Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest is one of those games that has gotten a bad reputation over the years. Most of it, in my opinion, comes from the AVGN episode on the game. It isn’t a bad game, but it can be a bit confusing.
The Worlds of Power novelization of the game does an excellent job explaining the game’s plot. It gives you a good reason why Simon is doing what he is doing. Dracula is trying to possess him, and he has to bring Dracula back to life so he can kill him properly.
To help Simon Belmont on this quest is Tim. He is going to be the gamer who is pulled into the video game. Why is he chosen? Well, Simon’s girlfriend, who Dracula kidnaped, thought it would be a good idea.
I have a feeling this is how all of these books are going to be. A problem in a video game world occurs, and the characters need some random kid to help them. I would have loved this if I had read these books 30 years ago!
The book begins with Tim in a fantasy world. He’s playing Castlevania, and he imagines that he is Simon Belmont. It is cool to read about a kid using his imagination to put himself in the game. It reminded me of how I used to play NES games.
There would be the game’s story, and then there would be the story I was making up while I was playing. It was a fun part of the book that made me smile.
Then his mom makes him stop, and Tim has to head off to school. We are also introduced to Tim’s addiction to chocolate. It seems like he is addicted! I’m not sure if this was based on a real kid, but Tim seems to have an unrealistic amount of chocolate in his room.
Eventually, Tim gets to school and immediately gets himself into trouble. The pretty girl in his class asks him to shop for discounted NES games. I know we’ve all been there. Anyway, the cute girl has a boyfriend, and he isn’t happy about Tim helping her. This ends with Tim hiding in the bathroom, so he won’t get beaten up.
Then Simon Belmont appears in the bathroom. He tells Tim he needs his help because Tim is really good at Castlevania and has to travel to the realm of Castlevania to help Simon as he tries to defeat Dracula once and for all! Ignore the sequels for a moment; they didn’t exist yet!
Tim doesn’t want to get his ass kicked, so he goes with Simon. I want to point out how stupid it is that the book made Castlevania the name of the dimension that Simon is from. It just feels weird, especially with how the later games place the story in Europe.
Simon explains his plight and that they only have two days to gather Dracula’s body parts and burn the vampire. It’s explained that Dracula’s servants are behind all this, and they hid the body parts so Simon wouldn’t find them in time.
There is also a plot point that isn’t fully explored. The Seven Deadly Sins are what Dracula will use to tempt Simon. This will let Dracula possess Simon easier than usual. Only Sloth and Gluttony are used in the book, as far as I could tell. I understand entirely why Lust was left out. It’s a children’s book, after all.
A lot of time was spent on getting Dracula’s rib. It sets up much of what would come from the rest of the book. You see how Tim is going to help Simon, you meet a bunch of monsters and weird citizens that make up Castlevania, and you read about some of the things the author did to soften the story.
To fight Dracula, Tim uses his sense of humor. Apparently, Dracula has a weakness for puns and dad jokes. At first, I thought this was kind of dumb, but it grew on me throughout the book. Some jokes were dumb, but the over-the-top reaction that Dracula has to them was funny.
Most of the body parts are collected between the chapters, and we’re told about them quickly. It moves things along quickly and gets you to the essential parts of the game.
The book does talk about many of the things from the game. They get changed a bit, but they’re all still here. The White, Blue, and Red crystals are mentioned. The different whips are brought up, except for the flame whip. Some of the items are talked about but used in different ways.
Finally, the two of them confront Dracula and quickly beat him. It happens very fast. I’m not sure what I expected the final battle to be, but this was well done for a book like this. It also matches the ease of beating Dracula in Simon’s Quest, even if it was probably unintentional.
The ending of the book was a little strange for me. Everything seems to stop after Simon tells Tim how to return to the real world.
This book addresses how Tim will show back up without anyone noticing. After all, he has been gone for two days. Even in the 90s, someone would have noticed that a kid had been missing for that long, and hopefully, someone would have been looking for him!
Simon explains that Tim would be returned to the bathroom around the time that he left. Then he would get his ass kicked by the bully waiting outside. Kind of a dick move on Simon’s part, but it goes along with the message that the author is trying to tell the reader.
At least that was how I read it. Tim needs to learn to face his problems and not run from them. He also has to kick his chocolate addiction which he manages to do. Now he has to deal with the bully. The book ends before we find out what happens.
I have a problem with that part. I wanted to know what was going to happen! The book started a plot and sort of abandoned it. I’m guessing there was a page limit, or the author told the critical part of the story and let the reader make up the rest on their own.
I think this book did a better job explaining the game’s plot than the clues and hints in the game. It was a fun read that didn’t take too long. I also think the character of Tim had been worked into the plot very well.
I’ve only read two of the Worlds of Power books, and I think this is my favorite. It is a creepy story that has been softened to make it a young adult’s book. The eerie atmosphere of the games is still there, which I liked a lot.
The creation of a Castlevania dimension was strange. I’m glad that it was only in this book. The use of time travel helped to explain why no one was going to be worried that Tim had up and disappeared for a few days.
Overall, I think this was a fun book to read. I would have enjoyed this book when I was a kid.