Milon’s Secret Castle NES Game Cartridge
Milon’s Secret castle was released for the NES in 1988. It was developed and published by Hudson Soft. The main character, Milon, resides in Hudson, a land of people that use music for communication among each other. Milon, however, lacks the ability of this type of communication. He would always ask himself on why he was the only person who lacked this ability of understanding music and people. He decides on day to leave Hudson and search for people that were like him. Before he left for the trip, Milon decided to visit the Queen, named Eliza, who lived in the Castle Garland. When he arrives at the castle, the population was under attack by Maharito, an Evil Warlord that was from the region in the north.
Maharito robbed people that were innocent, stealing all of their music instruments, then occupying the Garland Castle. Queen Eliza was being held captive inside the castle by Maharito along with his demon-like monsters. Milon then volunteered to fight Maharito and the demons to try and rescue the Queen and the instruments for Hudson’s people. The task will not be easy since the castle has a lot of different rooms with every room being a maze that is filled with secret passages, demons, and doors. The Magician of the castle, however, tells Milon about the Queen hiding many instruments, money, and tools for aiding him. Milon is also given a magical Bubble from the Magician that will assist him to find the areas that the useful items will be hidden and the places they can be bought.
The player will take control of Milon who can jump, run, and shoot bubbles. A player will begin at a Garland Castle’s bottom floor that has four stories, and then work their way up to search the main three stories, a couple of side towers, a well, and the top of the castle. If a player stays outside the castle too long, lightning bolts will start to fall from above. Every room in the castle will contain multiple enemies and items that are hidden. The bubbles Milon can shoot will be used as a weapon an a tool. If bubbles are thrown at the soft blocks, it will cause them to fall apart, which will create more routes, expose certain items, or reveal shops that are hidden. Bubbles will also be able to destroy demons that are in the rooms, but they will resurrect shortly after.
Every story can be reached only when the player defeats the game’s first boss. The player can get to a boss after finding several secrets, with some of them requiring a lot of luck or using a manual to help. The reasoning is because of the soft blocks and hard blocks will have no difference in visuals. Hard blocks will be just walls with the player having to sometimes be very specific on where they shoot. Sometimes the player will uncover a spot where an item is, but the game will still require them to waste time traversing the level until an item of importance appears like a key. The bosses will be a lot bigger than normal demons and will take a lot of bubbles to destroy. They will attack the player by leaping and spitting fireballs that will take a good bit of life away.
When a boss is killed, it will stay dead and then release a crystal ball, sometimes making Milon’s bubbles bigger and having them fly farther out. The boss’s room will be able to be used for getting up into the castle’s next story. During the whole game, the player will have just a single life. When that life is taken away, the game will be over, making the player start the game completely over. The player, however, can hold the D-Pad left and press Start at the game’s title screen, having them begin where they last played. That command will not work prior to getting their first crystal. It was also only featured inside the Famicon version’s instruction booklet.
There will be a variety of items found inside the shops during the quest. Some of the shops will be plain in sight, some will be hidden in different rooms or the castle’s outside, and some will be found when the player destroys a specific boss. All items will augment Milon some way, although not all will be found inside shops. A side quest that is cumulative will involve finding the music boxes. When touching a music box, Milon will be transported into the mini game that will have the player attempt to get as many musical notes as possible. Extra points will be given for collecting sharps and collecting flats will give negative points. When the player reaches the game their first time, there will only be one elf that has a drum, playing the music. Every time a player gets one of the music boxes, it will be transported into that mini game, another elf with a different instrument will appear, and the music will become more elaborate.
This game has been generally considered by many gamers to be an extremely frustrating and difficult game. There will be no points for saving, and when the player loses all of their life, it will be game over. It will be possible, however, to continue the game when the player collects a crystal for the first time. The amount of continues the player will have will be random. They will just need to hold left and press start, hoping their game was saved. Unlike the other platform games during that era, Milon will not blink and briefly become invincible when he is hit from an enemy. This means the player’s energy will be able to be drained rather quickly if they don’t move out of the way. This will be offset though because there will be a honeycomb in every room inside the caste that will restore the player’s life bar completely and then extend it one unit.
The game will also have an unorthodox approach compared to the other platformers. The rooms will be able to be accessed any order the player wants, and rooms themselves will not flow like the traditional style of platformer stages. In every room, there will only be a single exit that will be in a spot that is fixed within a room. The door will not appear at first, but once the player fires a bubble where it is hidden, it will be revealed. Navigating inside a room will not always be running right and left, which will give every room a type of free flowing kind of feel. Every room inside the castle will contain some secrets that are similar to ones from Super Mario Bros. These secrets can be uncovered when the player shoots bubbles into the invisible trigger objects, then breaking the soft blocks.
Genre: Puzzle and Brain
Region: NTSC (North America)