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Video Game / Dark Castle

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A trilogy of Platform Games for the Apple Macintosh. The original in particular has been ported to everything from Commodores to Cell Phones.

  • Dark Castle (1986)
  • Beyond Dark Castle (1987)
  • Return to Dark Castle (2008)

These games contain examples of:

  • Airborne Mooks: Bats, vultures, and mosquitoes, among others.
  • The Alcoholic: The Black Knight. He has a conveyor belt of what are clearly mugs of beer set up next to his throne, and chugging them then flinging the empty mug at you is his only form of attack.
  • Anachronism Stew:
    • Wizards, dragons and self-pushing brooms share the castle with lasers, conveyor belts, and iMacs.
    • In the original version, there's graffiti in one of the rooms that say "Alaric was Here" and "Huns Rule". In the Genesis version, it's "Saddam was Here" and "Gamers Rule". Huh?
  • And Then John Was a Zombie: At the end of the second game, after returning to the Scores of Merit screen, Duncan is turned into the new Black Knight.
  • Animated Armor: The Black Knight is actually a haunted suit of armor. If it is destroyed, the dismantled pieces will try to possess someone and reform the suit.
  • Anvil on Head: One keyring will free you, the other is booby-trapped with a 16-ton weight.
  • Black Knight: The Big Bad.
  • Bookcase Passage: A fireplace, activated by tugging on a wall-mounted torch.
  • Cartoon Bomb: One of the additions in Beyond Dark Castle.
  • Clock Tower: One of the areas from Beyond Dark Castle. There is another tower you climb in the original, but no clocks to be found.
  • Computer Equals Tapedrive: The mainframe in the Computer Room... although there's a 9" Mac just a few feet away.
  • Convection, Schmonvection :In Color Dark Castle, the water was replaced with lava that will not kill you unless you fall into it.
  • Critical Annoyance: Your heartbeat becomes audible and accelerates as you near death in the games with health meters.
  • Deflector Shields: Subverted; the Shield power actually makes you briefly immaterial.
  • Difficulty Levels: Four of them in the original.
  • Embedded Precursor: Return to Dark Castle consists of three areas which you can visit in any order; two are remastered versions of the original games (and the third is larger than both put together).
  • Epic Flail: How you get past the Whip Henchman in Trouble III of the original. The sequels let you keep it or any other melee weapon you pick up instead of just dropping it, though you can only keep one melee weapon at a time.
  • Faceless Eye: Huge floating eyeballs that hurl fire or weep acid...
  • Fireballs: Once Merlin enchants your rocks to make fireballs, it's a flaming death for the mooks standing in your way.
  • Funny Background Event: "SADDAM WAS HERE"
  • Gainax Ending: Beyond Dark Castle. Cleared up in the next sequel - which came out 19 years later.
  • Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress: Step off a ledge, and Duncan'll pause to look down before plummeting.
  • Hedge Maze: An area introduced in Return to Dark Castle.
  • Holiday Mode: Stockings adorn the fireplace, and a Christmas tree supplants a decorative suit of armor.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: In the sequels, health depletes fairly quickly, leaving you only a few minutes in each area before you collapse. The way to restore your health is by picking up small bundles of food scattered around the levels.
  • Jet Pack: More like a helicopter pack.
  • Kill It with Fire: Your only weapons are the rocks you throw, but with a powerup, they become fireballs.
  • Life Meter: Takes the place of the level timer starting in Beyond Dark Castle.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: Hold the Shield up to a thundercloud to be imbued with its magic.
  • The Maze: Featured in Beyond and Return.
  • Mouse Hole: Ubiquitous, and complete with cute little brick arches. Disgorge plague-bearing rats.
  • Non-Lethal Bottomless Pits: Falling into one from anywhere in the castle will send you to the dungeon to fight your way out.
  • Not the Fall That Kills You…: Oh so averted. Falls in the third game are deadlier than in real life.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: Duncan, but only in the first game.
  • Orcus on His Throne: The Black Knight.
  • Our Gargoyles Rock: And are immune to rocks.
  • Plot Coupon: The Orbs.
  • Poison Mushroom: White potions with black labels teleport you. Black potions with white labels kill you. Got that?
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: The first game uses Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor, and that's the only song that sounds in the whole game.
  • Pun: Your quest is, literally, to topple the Black Knight's throne.
  • Save-Game Limits: In Beyond Dark Castle, you can only save from the Computer Room (with its five sets of matched SAVE and RESTORE levers).
  • Scoring Points: Each enemy has a specific point value, and the original has a bonus timer for each level.
  • Secret Level: Only found in Return to Dark Castle. Could also be found in some of the pre-Mac OS X alpha builds by changing certain resource IDs around.
  • Sequence Breaking: The infamous Sega Genesis port can be won in less than a minute by heading directly towards the Black Knight. While helpful, the Shield and Fireball aren't required to complete the game.
  • Shovel Strike: Among the weapons introduced in Beyond Dark Castle.
  • Spikes of Doom: Extend and retract in an automatic cycle.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Falling into the water in the "Fireball" levels of the first game will kill you...
  • Staircase Tumble: If you don't climb down stairs correctly, you fall. This includes a single-step staircase.
  • Temporary Platform: Some platforms extend and retract in an automatic cycle.
  • Throw a Barrel at It: The Brewery Henchman. The Boulder Henchmen from the original are also using this concept, even though they're not using actual barrels.
  • Torture Cellar: The Trouble area.
  • Ur-Example: The original Dark Castle was the first commercially published game to use the WASD+mouse control scheme.
  • Video Game Remake: Color Dark Castle: A remake of the original with enhanced graphics made to celebrate Delta Tao's acquisition of the series.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Duncan and Bryant can die from falling down the stairs.