Castlevania 2: Simons Quest (1987) Review

What a horrible night to have a curse.

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Before reading this review please check out my review of the first Castlevania game

https://ragglefragglereviews.com/2018/07/06/castlevania-nes-review/

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Castlevania 2 Simons Quest is a 1987 NES action plat-former created by Konami, it takes place many years after the first game. During the final boss battle of the first Castlevania Dracula’s body parts are spread across the land and Simon is cursed, this curse does not affect Simon for a very long time and its during the events of Castlevania 2 that Simon Belmont must find the various body parts of Dracula and burn them in an attempt to remove the curse.

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The game is very different to its predecessor, while it is an adventure plat-former it executes this completely differently, this game is much slower due to players having to grind enemies to earn heart currency, a lot of very cryptic puzzle solving and back tracking is also required for players to progress through the game. The puzzles in this game are really unfair and too cryptic for players to figure out without using a guide, a prime example is having to kneel down next to a lake, after a few seconds stairs and a platform appear that allow you to walk into the lake that would normally kill you instantly, another really frustrating part of the game are fake blocks that appear everywhere and most of the time they kill you, you can see through these by throwing holy water but this becomes very boring when you are throwing holy water every step in the castles to avoid a fall to your death.

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There are many objects you can acquire in the game by either killing bosses or buying them from NPC’s, for me the most useful item was the holy water as it helped to destroy fake blocks and made killing enemies that were below me very easy. The sacred flame is another very useful item that makes a wall of fire that can do serious damage to enemies however it costs currency to use it. You can find use in some of Dracula’s body parts for example you can use his rib as a shield to deflect fire balls and his heart can be shown to the ferryman to find a path to one of the castles.

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There are not many bosses in the game and all of them are really easy including the final boss, the two other bosses you encounter can just be ignored unless you want to fight them for new weapons.

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What many people dislike about this game is the day to night cycle and vice versa, it happens on a time loop and really has no point to it other than the illusion of days passing, it really sucks because you cant use towns during night time and you may need to heal or buy a new whip or sub-weapon and a lot of the time you will find your self just waiting around for time to pass.

The soundtrack is great I prefer this to the music in the original game because I feel its a lot more immersive and each track has a great beat to it, my favourite song in the game is bloody tears, this is the song that I associate with the Castlevania series, its a fun and adventurous track that suits the game-play style perfectly.

Castlevania 2: Simons Quest is one of the most hated games in the series for a lot of the reasons I covered in this review, however while it may seem that I have complained a lot about the game, I really do not think that its as bad as its made out to be, yeah its slow and cryptic and the day to night cycle will make you want to tear your hair out but it is a much more immersive game as you will be talking to a lot of town folk and finding religious churches to recover health, the majority of it takes place outside of Dracula’s castle and provides a lot of really memorable areas and enemies, its has a very creepy feeling to it which is perfect for this series and the platforming while at times frustrating for the most part works quite well. I wouldn’t say it a good game but I wouldn’t say its a bad game either.

5/10

I hope you enjoyed this review of Castlevania 2: Simons Quest (1987)

Happy Halloween 2019

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Book Review: A Whole New World by Liz Braswell

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A Whole New World is the first of Disney’s Twisted Tales book series, It was written by Author Liz Braswell and was released on September 1st 2015. The book follows the story of Aladdin if he had never kept the lamp after the cave of wonders.

magic-lamp-from-the-story-of-aladdin-with-genie-appearing-in-blue-smoke-concept-for-wishing-luck-a_u-l-q103irw0Readers will be taken deep into Aladdin’s past which is something that wasnt really touched upon in the Disney animated movie. The book teaches the reader about Aladdin’s mother and his younger days. Author Liz Braswell describes Agrabah in a way that older readers can connect with, its a tough city that is rough and at times dangerous, the poor people are dying every day because of a lack of food and un-sanitary living conditions. The city has been neglected due to the Sultan being selfish and caring more for his toys than the people he vowed to protect.

The book at first follows the story of the movie but after the scene in the Cave of Wonders Aladdin is left without the lamp and the story of Aladdin takes a very different and much darker turn. This version of the story has scenes of Death, Pain, Suffering and Violence, beloved characters from the film are met with a lot of misfortune and some of them are left to an even worse fate, so for younger readers I would suggest reading the book with them and making it clear that only the Disney movie is canon and the events in the book are not to be taken to seriously.

