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Video Game / Maldita Castilla

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An arcade adventure of chivalry and horror
— (description on the official box art)

Maldita Castilla is Spanish developer Locomalito's biggest project to date after Hydorah. It is intended to be a throwback to the arcade age of action-platformers such as Ghosts 'n Goblins, Castlevania, Rygar, and so on.

The year is AD 1081 and many wars have caused an untold number of casualties. Witch Moura's love was one of these: a devil, Luzfarel, hears her sorrow and uses her tears as a magic key to open a portal to The Realm of Pain, flooding the Spanish region of Castile with monsters, demons and undead. The protagonist Don Ramiro, along with three other companions (Mendoza, Quesada and Don Diego), is asked by the King of Spain to put an end to this nightmare, starting from the cursed village of Tolomera del Rey to the enchanted forest where Moura's hideout is set.

An Updated Re-release has been released for Xbox One and Steam as Cursed Castilla (or Maldita Castilla EX), adding new stages, new weapons, and new bosses. EX is also available on PlayStation 4, Play Station Vita, Nintendo 3DS, and Nintendo Switch.

Maldita Castilla contains examples of:

  • Always Night: To better convey the darker mood of the game, as well as the retraux flavour, the background is set at nighttime for the entire game.
  • Animated Armor: A very common enemy type.
  • Anyone Can Die: As demonstrated by Quesada in as early as Stage 2.
  • Asteroids Monster:
    • Giant fireflies that explode into smaller versions of them.
    • Also green bubbles of ooze. One boss, Pjangdomonium, houses several of these.
  • Battle Strip: Moura strips off her dress before turning into a snake woman.
  • The Big Guy: Mendoza is the biggest soldier of Don Ramiro's group of knights, carrying a large and heavy axe.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • The ending where you beat Luzfarel but had to continue more than four times. The Angel of Death claims Don Ramiro’s soul, but peace has still returned to the kingdom.
    • Downplayed in the good endings: Don Ramiro lives, Moura is united with her lost love, and the kingdom celebrates the return of their hero. The only sour note is that Don Ramiro’s friends died during the adventure.
  • Blackout Basement: The second half of the fourth stage, a series of caves, is completely dark. A small winged creature offers to light the way with a torch, and he does. However the little imp turns on you at the end, becoming the stage’s boss and using the fact he is the only light source to his advantage.
  • Boss Arena Urgency:
    • Just before the showdown with Moura, Don Ramiro has to destroy a giant cauldron that drops corrosive green globs. The globs melt away tiles of the floor if they drop on them, so it's possible for the player to die after having defeated the enemy if too much of the floor is destroyed and Don Ramiro falls into the acid below.
    • EX brings us the Advancing Boss of Doom Caterpillar, which one-shots you on touch, can only be hit when it opens its face, and automatically kills you if you don't kill it before the end.
    • The Descending Ceiling in stage four.
  • Bubblegloop Swamp: Stage four, the Swamp of Malaventura.
  • Came Back Wrong: One of the effects of the curse of Castilla is that the deceased citizens of the kingdom came back as mindless hostile zombies. Notorious examples are the former king of Tolomera and Don Ramiro's friends upon becoming zombies, forcing Don Ramiro to put them down of their misery.
  • Continue Countdown: Losing all your lives will show you a screen counting down to Game Over unless you choose to keep trying.
  • Continuing is Painful: If you die, you are kicked back to the beginning of the segment you're currently in, with no support item and your weapon reset to the dagger. Choosing to continue after losing all your lives will reset your score to zero. And if you continue more than four times, you will be locked into the bad ending.
  • Darker and Edgier: Compared to Locomalito's earlier titles, except L'Abbaye des Morts. Here the mood is dark and somber, there's blood and dead bodies everywhere, Satanic imagery, Don Ramiro loses all of his companions and eventually is forced to fight two of them, you get the picture.
  • Degraded Boss:
    • The beheaded knight, Zarrampla the giant maggot demon, and the Manticore in the Realm of Pain.
    • The beheaded knight shows up earlier in stage 3, the Alcazar.
  • Dem Bones: Dancing skeletons that explode into bones when hit.
  • Don't Fear The Reaper: A heavily played with example. The Angel of Death will revive you as many times you need to complete the game, but if he has to revive you a fifth time and beyond, he will demand compensation, locking you into the second worst ending if you do continue. He also doesn’t have a lot of faith in Don Ramiro’s ability to best Luzfarel, popping in just to say “prepare to die!” before the final battle.
