Developer: Sculptured Soft
Release Date: 1987
Music: David Whittaker
ZZAP64 Game Rating: 41%
Our Game Rating: 56%
Completed & Reviewed by Neil Collins
> CLICK HERE to Download emu file
> CLICK HERE to view the YouTube ending video
Dark Castle by Mirrorsoft is a conversion of a Macintosh game that has confused a lot of people, including myself. I have tried playing it a few times and have given up as I didn’t have a clue how to control it, or what the aim of the game was. There’s not a lot of information on the internet about this game on the C64 and many of the cracked versions are bugged. I decided to try again today, and this time I finally worked out how to play it…
It’s a platform game with only a few levels. Each level has a couple of screens to beat, and the aim is to guide the hero, Duncan, to the Evil Black Knight and defeat him. There are three skill levels that basically increase the amount of enemies and traps on each level. You can find a shield and fireballs hidden within the castle that will aid you in beating the Black Knight, but they aren’t essential. The control method is very quirky and takes some getting used to, as you can perform a few types of jump. Duncan falls over, becomes stunned, and dies very easily, which will have you tearing your hair out – but with practice you will learn how to avoid this. You can throw rocks at the various enemies, which range from bats and rats to guards and dragons. You have limited ammo, but you can find more of it within the levels.
Overall, it isn’t a great conversion of the original. The graphics are more colourful than the original, although they lack detail, but the biggest drawback is the control method. Jumping is difficult, and aiming the rocks at enemies isn’t very responsive. I took the time out to get into this game and it’s not that bad once you understand it, but I don’t think many gamers would bother putting in the time – which I can understand completely…
HOW WAS IT COMPLETED?: I played it from start to finish with no cheats. I just saved my progress as I worked my way through the levels.
SO WHAT HAPPENS?: In the final level you have to pull a few levers which are scattered around the screen. These are linked to the platform on which the black knight sits at the top of the screen. He drinks and throws goblets at you, which you need to avoid. If you pull all the levers, the black knight slips off his platform and falls down the screen. Duncan then does a little victory dance before a dragon appears and picks him up by the hair. He is then dropped down off the screen, which sends you back to the dungeon level. This only happens on the advanced level – which allows you to keep playing and get a huge score if you can be bothered to play it through again.
Neil: It’s not a great end, but one I’ve wanted to see for a while. I’m just glad this game is finally beaten. 4/10.
Vinny: Wow! What a headache of a game! Seriously – what do you have to do?!? I’m so glad Neil persisted and played through because I doubt we will have ever seen the ending if he hadn’t complete it!
As for the ending… it’s pretty cool. Far too quick, but certainly a bit of humour in there. A pity there isn’t much else to it. 3.5/10 from me.
Andrew Fisher: Load, die, try again. Load, die, try again. Load, survive a bit longer, die again…
I’ve never liked it, in any form. Vaguely interesting ending made inadequate by the fact it then makes you keep playing…
Andy Vaisey: Not one of the best C64 games. Not even remotely average. In fact, way down there in the Sunday leagues, along with it’s own ending.
Brendan Phoenix: I too have attempted to play this, ROCK SOLID.
I hope Beyond Dark Castle has a better ending than this.
FINAL SAY: A fair ending. Great to see the bad guy fall down.
G.E. RATING: 4 / 10