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Crystal Castles


ST Graveyard has written 62 additional reviews

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Written by ST Graveyard

November 20, 2001


Crystal Castles is a game that could have easily been written by Disney! The background story sounds like a fairy tale and characters seem to have escaped from one of their movies...Here is a piece from the manual, to give you an idea :

"Once upon a time, Bentley Bear was rambling through the woods, daydreaming about poached salmon. He stopped to take a nap in his favorite hollow tree trunk. But when he awoke, he found himself inside a huge castle glittering with diamonds, emeralds, and pearls. Though Bentley didn't know it at the time, he was trapped in Crystal Castles, home of Berthilda the Witch and her evil cronies. To escape their spell, he must harvest the gems in the castles before Berthilda and her malicious gang send him into permanent hibernation."

But every retro gamer knows by now that "Crystal Castles" is one of the many arcade hits from Atari themselves, dating back from 1983! Interestingly, Atari wanted it to be the first 3D Asteroids clone; shooting the incoming asteroids above 3D maps. But when the game was finally finished, they found out it didn't really work and changed it to its form as we know it today, a sort of 3D pac-man clone!


The graphics are good, but nothing special. All the maps are in 3D and nicely detailed. Every level comes with its own color scheme and appropriate enemies!


A dull intro track and some VERY annoying sound fx! But I guess that's part of what makes the game so nerve wrecking, and in the end...Addictive!


As mentioned above, Crystal Castles is a 3D Pac man game. As Bentley, It's your job to collect all the gems in a level, while avoiding all the nasties that guard them. You have the ability to jump, making you unreachable for the enemy! Or you can catch them while they're eating your precious gems. If you manage to do this for all the levels in the 10 worlds, you'll be rewarded with a happy ending to the story.

Creatures you'll encounter on your journey are walking trees, ghosts, skeletons, centipedes...And every now and then, a dangerous swarm of bees. They will try and make your life miserable if it takes you to long to complete a level!

Every map has its own hidden rooms,level warps, elevators and bonuses. for example, If you manage to grab the honey jar, you'll score extra bonus points. But beware, this pisses off the bees. There is also a magical hat which makes you invincible for a short period of time. In every final level (the 4th) of each world you'll meet Berthilda herself. The only way to get rid of her is to walk straight at her with your magical hat! You'll be rewarded with even more bonus points if she is eliminated...

The controls in this game are very good! You use the stick to move the main character, pressing the fire button and pushing the joystick in the appropriate direction, makes Bentley jump! It takes a while to get used to the 3D environment though. You'll be hitting yourself when you get stuck behind a wall, or when you aren't able to get on an elevator in time, only to get caught by a damn walking tree! And keep in mind...Bentley is very fast...And that can also work against you!


Crystal Castles is a very addictive game! It's not just any pac man rif, the 3D environment adds a lot to it. You'll be trying again and again to complete it! But be warned, it can be frustrating as hell. This game is yet another example of simplicity, but amazingly executed. And in the end, that's all that matters. Another hit from the masters of the computer game...Atari!

  • Graphics: 7
  • Sound: 6
  • Gameplay: 9
  • Overall: 7

Review Comments

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Zone Warrior

February 12, 2023 by AtariCrypt

Once again, pesky aliens are giving us Earthlings lots of grief. We previously fought them off but they managed to pinch a time machine so are using that to alter history and wreak havoc by taking crucial hostages from each period in an attempt to halt their influence. From the invention of the wheel in prehistoric times to England's King Arthur uniting Britain! And where would any of us be today without Japan and its technical wizardry? Yep, we cannot allow this - the fight is on!

Son Shu Shi

March 21, 2021 by ST Graveyard

What an accomplishment this game is. Created with such a small team, the result is really amazing. The game oozes creative passion. While the gameplay is really well balanced, it is a tough cookie, very hard from time to time with its moments of sheer frustration. As of level 3, timing becomes key. You will need to practice and learn the levels to complete this game, there are so many bad guys on screen it sometimes gets a bit hard to take.

Blood Money

April 4, 2020 by Morcar

Graphically, it's also nice on the eyes with well-defined graphics and animation. You really get the feeling that the developers put some thought and love into the game. Remember what I said about the large levels? Well these are wonderful and are very different to each other, they also scroll fairly smooth in all four directions.

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