Welcome to Castle of Terror... and have your string of garlic at the ready!
For all you vampire fans out there, this game is a real treat. Set in a seemingly peaceful rural village, Castle of Terror provides the perfect backdrop for an immersive horror/adventure. You must explore your surroundings and not leave a stone unturned. You need to pick up all the items that you find along the way and use them to interact with the environment. At the edge of the village stands an ominous-looking castle. Suspicions are raised throughout the village that the castle is in fact home to Count Dracula himself and this has given rise to many rumours that have circulated amongst the locals.
The real adventure begins when you encounter an old man at the local Inn who explains to you that his daughter has mysteriously disappeared. He believes that she is being held captive in the castle. He is in a state of despair and explains that he has tried and failed to find her. This leads you to explore the castle and unravel the mystery of her whereabouts. It is then down to you to enter the castle, find out what horrors lie within and rescue the man's daughter.
Unlike pure text adventures, Castle of Terror provides some visual aid to immerse you in the story. The graphics are fairly detailed, but sparse in some places. Be prepared for a small amount of pixel hunting whilst searching for items. At some stages of the game, it is difficult to work out what the next step is regarding interaction with objects. It is also somewhat frustrating trying to work out the specific name for an item, as sometimes there are numerous alternatives, and only one will be accepted.
The audio is atmospheric, creepy and at times frantic. It can be slightly repetitive but it manages to set the scene well nonetheless.
The village comprises: a cottage, a mill, a castle, an inn, the church grounds, the church ruins and the graveyard. The game instructions suggest creating a map in order to navigate successfully around the village. This is good advice, as it can become confusing when trying to head back to a previous location.
All in all, Castle of Terror is an impressive game for its time. It is fun, challenging and immersive. So, if horror is your thing and vampires are your cup of tea, then give Castle of Terror a try. Be sure to make frequent saves as it is possible to meet a rather nasty end. You have been warned!