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Forbidden Castle

by Mercer Mayer


(based on 2 ratings)
2 reviews

About the Story

On vacation in London, you enter an antique store, and are drawn to a magic book which hurtles you into a fantastic world, where you are to undo the harm done to the world by the wicked Blue Faerie, and solve the puzzles of the forbidden castle.

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Number of Reviews: 2
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Forbidding Parser, October 3, 2013
by Andrew Schultz (Chicago)

Mercer Mayer's illustrations were part of my youth. They really brought the Great Brain series alive--which itself could make some good text adventures, with Tom D.'s scheming and puzzle solving. So when I confirmed he was the author of this text adventure nobody'd written a solution for, I figured it'd be fun to try.

Angelsoft parsers, though, tended to be not quite up to Infocom's--undoing doesn't work, and the randomized responses for nonworking verbs are just baffling. And they didn't have those neat InvisiClues. Which were almost necessary for Forbidden Castle. Mayer imagined a very cute world: a gnome with a weird belt, an ogre, a fairy, and other things that'd been done before, but the real charm of this game is how you can ride a dragon or pegasus to places you need to get. The whole map is connected at the end, but you don't see how at first--and there are plenty of weird deaths in the isolated areas if you do things wrong.

And you need to learn what magic items do--you're not told. Some help you around some magical beasts but hurt you around other. Wearing a sword gets you killed. Insta-deaths zap you a lot here, and it's not clear why. You can also assume it's a good idea to (Spoiler - click to show)pick up the bag on the first move, but if you don't, you're totally lost. The game gets in trouble a lot here.

The technical annoyances and Player Bill of Rights violationscan't quite obscure the imagination, though, so a walkthrough is recommended. But there is too much verb guessing and cheap death for an honest play-through. Most people won't have the patience for that.

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
One of the great IFs of the past, December 8, 2009
by tggdan3 (Michigan)

This is one of the older IF games, dating back to about 1983 or so.

You are a normal guy in London on vacation. You enter an antique shop, and the next thing you know you're in a fantastic forest watching a huge ogre walk by.

This game has some fantastic writing. Each scene seems alive. It also has more NPCs than many of its competetors of the time. (Combat is not necessary, NPCs should be bartered with or talked to). The puzzles are fairly simple, and most of the game involves discovering what the story is and how to help the person in need.

The game is very old, offers no hints, and has a terrible parser. It can be unfair at times (one character may randomly take an item from you if you say something the game doesn't understand to him) and it predates the z-machine. (So some commands like "i" for inventory don't work, use "inv" instead). NPCs will assume you're speaking to them when you type something (so typing I instead of INV may get an NPC response) and the save the game system relies on one of the 9 pre-generated save files.

Still, it's a classic bit of gaming. It's fun speaking with the well-developed (for the time) characters, and solving the puzzles. Just remember to examine everything "CAREFULLY" or you'll miss vital clues.

By today standards, it can be very annoying, since it doesn't hold to any of the standard commands, but the writing and scenario makes up for it. It's abandonware, and when you find it, it's in a dos executable file. (Try underdogs site).

Definately worth a play.

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