Saturday, March 29, 2008

Beat the game? Want another 5 minutes of Content?

Zack Black has given us a test level set made with the level editor for an example. It contains very little content, and can be beaten fairly quickly, but hey! It's an example, just something for us to look forward to.

If you'd like to grab a copy, just right click this link, and save file:

To instal it, simply drag it to the "DC3 Custom Levels" folder in the "Dark Castle 3 ƒ" folder, then enter the level: Laboratory, and pull a chain, it will ask you for a level set, select "Test Levels" and then walk below the tube next to the switch and hit W.


What is going to happen to the Dark Castle Blog?

So, Return to Dark Castle came out. Now what? Since this is a New blog, will it be closed?

Short answer? No.

Long answer? No, the blog wont shut down until there is nothing left to say. I still have plans for the blog, it should be the best choice for Dark Castle news around the net.

Sorry for not updating recently, I have been really busy, but I will have more time, so you should see faster updates now.

Fanart anyone?

I am not an artist, sure I draw every now and then... that is if then is 2 years ago, and now is a week ago...

I in a night of boredom, decided to draw a piece of fan art for Dark Castle, so if you'd like to take a look, go ahead, Feel free to tell me how much I rock(or suck) at drawing, Here:

Return to Dark Castle problems? Patch incoming, Soon..

Find any bugs in DC3? Yes? No?

Well, I know I wasn't the only person to find a handful of bugs, such as broken replays and unresponsive controls. Also there were crashing glitches, and numerous bugs and glitches.

Well, worry no more, as it looks like Zack Black has been working on a patch that will fix most of the problems currently present in DC3.

The main ones to think about is the controls, which will be 4 times more responsive, and the replays, which should work every time.

Sounds good to me, got any other bugs you'd like to let him know about? Throw a comment over here.

Lastly, release date? None is set yet, but it shouldn't take too long.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Return to Dark Castle press release

SuperHappyFunFun has issued a press release, which includes some interesting information, such as the Dark Castle series sales, and Mark Stephen Pierce' (The original creator of Dark Castle) thoughts.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Jon God's Return to Dark Castle Review *Minor Spoilers*

I am not sure that I am completely satisfied with it, but here you go:

Return to Dark Castle, that name means a lot of things to a lot of people. It is often known for it's famously long development time, spanning somewhere near 12 years. It also also talked about due to the fact that it is the sequel to the 1987 mac classic, 'Beyond Dark Castle'. A lot of people gave up on Return to Dark Castle ever coming out, but in the end, it has finally been released, so, how is it?

In general, Return to Dark Castle follows down the path started by it's predecessor, Beyond Dark Castle, rather then the original Dark Castle, it contains much more open ended gameplay, with no bonus counting down, or any points at all, going for more of an adventure game feel, like Beyond Dark Castle, but a few steps farther then that.

The story of this game, though light, it much heavier the then original two games, as when you open the game, you are treated to the back story. It also takes place after the legendary ending of Beyond Dark Castle, which means somethings wont be as interesting unless you have seen it, though you will still get everything, as it is explained well. This game contains something it's predecessors don't, and that is brief cut scenes. In general, the story is better then say, Mario, but don't expect a really deep story. As a negative, the ending on the easier difficulties is extremely disappointing, go for the hardest difficulty for the best ending.

When booting up the game, right away you will notice that this game has great music, with mellow tunes, to exciting, and even epic songs, none of which are annoying, or even average. All the tunes in this game manage to sound right, and fit perfectly with the dark castle setting, and the levels they are assigned to. In addition to music, this game contains the same sounds from the original games, and, despite aging 20 years, they still are just as funny, and great to listen to. They sounds have also gotten the stereo treatment, so you can hear where things are just from the sound, and it really sounds good.

When you first lay your eyes upon the graphics you will not be impressed, it runs at an emulated low resolution, and looks blurry, and around the edges of the models you will see jagged lines. Though the graphics are no wonderful at first glance, they do have their own style which reminds a lot of the original games, and works very well for what it is. There are a lot of new effects on the graphics, such as sparks, fire, lighting and such, which will overall make you forget about how the graphics look slightly blurry, you will often find yourself admiring the enemies as they burn from the new fireball effects.

So, how does it play? A lot like the originals. And that's not a bad thing, this is one of the best sequels to a classic I have ever seen, they didn't change nothing, and have it be a 'Tomb Raider Style' sequel, nor did they completely change it. Instead they added onto the amazing gameplay of the originals, but kept the same feel. In addition to all the gameplay elements you found in the originals, there are now a bunch of new things, while, not drastically changing the gameplay, helps you feel more in control of the character, such as the ability to crawl anywhere, carry around warp potions, and such. There are also new weapons, abilities, which gives you more of an ability to play the game the way you want to play it. Sadly, the gameplay as good as it is, is not without problem, as the controls are often unresponsive at times, which can get you killed, and is often extremely annoying. After playing for a while, you get used to this, though, it would be nice to not have to deal with it at all.

This game is huge. When making a sequel to the originals, which only contained 15 levels each, one would think that it would contain maybe a few more levels, but surely not much. Well, one would be wrong, as this game breaks away from the size of the originals, becoming a large open ended game, with tons of treasures, mini games, extra orbs, and secrets to find, there are only 10 orbs required to beat the game, but an additional 15 can be found, and any combination of orbs from all throughout the game can be used to open the final gate and beat the game. Simply beating the game will not unlock 100% completion though, instead there are tons of secrets hidden throughout the castle, which can be found by the help of hint notes which contain riddles which when solved tell you were to find secrets.

