Crystal Castles (Atari 2600) Review

​Crystal Castles is a 1983 maze game for the Atari 2600 develope and published by Atari. The player controls Bentley Bear  collecting gems in trimetric ‘castles’ while avoiding the enemies. The game is notable for being one of the first arcade action games with an ending.

Like most super old games there isn’t much to talk about at the title, other than the logo there’s nothing there other than a level select and what was going to be the high score. I have to admit I was quite curious of what an ending to an old game like this would be like and I don’t really care about high scores but there’s no way I’d ever start at a later level.

Perfect score, lol joking it’s only the first level.

Getting into the game it kind of took a second to realise what the gems were meant to be although the bear, seemingly a teddy, was quite easy to control especially since it was just move and jump. However as you might have guessed the gems weren’t so easy to collect without even factoring in the strange enemies. Them being smily faces that can go through walls, tree monsters (whatever they’re called) that chase you, witches that follow a set path and even an enemy that picks up gem themselves. I managed to get quite far and after a while I noticed some odd things.

First of all each gem seemed to be worth more than the last one slowly increasing in value so a stolen one is a huge chip off your potential score. Secondly for some reason you could only move levels through elevator looking things even if you were higher up or it looked jumpable. It didn’t make it that much harder though since you can jump over most of them enemies and the tree things seemed to get temporarily stunned when you do, there was also a wizard hat that gave you very short invincibility although it still got crazily difficult at some point either way. Whether a game like this has an ending or not doesn’t matter when you’re not an expert at it.

Overall if you’re an Atari fan then it may be worth giving it a try but other than that its aged a bit too much, I do have to admit though it would probably make a great minigame in Spyro if they replaced Bentley with Moneybags (and obviously used better graphics).


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