Castle Master, ZX Spectrum

I’ve written about a variety of Castle Master versions on this website (Amiga, PC, Amstrad CPC, and even Commodore 16/Plus4), but I haven’t yet covered the original ZX Spectrum version, which was developed by Major Developments (an internal team at Incentive Software) and published by Domark in 1990.

The Spectrum is where the legendary, pioneering Freescape engine was first showcased, which is what Castle Master is made with. Freescape – if you didn’t know – was one of the first game engines to allow a full 360 degree of movement in a 3D environment and was first used in games such as Driller and Dark Side. Castle Master was the final commercial game to use the Freescape engine and it came in two parts; this game, and a sequel – called The Crypt – which was released as part of a double pack with Castle Master not long after its initial release.

In Castle Master you explore Castle Eternity as either a prince or princess (you choose which at the start of the game) and must solve various puzzles in order to rescue the character not chosen to play as. The view is first-person and the player’s health (and strength) is represented by a set of barbells. When health has been completely depleted the game must be re-started from the beginning, unless a save is re-loaded.

Some rooms in the castle contain evil spirits that will sap the player’s health and the only way to deal with them is to throw rocks at them. Yep – throw rocks at them. The ultimate aim is to destroy the boss spirit, Magister, who can only be killed once all the other spirits have been exorcised from the castle. When you’ve done that you can finally rescue your other half.

While Castle Master may look primitive by today’s standards it was revolutionary for the time and still plays quite well today. Yes: it’s slow, but it’s running on a 48K Spectrum, not a multi-threaded PC with a graphics accelerator card.

More: Castle Master on Wikipedia
More: Castle Master on World of Spectrum

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