Professional, Originally Released On Cassette Only
Game Type : Arcade 3D Pacman With Cartoony Characters
Authors : Peter Johnson
Standalone Release(s) : 1986: CRYSTAL CASTLES, US Gold, £9.99
Compilation Release(s) : None
Stated compatibility : Electron
Actual compatibility : Electron
Supplier : U.S. GOLD, Units 2/3 Holford Way, Holford, BIRMINGHAM B6
7AX. Tel: 024 356 3388
Disc compatibility : Unknown
"Diamond Plateaus in Space. As a Limited Edition, Crystal Castles is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience a true software legend."
"When I first saw Crystal Castles, its shock waves almost knocked me off my feet. That was so long ago. I cannot conceive that you will ever buy it in a shop - I'll believe it when I see it! It's like a state of manic hysteria on diamond plateaus in deep space - some things are beyond description." - Julian Rignall
Scenario And Gameplay
You play Bentley, a bear with a passion for collecting gems. The gems are scattered on the floors of a series of eighteen 3D structures packed with lifts, ramps, tunnels and hidden passages. To prevent you completing your task there are various creatures, each with their own characteristics. The MAD MARBLES try to take the shortest route towards you. The TREE-SPIRITS do the same, but are frozen for a while if you jump over them. The SKELETONS move at random, but tend to block your way. The
GEM-EATERS (which look like centipedes on their hind-legs) can be seen swallowing the gems inside them; if you attack one in mid-gulp, it will be destroyed. BERTHILDA THE WITCH may only be killed when you are wearing the MAGIC HAT, which makes you invincible for a short time. If you take too long on a screen, the BEES will arrive in a swarm to chase you.
The HONEY-POT is worth bonus points if collected, but it and the hat cannot be negotiated by the nasties, so should be used strategically. There is a bonus of 1000 + SCREEN x 100 awarded for clearing the last gem on the screen, so don't let the baddies get it. Watch as the screens are built-up to see where the passageways and tunnels are; remember that you can walk around behind some of the structures.
Some enemies move predictably, and the good player uses this to their advantage to remove gems in awkward places, or to trap the trees etc. out of the way. The last gem is sometimes hidden under the hat, remember that you can pick the hat up by jumping over it as well as walking over it.
There are eighteen different screens in the game; if you can complete these you will start again at fast speed. The tape version uses three short files, each holding the information for six screens of action. When you have completed the first section on the tape version, you will be prompted occasionally to load a new set of screens. You may choose any set here, so you can play or practice in the order you want. The flipside of the tape contains just the data files for the game.
Each gem collected: 10
Collecting the HONEY-POT or MAGIC HAT: 1000
Killing a GEM-EATER or BETHILDA: 1000
Bonus for collecting the last gem on a screen: 1000 + SCREEN x 100.
Lives are displayed at the top of the screen. An extra life is awarded every 10,000 points.
Z - Left, X - Right, : - Up, / - Down, RETURN - Jump
COPY - Pause, DELETE - Unpause, ESCAPE - Return to hi-score table
S - Sound on, Q - Quiet (From hi-score table only)
Instructions' Source : CRYSTAL CASTLES (U.S. Gold) Back And Inner Inlay
Review (Electron User) - "Pacman Revisited"
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.
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!
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.
Sound ........................... 5
Graphics ........................ 7
Playability ..................... 5
Value for money ................. 5
Overall ......................... 5
Jon Revis, ELECTRON USER 4. 7