“Spare a key, mister? Any color will do – pink, brown, yellow, green, blue. I’m gonna need ’em all at some point.” If a random person approaches you and ever says these words or something similar, don’t smack them right away. They’ve just gone mad trying to beat Castlequest.
Yes, there is a quest behind the castle: save the princess from a dark lord, gasp upon gasp! You collect keys to open doors to rooms with more keys and more doors to open. Any satisfaction you get from opening a door to a new area instantly vanishes when you see that the new area has five keys to collect.
You get fifty lives to start with (downright generous in the 8-bit era) and you’ll cherish every one of them, thanks to the horrid controls. Simple enemies are a burden when you have to press ‘Left’ and ‘B’ to attack. Your jump allows you to float briefly in mid-air, but the protagonist’s slow movements make it hard to avoid shifty enemies.
Castlequest tries to be innovative – construct an entire game within one large environment, with every room having a unique set of challenges to overcome – but there’s never any motivation to collect the keys because you know what’s behind the doors: more keys, more death. May Castlequest‘s foundation rot swiftly into the earth.
PUBLISHER: Nexoft DEVELOPER: ASCII Corporation
GENRE: Adventure RELEASE DATE: 11/28/86 – (JP), 09/1989 – (US)
ALSO AVAILABLE ON: MSX, NEC PC88, Sharp X1