Castle Blackheart is an interesting maze action game where you play a knight fighting his way through a maze of monsters, trying to find pieces of a scroll and also keys to open doors that’ll allow him to escape to the next level.
There isn’t much information available about the game’s release, other than it was written by James Watson and came out in 1991. I don’t know if it was published through a company, or if it was released by Mr. Watson himself, or any other details about the game. What I do know is that Castle Blackheart is a very good game, is quite challenging, and is still worth playing today.
The premise of the game is simple. Your knight has a limited amount of energy and every collision with a monster will deplete some of it, so you must avoid contact with enemies as much as possible. You can kill enemies by throwing knives at them and this is best done at a distance because some opponents require more than one hit to take out. Trap doors generate monsters and these gradually build-up as time elapses. As far as I can tell: you can’t destroy these generators. Most enemies will walk through the maze a certain way, sticking to walls and their set paths, so it is possible to avoid them by standing in the centre of a room and allowing them to walk around you. You can exit your current screen to other rooms by finding the connecting passageways (often shown by enemies walking out of them into your current screen) and sometimes there is more than one route in and out of certain screens. The maze becomes more complex as the levels progress, and the ultimate aim is to find the door to the next exit.
You’ll find treasure chests that can be picked-up along the way for extra points, and also locked chests that will use up precious keys if you walk up to them. Therefore it is often better to avoid walking into the locked chests to preserve your collected keys for the doors blocking the exit. Of vital importance are the occasional food supplements that will give you more energy if collected. When you complete a level the game generously gives you a password so that you can re-start from that level next time.
Castle Blackheart plays very well and is different to Gauntlet, which some have likened it to. I’d say that it’s more like Cavelon than Gauntlet, but with enemies that follow set paths, rather than chase you directly. Playing Castle Blackheart is a different experience to Gauntlet – it’s more puzzle-like than a straightforward hack and slash. The only criticism I have of it is that you can’t redefine the control keys, which are set a little awkwardly (awkward for me, trying to get screenshots while playing; plus: having ‘Enter’ as the fire key is an unwise decision because if you die while hammering enter, which happens often, you’ll end up entering a blank name on the high score table by accident), but otherwise Castle Blackheart is a fine game that’ll keep you playing for longer than most games on the Archimedes.
See also: The King of Grabs Archimedes Special
Castle Blackheart level passwords: