Electron User1st January 1987
Published in Electron User 4.04
The evil Baron Strieg has stolen the silver crucifix. Without its protection, the village of Austburg is powerless against the zombies which inhabit the local swamp. To save the village you must enter Ravenskull castle and locate the four parts of the crucifix.
Before starting this arcade adventure you select whether you are to be an elf, wizard, warrior, or just an ordinary run-of-the-mill adventurer. This appears to determine what sort of treasure you collect as you explore the castle. Wizards collect crystal balls, warriors get shields, and so on.
The screen display is divided into two main areas. The first is the status section, which shows your score, health rating, number of lives and what you are carrying. The rest of the screen forms a large window into the castle and you are treated to an aerial view of yourself and your immediate surroundings.
As you walk in one of the four possible directions the screen scrolls smoothly in that direction revealing more of the castle. The graphics used are some of the best I have seen on the Electron. The playing area is 64 times the size of the action window. There are four levels to the castle with one quarter of the crucifix hidden in each and you can only pick up a piece of crucifix when you have collected every item of treasure on that level.
As you might expect, the castle is constructed like a giant maze, with sections closed off by different types of door. Some of these can be opened using keys, but although they all look the same each one will only open one specific door.
Every time you play the game the objects are in the same position so you quickly learn where to find them.
Apart from keys you will find magic scrolls and potions which will give you special powers - or poison you!
Some of the castle's nastier residents are the ravenbees. These follow specific routes along some of the corridors, and you will need split second timing to avoid these little beauties.
I loved Ravenskull - there is a genuine feeling of satisfaction when you guess the correct use for an object or gain access to a new section of the castle. The puzzles are devious and the correct route is not always obvious but you know instinctively when you're on the right trail.