Castle Master II: The Crypt, Amstrad CPC

Castle Master II: The Crypt is the sequel to the ghost-hunting Freescape game, Castle Master, and it was released by Domark in 1990 as part of a double pack with the first Castle Master. As far as I know it was never published as a stand-alone title.

The Crypt is the same as Castle Master in many respects, except that the puzzles and environments are obviously different. The controls and aims are the same as before: destroy the spirits before they destroy you; find keys to open doors, and loot the treasures inside a haunted crypt to score points as you go.

This sequel is just as involving and atmospheric as before, with primitive but effective 3D graphics representing a series of environments that can be explored freely. One difference to the first Castle Master is the fact that you can only play one character this time (in the first game you could choose to play as either a prince of a princess).

Although Castle Master II: The Crypt does look a bit ridiculous when compared to modern 3D games you have to remember that it was one of the earliest games to offer a fully-explorable, open-ended 3D environment, and that the Freescape engine it is a based on was a pioneering and influential piece of software back in the late ’80s. Castle Master, and its Freescape stablemates (Driller, Dark Side, and Total Eclipse) were the progenitors of the first-person 3D games that we take for granted nowadays.

Playing Castle Master II: The Crypt now is still a fun and absorbing experience. That is: if you’re willing to put up with slow frame rates and simple gameplay. I played it for a fair few hours to get these screenshots and enjoyed it. And, from what I can tell, the two Castle Master games were originated on the Amstrad first and ported to other 8-bit systems afterwards, so that makes them important original games in the Amstrad back catalogue.

More: Castle Master on Wikipedia

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