But with all this in mind I really enjoyed this book, I felt it dragged on at times but all in all it was a good read for fans of the movie and it can still be enjoyed if you are yet to see the film.

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Outlast (2013) Review

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Outlast is a Survival Horror game, it was created and published by Red Barrels and was released on PC in 2013 before being released onto other systems shortly after.

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You play the game as Miles Upshur a journalist who makes the foolish mistake to investigate the psychiatric hospital Mount Massive Asylum. Once inside of the Asylum Miles discovers that the inmates have all escaped and Miles is trapped inside of the Asylum leaving him no choice but to try and find a way out while avoiding death.

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During his investigation Miles needs to travel throughout the asylum, trying to find an exit.

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Documents can be collected in the game, they provide information about the games characters and the Murk-off Corporation who are important to the plot of the game, however these documents do not need to be collected or read to enjoy the games experience.

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The most difficult part of the game is not trying to hide from the variously dangerous inmates that try to end your life, its the fact that the game is extremely dark in areas and the player needs to use night vision on their camera in order to navigate through the darkness however they have limited battery power and will need to find batteries to keep the power going. This is made extremely difficult in the later game as the batteries appear less frequently and enemies appear more often give the player less time to look for them properly.

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The visuals in Outlast are exceptionally good and an excellent blend of the outstanding graphics, horrifying visuals and the eerie sounds that you hear in the darkness help to make Outlast a scary game but I wouldn’t say its as scary as some other games that I have played.

Outlast is an ok game, it is far from amazing and in my opinion could be skipped unless you really want to play it, It has fantastic visuals and good sound effects but the the game is very short and has a mediocre soundtrack and story and I didn’t find the characters very interesting however I did have fun with the game I just wish there was more too it and perhaps that it was a little bit longer. 6/10

I hope you enjoyed this review of Outlast

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Castlevania (NES) Review

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Finally after all this time I get to talk about one of my favourite video games of all time Castlevania.

Castlevania was developed and published by Konami and was released on September 26th 1986 for the Nintendo Entertainment System

castlevania-title-screenEvery one hundred years Count Dracula rises from his coffin and wreaks havoc on Transylvania, each time Dracula comes back he is defeated by a member of the famous Belmont family who have been protecting Transylvania from supernatural threats for generations, the year is 1691 and once again Dracula causes trouble attracting the attention of Simon Belmont who along with his trusty whip makes his way through Dracula’s castle hoping to defeat the evil vampire lord.Castlevania_NES_14

The game is an action plat-former and takes place in different areas of Dracula’s castle, players will need to survive a number of levels before facing a sub boss, the platforming is ridiculously difficult and not with good reason, Simon attacks enemies by either whipping them or hurting them with a sub weapon, this is fine but the problem is that if you are hit by an enemy you dont just take damage but also get knocked back and lot of time this leads to Simon falling to his death, this was obviously programmed into the game in order to add additional challenge but honestly the game is so difficult anyway that this is just annoying.

120808_castlevania-6For example the image above is just two screens of the game and as you can see there are a lot of things to avoid including a lot of Fleamen which are some of the most difficult enemies to avoid in the game.

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Three things can really help you through out the game making your adventure a little easier

The first is Pork Chops which you can find hidden in the walls and if you eat these they will restore your health.

Next you have sub weapons such as daggers, crosses and axes which can be used at the expense of some of the hearts you can find by whipping all of the candles throughout the game, all of these sub weapons are great however the best and most useful is the Holy Water, this is the easiest way to kill most of the bosses in the game including the notorious fight with the Grim Reaper and even Count Dracula himself.

Collecting the Sub Weapons can become even more useful when you find the upgrades, you can make your weapons up to three times more powerful by finding power-ups which are mostly found in candles or bricks but can appear randomly too.

Easily one of the best soundtracks in the NES library Castlevania has one kickass music library, the music is bouncy and fun but does have a creepy vibe to it now and again, but in general the music is so catchy that I guarantee you wont be able to remove it from your brain, my personal favourite track in the game is called Wicked Child and is the theme for stage 7.

