The Castles Of Doctor Creep (Ariolasoft) Review | Commodore User - Everygamegoing

Commodore User

The Castles Of Doctor Creep
By Broderbund
Commodore 64

Published in Commodore User #26

The Castles Of Doctor Creep

The graphics and sound of this little number have all the class of a 1982 version of Space Panic. Really primitive stuff. But don't be misled. Dr. Creep falls into that select class of titles (including Lode Runner, Boulder Dash, Bounty Bob) where the gameplay itself more than compensates for uninspiring first impressions.

Initially the game idea sounds tediously familiar. Your diabolically-animated character is trapped in one of Dr. Creep's thirteen castles and must escape by picking his way carefully through a number of hazard-filled screens, collecting keys to open doors and avoiding dangers such as mummies, Frankensteins and ray-guns. Other not-very-original game features include conveyor belts, lightning machines, teleporters, trap-doors, poles to slide down and force-fields.

What makes this game different is that most of these features have a corresponding control box somewhere on screen. This means it's possible to turn them to your own advantage. So, for example, you can use the ray gun to zap a pursuing mummy, or open a trap-door just as a Frankenstein is passing. More satisfying still is to use one of your enemies to do one of your tasks for you. In castle one, it's possible to lure one of the Frankensteins down a pole and thereby activate an otherwise inaccessible conveyor switch.

The Castles Of Doctor Creep

Another point which helps make the game a real braintwister is that you can't simply solve the screens one at a time. Each castle's different rooms connect by numerous different doors, and only a small part of the room you're in may be reachable from the door you first enter it by. Normally you have to go through each room many times, doing a different task each time before you can escape the castle. Working out the right order can be desperately difficult, yet very satisfying.

But perhaps the best point of all is that the game can be played simultaneously by two players (Two joysticks required) - they can either race each other for the exit, or, even better, cooperate for an ultra-fast escape time. Indeed for some of the castles (e.g. number 2) cooperation is about the only way of avoiding tearing your hair out.

There are thirteen different castles, each containing 10-20 different rooms - an impressive total of some 200 screens. Unfortunately, these can't all be contained in memory at once, and you must load castles individually from side two of the cassette.

Overall, I went for this one. The graphics may give you the creeps, but that addictive gameplay is just what the doctor ordered.

Chris Anderson

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