Monday, July 13, 2009
Milon's Secret Castle was a product of Hudson soft (the Bomberman gurus!), released to it's native Japan in 1986 and in the US in 1988 for the Nintendo Entertainment System.
A very ominous box design with a foreboding, nightmarish castle was undermined by a horribly boring title "Milon's Secret Castle That No One Cares About" was actually the official name. In screenshots, the game just looked really dull and simple, so in those days of Zelda sword-swinging and Rastan head-chipping-offing, Milon just looked like another crappy me-too platformer.
My friend Scott actually bought this for some odd reason, and I made fun of him for it. You got a game about a little smiley-faced court jester who shoots bubbles, really? Even watching him play it a little wasn't enough to make me think this was worth my time- somehow, one weekend when I was very bored, he convinced me I should borrow the game..
Man oh man - I did not know what I was in for! I picked it up and somehow, inextricably, got sucked into this game's little world. Yes, it was cheesy and dorky, but it was also fairly well-designed enough to be charming and the play control wasn't bad. You could upgrade your weapon and hunt for secret items - that may sound kind of de rigeur, but there's good ways to do that (Zelda) and bad ways (Rare during N64 days), and this was definitely one of the better ways. Moreover, the game instantly got DIFFICULT. Not like I wanna smash the TV screen with the controller, but "how come this kiddie game is so easily able to destroy me?" A definitely good example of a well-paced game.
Stark and simple graphics in line with anything else you'd see at the time on the NES, bit fitting and nicely done. It really was one of those games where you'd feel quite accomplished if you saw yourself far into the game - I am ashamed to say it's on the short list of titles where I reached soo cloose to the end, but the final puzzles were too frustrating and I ended up throwing in the towel. That's too bad- 'cause Milon's Secret Castle is a trophy I'd love to have on my shelf!