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DescriptionCastlevania II: Simon's Quest is the second game in the Castlevania series. After the vampire killer Simon Belmont destroyed Count Dracula in the previous game, an evil curse possessed him. The only way Simon can break the count's curse is to find five of Dracula's body parts (which are mysteriously strewn throughout Transylvania) and burn them.
Gameplay-wise, Simon's Quest is quite different from its predecessor, combining side-scrolling action and platforming with strong role-playing elements. The game does not feature the traditional stages but allows the player to freely roam the land of Transylvania in the style of Nintendo's Metroid. The game world is divided into outdoor areas, dungeon-like mansions containing crucial quest items, and towns, where Simon can talk to non-player characters, rest, and buy items in shops. Some areas can only be accessed by equipping and using specific items that must be bought or found.
The RPG elements are present in character growth, monetary system, and weapon upgrades. Simon's initial whip can be replaced by more powerful variants that can be purchased in various towns. Hearts are used as currency in the game and are obtained from defeated enemies in different quantities. The same hearts also function as experience points: after Simon has accumulated a set amount, he levels up and his attributes are increased.
The game features a day and night cycle that occurs at accelerated pace in real time. At night, enemies inflict more damage, but also drop more hearts upon defeat. Shops are closed during nighttime, and townspeople are replaced by wandering zombies.
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EndingsThe game features three different endings, which are activated based on the amount of game-time it took the player to finish the game. The first one is for three days or less, another is for eight days or less and the third is for any time playing over that. The endings are different between the US and Japanese versions of the game. It's debatable which of the three is the better ending (the fastest ending isn't considered the best), however it seems that in two of them, Simon Belmont does not survive the curse Dracula placed upon him.
Famicom Disk System VersionThe original Japanese version of the game, named Dracula II: Noroi no Fuuin, was not released on a cart. It was available for the Famicom Disk System, an add-on that lets the Famicom play video games straight from a special floppy disk.
There are some differences between this version and the US one:
Garlic ExploitIn the original Japanese Famicom Disk System-only version of the game, it is possible to beat the last boss using only a single piece of garlic. Doing this really takes a long time though. Just drop a piece of garlic on the floor, move and wait for the boss to hit the garlic. It will be hit 256 times without having the ability to move, then die. In the western cartridge port of the game, Konami made the supply of garlic vanish for the final battle, probably because this trick was well-known in Japan.
InnovationsIt was the first game to feature a day/night cycle.
NovelA 1990 novella based on this game was published by Scholastic as part of their Worlds of Power series for children at risk of losing their literacy to video gaming -- books based on non-Nintendo-owned NES games, all attributed to the author F.X. Nine (though this one is also credited: written by Christopher Howell, a Seth Godin Production). At the ends of chapters, hints for the completion of the video game appear in spoiler-secured upside-down text.
Nintendo Power ControversyThe second issue of Nintendo Power had a cover based on Castlevania II: Simon's Quest. It depicted a man in a suit of armor (probably Simon Belmont) holding Dracula's severed head. The cover prompted several phone calls from mothers who claimed it gave their children nightmares.
The Black Dahlia MurderThe American death metal band The Black Dahlia Murder, used this game as inspiration for their first release, What a Horrible Night to Have a Curse. The title is derived from the phrase "What a horrible night to have a curse" which appears onscreen during transitions from day to night. The song What a Horrible Night to Have a Curse from their third album Nocturnal is a downloadable track in Rock Band, bringing Castlevania to that franchise in a sort of round-about way.
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