Castlevania II: Simon's Quest
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In the previous Castlevania title, Dracula has been defeated by vampire hunter Simon Belmont, but he has placed a curse upon him. Now Simon has to travel the Transylvanian countryside to rid himself of the curse Dracula put on him. To undo the curse, a woman tells Simon that you must resurrect Dracula. Dracula's body was split into five different pieces after his defeat seven years ago. After obtaining the five parts Simon must bring them to Dracula's castle. There Simon must seal Dracula and defeat him. There are also three possible endings in the game. Which ending you end up getting all depends on how long it took you to finish the game.
Castlevania II: Simon's Quest is a departure from what the first Castlevania title showcased: rather than simply traveling through sequential platforming stages, this title focuses more on exploring the vast world of Transylvania seeking out all of Dracula's body parts. In his quest, Simon travels to towns and mansions, through forests, swamps and graveyards all the while defeating monsters and talking to people. Simon can also buy items off of merchants with Hearts, earned by defeating enemies, and by collecting more Hearts, it is also possible to raise Simon's level, giving him more overall health and decreasing the amount of health lost from damage.
As well, there is a day and night system in the game; at night, monsters generally become stronger (and reward the player with higher Heart amounts upon being killed) while towns close down completely as they are overrun with zombies and ravens.
In his travels, Simon will come across five mansions; each of these structures holds one of Dracula's scattered body parts and is heavily guarded. Procurement of these parts may bestow a benefit upon Simon that is either noticeable right away or is context sensitive based on in-game flow. Ultimately, once Simon has all five parts he is to head to the ruins of Castlevania, resurrect the Count and kill him once more. Doing so will end the curse and save the land of Transylvania once more.
Throughout his journey, Simon will find and use a plethora of items and weapons, many of which are to be purchased in town shops for the right amount of hearts. Each item has to be equipped in the game's sub-menu in order to be used or its effect to come into play:
WHITE CRYSTAL (50 Hearts): Found in the town of Jova. Can be used to show an invisible moving platform in Berkeley's Mansion, thereby allowing the player to actually enter it.
BLUE CRYSTAL (Free): Traded in the town of Aljiba. Contains the same effect as the white crystal but can also be used to uncover a hidden path beneath Yuba Lake which leads to Rover Mansion.
RED CRYSTAL (Free): Traded in the town of Aldra. Contains the same effects as the white and blue crystals but can also be used to summon a tornado at Deborah Cliff, which whisks Simon to Bodley Mansion, and a previously undiscovered portion of the Transylvanian countryside.
HOLY WATER (50 Hearts): Found in the town of Jova. A sub-weapon thrown in a small arc that shatters on the ground without its trademark burst of fire. Though a weak weapon in its own right, its main use is to destroy weak floors and walls, or to test any fake floors and walls (if a thrown bottle flies through, it is obviously fake...).
DAGGER (50 Hearts): Found in the town of Veros. A sub-weapon thrown in a straight line ahead of the player. Its offensiveness is stronger than the Holy Water, yet not by much. Its trajectory is rather short, as it will disappear several feet into its flight.
SACRED FLAME (Free): Found in hidden blocks in Dabi's Path. When thrown it will fly in a small arc and, upon landing, burst into a rising gout of fire that will burn and cause successive damage to any enemy it hits. Costs one heart per toss.
LAURELS (50 Hearts): Found in various towns, or free in Laruba Mansion. Provides Simon with several seconds of invincibility. Very useful when trudging through poisoned marsh or against a slew of strong foes.
GARLIC (50 Hearts): Found in various towns. Can be used as a weak trap (any enemy caught in the grasp of its cloves will suffer successive damage and be rendered helpless), though its main function is to summon a "graveyard duck" in two specific cemetery areas, each of which gives Simon a helpful item.
SILVER KNIFE (Free): Found in the Camilla Cemetery and given to by a graveyard duck. It is stronger than the original dagger and can fly faster and to a full-screen's length. Uses up one heart per toss.
GOLDEN KNIFE (Free): Found in Brahm's Mansion upon defeating Death. This knife is as strong as the currently equipped whip. It is unable to fly through enemies like other daggers at Simon's disposal, but it DOES burst into flames upon impact, damaging its intended target severely. Uses up two hearts per toss.
DIAMOND (Free): Given to Simon by a gypsy at a cliff left of the Dead River's fork. When thrown it will fly in a diagonal angle, bouncing off walls, floors and ceilings and through any enemies in its path. Uses up one heart per toss.
OAK STAKE (50 Hearts): Bought in any mansion. It is the only item that can shatter the orbs which contain Dracula's remains. Beyond that, it CAN be used as a powerful weapon that will destroy any monster along its slow path (though, ironically, it will not harm Dracula himself...).
SILK BAG (Free): Found in a tucked away cemetery near the town of Oldon and given to Simon by another graveyard duck. Will enable Simon to hold 8 laurels instead of only 4.
HOLY CROSS (Free): Found in Laruba Mansion after killing Carmilla's Mask. In Simon's possession, he is able able to enter the ruins of Castlevania. Without it, he cannot proceed.
