1. Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest

Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest (1988, NES) By Konami

Current Any% Glitchless Leaderboard (speedrun.com)

Every journey starts with a single step, and boy did we pick a doozy to start walking with. Castlevania II is a game I was very familiar with as a kid. I was able to beat this game casually for years, and always found myself coming back to this game every few years to relieve my childhood. In fact, it wasn’t until I saw this episode of AVGN that his influence really hit me; hearing his criticisms of the title really drove in deep for me.

With the guidance of cantaloupeme and LoZCardsfan23, I began my trials journey. Streaming my very first learning experience live on Twitch, folks came out to see me learning the game step-by-step. It was a fun experience, to be sure, but I found myself being distracted often throughout the learning part of the trial; this would eventually lead to my learning segments being done off-stream. Nevertheless, I picked the game up quickly, and began my runs.

The start of this run is awful. You must kill the lizard men off-screen to the west of the starting town to gain enough hearts to purchase a white crystal and a holy water. This can be tedious and difficult, as not getting them in time can mean a huge time loss and certain reset, if you can’t reach the stores in time. And this is the major flaw of this speedrun, the grinding for money. Throughout the run, you must purchase different items, and not getting the prerequisite hearts in time can lead to you missing a day & night cycle, and a very frustrating few minutes of guaranteed time loss. Since the heart drops are RNG, this is sometimes entirely out of your hands.  Every time you take too long, whether your fault or not, the infamous text box pops up in the air, you groan, and you lose minutes of time.

Luckily, this game more than makes up for this flaw with solid platforming action, amazing graphics and music, and above-average controls. Although this game has a plethora of speed techs known, I chose to run the glitchless category for this trial, and enjoyed this run thoroughly despite my frustrations (apparent in my PB vod for sure). As this trial ran down, I thought I had experienced a “bad game” but hindsight is always 20/20, and today I can say with certainty that CVII is a good speedrun, and I highly recommend it to any CVII fans, especially casually, and probably as a speedrun.

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