Crystal Castles

For: Arcade, Atari 2600

Genres

Main Genre:
Action
Perspective:
Isometric , 3rd-Person
Visual Presentation:
Fixed Screen

Overview

Arcade  version of Crystal Castles
Arcade version of Crystal Castles
Crystal Castles is an action game first released in arcades in 1983 by Atari and later ported to several home systems. In the game characters control Bentley Bear with the goal of collecting all of the gems in a castle without being caught by the various enemies.

Gameplay

In Crystal Castles players need to collect as many gems as possible across ten different levels; the first nine levels each consist of four different castles with the final level having just one. Each castle (presented with a trimetric projection for a 3D look) consists of numerous hallways, doors, stairs, elevators, and tunnels. Players need to guide Bentley Bear around the castle to pick up the gems located throughout; when all gems have been collected, the castle is complete and players move on to the next, more difficult castle (there is also a secret warp that can be found allowing experienced players to skip ahead a few castles).

Also wandering through the castles are various types of enemies; some move about randomly while others will chase Bentley. If Bentley comes in to contact with any of them, a life is lost. Some of the enemies also collect gems for themselves; it's not required for Bentley Bear to collect every gem to complete a castle, however points aren't earned for gems that an enemy picks up. Additionally, bonus points are awarded for collecting the last gem in a castle; those points are lost if an enemy happens to collect the last gem. Enemies can be dealt with by simply avoiding them (the maze-like castles can provide handy escape paths), by jumping over them, or by picking up a bonus item that appears occasionally. The two bonuses that appear are a honey pot which prevents a swarm of bees from appearing, and a magic hat which makes Bentley invulnerable for a few seconds (the hat also allows players to defeat Berthilda the witch, a tough opponent that appears in the fourth castle of each level).

The Inhabitants of Crystal Castles

Players will encounter the following opponents throughout the game:
  • Gem Eaters:
    Gem Eaters don't chase Bentley but slowly wander around the castle eating as many gems as they can. It's possible to destroy them by walking over them while they are swallowing a gem.
  • Nasty Trees:
    These trees head straight towards Bentley and eat gems in the process.
  • Crystal Balls:
    Similar to the Nasty Trees, the Crystal Balls roll towards Bentley and collect gems in the process.
  • Swarm of Bees:
    Bees periodically appear to protect the honey pot; if Bentley collects the honey pot, the bees dissappear. Bees will also appear and chase Bentley if players take too long to complete a castle regardless of if a honey pot is present.
  • Ghosts and Skeletons:
    Ghosts and Skeletons don't pick up gems for themselves, instead they move about very slowly and randomly to get in the player's way.
  • The Witches Caldron:
    This caldron is stationary, but deadly to touch. If it happens to be in the way, Bentley will need to jump over it.
  • Berthilda the Witch:
    Berthilda appears in the last castle of each level and is deadly to the touch; when she appears, she rapidly chases Bentley and can only be destroyed by wearing the magic hat.

Scoring

Points are earned in the game for collecting gems and defeating enemies. Bonus points are earned for collecting the last gem in a castle, picking up the bonus items, killing Berthilda the witch, and a time bonus for completing levels within a given time limit. Bonus lives are awarded for every 20,000 points earned.

Point values are as follows:
  • Harvest a Gem: The first gem is worth 1 point, the second gem 2 points, and so on. There is a maximum of 99 points for gems and the values reset at the start of each castle.
  • Harvest the Last Gem: 1000 points in the first castle, an additional 100 points are added for each castle after that.
  • Collect the Magic Hat: 500 points
  • Collect the Honey Pot: 1000 points
  • Destroying a Gem Eater: 500 points
  • Destroy Berthilda the Witch: 3000 points

Credits

System: Atari 2600
Designed by: Peter C. Niday
Computer Graphics by: Michael Kosaka
Audio by: Robert Vieira
Arcade game by: Franz Lanzinger
Cover artwork by: Judy Richter

Pictures

Click on a picture below to view a larger version.
Arcade Version

Documentation

Instruction Manual
Atari 2600
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