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Simon's Quest is one of the few older Castlevania games that I have still not beaten. Growing up, I never owned this game, although I did own an NES. I rented this game once growing up and I believe I got about as far a Deborah's Cliff, but it is possible that I got stuck somewhere else earlier. Shortly after college, I had an emulated version of the game, but didn't play it very much. When I started making money, I bought all the Castlevania games in existence, including all three NES Castlevanias, but spent most of my time playing Dracula's Curse instead. My roommate at the time played it a lot (it was the only Castlevania game he seriously got into growing up), and I just watched the master play from time to time, but didn't start my own game. Eventually, getting the NES to work became a pain I didn't want to deal with, so I got rid of my NES. When Nintendo was releasing its classic Nintendo series on the Game Boy Advanced, I enjoyed playing the original Castlevania I and decided to wait until Simon's Quest was released for GBA before making a serious attempt to play the game and beat the game. That never happened. So, finally the game was released on the Wii Virtual Console, so I am finally trying to play it from beginning to end.
Wiki as I Play
I decided to create Castlevania Wiki pages as I went for items and places I encountered during my first run of Simon's Quest on the Wii Virtual Console. I created a long article about the Leather Whip and Holy Water in all their incarnations in all games when I obtained those items and slowed my progress until some of those pages were complete. I also created some in-depth pages for some of the early towns, Jova and Veros. When I discovered some maps on the internet from various gaming magazines, I started making stub articles for each location, using names from those maps when it wasn't clear from actual gameplay.
The first resource I found useful was Crude Ascii Maps. The general layout for the first part of the game is found here as well as the locations to some of the items.
From there I found an all encompassing web page guide for all things Simon's Quest here. I found it useful in determining what was in each town, the meanings of some of the clues, descriptions for what the items do, a general walkthrough, and some jpeg layout maps of a few of the areas.
At the Castlevania Realm, I found scans of the manuals useful. This is the source of the enemy names in the Simon's Quest Bestiary and throughout the location guides. I found out about the Worlds of Power - Simon's Quest novel here. I also found a useful illustrated map of the land from the NES Game Atlas here that I'm using to name areas that aren't named in the game itself. Because this map appears based on a similar map in the Japanese manual, I am taking this map seriously.
At the Castlevania Dungeon, I found a Nintendo Power Map, which is like the one from the NES Game Atlas. It is not as detailed, but it is easier to read at a glance. The site also has a good general layout guide of the area that use snapshots as building blocks to the world map. A page on the Worlds of Power novel pointed me to where I could find the text of that book. The link was broken, but I was able to recover three of the four parts in Google's cache. I learned about the semi-canonical character of Linda Entwhistle from that book.
I started out in the town of Jova as everyone does. I quickly learned that it was a bad idea to head left into the Belasco Marsh, so I headed east and eventually got Dracula's Heart. I had read on the internet that you had to show the Ferryman Drac's heart, but I misinterpreted that as meaning that he would not take you across the river without it. So, I never tried to get to the ferryman before I had the heart. When I got to him, I didn't have heart selected and was surprised when he let me across the Dead River. "Huh", I thought, "I guess I didn't need to actually have it selected". I explored the area but was stuck at the place in the Jam Wastelands that involved moving platforms going up and down. I couldn't get across them and thought that it was impossible to get across them and figured I needed some kind of item to actually make the distance. I couldn't figure out where to go, so I consulted some online strategy guides and found out that Simon could get past them if he leaped as the platforms were still ascending and were near the top of their motion. I also found out that the ferryman actually took you to a "different" place if you have Drac's heart selected. I set about earning enough hearts to buy a Morningstar Whip, then took the alternate river course, then returned and crossed the Jam Wasteland and made it to Deborah's Cliff. I knew from a long time ago that you needed to use a crystal while kneeling at the base of the cliff to go to another place, so I did that and healed myself in the church at the rude town of Fetra.
- Since I now have Dracula's Eyeball, I decided I wanted to backtrack a bit and try to explore some earlier stages to find some items or clues I might have missed. Thanks to some maps, I knew the way back to Camilla's Cemetary from there, so I headed in that direction. Along the way, I found the Flame Whip. I dinked around with the upper levels of that area, but fell too many times and decided to skip it for now. I returned to Camilla's Cemetary and explored some mansions and towns. I found I forgot to equip the eyeball when I switched to other items a few times, so I might have missed some stuff. I got bored of that and then crossed the Dead River and restored my health at the town of Alba.
- I returned to the game, but found that I had forgotten to save it. I had thought that if I forgot to save, that my entire progress would be wiped out, but I guess that's not the case. That is okay because most of it was wasted time. I did forget, however, that I lost my Flame Whip, so when I went past it again in this session, I didn't pick it up. Oops.