Castle Adventure is a legend. I remember playing it when I was a little kid. I never got very far, to tell the truth, because the darn snake always killed me. What really amazed me, though, were the graphics: vicious ogres looking like smiling faces, pale vampires looking like spades, ugly spiders looking like asterisks, fairies looking like division symbols, and much more.
Castle Adventure is an entertaining parser-based maze adventure designed by Kevin Bales, later stolen and illegally released by Keypunch Software as part of their Swords and Sorcery package, under the name of Golden Wombat.
Castle featured a rather nice environment for 1984's PCs: Everything was made with ASCII symbols, thus leaving to the player most of the graphic work. Those were the times when the computer gave you only a very vague idea of the figure, represented by a small symbol. In your mind it became something exceptionally detailed and realistic, looking as if it had been created by the pencil of a John Howe or a Ted Nasmith.
The game uses arrow keys for movement and keyboard commands for particular actions, such as “look fountain” or “show cross to vampire”. The parser system fits nicely, although it's a little limited (there’s no comparison with Infocom’s systems).
What’s the plot? You’re an adventurer, looking for treasures in a frightening and monster-filled castle, but that’s not all. You are even stuck in there, and as such, must find the way out.
Let’s face it, most games of that time had rather lame plots. People didn’t care, though. They played, and played, and played even more. Why? Because it is CHALLENGING. The maximum number of points you can get is 1,550, but you can finish it with less.
I give it a 4, because I have good memories of it, even though it may deserve a 3.5, considering how easy it is to die.
Enjoy it, and beat it if you can!