Dark Castle logo CU Amiga Screen Star

Price: £24.95

Let me take you on a mystic journey to a house on a hill in a far away land. Not just any sort of house, but a haunted house, with fourteen rooms each one more terrible than the previous, populated by demonic monkeys, flying dragons, rats, bats and kinky guards who are into leather and whips. And at the end? The Black Knight - to overthrow him is your task.

All you have for your protection is a handful of rocks (well hardly a handful, more like sixty!) to fend off anything that flies, crawls or slithers into your way. If a lack of rocks you should suffer, you could always collect a bottle of elixer to ward off rats and the bats. Later on in the game such objects as weapons, fireballs, maces and magic shields can be found. The rooms suffer no lack of variety. There are dungeons, belfrys, towers, halls and a lot more I can't yet reach.

The game is along the same lines as Dragon's Lair, but about ten times better. The graphics while not amazing have some fantastic effects, some very comical ones at that. In the dungeons for example you have one of the guards whipping the life out of three unfortunates. Every time the whip reaches its maximum extension you get the familiar digitised crack and a little flash-like star right at the end of the whip.

If you should just happen to run the little hero off the edge of a platform, in best cartoon tradition, he'll give you a doleful look, his head spins and he looks towards the floor, shrugs his shoulders and plummets to the flagstones below. If you're lucky he'll get up again, groan, shake his head a lot, and makes that bluberblurberbluber noise which can only be made by shaking your head from side to side very fast while wobbling your jowels!

Some of the critters are really lovely. The ravens for example when hit with a stone plummet beak-first toward the ground, and land with a digitised splat and a mish-mash of feathers and bits of flesh. Probably the cutest animals in the game have these gigantic hands and strut around making (digitised) meep meep noises. In fact most of the noises in the game are digitised, and good quality at that. Some times the various noises generated by the rats can get on your nerves and can only be cured by a rock in the foul creature's gob.

One of the nicest special effects in the game has got to be when you clobber an upside down hanging bat, it gives a little squeal and then drops straight down and lands with a dull thud on the ground.

Whilst this is by no means the best game ever released on the Amiga, it is one of the funniest. It is a laugh to play which is more than I can say for most of the games that I've loaded up lately.

My major gripe though is that it uses the disgusting two disk system, which is fine if you have a second drive, but for poor mortals like me it means a lot of fiddling around with the disks when I would much rather be playing the game. Nevertheless, it is a well crucial game from Mirrorsoft who prove once more that they're supreme on the Amiga. This is truly an excellent piece of software, impeccable in every detail. My money's on it to be a winner.