Castle of Dr. Brain

aka: Castillo del Dr. Brain, Das Schloß von Dr. Brain, Dr. Brain: Puzzle no Shiro, Mathemagical Mansion
Moby ID: 1523
DOS Specs
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Description official descriptions

Castle of Dr. Brain is the first in a series of educational puzzle-games from Sierra. This brain-blasting game is set, how surprisingly, in Dr. Brain's castle, where the player will have to beat Dr. Brain's traps and puzzles in order to fulfill the assignment given. The game consists of three levels of difficulty what makes the game a bit different every time it is played.

Spellings

  • בטירתו של ד"ר מוח - Hebrew spelling
  • ドクターブレイン パズルの城 - Japanese spelling

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Credits (DOS version)

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Reviews

Critics

Average score: 70% (based on 15 ratings)

Players

Average score: 4.2 out of 5 (based on 49 ratings with 3 reviews)

An excellent way to spend the afternoon.

The Good
Relaxing and stimulating entertainment. The complete opposite of mindless entertainment because if you switch your brain off, I doubt you'll get very far. Every room is a completely different puzzle or riddle, personal favourites of mine being the robot room and the galactic room towards the end. The graphics have aged well, with every room drawn beautifully, without striving to dazzle us with what would now be dated psuedo 3d effects or light shows. Each room in the unusual castle is a world to itself. Accompanied by a great soundtrack makes this for a rainy saturdays activity (or rainy weekend depending on the difficulty level and your level of brain power.)

The Bad
Too short! But I guess that too many rooms would get repetitive unless Sierra would really be capable of keeping each room unique and surprising. Other than that, the game is relatively straightforward and doesn't really lay down any expectations as long as you know what kind of game you're in for. In other words I think this would appeal to a select audience. It may be too easy for some, but at least they could still appreciate Sierras venture into a different genre.

The Bottom Line
An exploration of a surreal castle, where each chamber is a dreamlike riddle, with great visuals and great puzzles. No action, no guns or anyway of dying in fact. In short, a literal thinking mans game.

DOS · by Tiamat (18) · 2003

All this puzzle-solving just to become a scientist's apprentice?

The Good
Sierra became a high-profile company since they released King's Quest, and in the early Nineties, they wanted to focus on the education market with different developers spearheading certain titles. The first educational title was called The Castle of Dr. Brain which focused on math, logic, programming, and astronomy, among other topics. The first in a series of games was designed by Corey Cole, who also helped produce the Quest for Glory series along with his wife.

The game starts off with a view of the bridge leading to Dr. Brain's castle (in silhouette form) which eventually lights up to reveal a castle that is full of gadgets on the outside, letting the player know what to expect in terms of puzzles. The different animations of the exterior are neat; I especially like the cuckoo clock on the side and the telescope that winds up.

Inside, the castle is well designed, consisting of three floors and a basement. separated by maze elevators. The design of the floors lets the player know what kind of puzzles they will face. For instance, the second floor looks high-tech, so the puzzles will be about logic and programming. I like watching the game credits, as it includes videos of the developers who worked on the game, plastered onto the tiny monitors.

There are three difficulty levels, which determine how easy or hard the puzzles are. In each difficulty level, most of the puzzles in the game are slightly different. When I played this game, at the “Novice” level, I found that most of them were easy enough to figure out. However, the maze elevators gave me nightmares.

The puzzles that I enjoyed doing are the programming/logic ones where you have to use one of three robots to pick up the items in a glass case.I only had to refer to the hint book for the small few. Other times, I would spend a hint coin or two (which happen to look like those buckazoids from Space Quest IV) for the game to reveal part of the answer. When you manage to complete the puzzle, you are awarded an item that helps you get through the floors.

The music in this game is really something. The game starts off with a nice Sierra rendition of Bach's Toccata and Fugue, but then splits up into an upbeat tune. During the game, the music continues to be excellent. The sound effects are nice as well, with the majority of sound effects also found in future Sierra games.

