Thunder Castle


Review by Joe Santulli



Graphics: 10

Sound: 9

Gameplay: 8

Overall: 8

Pac-Man gone medievalIn the vast ocean of software that no one knows about lies a tiny game whose generic title, lack of advertising, and all around bad timing belie a stunning effort worthy of any "classic". The game is Thunder Castle, and despite its hidden status those of us "in the know" (that now includes you) have always included it among our favorite Intellivision games.

Just as Mattel was leaving their sinking ship called the Intellivision, another group was resuscitating it. INTV stepped in and brought the system back to life in the mid-1980’s. When you look back at the work INTV did, you can’t help but be amazed. Their games were truly groundbreaking Intellivision titles: the wonderful two player "Super Pro" games, the Atari conversions of Dig Dug and Pole Position, the brilliant pseudo-3D sequel to Burgertime called Diner, high-powered original titles Stadium Mud Buggies, Thin Ice, and Hover Force… the list goes on. Suffice to say that INTV were pioneers in the "second life" of the Intellivision console.

One of the first games released by INTV was this maze adventure game. It started as a contest winner at Mattel but was abandoned. Dave Warhol picked up the project years later and completed the game for release n 1986. The goal is to slay evil creatures, collect treasure, and progress through the forest, castle, and dungeon. There are magic items and creatures that will aid you in defeating the bad guys (dragons, sorcerers, and demons). Walls open and close, forcing you to think ahead and plan your attack – or escape. Defeat each level’s guardian and you move to the next screen.

Pac-Man gone medievalThe general appearance of the game is very similar to Mattel’s Night Stalker, except that the mazes are somewhat variable (the castle and walls can appear in several locations when you start). Between levels and lives you are treated with some real eye-candy: full-screen level introductions! This was unprecedented on the Intellivision. The gameplay is a bit like Night Stalker too, with a little bit of Pac-Man thrown in. You use the magic creatures to turn the tables on the bad guys and you can also collect bonus points by walking over stationary magic objects. Throw in a terrific theme song and you have all the makings of a "classic".

If you haven’t heard of Thunder Castle, I’d recommend you seek it out. It’s a jewel for the system and a truly challenging action game..


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Last updated: Wednesday, December 24, 2003 06:36 AM