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Castle Blackstar

SCR Adventures 1983

Andrew Cummins, Geoff Richardson, Mark Sheppard
Amstrad CPC info, Amstrad PCW info, Apple II, BBC/Electron info, C64/128 info, Dragon 32/64 info, MSX/MSX2, Spectrum
Fantasy, misc.
Entered by:
dave, Gunness, iamaran, Strident



Imagine... as you awaken from a sleep troubled by strange dreams and visions you find yourself in a luxurious room furnished in silver and glass. The ceiling is high and arched with a huge relief map of the moon hanging overhead.

The most striking feature of the room is the woman speaking to you. She is tall and willowy with hair like spun silver. She carries easily an air of authority and wisdom.

She speaks again. "...finally when you locate the orb you must return it to me. You may keep any mortal treasures you find after I have cleansed them of evil."

She pauses then, "Go forth and do my bidding."

You bend and bow saying, "My Lady Artemis..."

Darkness enfolds you, until suddenly you find yourself awake in the sunlight of the vale of Castle Blackstar. Your quest has begun...


Castle Blackstar was billed as part of the "Artemis" series and a sequel, Pyramid of the Sun, was mentioned in 1984 and still being touted as a 1988 release from CRL for the Spectrum, C64 and Amstrad CPC; it never materialised.

The adventure system used for Castle Blackstar was based extensively on the ADVEN-80 system. ADVEN-80 author, Peter Scargill is credited both in-game and in the documentation.

One of the authors, Andrew Cummins, wrote the following about the game on usenet:

As a user of Interactive Fiction my experience started with (as for so many others) Colossal Caves,followed swiftly by the Zork series on microcomputers... was I ever hooked... and then on into the wonders of multi-user dial-up adventures, mainly Mud II the UK commercial version of the original Essex Mud.

I became involved with building games through an article in Dr. Dobb's which gave a listing for a program 'Adven-80' which provided the spark for a home brew text-adventure builder running on CP/M micros.

At the time in the UK the Sinclair Spectrum, a Z80 based colour computer with a massive 40K of useable ram :-), was in its first year and selling like hot cakes at ~$400.

With a couple of friends we started a little adventure building group. The port to the Spectrum was diabolical, without any real debugging tools, a two hour build-link-download over wet string cycle and bugs in the interpreter masking/generating bugs in the game itself; but eventually Castle Blackstar our opus worked, got some pleasant reviews and even sold a few hundred copies.

Buoyed up with enthusiasm we embarked on our second game, improved the compression, tweaked the interpreter and then discovered that the golden age of text games was over -- 'everyone' (at least on the marketing side) wanted graphics based games. In the UK retailers had caught a cold with some very poor quality games and commercially, pure text games were dead.

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Average User Rating: 7 (3 ratings)

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User Comments

Exemptus (11-05-2020 20:58)

This adventure, although a classic treasure hunt in the vein of Zork, is on the difficult side, with a sizeable map (181 rooms), puzzles that require *careful* mapping, subtle clues, a Last Lousy Point, and a need to pay detailed attention to descriptions in order not to miss anything vital. It is also highly satisfactory to solve, but it requires time, patience, and resistance to frustration.

Canalboy (25-04-2023 12:26)

The directions in the forest are annoyingly random in places and some perfectly logical actions are precluded such as filling empty objects with water when standing by a river. You can also drop items into a well but not in a large hole when standing next to it. There are plenty of soft locks too, for instance landing on the south tower of the castle. On the whole though this is a very good old school treasure hunt with some ingenious problems and witty parser responses.