Crystal Castles (Arcade)

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         Developer : Atari
             Genre : Top-down maze game
          Graphics : Isometric graphics
       Emulated in : Atari 50 (2022 PS5) 

not completed.
Image source:


Scores - atari50:
 27259 ...........  on 2024-04-21


  • Sometimes, I don't understand what made an old game a success. Crystal Castles is quite famous. Through a period of 6 years it was ported to 8 home platforms. The Atari ST port got an almost perfect score. I don't get it.

    The game is a maze game like Pac-Man from an isometric perspective. That's cool, I like those. It is one of the first isometric games, only preceeded by Congo Bongo, Q*bert, and a few more. It has a quite different style from those, an abstract, almost cyberspace-like look, and several levels have big letters as part of the geometry. It's weird, but neat. The bear and trees and other stuff populating these levels don't really fit that well, but it's OK.

    However, as a maze game, the level design isn't that great, it commits the maze game sin of double-wide paths with dots in many levels. But the worst part is the controls. It is played with a trackball, and unlike Marble Madness, where you are rolling a ball freely over open surfaces, here you are constrained to the cardinal directions in most cases. A trackball feels really awkward for this, and to make it worse, the game is insanely fast. It feels messy and frustrating. I don't understand what people like about this game.

Log entries

  • Got the score 27259 in atari50.

    This game is impossible to control.

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