In this medieval fantasy game, players take control of a brave knight as he sets out on a quest of treasure hunting and survival. The quest takes the knight into three different realms of danger, each with its own challenges, and an ever changing maze which they must navigate through. The quest is broken down into these challenges:
Forest - The Knight must confront three dragons, each one more difficult than the last. Along the way, an enchanted bat will give him the strength to overcome the danger.
Castle - The Knight must overcome six wizards, his only aid being a mouse that will generally try to avoid capture.
Dungeon - A randomly appearing skull is the only defense against the nine demons that make up the sinister dungeons.
Along the way, the items that the Knight will find may be of some help (or hinder) his quest to make it through the different areas. Challenge the areas again and again for the highest score possible!
Credits (Intellivision version)
Average score: 86% (based on 2 ratings)
Average score: 4.0 out of 5 (based on 10 ratings with 2 reviews)
Graphically, Thunder Castle is a surprisingly pretty game for it's time. The splash screens that highlight the level type, the main enemy, and the power-up, are quite detailed and well animated. As are the playing fields. The game is bright and colorful with easily identifiable power-ups and enemy types. There's no real stretch of imagination to distinguish the environments and monsters that inhabit the three worlds.
The music is also quite good. Based on classical pieces, it provides a dark and ominous sense of dread and urgency as the knight moves around the mazes, and a sense of triumphant victory when the knight gains a power up to turn the tables.
The overall gameplay is also interesting and challenging, giving it a strong arcade feel to the pacing.
The controls do feel a little clunky trying to move the knight around corners. As the difficulty increases, there are walls and areas which seal near or over the player, blocking further passage, and sometimes making it too easy for enemies to overwhelm you in a single life.
At times, the power ups that allow the knight to kill the monsters sometimes move a little too fast, which becomes an exercise in madness and luck when trying to catch them. Frustrating, but bearable.
The Bottom Line
Thunder Castle is a visually interesting arcade style romp through a maze-like playfield. The game seems a little more advanced than s lot of games of its time, and still provides a good sense of action and challenge. Though I stated it before, the splash screens are still well done artistically, with a nice splash of animation.
An interesting Intellivision action title, and still enjoyable for a quick romp.
Intellivision · by Guy Chapman (1748) · 2007
Thunder Castle is a fun action-adventure game for the Intellivision. The graphics and music are both fairly good and change with the levels, as do the title pages before each level, and the monsters and allies. So, there's a fair amount of variety. Each level is a maze, like Pac-Man, but you don't collect pellets. Your sole purpose is to kill the guardians, except they kill you if they touch you. So, you must catch an ally which powers you up like a power pellet in Pac-Man, so you can temporarily kill the guardians.
The allies don't stay in one place, and the maze is full of blocked off areas that open and shut. So, you can have a challenging time navigating the maze, while avoiding the guardians and trying to chase the ally. Sometimes you'll get stuck in a closing gate and the guardian will catch up and kill you, or you might be stuck on the other side of the gate and will have to run for your life once it opens!
The levels are fantasy themed, with a forest outside a castle gate for level one, the inside of a castle for level two, and the dungeon for level three. The guardians and allies are themed with the levels, too.
I really liked the familiar Pac-Man gameplay, but with the twist of a different goal, and no collecting pellets. The gates added a different element of strategy, too.
Unfortunately, I'm not the best at arcade-style action. So, I could only make it to the second level and never made it to the dungeon. I felt there were sometimes too many gates, which could be most inconvenient at times, leading to cheap kills on both sides. This isn't strictly a negative though, as it just means you need to develop a bit of familiarity with the timing and strategy.
The manual says that there are several different mazes possible at each level, but the level remains consistent until it's beaten. I don't know if that means there are several versions in ROM that are selected from at random, or if they're procedurally generated, but either way that makes it a little more difficult to predict the best routes and strategies for each level. Again, not necessarily a negative, but it adds to the difficulty.
Also, since the allies become scarcer and harder to catch in later levels, and the enemies increase in both speed and number, this is a game more suited for someone who's better at arcade games than I am. If it were in an arcade, I might give my quarters to someone else and watch them play it after I'd had my fill of defeat.
The Bottom Line
Thunder Castle is like a combination between Pac-Man and Ladybug, but with just the power pellets, which run away from you, and some power-up bonuses you can pick up if you're lucky and quick.
It's a challenge, but with enough story elements to make it worth-while to master if you can. It would hold its own against other arcade games on second-generation consoles.
Intellivision · by NixieLake (28) · 2022
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Contributors to this Entry
Game added by Guy Chapman.
Windows, Xbox 360 added by Alaka.
Game added June 16, 2004. Last modified January 20, 2024.