For me, Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest was a watershed moment in the Metroidvania genre. Actually, take that back it completely redefined the Medtroidvania game design template. People consider Castlevania II and it’s similar sequels to be a Johnny come lately design scheme in the vein of the much successful Metroid.
However, Metroid’s sense of exploration lacked any real context and all map exploration was purely logistic in nature. Oh, you don’t have the gun that happens to open red doors… BUMMER, walk around in circles for a bit, it’s somewhere in here. Castlevania II fleshed out a purpose and rational for level exploration. And that context made the exploration far more gratifying.
As the Castlevania series continued nobody has ever really bothered to revisit and update the seminal sequel in the series. Instead, new iterations of the game were developed. Weapons were updated, maps expanded, characters added, tons of special powers and all kinds of stuff to expand the Metroidvania experience that would typify the series. But, the original Castlevania II was left alone and intact in it’s blotchy muddy 8-Bit beauty.
Developer, Metroid Quest, has decided to change this. They’ve brought in tighter controls, an improved UI, and revamped graphics to make Simon’s Quest look visually similar to it’s 16-Bit cousin Super Castlevania IV. I bounced around in the game for a bit and going up and down stairs is still a bitch. Thankfully though, the rest of the improvements are welcomed additions and the overall look is fitting to the series. The download link for the FREE standalone game can be found here: Simon Quest II Revamped