Finally, I disagree with anyone claiming that Dr. Brain is too short. They usually take about ten to fifteen minutes to complete if you are not familiar with them enough; or just five minutes if one of the puzzles are your forté. It took me days to complete the one jigsaw puzzle because I was not good at them.

The Bad
The hint coins should never have been a part of the game, due to their misuse by the player. Any idiot could save a game in the middle of a puzzle and use a hint coin to get one part of its solution; then restore and solve it manually making them useless.

The Bottom Line
The Castle of Dr. Brain is Sierra's first educational title where the player has to go through the scientist's castle by solving puzzles that cover a variety of topics from math to astronomy. The graphics are great, and the design of each of the four floors indicate what type of puzzles the player will face. The music also blends in with whatever floor you're on. Due to the multiple difficulty settings the game has, the game is replayable if you want more of a challenge. And if that still isn't enough, you can get yourself the hint book for the game, which has extra puzzles for you to solve long before you get to the hints.

DOS · by Katakis | カタキス (43093) · 2014

The first and the best in the series

The Good
Released in 1991, the game still looks fine. Written by Corey Cole (famous for his QUEST FOR GLORY series), it has a nice graphics and music, exellent puzzles plus great educational value. The game even have a plot: you have to pass all the trials that you found in the deadly rooms of Dr. Brains' castle in order to become his apprentice (boooo!). The puzzles are very challeging - mind, word, mathematics, programming, spcace puzzles and much more. Most of the puzzles are quite traditional (like building a picture from pieces, or finding hidden words), but some of them are very original and entertaining (like the one in the clock room or navigating a robot). The educational part is very well integrating in the puzzles - by navigating a robot, for example, people found out what the programming is look like. Also there are three levels of difficulty, which you can change during the game, so that the game looks interesting not only for children (whith all that educatement), but for hardcore puzzle masters as well. There is also a HINT button to every puzzle, so you can get help anytime you're stuck on the puzzle.

The Bad
Well, the maze, that appears everytime you're going to the next level (in fact, three of them) might get irritating, though it is rather short. Also the game could be somehow longer, like its sequel, THE ISLAND OF DR. BRAIN.

The Bottom Line
Despite for a few minuces, an exellent game, that has a great puzzle-solving and educational value. It even has some live video, used in the credits :) So, if you're looking for a challeging and original puzzle game, you should try this one - you won't be disappointed!

DOS · by Afex Tween (129) · 2003

Discussion

Subject By Date
max points lesmana (20) Aug 20, 2010

Trivia

Fan

The biggest fan of Dr. Brain is in the puzzle room. Click and read on the fan.

Gags

First you have to play until you go to the crossbar game. When you can see, some names. Choose them. You'll get some funny instructions.

Graphics

The DOS version of the game had two different releases, VGA and EGA / Tandy. See the screenshots.

References

  • Aziza's table from Quest for Glory II: Trial by Fire is standing in the puzzle room.
  • In the game, there is a rubber tree in the third floor hallway, and if you examine it, the second sentence of the message will read as follows: "These can be very useful should you fall off a high cliff." This must be a reference to the Sierra-style "death" in The Secret of Monkey Island.
  • If you look in the mirror (in the corridor right behind the castle entrance), the comment says: "How does that go? 'Mirror, mirror on the wall...' No, that only works in Mixed-Up Fairy Tales.

Information also contributed by 6⅞ of Nine and Itay Shahar

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  • MobyGames ID: 1523
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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Tomer Gabel.

Amiga added by POMAH. Macintosh added by Kabushi. PC-98 added by Terok Nor.

Additional contributors: Ju, just Ju..., Shoddyan, Sciere, Pseudo_Intellectual, Crawly, Neville, 6⅞ of Nine, Patrick Bregger, Nowhere Girl, Infernos.

Game added May 31, 2000. Last modified January 27, 2024.