.
- Snark Bait: Borders on this. People do seem to enjoy snarking over this game more than actually playing it.
- That One Boss: Normally this would be averted, as Dracula is so easy to cheese thanks to Laurels and certain weapons that he can be slaughtered without much fanfare at all, and it's practically like the game expects you to do this. Speedrunners with less resources, or minimalist/challenge players that don't try to go for cheesy strategies, however, have to deal with an absolute clusterfuck of scythes as Dracula warps all around the screen every other frame. If you don't have Laurels or don't try to stunlock him with something like the Holy Water, he can slaughter you in seconds and you can barely fight back. The entire fight hinges on you cheesing him or him cheesing you.
- That One Level: Dead River/Jam Wasteland. Not only does it end with That One Puzzle, but to get there you have to cross a river on a bunch of one block-wide platforms moving vertically. If your jump is the slightest bit off just once, you're dead. Worst of all, it can be easy to miss getting the Red Crystal required for That One Puzzle, since you had to remember that, depending on whether or not you're holding a specific item, you can be transported to two different areas by the same ferryman. Forget the Red Crystal and you'll have to backtrack.
- That One Puzzle: The infamous puzzle where you have to stand in a certain spot with a certain item and wait for a tornado to come and carry you to the next area. There are hints to the solution in the game, but the sheer insanity of it definitely qualifies it as this.
- Vindicated by History: Maybe not the game itself, which still tends to be regarded as the weakest of the NES trilogy, but the gameplay style it pioneered would ultimately displace that of the franchise's original style, with Symphony of the Night.
YMMV / Castlevania II: Simon's Quest