The Let's Play Archive

Compute!'s Gazette

by Chokes McGee

Part 23: Adnachiel - Castle Dungeon

ManxomeBromide posted:

This is a cool game, you should write it up for the thread.

Let's Smack into Walls in Play Castle Dungeon!
Compute!’s Gazette, June 1984, Vol 2, No. 6

Some asshole wizard placed 3 bombs and a bunch of monsters inside Castle NoName's dark, mazelike dungeon. You have a lantern, a levitation spell, and 3 minutes to grab them. (5 if you're playing the VIC-20 version.) Also, someone left the key to the doors and a sword down there somewhere. Good luck!

The gameplay is exactly what it looks like. You run around a maze with the joystick collecting bombs, keys, and swords while avoiding the monsters. The "thwack" sound is me hitting the walls.

The Good
It’s actually easier and more enjoyable than I thought it would be. Everything is randomized. So you never get the same map twice. And in all the times I’ve played, I’ve never lost due to getting an unwinnable map. (Whether this is part of the code or just my luck is unknown.) I also thought that the lack of a visible timer would bother me, but the lack of one actually made it less tense and more enjoyable. I definitely got the time it took to type it in back playing it.

The Bad
Because everything is randomized, there is a chance that a map with all of the bombs close together will spawn. These types of maps are naturally easier to beat. So the difficulty is a bit of a crapshoot.

Having the L key being the levitation spell seems a little odd considering the game uses a joystick. (You’ll notice in the video that I have a tendency to try to find a way around a pit instead of using the spell. If it matters, I have the joystick mapped to WASD.) Someone submitted a fix in a later issue that changes it to the joystick button. The sound effect for it is also a little too long for my taste. The controls also aren't as responsive as they could be. Whether that's the emulator, the fact that it's coded in BASIC, or just how the system is, I don't know.

Also, and this is a minor nitpick and might just be me, but the code looks really sloppy. The data statements are scattered all throughout the code, and things like whether there's space between commands or not is pretty random. (Pretty sure that and the checksums is what caused me to make that typo. Thanks, ManxomeBromide! ) The article mentions that 6 people contributed in some way to this. The joystick routines are from another issue, the authors got help from some people when they were making it, and the article and mail-in offer emphasize the VIC-20 version. So the fact that this was probably a port might have contributed to that.

The Weird