Castlevania 2

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Hello and welcome! My name is Katosepe and I’ll be your host for today’s Video Game of the Day.

The NES era of games seemed to often contain black sheep games. Nobody quite knew the right way to make a game so everyone was just tossing everything at the wall to see what stuck. Zelda 2 is wildly different than other Zelda games. Super Mario Bros 2 was famously not even an actual Mario game. Castlevania was no exception to this. Although, in a couple of small ways, Castlevania may just have been ahead of its time. Today’s game is Castlevania 2: Simon’s Quest, developed by Konami and released on the Famicom Disk System in 1987.

Unlike the Castlevania games we know today, the original Castlevania and most entries in the series up until Symphony of the Night were linear, level-based platformers like Mario or Mega Man. Castlevania 2: Simon’s Quest wasn’t like that though. Castlevania 2 put players back in the role of Simon Belmont, the hero of the first game, who has been cursed by Dracula. He must travel through an open-world environment to collect pieces of Dracula scattered throughout the land in five remote mansions. Once he puts them back together, he must defeat Dracula once and for all to end the curse and free the land.

Along with the open map that Simon can journey through, there were other notable RPG elements put into the Castlevania formula. Simon gathers experience points by defeating enemies and levels up, increasing his health. Simon also collects heart pieces which, unlike the first game, is used as a sort of currency to spend at shops for items and stronger whips. There is also a day/night cycle where after three minutes, the game changes from either day to night, or night to day. At night, villagers lock their doors and the town becomes filled with zombies. Enemies outside the village also become stronger at night. 

Castlevania 2 is often seen as the odd duck of the series. It had a completely different gameplay style than it’s retro counterparts and the game was often extremely cryptic with what to do next. This is sometimes blamed on the extremely poor localization which butchered clues that the villagers would give but certain elements of the game were bizarre in Japanese as well. Regardless of what was to blame, Castlevania 2 received much lower critical reception than the other two NES entries and is often regarded by fans as one of the worse Castlevania titles. While it absolutely has flaws, Castlevania 2 is interesting to look back on though since many of its elements such as the open-world and the RPG elements would later return to the series and has since become a staple of the franchise today.

Thank you so much for listening! If you like retro games like Castlevania 2, you should go take a look at Old School Gamer Magazine. Every other month, they can send you a digital magazine filled with retro gaming news, reviews, retrospectives, and more. Best of all is it’s absolutely free. Go to to subscribe. That’s Don’t forget to check back here tomorrow for another Video Game of the Day! 

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Devin "Katosepe" Sloane is a long time gamer and host of the show Video Game of the Day. He firmly believes Darklands is the pinnacle of gaming achievement and this is a hill he will die upon. Where his nickname came from is a secret to everybody.