Behind Castelian‘s facade of cuteness and simplicity lies evil incarnate.
You play a frog-like creature whose goal is to progress up several flights of stairs. You avoid eyeballs, bouncing balls – any manner of ball, really. Once you ascend the stairs, you enter a door and progress to the next tower where several more flights of stairs await for you to climb them. Your frog shoots pellets, but they never seem to harm the creatures blocking your path.
The key to progression is jumping, which you accomplish by pressing ‘Left’ or ‘Right’ plus ‘A.’ Not only is this button combo a challenge, but to add insult to injury, the ‘B’ button has no function. Why didn’t Bits Studios assign Jump to ‘B’? Unfortunately, jumping is essential to moving forward in this game. Precise jumps are required to land on elevators or progress up flights of stairs. One misstep on a trap floor (and there are several strewn throughout), and you could land all the way back at the beginning or even die.
Castelian wants to draw the player into its secrets, but the incentive for progression – loot, experience, something – just doesn’t exist here. Without question, one of the worst ports on the NES.
PUBLISHER: Triffix DEVELOPER: Triffix (port by Bits Studios)
RELEASE DATE: 06/1991 – (US), 12/11/92 – (JP), 1993 – (EU)
ALSO AVAILABLE ON: Atari 7800, Amiga, Acorn Archimedes, C64, Amstrad CPC, GB, PC, Atari ST, ZX Spectrum