Castlequest: 1980 text adventure recovered

I’ve rebuilt the Windows executable again with Arthur’s latest “patches” branch, and the executable is now here:

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I made an entry in the IFDB for this game. See this as a placeholder and please improve it!


Arthur O’Dwyer has made a couple of blog posts about Castlequest. Especially the last one could be useful for those of you that make their own adaptation.

  1. Castlequest exhumed!
  2. Making Castlequest compilable
  3. Playing Castlequest (1980), Part 1
    (contains lots of spoilers!)
  4. Playing Castlequest (1980), Part 2
    (contains lots of spoilers!)
  5. Observations on Castlequest ’s code

He also made a walkthru for optimal score.


The downloads sidebar says you need an interpreter to play. That’s not accurate, is it? You can run the executable directly in whichever OS it was compiled for.


Thanks for the update. It makes interesting reading.

Regarding the kitchen door, there is definitely a bug in the original game. Arthur O’Dwyer observed that he could unlock the door with the key even though it was boarded up, whereas I didn’t have the key, dropped the hatchet, chopped the boards with my bare hands and didn’t unlock the door at all. I just double-checked:


I'm afraid you don't have the key.

The door can now be opened.

The door opens to a brick wall.

The game is chock full of bugs like this. I’m fixing them as I go in my Inform 6 port.


Hah! I just downloaded the Windows executable from IFDB. Starts up fine.

-Would you like instructions?

-Please answer YES or NO

-Please answer YES or NO

[introduction and instructions follow]

This game is so oldschool it demands you to type in ALL_CAPS.

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Yeah, that was probably the norm back in 1979-1980.

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The system it was written for almost certainly didn’t have the concept of upper and lower case - uppercase would be all there was. Those were the days, etc. etc.


And here we are, 40 years later, still typing GET LAMP by convention if we want to show it’s a command.

[sniffs nostalgia] Aaah…

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The hatchet need to be in the room, though. I havn’t looked this up in the code recently but in my recollection the game only cares if the object is in the room. It doesn’t care if you’re carrying it or if it’s lying on the floor.

That you can unlock the kitchen door with the key even though it’s boarded up fells to me like an original bug. It’s hard to say but I think the intended action is to BREAK or CHOP the door with the hatchet.

That’s true. You utter the magic word ‘chop’ and the hatchet sprouts wings and chops the door of its own accord. :rofl:

As I hinted at an Inform 6 port earlier, I thought I should give an update.

I’ve done an enhanced version in Inform 6. By ‘enhanced’, I mean fixing all the bugs, full sentence parser, ability to examine objects (including scenery), proper doors and containers, support for UNDO, ability to save and restore from within the game and so on.

The puzzles, scoring, wandering monsters, resurrection and the bulk of the original text are maintained, although there’s a few things that I may still change. For example, the resurrection seems pretty pointless, as you can only be resurrected twice and each time you’re resurrected, your belongings are scattered at random. Because of the resurrection mechanism, you can’t undo on death. Personally, I’d prefer the undo, as you get killed a lot in this game and resurrection costs you 10 points.

I’d also like to improve the hint system to ‘smart’ hints. The current system is quite cumbersome and costs you 5 points per hint, but the hint might tell you something that you’ve already done.

The enhancements aren’t finished yet and it hasn’t been tested. I’ve had to put it on hold for a few months because of various game jams and competitions, but I’ll try to get back to it later this year. As the port is 40 years overdue, I didn’t think a few extra months would matter.

As this is a derivative work, I’ll also have to make some enquires about permissions and so on, so as not to upset the original authors.


Well done Garry. Hope you find permission to release this. Sounds like a very high quality port.

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Due to other commitments I haven’t been able to work on my Rust port. I don’t know when I’ll get back to it. :frowning:

You can also unlock this door with the skeleton key. One funny is if you f**k the butler. And a bug I have found (among many others) is that the crawlway in the attic randomly locks itself again (unless Count Vladimir rises randomly to relock it). Likewise the first combination entered on the lock always replies along the lines that you have screwed up and need to restart. However if you enter the first combination for a second time the parser response is ok.

The maze north of the Blue Room is a real stinker. It reminds me of the massive one from Warp with numerous one-way exits.

I have found another nasty way to make the game unwinnable. I filled the lamp with the fuel in the kerosene can when I found the latter, perhaps foolishly thinking the lantern was empty… In fact the lantern is already full and all this does is empty the can so you can’t use it to refill the lantern when it becomes empty later on in the game. Adding the fuel to the already full can doesn’t increase the light timer so you have effectively locked yourself out of victory as you will run out of fuel before you have finished the game. It would have helped if the lantern had been desribed as “full” given that the game doesn’t understand the EXAMINE verb.

I have all ten treasures safely ensconced in the vault but going up doesn’t cause the elevator to become stuck. I have 255 points so I am not sure what I have missed.

I don’t know if you are aware that Arthur O’Dwyer has a complete walkthrough (part 1, part 2).

Consulting it, it seems that you should have at least 264 points before the elevator stops. I guess that you, like him, missed that the skeleton key is a treasure that needs to be deposited.

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It’s not based on points, it’s based on treasures.

There are ten treasures. You have to deposit all 10 treasures in the treasure vault before the lift sequence kicks into action. You will also need to be carrying the hatchet, but I don’t remember if that’s mandatory.

Ideally, you should have 280 points before entering the elevator the last time. If you have any less than that, then you won’t be able to finish with a full score. If you have 279, then you’re missing the last lousy point. Think Gilligan’s Island.

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