Simon in Video Land

"That Simon Belmont is one popular video game hero. After all, he was around during the glory days of gaming, an era when heroes like Link, Mega Man, Mario and Samus Aran were also making names for themselves. Simon even got the chance to fight alongside a host of his contemporaries. That's right: Simon was a regular character in the very popular 80's cartoon Captain N: The Game Master, which was inspired by a Nintendo-made comic! What was he like? How did he act? Where was he from? How were the elements of the Castlevania series portrayed? All of that information rests below!"


Captain N: The Game Master was a comic book that came to life as an action-packed cartoon in the late 80's thanks to DiC Entertainment. Every Saturday morning, young Nintendo fans could watch some of their heroes join forces to fight against the super-villains from their favorite games. After an initial season, the 30-minute episodes of Captain N were combined with the Mario Bros. cartoon from that time--Super Mario Bros. 3, to be exact--to form a whole hour of video game nostalgia that further launched the show's popularity. In its final season, Captain N was instead combined with another Mario iteration, Super Mario World, for a much shorter experience than to what we were accustomed due to the lack of foresight and general interest. After about seven or so new episodes during that season, the cartoon was sadly gone.


Part 1: The Story

It wasn't all doom and gloom, however, as that brief history lesson above would have you believe. Captain N: The Game Master was one of the finest video game-related cartoons ever created and one of the best cartoons at that. Its story went something like this: Somewhere in a universe parallel to our own was a place called Video Land, a magical paradise whose "worlds" mysteriously existed as a whole, an amalgamation of the respective Nintendo game worlds--those to which the humans on the other side gleefully soaked within and gave their childhoods. We learned that all of the separate worlds were interconnected via an intersection known as the Palace of Power, from where Princess Lana ruled and retained order throughout Video Land. Months earlier, Lana was forced into the helm when her father was kidnapped and imprisoned within a "mirror world" by the evil Mother Brain (from Metroid), who sought to do away with the royal family and take over as queen of Video Land.

With nowhere else to turn as Mother Brain and her lackeys, Eggplant Wizard (Kid Icarus) and King Hippo (Punch-Out!), closed in, Lana requested help from some of the bravest heroes Video Land had to offer. Coming to her aid were Kid Icarus, Mega Man and, of course, Simon Belmont. Even with their help, though, Lana was unable to counter the forces of Mother Brain and the allies she had accumulated throughout the universe. Lana had one last hope: There was an ancient scroll that foretold of a hero (a video game master from the "other side") who in the most dire of scenarios would arrive from another universe to save Video Land. Using one of the palace's warping devices, an unexplained conductor, they were able to make true this legend: They broke through the plane of human reality and pulled an unwitting young man, Kevin Keene, through his TV screen and into Video Land. Unsure of this strange new universe, Kevin rejected their offer to stay and help in the vanquishing Mother Brain, and he wanted out immediately; though, after watching the heroes struggle, his soul-searching manifested as a sense of justice and, especially, a will to live out his fantasy to be a real video game hero. Using his skills with a Nintendo-branded zapper and a control pad of super power, therein, he filled well the void and helped push back the Mother Brain and her evil forces. The now-confident Kevin would thus remain in Video Land and join together with the video game heroes to form the N-Team.


Part 2: Simple Simon

Simon Belmont may be the whip-crackin', vampire-destroying warrior that we've all come to know and love, but he was anything but that in his Captain N escapades. Since it would have made the concept one-dimensional if all of the heroes were portrayed as iron-willed, superhuman studs who could never lose, it was necessary that the cartoon's creators supply each character a quirky personality. Unfortunately for Castlevania fans, Simon wound up being cast as a thoughtless egomaniac.

In place of a the long-haired, battle-hardened hero--the gritty figure as depicted on the box cover of Castlevania--Simon was presented as a Don King-haired, muscle-bound superjock with a goofy pair of goggles and a backpack. Simon would often pose in front of a mirror and compliment himself about his flawless hair and pearly-white teeth. He would strut around like a regular Casanova and connive his fellow heroes with his charm and Fabio-like voice, sometimes belittling them with his sarcastic tone. At the same time, he had a huge crush on Princess Lana and persistently tried to win her over with his charm; such attempts were doomed to failure, because Lana was instead infatuated with Kevin. Simon couldn't deal with this fact, and he became both jealous of and spiteful toward Kevin for stealing "his girl" even though he thought himself superior to the young game master. To put a topping on this mess, Simon was also given the dubious personality quirk as the biggest coward in the land, a trait that was hardly suppressed. Oh, sure--there were times when he'd gleefully whip a mummy into oblivion as he quipped, but he'd oftentimes screech at the site of the Count or a lowly werewolf and head for the hills. It's not exactly the resumé you'd expect.

Simon's home was a world called "Castlevania," a dark, dreary land with a medieval theme attached. The focus of the whole world was a giant castle that stood in its center, a sight that would make the villagers stand in awe. The ruler of this castle (also called "Castlevania") was the prince of darkness himself, Count Dracula! Oh--but it gets worse. Instead of the calm, cool blood-sipping devil with unlimited power, ol' Drac was cast as a toaster-headed dolt who could be defeated simply by grabbing his cape and spinning him around like a top. Fortunately, we never saw much of him, as there were only a few episodes that involved the team traveling to Castlevania (one of which involved their teaming with Alucard in joining his campaign to oust his father from control of Castlevania). But DiC couldn't even get that right, as Alucard "turned" on the oblivious heroes, revealing the whole thing to be a giant plot made to fool the team.

We're 0 for 3 here, folks.

It wasn't all that bad. It can be proudly stated that Simon would always do the right thing when the situation called for it; when confronted with certain doom, he'd put to use his vampire-hunting skills to assist in any way he could, and not even his jealousy of Kevin would prevent his coming to the rescue of his young rival. His ace in the hole, he would always bring along his backpack--a regular convenience warehouse; he could at a moment's notice reach in and pull out any range of items, be it a mirror, a megaphone or a giant T-bone steak....

Well, at least he was resourceful.

I guess.

Welcome to the real world.

"Captain N" logo:
Simon Belmont image: