#58 Crystal Castles

Posted: 24th September 2015 by Jeroen in Games
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458th played so far


Genre: Action
Platform: Arcade
Year of Release: 1983
Developer: Atari
Publisher: Atari

These isometric games don’t work well for me. I’m not sure why, but there’s a series of games like Crystal Castles (several of which are yet to come) that I just dread. The controls are awkward, the action simple and there’s just not much appeal in them for me.

We’ve played Knight Lore in the past, with similar trappings. It was okay, and Crystal Caves predates it… so in the end, we’re covering this as much simply because we have to.

Our Thoughts

The game was fine, I suppose. We heaped quite a bit of praise on Q*Bert, which this game almost feels like a continuation of, together with some Pac-Man – mostly, what you do is moving around this isometric landscape (with height differences) as you collect pellets. Enemies chase you around, which adds pressure, and collect the pellets – to advance, you need to collect more than they did.

It gets fairly manic, which is where the controls stopped doing it favours (for us). You need to run around both avoiding and getting to the pellet-dense places, but when, in the rush of things, you don’t have up-left vs up-right memorized, it’s easy to jump into a pit or take the wrong road. It all feels a bit sluggish, but that could be our systems.

Past that the game is challenging and has the chance to get really addictive, when you get past the issues, and the few different levels were varied enough to stay engaging.

Final Thoughts

It’s a pretty simple game in the end, as said combining Q*Bert and Pac Man more than the other isometric exploration games I mentioned before (although I suspect there might be some lineage still). The control issues are still there, however, and the game doesn’t really feel like it offers much more. It must have looked amazing at the time – now, though, it feels like it’s been overtaken.