The Sun sets far in the distance, its warming rays the last sweet caress of safety you'll feel before the moon rises, revealing the full horror of Dracula's minions crawling the Romanian countryside. It feels like the night lasts forever, the moon always full, the lingering curse overwhelming your senses, vexing and vomitous.
And that's just from talking to the townspeople.
Let's play Castlevania II
Featuring Medibot, special guests Dischord and Kiwi, and me: My Name Is Kaz.
Following some recent events, I decided it was time to give the old game its due. So in a single sitting, I played through the game twice over for two different endings (of the game's three). I'll alternate posting them thrice weekly. Ending 1 shall be numbered and ending two lettered.
Castlevania II: Simon's Quest throws poor Simon back into the thick of things in 1586, a scant seven years after he single-handedly knocked on Dracula's door and knocked him down a peg. But there is more to fighting Dracula than merely vanquishing his form, as Simon learns that the old sorcerer's might might need to be met with magic of his own. Poor fool thought to do the work of an entire squad of hunters all his own, and it just never has been that easy (well, not since 1094, but even Leon had an alchemist on his side, so there). The fact of the matter is that Simon now needs to scour the countryside for some of Dracula's remains that Dracula's evil minions have vouchsafed within the walls of their mansions, guarded by malicious traps, magical barriers, mind-erasing puzzles, and of course a host of marginally menacing monsters. Simon seeks to destroy the lingering curse that gives rise to undead horrors across the land as it eats away at his soul from the inside out.
Playing Castlevania II will feel like playing the first one for about a minute, then you realize that there's a whole load of different things to be done as well. You explore, collect money and experience (in the form of hearts and...erm, also hearts) obtain weapons and armor (sortof) and other items. You backtrack, talk to townsfolk (more on that in a bit), and solve clues to complete the ritualistic banishing of the curse.
You have three lives and no way to get more. When you lose those, you game over, allowing you to get a password or to simply continue. If you die or continue, the game plants you on the last platform you had been standing on (hazards and stairs don't count) with a grace period to get the hell out of there or crush whatever monster had offed you seconds ago. You can continue as much as you want. Do so too much, or take too much game time and you'll get ending number 3, which is in black and white and supplies misleading information about how things turned out.
And misinformation freaking defines this game. Since you're allowed to continue as much as you want without losing any progress really, Konami (circa 1988 on the NES) made the game difficult by instead not giving you any freaking clue about the ins and outs of the various puzzles in the game. They hint at "Dracula's Riddle" all over the place, but there is no riddle, just a series of esoteric tricks that you wouldn't figure out on your own in hours and hours of play. To top it all off, the townsfolk who could possibly provide information to help you instead spew drivel that's either useless, misleading, senseless, or plain false.
Because the game is full of unhelpful and often misleading NPC dialogue, I've decided to title each link after one of the many gems of disinformation these human-swine spill at you so you too can enjoy the splendor of wretched rumor the game has to offer. Because I'll be damned if I'm talking to all of these idiots.
Videos on viddler
The Journey to Ending 1:
Part 1: A MAGIC POTION WILL DESTROY THE WALL OF EVIL.
Part 2: BUY SOME GARLIC. IT HAS SPECIAL POWERS.
Part 3: SORRY PAL, NO TIME NOW. MAYBE LATER.
Part 4: LAURELS IN YOUR SOUP ENHANCE ITS AROMA.
Part 5: YOU'VE UPSET THE PEOPLE. NOW GET OUT OF TOWN!!
Part 6, Final: AFTER CASTLEVANIA, I WARNED YOU NOT TO RETURN.
The Journey to Ending Two:
Part A: FIRST THING TO DO IN THIS TOWN IS BUY A WHITE CRYSTAL.
Part B: A CROOKED TRADER IS OFFERING BUM DEALS IN THIS TOWN.
Part C: RUMOR HAS IT, THE FERRYMAN AT DEAD RIVER LOVES GARLIC.
Part D: GET A SILK BAG FROM THE GRAVEYARD DUCK TO LIVE LONGER.
Part E: DON'T LOOK INTO THE DEATH STAR OR YOU WILL DIE.
Part F: HIT DEBORAH CLIFF WITH YOUR HEAD TO MAKE A HOLE.
Part G, Final: LET'S LIVE HERE TOGETHER.