It is not necessary to understand the plot of Milon’s Secret Castle to glean all the enjoyment out of it. All you really need to know is that Milon has to muddle his way through a castle to:
- Find and defeat a series of dragon-type monsters
- Collect crystal balls to gain power
- Decipher incomprehensible clues and, if you’re lucky
- Rescue the princess
This all sounds easier than it is, this game is unforgivingly tough. Milon’s weapon of choice is bubbles. Bubbles that don’t go far, and don’t do much damage. This is slightly unfortunate, since there are bubble-resistant enemies infesting the rooms in the castle. You kill them and they come back in a few seconds. You can get stronger bubbles by defeating the dragons that inhabit the castle, but if you’ve ever tried to kill a dragon with bubbles, you know how difficult that can be.
Compounding Milon’s troubles are the rooms themselves. To solve the rooms, take the treasures, and find the exits, you’ll have to do the most nonintuitive things: shoot an empty place in midair to make a necessary item appear, hit a block from underneath to make a collectible item pop out, or my favorite, push a block on the ground for about 4 seconds to make it slide out of the way, then shoot the place where it was to find a door to a shop, where the shopkeeper will sell you ‘clues’.
I will admit that I did quite enjoy this game when I first played it in the early 90’s. The thrill of exploring the castle was pretty intense. Once I realized I wasn’t actually making any progress, I shelved the game until many years later when it became available for the Game Boy, where I bought it (never can pass up a chance to purchase a piece of my childhood), and finished it within a few days. If you enjoy plodding through the game like you’re blind, uncoordinated horse that got drunk off of some fermented apple juice, then go for it. Just make sure you have a walkthrough handy for this one, it’ll help ease some of the pain.