(NES)

Game Review

Milon's Secret Castle Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Marcel van Duyn

A secret best kept hidden

Hudson had many classics in its NES library - Adventure Island, Faxanadu and Bomberman are just a few of the great titles it gave us all back then. Milon's Secret Castle probably shouldn't be counted among those.

As the title might reveal, you play as Milon, who has to make his way through a castle filled to the brim with secrets. In essence, it's a platformer, but it's a lot different from the standard issue where you just run right in every stage - every room of the castle has breakable walls that look no different from the rest, and most of your time will be spent aimlessly wandering around trying to uncover secrets, which are almost always necessary to advance.

The only way forward is to find a key, which can show up in any number of ways depending on the room. Mercifully, you only need to find keys the first time you play each room, so if you mess up somewhere and get sent back to the beginning of the game, you can just run through every room. Secret shops are also abundant in the castle and frequently have required items which you'll need to collect plenty of cash for, so be sure to look for them. They also offer hints, which most of the time, you will need.

Despite this kind of slow-paced gameplay of simply looking for hidden items and doorways, there are still enemies to deal with as well. For some reason, Milon's weapon of choice is to shoot bubbles, which as you might guess isn't very practical. As if that wasn't bad enough, he can only shoot them at an upward or downward angle, the default being upward - this means that very frequently, your attacks will simply fly straight over enemies and you'll need to get in very close to actually hit them. Milon also doesn't have that good old temporary invincibility after taking a hit like many other videogame heroes do and handles quite strangely, so it's not uncommon to be forced to take multiple hits if you get hit once.

If you do manage to make it past a number of rooms, you'll find out that this has bosses as well and practically all of them behave exactly the same, simply hopping back and forth while flinging projectiles your way. The only thing that changes between them is their health, and it quickly gets pretty ridiculous - if you don't find a certain strength powerup, you'll have to strike the final one no less than 64 times, while you die with less than 10 hits if you haven't found any health extensions. Better find those items!

The game's graphics and music haven't aged very well, with the castle having very basic-looking, repetitive rooms, and similarly repetitive music, with it only really changing up in the underground or during bosses.

Conclusion

Milon's Secret Castle might be a name you've heard mentioned occasionally, but believe us when we say it's probably not because of any good reasons. Unless you're a glutton for punishment, we recommend playing the game's sequel instead - it stars the same character but completely does away with all the tedious gameplay in order to be more of a simple, cute platformer.

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User Comments (29)

unrandomsam

#1

unrandomsam said:

I think this is probably in the top 20 NES games. (I discount anything that is an arcade port or has a better version on another system (Usually the PC Engine)).

There is not really anything like it.

cookiex

#2

cookiex said:

"Milon's Secret Castle, more like Milon's --!"
let's not quote the AVGN, we all know the sorts of things he had to say about this game — TBD

Shiryu

#4

Shiryu said:

I had a lot of fun watching Arino tackles this in "Game Center CX" but how could anyone at the age we where when this was originally released finish this game without Nintendo Power maps and walktrought? No one. NO ONE!!!

LDXD

#6

LDXD said:

I use to love this game as a kid I remember having to leave the game on all night because there's no save system what so ever, we beat it though funny thing is the first person to beat this game in my family was my grandmother lol
This game does have so many flaws though and I didn't know it had a sequel I'm gonna have to check that out

TheKachoMan

#8

TheKachoMan said:

Ahhhh. Google "Game Center CX S3 19 - Milon's Secret Castle" and enjoy.
Then you'll know it's actually frustrating and fun. I have it on the Wii VC. I like it but I wish there were save states instead, the continue cheat is a bit flaky on the VC.

ikki5

#9

ikki5 said:

If i see this on the Wii U VC, it will be an insta buy for the main reason, Angry Video Gamer Nerd :D

ConkerRules

#10

ConkerRules said:

This was one of my first ever NES games. (After Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt.) As a kid, I came up with stupid names for the enemies. Like that one green enemy that threw little "X"'s at you was "Wind-Up Toy." (Don't ask.) Also really dug that music from the first floor.

Mayleene

#13

Mayleene said:

LOVED this game back in the late '80s. I did use one of those Advantage controllers that had the slow motion feature though.

manpretty

#14

manpretty said:

its funny how much nostalgia can affect a game so much. This was one of the first nes games I ever played and I'm not even sure I enjoyed it back then. But I will still play this today and oddly enough have fun despite it being unplayable in some spots.

odd69

#15

odd69 said:

The sequel is OMG awesome, If you have a Wii already , you'll be missing out on one excellent platformer

JebbyDeringer

#16

JebbyDeringer said:

I rented this game as a kid, it had no instruction manual, me and my friend were SO lost on what to do. We decided to return it and see if we could exchange it for a different game. The shop took pity on us and let us exchange it. I can't seem to remember what we got instead which is sad because I'll never forget this game.

retro_player_22

#18

retro_player_22 said:

I had this game and beat it several times, all I can say is if you want a game where you don't know what to do then this is the game for you. It's a short game but a very confusing one. It's still fun in some areas but confusing in another, AVGN's review was very trusting too.

TenEighty

#19

TenEighty said:

This game brings back memories. I think this game deserves a better rating. I enjoyed playing it years ago and would play it again. And yes, the sequel is pretty cool.

Pod

#21

Pod said:

First time I clicked to open this article, my browser just gave me a completely empty window.

Having read the headline I wondered for a moment if it was on purpose.

McHaggis

#22

McHaggis said:

I think I've said this several times on NL, but I would kill for a Faxanadu remake.

Gioku

#23

Gioku said:

Well, if the only place you've heard of a game from is AVGN, that's never a good sign, lol. :P

World

#25

World said:

I don't know. I always thought this game was "only okay" and not outright bad. (But then, maybe I play games for different reasons than some people. I like wandering around and listening to the music).

However, I'm wondering if it would be vastly improved with save states. I like how it looks and feels, but certainly all that dying is a turn-off.

Capt_N

#26

Capt_N said:

Never played it, but sounds like this game would be a great target for a retro remake, fixing any peculiarities. Better still, leave them in, but in a classic style game mode, or at a higher level of difficulty by introducing a difficulty scale from easy to hard.

xj0462

#27

xj0462 said:

they should have added castlevania 2 or 3 for 3DS virtual console instead od this! NOONE LIKES THIS GAME!!!!!! anyone who says they do is a liar!!!!

fairybats

#28

fairybats said:

I know it's not the greatest game ever, but it's cute and I enjoy picking it up and playing every now and then (I have it on Wii VC). Finding secret areas is a lot of fun, and I love that there's different ways to enter the castle. Probably a 6/10 for me

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