The fourth Freescape game, Castle Master, was developed – not by Major Developments this time – but by Teque Software Development. It was published by Domark in 1990.
Again: the Freescape Engine took first-person 3D adventuring a little bit further in terms of gameplay and frame rates, although – like Driller, Dark Side, and Total Eclipse before it – it was still very simplistic and didn’t really feature any moving characters.
You choose to play as either a Prince or a Princess, and the one you didn’t choose is hidden away inside “Castle Eternity” for you to rescue. There are riddles written on walls that give hints, and many secrets waiting to be uncovered.
Evil spirits can be found in some rooms and will sap your strength until you throw a rock at them. Yes – a single rock can kill these ghosts! Your life is represented as a single bar and you only get one life. Thankfully you can save and load the game which saves a lot of ball-ache restarts.
Castle Master is still atmospheric, interesting, and challenging to play now, even if it looks rather basic. Getting anywhere does take some trial and error, but making progress is kind of rewarding, in a perverse, retro-gaming way. 🙂
A sequel, called Castle Master II: The Crypt, was also published by Incentive and Domark that same year.
Note: The back story to Castle Master was written by the infamous writer and game designer Mel Croucher (the guy who created the Spectrum classic Deus Ex Machina).