Horror first-person shooters have a lot of elements that need to be spot on in order for the experience to be memorable and acceptable for gamers. It’s not enough for them to just feature jump scares every once in a while, since the gameplay mechanics must be highly responsive and precise. In addition, the graphics have to uphold a certain standard, otherwise the atmosphere suffers a lot from it.
A 3D first-person shooter with shaky horror elements
The Castle tries to be what Doom and similar titles were over two decades ago, but it fails to revolutionize the genre in any way while doing so. In fact, it is very much the other way around, because everything about the game is old and basic, with nothing to catch a modern gamer’s eye. However, one might argue that the game’s purpose is to make you feel nostalgic, although the same thing can be achieved about a variety of other things.
To start off with, there’s not much of a story going on in the background, because the game is comprised out of a series of levels with barely any link between them. Not only that, but there are no characters, no dialog, and not even an intro to tell you something about the game world and background story. As such, everything feels cheap and rushed, which does not work wonders for the horror atmosphere.
Simple combat system and a few special items
Gameplay-wise, your primary goal is to find keys and deal with the enemies that make their appearance whenever you enter a new zone. In order to kill them, you can use your sword or your bow, both of which are rather difficult to properly maneuver during combat. The AI is also quite terrible and it flees if you get too close to it, which gives you the perfect opportunity to keep stabbing the monsters in the back.
As previously mentioned, there’s not a lot of innovation from a technical point of view, which is especially obvious when it comes to graphics. These actually look like the ones from Doom, only in a more blocky 3D environment instead. However, you should note that the engine is written in Object Pascal, which is not really a programming knowledge known for video game development.
Plenty of shortcomings to ruin your experience
When it’s all said and done, The Castle doesn’t really make a good case for itself no matter how you look at it. On the other hand, the engine itself can be of use to those who want to get into game development, yet are only familiar with the somewhat obsolete programming language called Pascal.