  • Downer Ending: The worst ending. After defeating Moura, the portal to the Realm of Pain does not open due to not having all five of her tears. When Don Ramiro reports what happened to the king, it's revealed he's been possessed and tells Ramiro that his efforts have been in vain. Two demons swoop down from above and close in on him with the screen fading to black, accompanied by the death sound, implying that Don Ramiro was killed.
  • The Faceless: Quesada is never seen without his helmet.
  • Fairy Companion: One of the various power-ups.
  • Feathered Fiend
    • There are owls who toss burning exploding pots to Don Ramiro.
    • The giant two-headed vulture, who acts as a boss in the second level and easily kills Quesada before the boss battle starts.
    • The Bu that guides you in the cave decides to lure Don Ramiro into a deadly trap, and you must kill him quickly before the deadly spikes fall and crush the knight.
  • Fighting Your Friend: One of the boss fights is against Mendoza and Don Diego, who were apparently turned into zombies offscreen.
  • Final Guy: Don Ramiro ultimately becomes this near the end.
  • Flaming Sword: Having the sword weapon when you find the Lady in the Lake in the swamp; she enchants Don Ramiro's sword this way. If he ever changes his weapon for the rest of the game, it's gone. There is an achievement for keeping it until you beat the game.
  • Foreign Language Title: The game is written in English and the title is Spanish, meaning "Damned Castile" or "Cursed Castile"; however, Locomalito is Spanish, so the title is not foreign to them...
  • Four Is Death: Four is the maximum amount of times you can continue before being locked into a bad ending.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: The beheaded zombies in the first stage running after Don Ramiro are naked and have a visible, if small, penis.
  • Gallows Humour: Almost literally. In the first stage, there's a section with a beheaded zombie looking for his head among a pile of them at a gallows.
  • Giant Flyer: The Two-Headed Vulture. It kills Quesada instantly within seconds once it appears on-screen.
  • Giant Mook: The cycloptic cave troll in stage 4.
  • Harping on About Harpies: Stage 2 is the harpies' nest, but they can be found in other stages too.
  • Hidden Elf Village: The Gamusin people. You need a special item to find them.
  • Holy Hand Grenade: The Holy Fire weapon, a relic resembling a globus cruciger that explodes when thrown, not unlike the Trope Namer itself.
  • Homage: The entire game is a homage to the Ghosts 'n Goblins series, right down to Don Ramiro being a mix of knight Sir Arthur and Spanish folk hero El Cid.
  • Inexplicable Treasure Chests: It's a Ghosts 'N' Goblins homage after all. Sometimes, they're brought in by fairies.
  • Inexplicably Preserved Dungeon Meat: You can find these in chests, since unlike its inspiration, this game has an actual normal health system, and a way to replenish said health.
  • Knightly Sword and Shield: Don Ramiro's main weapon is a sword and he always carries around a shield with him. The former can be swapped out for any other weapon you find along the way, and the latter doesn't serve much, if any, use, aside from one specific powerup where it lets out tank an extra hit.
  • "Last Supper" Steal: The true final boss Luzfarel is found sitting at a table with his demon lackeys, all sitting on one side of the table, an image that looks like a Satanic mockery of Jesus' Last Supper.
  • Mineral MacGuffin: Moura's crystallized tears. There are five of them, as shown in the intro sequence. Getting all five allows you to enter the Realm of Pain after defeating Moura/Moura Snake and fight the true final boss, Luzfarel.
  • Multiple Endings: There are four: A bad ending for beating the game without finding all five of Moura's tears, no matter your amount of continues used. A not so bad ending for beating the Final Boss in the Realm of Pain after having used more than four continues. A good ending for doing so without using more than four continues. And finally, a perfect ending where the game must be cleared without using a single continue, while also achieving several obscure goals such as invoking the lady of the lake, saving the Amadis from flames, and finding the Gamusin people, among others.
  • Mutually Exclusive Power-Ups: The four different weapons (sword, axe, sickle, and spiked flail) and the support items (shield, fairy, boots, and key (and also the crystal ball that lets you see the Gamusin people)).
  • Nintendo Hard: The first two levels are quite easy, then the difficulty ramps up gradually but considerably, revealing its Ghosts 'n Goblins heritage.
