Milon’s Secret Castle (NES)

Milon’s Secret Castle Box Art

Milon’s Secret Castle

System: NES

Release Date: September 1988

Developer: Hudson Soft

Publisher: Hudson Soft

Genre: Platformer

Hudson’s second game of September is here with Milon’s Secret Castle. Milon is planning to travel across the land to find others like himself, but first decides to visit Queen Eliza. Unfortunately, as he gets there, the castle is under attack by the Evil Warlord. He is armed by the castle’s Magician with a magic bubble and tasked with saving the Queen.

This is a platformer, so Milon does a lot of running and jumping. He gains momentum and speed as he runs, meaning you need some room to execute a running jump. Milon jumps with the A Button and shoots the magic bubbles with the B Button. By default, the bubbles shoot in a slightly upward trajectory, but you can shoot them in a slightly downward trajectory if you press down while shooting. The bubbles defeat the demons that spawn in castle rooms, but not for good, as they respawn fairly quickly. The bubbles also destroy certain blocks that contain items.

Money is necessary to buy items that move you ahead in the game. Honeycombs increase Milon’s maximum health bar. The Hudson Bee gives an invincibility shield for a few hits. Hidden in the level is a key, which needs to be uncovered in some way. Also, the exit door is hidden and needs to be shot with the bubbles in order to make it appear. The instruction manual lacks some very important information, which caused me to be stuck for a half hour trying to get past the first two rooms. Blocks can be pushed into spots that were occupied by destroyed blocks. Once I found that out, I finally found my way to the first boss.

The money supply is fixed, so you can’t waste money on buying health in shops. You can, however, farm hearts from demons. You can also find an umbrella from killing enemies that allow you to rapid fire your bubbles. This resets when you leave a maze room, so it’s good to get it as soon as you enter a new room. I found myself in a bit of a pickle, as I think I missed an item and got stuck in a well and underground area. That’s where I decided to quit, as I wasn’t really enjoying myself and didn’t foresee the game getting much more entertaining.

Graphics: 1.5

The graphics are fine, but nothing really stood out to me as impressive.

Sound: 1.5

The music grated on my nerves and the sound effects aren’t anything special.

Gameplay: 1.5

Milon takes too long to get up to speed, he can’t shoot straight ahead, and he can get caught by multiple hits in an instant.

Difficulty: 2.5

I’ll give the Secret Castle some credit for making the path through each room a puzzle, but I feel too much information was left out of the manual.

Fun Factor: 1.0

This is a frustrating game that would probably take a good 6 to 8 hours for me to get into enough to enjoy.

Overall Grade: 1.6

Milon’s Secret Castle earns a C-. Expect to start over a lot if you’re playing this without any guides. I didn’t have the patience.

Milon’s Secret Castle Video Review on YouTube

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