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Crystal Castles

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Released: 1983

Genre: Strategy

Format reviewed: Arcade

Publisher: Atari

Developer: Atari

Submitted by: Alex Holmes

Atari have given us some of the finest arcade games of all time, with the likes of Paperboy, Centipede and of course, Pong.

One other title which is fondly remembered is Crystal Castles, a game which first introduced us to Bentley Bear

When I first stumbled across this games in my local lesuire centre in the mid 80's, the 3D viewpoint of the many stages and the unique trackball controller which was used instead of a joystick was instantly striking and the machine attracted loads of players who wanted to try out this new control style.

Bentley Bear must be guided through the 37 stages, collecting gems which are spread across the levels and dealing with the many nasties such as swarms of bee's, the dreaded witch and tree's, who will all take one of Bentley's lives and send him back to the beginning of the level should he touch them.  The main power up is the wizards hat, which makes Bentley invincible for a short time, enabling him to get to run right through enemies and reach tucked away gems.  The ability to jump was there, which is handy for hopping over enemies, although it did take some getting used to thanks to the fast gameplay.

The trackball was perfect for this game, the fast spinning of the ball enabled players to move around the levels quickly, which was essential to avoid the various enemies and collect the gems.

And Crystal Castles was the first game I remember playing that had hidden secrets such as the classic warp on level 1-1.  Which not only skips you to level 3 but also gives an extra life. 

Who said cheating never prospers?!