  • One-Winged Angel: Moura becomes a snake-woman, and Luzfarel's Evil Heart comes to life and attacks you after he's slain.
  • Retraux:
    • Aside from the obvious, the game includes a fake arcade booting screen and a filter that puts scanlines on the graphics and other touches such as cracks and smudges, as if it were an actual coin-op screen!
    • The game's composer, Gryzor87, made the soundtrack by emulation of the YM2203 sound chip, used in various arcade games of old, for a more authentic sound.
  • Ribcage Ridge: Found in stage four.
  • Sequential Boss:
    • At the end of stage four Don Ramiro fights a bunch of small ghosts, then a big one that teleports all over the place.
    • In the Enchanted Forest, Don Ramiro finds a zombified Mendoza and has to defeat him, and right after he dies a zombified Don Diego bursts in and attacks Don Ramiro with arrows.
  • Shared Life-Meter: The first half of the Stage 4 boss fight is against a respawning hoard of ghost mooks, with the health bar depleting as they're killed. Once the life meter reaches the halfway point, the larger ghost appears and it becomes a standard life meter for the rest of the fight.
  • Shields Are Useless: Don Ramiro carries a shield on him all the time, but he can use it only when he picks up the appropriate power-up, at which point it'll shield him from a single attack before being discarded.
  • Shout-Out:
    • One boss is a mechanical Don Quixote.
    • The growing flowers in stage 5 are similar to the growing vines found on the jungle planet in Hydorah.
    • The miniboss Zarrampla was named "Insolent Worm" in a screenshot from early in the game's development. Peharps it was changed to keep people from giggling about how it is one of Vegeta's most famous variations of his Pitiful Worms insults.
    • The human-faced giant flies are similar to the insect enemies in L'Abbaye des Morts, another game by Locomalito, and one of the objects needed for the best ending is said to be from Jean Raymond, the game's protagonist (despite L'Abbaye being set more than a century later).
    • There are giant stone faces that spit homing energy rings, just like the Moai heads in Gradius (and the manual implies this reference as well, saying that they were seen on Easter Island).
    • During the final boss battle, the demons that sit at Luzfarel's table and fight you before him look like much larger Red Arremers. These also appear in the worst ending.
    • The last named mid-boss is a Grim reaper in armor that attacks by spamming flying sickles. Castlevania, anyone?
    • In Maldita Castilla Ex, there's an enemy and a boss based on the bubbles of Pang.
  • Shown Their Work: Almost all of the enemies and bosses are creatures from Spanish myth. A bit of Artistic License has been applied here and there, but they are pretty accurate.
  • Single-Use Shield: Despite constantly having a shield on him, Don Ramiro can only make use of it when he finds the right powerup, in which case it will block exactly 1 hit before becoming useless again.
  • Sole Survivor: Don Ramiro is the only member of his knight's army to come back alive at the end of the good and perfect ending.
  • Spike Balls of Doom: Found especially in stage four.
  • Spikes of Doom: Touch a spiked floor or ceiling and you die, no matter your hit points.
  • Stealth Pun: The mechanical Quixote is invulnerable to your attacks thanks to his metallic armor, and only becomes vulnerable when he jumps into the ceiling and comes down on fire temporarily. In other words, strike when the iron is hot.
  • Super Drowning Skills: If Don Ramiro falls into the water, he will sink like a brick and drown. Of course, he is in armor.
  • Tactical Suicide Boss: Crazy Quixote is invulnerable except when he jumps through the burning ceiling and temporarily catches on fire. His attack pattern is a fixed cycle, but if he left out that one move, he'd be unstoppable.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: It wouldn't be Ghosts 'n Goblins if it didn't.
  • Together in Death: Moura reunites with her lover's soul during the good ending.
  • True Final Boss: The demon Luzfarel, followed quickly by his Evil Heart, which attacks you after he's slain.
  • Unwanted Resurrection: The former king of Tolomera is not happy upon being resurrected by Castilla's curse.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: In order to get the best ending, you must "Be Friendly to the Sirens", ergo, don't shoot any mermaids in stage 5.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: We know that the game takes place in the kingdom of Castile during the reign of Alfonso VI The Brave, but where exactly in the kingdom is never specified. The fact that the monsters and bosses are based on myths from all over Spain does not help with the issue.