Dark Castle review - Sega Megadrive

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The word is that the Black Knight has escaped from jail! For the last couple of months, he's been held in the darkest and dankest dungeon of them all, pending his execution. But now he's free, ready to commit atrocities aplenty. Not surprisingly, the medieval world is very upset by this development and many men are dispatched to seek out the whereabouts of the dark one. After many weeks of searching, the Black Knight is finally located at the eponymous, Dark Castle, well known place for non-evil citizens of the kingdom to die hideous and grotesque deaths.

You are the sole adventurer who dares set foot inside the Dark Castle - represented graphically in this game by a side-on platform-based environment. Your immediate aim on each screen is to use your superior agility and jumping prowess to reach the exit, where challenges await on a fresh screen.

Unfortunately, making this task a tad more difficult are masses of enemy sprites just waiting to cause you some grief. Luckily, your dimension-warping trousers can carry over 50 rocks at once which are used to stone your opponents to death!

Your overall objective is to find the Shield of Protection and as many other mystical items as possible with which to fight the Black Knight. Only then can you tread the perilous path to the Black Knight's lair...

What the Mean Machines staff thought


" Oh my word! Dark Castle takes me back to the days when no one could program the Amiga properly and instead came out with pathetic graphics and gratuitous sampled sound. Funnily enough, that's exactly what Dark Castle is. There are no original ideas on offer here. The platform game is fundamentally simple and the graphics are truly bad, with tiny, ill-defined sprites wobbling around Spectrum-esque backdrops. The control method is really awful, with very unresponsive action. The method used to change the direction of firing is slow and makes for many a frustrating death. One thing's for sure - the hero in this game is a real weed. Even touching a small rat results in a violent and sudden death. Dark Castle's only redeeming feature is the sound - the sampled effects are pretty good. However, that factor apart, I can't recommend this sad effort at all. "

" This game is so bad, criticising it is like kicking a sad, retarded cripple while he's down. Apart from the laughable sampled sound, everything about it is diabolical. The graphics look like they've been lifted from a particularly crap Master System game - well, look at the screenshots and agree. What you can't see, though, is the movement of the rubbish zombie sprites. These hobbling hunchbacks have very dubious appendages which become erect when you approach. Quite what they are is difficult to ascertain due to the fact that they're so badly drawn, so I'd better not ponder any further. Gameplay? Well, where is it, that's what I want to know. It's challenging, but for all the wrong reasons. You spend most of your time battling the stupid control method, rather than the baddies. The way you throw stones is pathetically slow, and the collision detection is so dodgy it had me yelling with frustration. Within a few hours I'd had enough, and Dark Castle was dumped. If a gameplayer went to hell, this is the game he'd be made to play. "


Overall Score23%

Richy Girth - 03 Dec 2008, 14:54 GMT

I'd nearly blocked out this particular traumatic memory...!
*Vows never to even so much as emulate it*

Dan - 30 Jan 2009, 13:51 GMT

Oh this game was bad, real bad. When we heard a kid from Warsop had it we had to lend it just to laff at it. It felt awful to play, and it was rotten to look at.

However..... the sound was great, comical sex noises ahoy! (or to our warped 11 year old minds anyway ;) )

Mean Machines Issue 15 - Christmas 1991
Role Playing Sega Megadrive
Electronic Arts
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