A piece of history
It was the year of 1987 when I was born… and The Eternal Castle was published on Mac and PC. At the time it was considered as a masterpiece and reviews praised its technical aspects. Even now in 2020, I didn’t expect a 33-year-old video game being such advanced. That’s why it is intriguing to jump in to this piece of video game history, and see what they were bragging about back in the ’87.
By trial and 3RЯÖR
The visual look is rather simple and sometimes minimalistic, but all the motion and the movements of the characters were detailed and realistic. I could feel a slight lag with the inputs and moving to the another scenery/screen, the transition was a little too slow. I could expect this from 1987 Mac/PC, but modern consoles should run this kind of video game smoothly. I got used to the controls and the lag fairly quickly and the right-timing-requiring jumps. The melee fighting and gun shooting also demanded timing management. I always remembered the little lag, so in the end I couldn’t be bothered about it. Along the game I got new stuff, like better shoes to run faster and other gimmicks to help my journey.
In the beginning I died a lot! It was very much learning how to kill and use the environment, there seemed to be more than one way to solve things. The enemies had well-made AI and they did react differently, depending situations. That was something I took seriously, before approaching enemies.
The truth is out there
I have very little to say about the plot, other than it becomes more clear in the end. In the beginning I could read a long summary about the plot, but the text was mostly unreadable, due the pixel mush font. The main character crash-lands his spaceship in a mysterious planet and needs to collect parts, so he can fix the ship and leave. He goes into a “castle” and immediately runs to enemies. Some of them could kill him with one hit. Yes, then I realized how ruthless this game is gonna be! The story was interesting and I was always happy of all given little hints and writings of the happenings of that place.
A visual showstopper
I was fascinated how the game looked visually. Graphics done by 2-bit CGA -style, still managing to show depth and feeling of 3D world. The Eternal Castle is, as they claim, very action-movie-like. All the visual effects were stunning to watch and managed to create the suspence and wonderment. It’s odd to think how using only 2-bits can create so much.
I always searched the most odd and difficult route, since as a gamer, I know there are usually something hidden in those places. Keeping player intrigued, the surroundings hid lots of secrets behind the dark shadows and backgrounds to be find. The graphics had a slight downfall, them being messy at times and hard to look at. I missed some items only due to the fact I didn’t see them soon enough. But, I can easily forgive that, because the replaybility value is very high (The Eternal Castle is meant to be replayed many times). It also includes 2-player co-op mode.
The remastered audio and background music were nice to listen — and not some annoying peeping, like one could expect from a 80’s video game.
The Eternal Castle had lots of checkpoints, there was few areas where I needed them badly, because after death player can continue from the latest checkpoint, which sometimes was far away. I was pleased how some of the progress was saved after dying. It truly made the gameplay little easier this way.
Repeating the history
I don’t know the full origin story of The Eternal Castle, but according to the internet, it seems to be a big deal in video game history. It definitely rised the bar amongst the video game developers back in 1987, surely leaving everyone gaggin’ for more — probably now repeating the history.
The Eternal Castle being now available on Nintendo Switch; I truly recommend everyone to try out this amazing remastered piece of history.
(Review copy kindly provided by the publisher)
“back in 1987, surely leaving everyone gaggin’ for more — probably now repeating the history”
ESRB and PEGI ratings:
RELEASE DATE: Jan 5, 1987 (original), Aug 21, 2020 (remastered on Switch [EU])
GENRE: Action, Adventure, Indie
DEVELOPERS: Leonard Menchiari, Daniele Vicinanzo, Giulio Perrone
PUBLISHERS: Playsaurus, TFL Studios
PLATFORMS: Nintendo Switch
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