Title : Castlequest
Publisher : Nexof
Developer : ASCII Corp
Genre : Adventure Puzzle
Players : 1 Player
Release Date : 1989
Estimated Value (as of today's date) : $8-$12
Don't let the box art fool you. You won't be doing much battling against giant demons, and iron-clad knights in this game. Nah, you're just going to be hopping around, collecting multi-colored keys and moving giant blocks around next to jars of milk to make your way through a castle. Sounds entertaining, doesn't it?
You will get an opportunity to slay critters in this game, but don't get too excited because for the most part those monsters are going to be slaughtering you. Over...and over...and over....and over. It's one of those games. The games where you constantly die, usually due to no fault of your own.
Oh boy. My excitement is billowing forth!
Right off the bat, the game feels a little bit like the old school Atari games, and typically that wouldn't be a bad thing when you're talking about 80s games. Unfortunately, there's a whole lot of things that are just plain wrong in this game. The game does a good job of straight up telling you what you're going to have to do in the first 5 seconds of the game. You come across a locked door, and voila there is a key right above you. Grab the key, open the door. Easy.
Not so fast. You've got around six different colored doors sometimes on a screen, and you're going to have to go searching for the right key for the right door. Most of the time, getting to the keys is the hard part, but it's not only about jumping from platform to platform. You have to position blocks to sit at certain points in order to give yourself added height, or just trigger different mechanisms. Classic puzzle ideas, nothing too crazy.
But then, you also have the monsters to contend with, and while you can attack them, it's not your best option. Your dinky weapons have to be perfectly timed with your slow arse avatar in order to kill them. Thankfully, you'll get fifty lives to get through the game. Yeah, that's right. Fifty. That's not a typo.
So that's the gist of the game. Now let's talk about what's wrong with it.
I hope you like going back and forth between screens, because you are going to be doing a lot of that in Castlequest. There are moments where you have to end up using a brick or a barrel to get some place on one of the levels, but then it'll be stuck in that position. The only way to get the item back, is by going back to a previous screen, and then going back into the original one and resetting the layout.
It wasn't annoying at first, but it's constant. It's even worse that it resets the damn music to the game every time you go from one area to the next. And the music is downright horrid. I hate upbeat chiptunes music that's on repeat.
Basically, what you're going to have to do is try and collect everything on each screen as soon as you can, because I'm serious when I say you're going to need every damn key you see. And it's not like you can get this done fast. Your character moves as if he has had his achilles tendons torn off. Hence why I said avoid the monsters when you can, because they move 3x faster than you do.
Controls were a major issue in this game. They're stiff and unresponsive and moving around the levels is just painful. You'll end up dying after working for ten minutes to set up blocks for a puzzle, just because you couldn't time a slow-arse jump correctly.
The game does pose a challenge, and some of the puzzles are really irritating to figure out, but at least it does make the game last a bit longer. Still, frustration is mounting, but I do give the game credit for creating a really in depth puzzle system.
Ugh, but no more...can't even talk about it. It's making me upset. SO MANY KEYS! GET THEM AWAY FROM ME!
Final Score (out of 5) :
Until next time. Keep on gaming!