Review: Milon's Secret Castle (NES)

A musty old place

Milon’s Secret Castle is one of those games you’ve never heard of, but when you do finally acknowledge its presence you realize that it inexplicably has an enormous following. A minor classic in the Hudson library, Milon was originally published in 1986 to fairly lukewarm critical response. To be perfectly honest, time has amplified the shortcomings of the game. It hasn't aged well at all.

The aim is to clear several levels of the titular castle of enemies and ultimately save the damsel in distress. Along the way you have to locate several items in order to successfully defeat a range of boss characters. In terms of gameplay it doesn’t really get any more complex than Super Mario, but Nintendo’s game controls better, is more fair on the player and has bags of replay value.

Milon's primary form of attack is blowing bubbles, but before you get visions of Bubble Bobble-style brilliance, you should probably be aware that the offensive capabilities of Milon's bubble is a lot less impressive. Not only are they awkward to aim (by default they shoot up at an angle) it's often hard to accurately target enemies.

Milon is incredibly frustrating - in fact, it’s almost legendary in this regard. Some of the boss characters take what seems like hundreds of hits before they die, and thanks to the fact that once hit by an enemy, Milon doesn’t have temporary invincibility (as in most platform games), you’ll find yourself dying very quickly at times. Add to this some terrible graphics, mindless level design, annoying music and ultimately repetitive gameplay and it becomes hard to recommend.


Games from 1986 have to be really special in order for them to be playable today - Milon’s Secret Castle sadly isn’t. There are probably many Milon fanboys out there reading this review and cursing under their breath, but to be brutally honest it's hard to see why this game has built up such a following over the years - it stinks. Avoid.

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