Simon starts the game with a simple leather whip (not the fabled Vampire Killer, one would assume), yet can upgrade it with various other whips along his quest:
THORN WHIP (100 Hearts): Found in the town of Jova. It is longer than the leather whip and deals twice as much damage.
CHAIN WHIP (150 Hearts): Found in the town of Veros. Deals twice as much damage as the Thorn Whip.
MORNING STAR (200 Hearts): Found in the town of Oldon. Deals twice as much damage as the Chain Whip.
FLAME WHIP (Free): Magically enhanced by a gypsy not far from Bodley Mansion. Deals the most amount of damage of any whip variant. Simon cannot upgrade any further than this, though he CAN, in theory, downgrade by looping back around and purchasing another whip.
 Drac's Remains
The goal of the game is to find five of Dracula's scattered body parts, all of which are tucked away in the various mansions in the game, which can be used to resurrect the Count. This theme would be reused in a few other games in the series down the line (Symphony of the Night and Harmony of Dissonance, for example...):
DRACULA'S RIB: When equipped, will produce a shield in front of Simon that will reflect fireballs spat his way.
DRACULA'S EYEBALL: When equipped, any hidden scrolls (or clues) will be visible.
DRACULA'S HEART: When equipped, the Dead River ferry will take Simon along the right path, leading to Rover Mansion. Having it unequipped will allow the ferry to send Simon on a different course down the river.
DRACULA'S NAIL: When equipped, it will give Simon's whip the ability to destroy fake walls in a fashion exactly like the Holy Water's main function.
DRACULA'S RING: Does not seem to have any in-game effect, though one cannot beat the game without it.
 "CLUES TO DRACULA'S RIDDLE..."
Throughout the game Simon will come across 13 "clues to Dracula's riddle", cryptic messages that are meant to help Simon along with his quest. These can be found in random hidden spots in the game and can be unearthed by usage of Holy Water on breakable blocks (or made visible with Dracula's Eyeball). The "clues", and their potential meanings, are as follows...:
- " CLEAR A PATH AT BERKELEY MANSION WITH A WHITE CRYSTAL.": Self-explanatory; with the White Crystal equipped, Simon can spot the hidden moving platform that will grant him access into the mansion.
- "A SYMBOL OF EVIL WILL APPAER WHEN YOU STRIKE THE STAKE.": A slightly misspelled and mistranslated clue, one could deduce that this is meant to shed light on the appearance of Drac's body parts when the "stake" is used to "strike" the orb found in every mansion.
- "DESTROY THE CURSE AND YOU'LL RULE BRAHM'S MANSION.": A strange sort of endgame prize for Simon, as upon destroying Dracula he will apparently have full reign of the mansion as he sees fit. Whether he decides to rule over its inhabitants is another story...
- "A FLAME FLICKERS INSIDE A RING OF FIRE.": No idea what this means. The only major fire you find in the game is the Sacred Flame, which is hidden away under some blocks rather than in a ring of fire. A possible odd reference of Johnny Cash, perhaps?
- "TO REPLENISH EARTH, KNEEL BY THE LAKE WITH A BLUE CRYSTAL.": A reference to using the Blue Crystal at Yuba Lake to uncover Rover Mansion.
- "AN OLD GYPSY HOLDS A DIAMOND IN FRONT OF DEBORAH CLIFF." Halfway true; unless Deborah Cliff stretches a number of miles, you'll find the Diamond not far from the Dead River instead, along the fork when you show Dracula's Heart to the ferryman.
- "DESTROY THE CURSE WITH DRACULA'S HEART.": Partially true in that you'll need the Heart in order to resurrect Drac and kill him once again, this could also allude, in a roundabound way, its usage to gain access to a mansion that you would not have found otherwise.
- "GARLIC IN THE GRAVEYARD SUMMONS A STRANGER.": An allusion to the "graveyard ducks" that can be summoned and will give Simon useful items.
- "PLACE THE LAURELS IN A SILK BAG TO BRING THEM TO LIFE.": Not sure about the actual meaning, but this statement seems to allude to the SIlk Bag's importance in giving Simon the ability to hold more Laurels in his inventory.
- "WAIT FOR A SOUL WITH A RED CRYSTAL AT DEBORAH CLIFF.": An allusion to using the Red Crystal to summon a tornado that will whisk Simon away to Bodley Mansion (though this could have saved a lot of gamers' time by being far more specific...)
- "DRACULA'S NAIL MAY SOLVE THE EVIL MYSTERY.": A rather technical allusion, as one could use an equipped Dracula's Nail to destroy the blocks barring access to Castlevania at the end of the game, though the Holy Water could do so as well...
- "THE CURSE HAS KILLED THE LAUREL TREE.": A sad state of affairs, but could explain why Laurels now have to be purchased at somewhat high prices these days.
- "DRACULA'S EVIL KNIFE BLURS CAMILLA'S VISION.": Another technical allusion, the Golden Knife's flame can be used to stun Carmilla's Mask, rendering it unable to react and take steady damage. The flame's stunning ability could be the "blurring" the clue speaks of.
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