Castelian review - Nintendo Entertainment System
Many of the creatures on this world have strange desires - practical jokes played upon them by Mother Nature if you will. For instance, lemmings throw themselves off cliffs, elephants walk five thousand miles to a specific spot before dying, dogs aren't happy unless they're sniffing each others' bottoms and frogs like to climb towers in the middle of the sea! Yes, whilst frogs have a reputation as fun-loving pond-dwelling amphibians, they actually spend their lives compelled by their genetic coding to climb to the tops of ruined lighthouses and the like, avoiding the evil creatures that dwell within.
Castelian is the story of one such frog, named Binky. In order to fulfill his life and die happy, Binky must make it to the top of eight towers via a derelict outer staircase. Unfortunately many of the stairs have crumbled away, making the use of lifts and tunnels through the buildings essential for success. As Binky climbs, the view of the tower rotates, keeping him in sight at all times, and handily allowing him to see the way ahead, too! Binky must reach the top of each tower before his biological clock runs out and he loses one of his three lives.
What the Mean Machines staff thought
I didn't find this quite as irritating as Radion did, mainly because I've played this game several times before and know the screen layouts and danger situations. But what he says is true - there are some annoying flaws which if removed could have made a good game into a great one. Collision detection is poor, the controls are sluggish and some of the baddies aren't situated as well as they were in the original versions, which means that you're often guaranteed certain death unless you know exactly what's coming up. Without there niggles this would have been an outstanding, utterly addictive puzzle game, just like the original version. As it is, though, it's an enjoyable, challenging, but flawed game which some might find too frustrating to be worth persevering with. Give it a go before you buy.
Castelian has been out for years on comuter formats under the name Nebulus, and as it was so popular I was really looking forward to a super-smooth console conversion. Unfortunately, whilst Castelian isn't a real dog, it doesn't live up to expectations. The real problems lie, as always, in irritating gameplay flaws. The old dodgy collision detection rears its ugly head again, and in a game where one hit can mean the difference between success and failure it's really inexcusable. Castelian also moves a bit slower than it should and it's hardly what you'd call ultra-responsive. The main downer, however, is the presence of unavoidable death syndrome. This places you in positions from where there is no escape. This wouldn't be so bad if it just drained your energy bar, but being constantly prevented from reaching the top of a climb because one invincible enemy who always gets in your way is so-o-o frustrating. Also, having to repeat the early levels every time you run out of credits is a proper pain, surely it wouldn't have been too difficult to put in some sort of password system? If you're on the lookout for a new puzzle game with a bit more emphasis in arcade skills than most Castelian might be your game, but try it out before parting with any cash.
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