A&B Computing

Castle Blackstar

Author: Shingo Sugiura
Publisher: CDS
Machine: BBC Model B

Published in A&B Computing 2.11

Castle Blackstar has been available for the Sinclair Spectrum and the Commodore 64 for some time now and both versions have received rave reviews so I was pleased to find that CDS have converted this text only adventure for the Beeb.

Apparently, you have somehow turned up in a luxurious room furnished in silver and glass. From nowhere, Lady Artemis appears and tells you that you must locate the power orb and return it to her. If you happen to find any mortal treasures (is there such things as immortal treasures?), she will cleanse them of evil. Points are scored for finding treasures, performing certain actions and, of course, returning the orb. All this fantasy sounds like any other adventure but, as it turned out, Castle Blackstar is a cut above the rest.

As usual, you have to find words that the program understands and it seems to have a fairly large vocabulary, although the language parser is quite simple. The inlay card does not boast that the game has several hundred locations (like many others) but I managed to explore over 75 in just a few hours and I'm nowhere near completion.

The program is of course written in machine code and the responses are fast and descriptions fairly detailed and well thought out. There is also a very quick save game facility which is always welcome.

There are plenty of puzzlers which are both logical and challenging. The scenario is unoriginal but technically, this game is sound and in any case, everyone enjoys exploring in mystical lands, don't they?

Shingo Sugiura

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