Castlevania is an amazing game but I wouldn’t call it a masterpiece the controls are a little stiff and the game is way more frustrating than it needs to be, on the other hand everything else is perfect the visuals are fantastic for an early release, the soundtrack is one of the best and the game is genuinely very good, for the first entry of the series its a really good start but it could have done with a few more tweaks 7.9/10.

I hope you enjoyed this review of Castlevania for the NES

Want me to review a specific game/movie/product or do you have a general question you would like me to answer? if so please email me at ragglefragglereviews@gmail.com

 

Spielberg Month: Always

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Always is a movie that I cant believe I had never heard of until recently, it was released in 1989 and is a remake of a much older black and white film called “A Guy Named Joe” which was directed by famed movie maker Victor Flemming, I cant compare the two movies as I haven’t yet seen the original so please keep that in mind.

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The movie is a romantic war drama which follows the brief life of an aerial firefighter called Pete Sandich “Richard Dreyfuss”, Pete¬†is¬†in a very comfortable relationship with his girlfriend Dorinda “Holly Hunter” but unfortunately he¬†is killed in action when his plane catches on fire and explodes which leaves his now ex girlfriend Holly heartbroken.

Audrey Hepburn, Always (1989, Steven Spielberg) starring Holly Hunter, Richard Dreyfuss and John GoodmanAudrey Hepburn is in this movie, she plays an angel called Hap who guides Pete’s spirit while he try’s to set up Holly with a new love interest so that she can move on with her life and be happy, unfortunately this was the last movie Audrey Hepburn ever starred in before her death in 1993.

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There really isn’t much to say about this movie, It’s very cheesy and corny but it has a fantastic cast who all do a great job so its hard for me too dislike the film, Richard Dreyfuss as usual was outstanding in his performance and Holly Hunter¬†also did an awesome job of portraying her character, the only cast member I wasn’t a fan of was John Goodman, I don’t think hes a bad actor but his acting style works so much better in comedies and action films that I felt that he didn’t really suit this type of¬†movie.

Unfortunately there was no John Williams composing the music this time, however the soundtrack is still very good and it fits the film perfectly, there is nothing epic in there you wont be finding something as iconic as the Jaws theme but its still very well done either way.

I really liked this movie, it was a lot better than I thought it would be and I now really want to see the original, however I do have one massive complaint, as you may recall the lack of directors commentaries have really let me down this month but this Blu-ray has to take the crown as the biggest waste of money since it has no special features apart from the original trailer, I just want to pre warn people who are buying blurays for more than just an enhanced version of the film because if that is the case I would skip out on this one.

And so we end Spielberg Month, Steven Spielberg is one of the most influential film makers in Hollywood and all four of the movies this month have proven that, I have really enjoyed this experience it was fun looking at some of my old favourites as well as some new ones and I cant wait to eventually do something similar to this again, perhaps with a different director.

Want to buy this weeks movie? click the link below to get in from Amazon, I recommend subscribing to Amazon Prime to get fast next day delivery as well a lot of other benefits.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Always-Blu-ray-Region-Richard-Dreyfuss/dp/B00TYFM25I/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1491601965&sr=8-1&keywords=always+bluray

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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (PC) (2002) Review

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A year and a half ago I reviewed a mediocre Philosophers Stone game for the PC, it was a fairly bare bones 3D platformer that was way too short and it skipped over many of the best moments from the film and the original novel, today we will be taking look at the PC video game of the second book in the series Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

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You play the game as Harry Potter the boy who lived who is attending his second year at Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry, just like the first game this is a 3D platformer where the objective of the game is too attend classes and beat challenge maps, a huge difference here is how you learn spells, in the first game learning magic was awkward because you needed to trace over shapes with your mouse and with such a limited amount of time performing this task became very difficult, thankfully the game designers have taken a different approach with the sequel as now instead of tracing we instead need to hit corresponding keys on the keyboard in a specified order in the style of a rhythm game.

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Quidditch matches have also been heavily modified and I don’t like the changes they have made here, instead of having complete control over your broom so you can fly freely the game controls the broom for the player and all you need to do is bump into the enemy seeker until you are close enough to catch the golden snitch, its boring, it has no challenge at all and the worst part of it is that it feels like the game designers were just being lazy and were trying to rush out the game.

