Electron User

Crystal Castles

Author: Jon Revis
Publisher: U. S. Gold
Machine: Acorn Electron

Published in Electron User 4.07

The original Crystal Castles was an Atari arcade game. Now this Pacman variant has found its way on to the Electron - about two years too late.

Pacman, as you will remember, was designed around a maze in which the pathways were covered with dots. Crystal Castles uses the same idea, but divides the maze into squares. These are then raised to create ramps and towers. Some of the taller towers can only be reached using lifts; others have tunnels beneath them.

Controlling a small character who looks like a little devil, you run round the maze collecting gems. Clear one maze of gems and you move on to the next. Life is made difficult by the presence of an entourage of evil characters. First come the red balls. There are only two on the first screen, but they are adept at luring you into corners.

Crystal Castles

Screen two sees the arrival of the trees, which operate in the same way as the balls but in greater numbers. Other nasties include gem-guzzling caterpillars, a skeleton and a wicked witch.

Dawdle too long on any screen and a whirlwind appears to add to your problems. Fortunately, there is a wizard's hat which when collected will provide you with temporary immunity against the nasties.

Having sped through the first six screens I was asked whether I wished to load a new set of nasties. If you want to amass a huge score reply no to this question as you will be returned to screen one and be allowed to run through all six screens again - with no increase in difficulty!

Crystal Castles

The castle files are only four blocks long and don't take long to load. However, this loading routine every six screens will no doubt become tedious.

The 3D effect may have been clever two years ago but is nothing special now. Animation is smooth, but some of the characters are poorly defined. If you're feeling nostalgic and would like your own copy of Crystal Castles then be my guest.

On the other hand, unless you want an old fashioned game that wouldn't keep the average termite amused for more than five minutes, stay well clear.

Jon Revis

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