Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest (1987)

by Ji-yeong
7 minutes read


A groundbreaking title in the action-adventure genre, Simon’s Quest challenges players to lift a curse by hunting down Dracula’s remains in a world teeming with danger. Its mix of exploration, RPG elements, and a dynamic day-night cycle make it a memorable and influential game.


Following the events of the original Castlevania, Simon’s Quest throws players back into the dark world of Transylvania, embarking on a daunting mission to lift a curse placed by Dracula. This entry in the series is notable for its departure from the linear gameplay of its predecessor, offering instead an open-world experience rife with secrets and danger.


Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest, a platform-adventure game developed and published by Konami, is a sequel to the original Castlevania. Released in Japan in 1987 for the Famicom Disk System and in North America in 1988 for the Nintendo Entertainment System, it marked a significant departure from the traditional platforming of its predecessor.

The game is set in 1698, seven years after the events of the first installment. The player once again assumes the role of vampire hunter Simon Belmont, who is on a journey to undo a curse placed on him by Dracula at the end of their previous encounter. Simon discovers that, even though he defeated Count Dracula in the original Castlevania, he is now under Dracula’s curse. To lift the curse, Simon must reunite the Count’s scattered body parts to resurrect the dark lord, then kill him all over again.

Dracula’s body was split into five parts, which Simon must find and bring to the ruins of Castle Dracula in order to defeat him. The game deviates from the traditional platforming of its predecessor, incorporating role-playing and open-world elements. The player is free to explore and revisit a world map, a feature inspired by The Maze of Galious (1987).

Simon, controlled by the player, can talk with villagers who will offer him clues or lies. He can go to merchants who sell items, either for fighting enemies or for traversing to otherwise unreachable areas. To pay for them, he must collect hearts, which are dropped by defeated enemies. In addition to the ordinary items in Simon’s inventory, he can purchase new whips in a few locations.

Simon’s Quest introduces an Experience Rating system, in which Simon’s power level and maximum health may be increased by collecting a sufficient amount of hearts. The period of time in Simon’s Quest cycles between daytime and nightfall. During the day, the enemies outside villages are weaker. At nighttime, they gain strength and inflict more damage to Simon’s life points. However, when defeated, they drop more hearts. The villagers and merchants in their respective locations are also no longer available to talk to and are replaced by zombies.

Some elements from the previous game return, including the Magic Weapons, which are secondary weapons to Simon’s whip. One of them returning from Castlevania is the Holy Water, a small glass which can disintegrate walls that conceal hidden items.


The game features Simon Belmont as the protagonist, armed with his iconic whip. Along the way, he encounters various characters, including villagers offering hints, merchants selling weapons and items, and a host of enemies such as werewolves, zombies, and other demonic creatures.


Simon’s Quest introduces RPG elements to the series, including an experience points system, an in-game currency for purchasing items and weapons, and a day-night cycle that affects the game’s difficulty and the behavior of enemies. The game encourages exploration, puzzle-solving, and the use of special items to progress.


Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest is a bold experiment in game design, blending action, adventure, and horror in a way that was ahead of its time. While not without its flaws, it remains an essential play for fans of the series and retro gaming enthusiasts.

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