Castle Adventure

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Title screen.

Castle Adventure is a text-based action-adventure puzzle video game designed by Kevin Bales for MS-DOS and released in 1984 under a pay-what-you-feel model. The game was programmed in GW-BASIC, and owes a lot of its display to Rouge but also has elements of a Metroidvania.


I first played a hacked version of the game released by Keypunch Software in the shovelware title, Swords and Sorcery some time around 1987. Keypunch re-titled the game Golden Wombat, to try and confuse buyers into thinking they were getting the text adventure The Golden Wombat of Destiny. My cousin had the game and we did quite well at it, but the hacked copy did not include the game's documentation which caused us to miss key items. I remember my cousin pronounce the ugly ogre as "ugly orgy," which caused my older brother to laugh, though my cousin and I didn't know why at the time. Finally, a friend of my cousin's, who had the real Castle Adventure game, told my cousin how to find the other items, and he beat the game. After watching him show me what we were missing, I later beat the game myself.

I have spent a fair amount of time hacking the Castle Adventure files and have successfully decoded the data. In the past, I've tried multiple times to recreate the game in QuickBASIC and even Visual FoxPro, but I've always got bored with my attempts and never finished a remake.

The game was released for free. I have beaten the original Castle Adventure and the Golden Wombat hack, though neither with a perfect score.


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Best Version: MS-DOS

— This section contains spoilers! —


  • The game has some interesting character to it. The room descriptions are a nice touch, there are some jokes, and the parser makes the game feel more interactive than a typical rouge-like.


  • The story is lame.
  • There are a few bugs and typos in the game. In particular, saving a game doesn't work properly, effectively making the game use permadeath, although, since it can be beaten in only a few minutes, I don't really consider this a proper use of the term.
  • Even with the text parser, there just isn't very much to do in the game. A first-time player can beat it in an hour or so.
  • The overly-simplified combat hurts the game.


  • Without a frame limiter, it's really hard to beat the game on a PC that's faster than what the game was designed for, and impossible if your PC was a lot faster. In a similar problem, if your PC was weaker than what the game was designed for, it becomes trivially easy to kill all the monsters.


Castle Adventure was released as freeware. This download also includes the Keypunch Software remake called Golden Wombat.


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