Tis the age of darkness in the land. When The Invasion came,
many brave people were killed or simply disappeared before the
huge orcian armies and the vicious dragons they brought with them.
All seemed lost until a group of warriors led by The Young One,
fought back. Armed with swords of elven ancestry, they fought the
evil hordes until only isolated bands of them were left.
Unfortunately, The Young One and his troops lost their swords in a
fierce battle with one of these bands and were killed soon
afterwards and their attackers retreated into the safety of The
Dark Castle. The castle is protected by three magical locks. The
locks can only be opened in a certain order by three magical keys
of gold, silver, and copper. The king has decreed that whosoever
destroys this last legion of evil will be given half of his kingdom
as reward. Alas, this can only go to one band of warriors, so you
must race the other bands to the castle, avoiding famine, bandits,
dragons, and becoming lost in the vast contryside.
The playfield is an area containing woods, mountains,
bazaars, care centers, ruins and tombs. You cannot enter the woods
or mountains, although you can cross over them when you move.
Bazaars are huge marketplaces where a shrewd adventurer may
purchase additional warriors, food, or a compass. Upon entering
the bazaar, a player may try to bargain for a better price. Of
course, if you seem to be rude, the bazaar may close its doors in
your face. The computer keeps track of the amount of money you
have to spend and will not allow you to spend more than that.
Simply click on the up or down arrows to increase or decrease the
amounts of stuff you want. Please note that 20 warriors is the
maximum number you can purchase at a time. Click on YES or NO to
purchase a compass. The care centers are places of refuge where
your party may rest for that turn, and receive new men, additional
food, and some gold. You will receive the new men, food, or gold,
only if your partys levels of men, food, or gold are extremely low,
respectively. This means that you could receive one, two, or all
three of these gifts depending on their levels. The tombs and ruins
are catacomb areas that contain items of interest to your party. If
you should find something, you have the option of examining it.
Unfortunately, your party doesn't contain a thief, and you will
always set off the trap if you examine the object. On the other
hand, the treasure (if there is any) is always carried by the
creatures who are waiting for you to trip up. There are three
magical keys for each player in the game. Each of these keys is
located in one of other color areas than the players home
color. These keys are located in the ruins or tombs.
You may also be fortunate enough to find a scroll or one of
the elven swords of the doomed Young Ones party. The scrolls allow
you to curse one of your opponents. This curse will cause the
player to sleep for exactly one turn. This will allow you to get a
slight edge on that player. The elven sword may be of even more
interest to those curious in fighting dragons. The dragons in this
game are rather nasty, and unless you are armed with this sword,
the battle is over quite quickly with heavy losses to your party.
However, with this sword, the dragon doesn't stand a chance as the
sword becomes animated and kills the dragon by itself, which is
quite a feat, let me tell you.
PLAYING THE GAME
Begin by everyone putting in their three initials in the
first dialog box. The game must have at least 2 players and they
must occupy places 1 and 2. Click on EXIT, or hit return again and
you will be presented with a difficulty selection box. If you don't
click on either 'MORE' or 'LESS' for each option, the default
values will be used. The buttons (MORE or LESS) will add or
subtract the number of items from the default number, respectively.
Click on EXIT to leave (or hit RETURN), and the game will begin.
The game uses dialog and alert boxes to make the play as easy as
possible. However, some explanation is needed.
First, the menu selections:
DESK: -About Dark Castle: General info on the game and credits
for the usual products and services.
FILE: -Restart: Allows the players to restart the game or
-Quit: Allows players to quit the game and return back
to the Desktop.
OPTIONS: -Stash: Allows each player to examine everything that
the player is carrying (keys, swords, scrolls), as
well as the number of men, food packs, and gold
pieces in the party.
-Curse!: If you possess a scroll, you may select this
option at any time and cast the spell on the player
of your choice. That player will sleep through one
turn of play.
-Help: Each player has the option to select this for
themselves. What it basically does is give alert
boxes so the player know whats going on and what to
expect next. These alert boxes will explain the
different areas such as the bazaar, tombs, etc...
TEXT: -Directions: This selection will give a short
history and will explain the basics for playing the
To roll the dice, press the RIGHT mouse button. This will
start the dice rolling. Press the RIGHT button again to stop the
dice. After you have stopped the dice, simply point to the space
you want to move into and click the LEFT button. There are a
couple of points to follow for a smooth game. First, If you are
going to check your stash, or curse someone, do it before you roll
the dice. Once you roll the dice and move your turn will be over.
Second, about the movement routine...It is very simple. Basically
it just checks the absolute distance from the players current
position to the one he wants to go to. What this means is the
player must move away from his current position, he cannot move
out and then 'cut back', parallel with his original position as
can be done with a board game. The routine does check for
obstructions on the destination square, such as other players,
mountains, and woods. What I couldn't code against was crossing
over the castle in the center. You can't stop on the castle
without all three keys, but there is no way to check if a player
has crossed through the area. Police each other, so this doesn't
happen because this allows the game to be over quite quickly.
Third, once you enter the castle with all three keys, you cannot
leave it again. You must have all of the men that you think you
will need to storm the castle, because there is no turning back.
Also, each player has a different key combination to get into the
The game is over when one lucky party opens the castle doors
and defeats the massed orcs inside. If the party should get in, but
are defeated in battle, they will be removed from play, and the
game will continue with the remaining players.