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The graphics are impressive when compared to the first game, everything is smoother and less pixelated but for a game from 2002 they are still pretty bad, on the bright side the level designs are more detailed and are genuinely more interesting to explore, the best part of the game is finding all of the secrets around Hogwarts castle and the castle grounds, through out the game you will learn an array of spells which can be used to defeat enemies and open up secret passageways where you may find a famous witches and wizards card.

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The first game had only 25 cards to collect and for doing so all you would receive¬†was a slightly extended ending, this game has a whopping 101 cards which is the staple for the majority of the Harry Potter games, the cards come in three categories, gold, silver and bronze, the bronze cards are common and for every 10 you collect you will gain an additional health bar, the silver cards are uncommon and for every ten of those you find you will come one step closer to accessing a bonus area which can only be accessed once the player finds all 40 of the silver cards, the bonus room is a platforming level, which is full of enemies and puzzles, the player has a set amount of time to try and find the 11 rare gold cards in the game, again I don’t think its worth going out of your way to collect these but honestly it was much more fun to do so here than it was before.

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You can buy cards from other students around Hogwarts by using Bertie Botts every flavoured beans which can be found throughout the game, this isn’t necessary since every card can be found hidden inside and around the school but it is helpful if you don’t want to back track later on, the best way to collect beans is by entering the bonus bean room which you can only access if your house has the most points during the segments of the game where Dumbledore tallies up the house¬†scores.

The music in the game is what can be expected from a cash grab title that was made to help push DVD sales but its fun to listen too and not once is it annoying nor does it take away from the game play experience.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets for the PC is a fun little game that is worth picking up if you manage to find it really cheap but if you cant your really not missing out on much, I can quite happily say that this is a good game but its far from a great Harry Potter gaming experience 6.3/10

I hope you enjoyed my review of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets for the PC

If you respect my opinion, I will respect yours

By Padawan

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Death Note Anime Review

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So after I reviewed Attack on Titan I got a barrage of emails for me to review a bunch of anime’s, out of all these anime’s the one people wanted me to review the most was Death Note and with so many people telling me how great it was how could I possibly not give it a watch?

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This is Light Yagami an intelligent high school graduate and natural genius, Light is the first human in the anime to find one of the famous note books known as a Death Note, a Death Note is a notebook owned by a Shinigami (God of Death) and if a human beings name is written in the Death Note that human being will die of a heart attack after 40 seconds, the author of the Death Note can choose the method of death if they write that in the Death Note within 30 seconds of writing the victims name, another rule is that they can only kill a victim with the Death Note if they know the face of the person they are killing the reason for this rule is that there may be many people who share the same first and last name

851Ryuk is the Shinigami that dropped the Death Note into the human realm, he did this for his own entertainment and he enjoys watching Light use the Death Note.

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Light originally uses the Death Note to kill criminals, his father is the chief of police and because of this he has been brought up with a strong sense of justice, unfortunately for Light his mysterious murders start a serious police investigation that is led by his father, he also gains a lot of support from followers who think of Light as a god and these followers refer to him as Kira which is the Japanese pronunciation of the word Killer, the police hire a private detective who is known as L, L  suspects Light of being Kira and he sends people to investigate him this makes Light begin his journey towards madness and he begins to use the Death Note to kill anyone who gets in his way making him a very dangerous serial killer.

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Later on into the anime Light actually joins the investigation team that is investigating him, the show gets really intense the further you get through it and its really cool to see just how psychotic Light becomes when his evil persona begins to take over his life.

Without giving away too many spoilers that’s about all I can say about Death note, it is one of the most unique anime I have ever seen, the animation is amazing for 2007, it uses a great blend of shadow and light effects to help emphasize the dark nature of the show as well as to give the art a more realistic style, I thought the voice acting on the English dub was very well done its not often that you can notice the amount of love and effort that was put into every characters personality and style of voice, I cant say much about the music in the show, none of it was that memorable and I didn’t even enjoy the theme song that much.

Death Note is a very popular anime and it has reason to be, I don’t think it could be recommended for everyone due to how dark the premise is but if you like dark anime then you should give this one a shot.

They did release two specials after the show ended the first was Death Note Rewrite¬†Visions of a God and the second was Death Note Rewrite 2 L’s Successors, apart from the first 10 minutes both of these are just a compilation of clips from the show and I recommend skipping them

I hope you enjoyed this review of Death Note

You can contact me at ragglefragglereviews@gmail.com
You can find me on miiverse by searching for draskafer