There are four difficulties in the game, and for getting 100% on each one you unlock secrets, and just to get to 100% is a objective all to it's self. Once you have done that though, there is also the ability to save films, which are small files, which can be shared with friends, and are easy to set up and view. Sadly, they seem to be glitchy and often come out differentially then recorded. When they do work however, it can be very fun to see who can beat levels faster, or with less rocks. At the time of this review, the level editor is not out yet, but soon there will also be a level editor to use.

Final Words:

It's been a long time, but Return to Dark Castle is finally here. In general, this game reminds me of Super Mario World, or The Legend of Zelda, with it's large game area, and non-linarity, it also contains some killer level designs, and really well hidden secrets. Although not as challenging as the originals in some respects, and can be gltichy, it completely lives up to the Dark Castle title, and is worth the $30. Hopefully soon enough, the patch will be released, along with the level editor.

If you were considering buying this, Buy it. You wont regret it, it'll keep you playing for a while, and years from now, you will want to com back and play it.

Presentation - 9.7:
The game sports a huge playing area, with tons to do. It also manages to keep the feel from the originals.

Graphics - 8.2:
The graphics look blurry, but there are a ton of effects to admire, such as roasting mutants with fireballs.

Sound - 10:
Amazing music, wonderful and classic sound effects won me over, this game has just about perfect sound design.

Gameplay - 8.9:
The game plays almost exactly how you remember, though the unresponsiveness is extremely annoying.

Lasting Appeal - 10:
Normal quest, check. Side quests, check. Secrets, check. Unlockables, check. Saved Films, check, Level editor, check, need I say more?

Overall - 9.6

It's been out a whole weekend, let's hear your opinions!

As you all know, Return to Dark Castle has finally come out last friday, and you've all had a few days to waste playing the game. So, I would love to hear your opinions on it.

So, hit up the comments, and leave your weekend impressions of the long awaited, Return to Dark Castle.

Finally, some website updates.

The Return to Dark Castle pages at Zsculpt, and have been updated to reflect the release. There's not really any new content, but it's great to see these pages updated. Here hoping for more content and soon. :)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Slight news, and major apologies.

Zack Black Has posted some new news, and a apology:

In response to all the angry posts about us jumping the gun and hyping false release dates: If only it were that black and white. When I said it was "done" back in Dec. '06, I meant exactly that. Delta Tao was going to distribute for us. They didn't have the large team of beta testers or other resources that SHFF has, so they were happy with it as it stood, as were we. I personally don't care about a bug or two here and there as long as there is nothing serious like the game suddenly locking up while you're in the middle of playing, because I know we can always make an update a week or two down the road that takes care of any minor quirks. We believed the game was ready to ship. Then a few weeks later, the year rolled over and Delta Tao lost the rights back to SHFF. Begin exhaustive beta testing, changes to art, new features (Novice mode), etc. I'm really not bitter about all of this, as I believe it has made DC3 a better product. But don't misunderstand: It was just as ready then to go public. So, when the public demo 1.1 was released a few weeks back, it was also "done", as in SHFF had it uploaded to the server was ready to flip the switch to make it live. I was 99.99% that is was going to happen that day or the following. Then SHFF got worried about the game being massively pirated and they pulled the plug at the last minute. I apologize about getting people worked up, but I only did that because I was sure that it really was just around the corner. So as to not upset anyone else, I will not be posting any more "hints" about when I think it's ready. "It will be up when it's up." Besides, nothing interesting ever happens on Thursdays anyway... (bat)

Well, there you have it, I know you are all as annoyed as a dog being denied a ball, but at least you have some insight into what has been going on.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Copyright protection update:

Zack Black:
Frustrating times for everyone, I know. We're doing as much as humanly possible with SHFF to get this all wrapped up and into all of your anxious hands. MSP is wanting something that is flexible for everyone, meaning you can register once and play on multiple macs (up to a limit of course). I know it's a tough wait, and gets tougher the closer we get. Please don't despair. We have a system nailed down and are in the process of integrating and testing it this weekend. Like someone mentioned on here the other night, this will all seem like a distant memory once you get to click that big red download button. Yeah? Let's all try to be patient just a little longer and it will happen. Thank you everyone for your support. (Mutant)

There you have it, let's all hope for the best.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

6 days, sorry about that.

First off, I don't have any big news, but hey, it's been 6 days, so I'm hoping this will be good enough for now.

For one thing I have beat the game on beginner, and have managed to get 97%, but that last 3% is hidden to well for me to find... I am trying to beat the game on Advanced, but not being the best Dark Castle player, it is taking some trouble.

Now, I'm sure people are asking "Well, where is my copy?" It's true, you should have your copy, after all, I do. This story though, goes like so:

The game is done, and was all ready to be put up, but at the last minute, SuperHappyFunFun decided that it was afraid of mass pirating, and is considering putting on additional copy protection. Zack Black, is doing his best to convince them otherwise.

Zack Black said a few days ago that there was a good chance for it to come out within the week, though considering that there is only one day left in the week, I would assume probably next week.

Something else I seemed to have missed on the IRC chat, apparently someone from SHFF signed on, and was talking to people, letting them know that they want it out as bad as we do.. Well, I guess we can all hope.

Sorry I don't have more, or better news...

P.S: In addition, I would like to thank everyone for their comments, and remember, you don't have to sign up to comment, so if you have any questions, go ahead and leave a comment, and I will answer it.