(The AVGN Theme plays.)
(Thunder rumbles in the background.)
The Nerd: This is gonna get scary. OK, I play a lot of 8-bit shit; you know, NES. Why is there so many crappy games on NES? I mean, you know, they have lots of great classic games as well. But its precious library was being used by all these half-ass game companies as a dumping ground for all their foul shit.
The Nerd: So I’m going to take a break from all that and just try out a Sega Genesis game. Yeah, moving up to 16 bits. That was a big deal at the time. You remember the commercials, right? "Genesis does what Ninten-don't." Well, I have this game here called Dark Castle; let’s see how much this one does.
(The title screen of "Dark Castle" appears, with some spooky music.)
The Nerd: Ooh... scary. There’s some good 16-bit graphics; even that vulture looks fucking depressed. What the Hell is this? A ghost giving a castle a blowjob? (The path leading up to the castle flashes yellow, giving it the appearance of a ghost.)
The Nerd: The game starts up with no storyline, no explanation, no nothing. You’re just some guy standing in a castle who looks like Shaggy from Scooby-Doo, or perhaps Peter Pan with a mullet. (The protagonist's name is actually Duncan.) You have multiple doors to choose from; two of them have question marks, but it doesn’t make any sense because every room is just as much a question as the others. This one says "BK" on it. What the fuck does "BK" stand for? Burger King? I hope! If I go in there and I’m getting served hamburgers, that would be the tits.
The Nerd: Once inside, it becomes a platform game, and it looks like shit. Come on, fucking bats? How cliché. (sarcastically) Man, that dragon sure looks scary. I’m gonna have nightmares over that. Could they have made the dragon look any more cute?!
The Nerd: Oh, that’s neat, graffiti on the walls: "Gamers rule", and-- (stutters) W-W-W-What?! (The Nerd stares in shock) “Saddam was here?” As in... Saddam Hussein? What was he doing going around writing on castle walls?! And “Gamers rule"? (Shows the two graffiti together.) That’s the same handwriting. Hmm... so Saddam was a really hardcore gamer? (Exhales deeply) Wow.
The Nerd: The music, it’s just one loop; one single piece of music that plays over the whole fucking game. It’s the most cliché horror music they could have found. You recognize it; it’s that famous Bach composition.
(He's referring to "Toccata and Fugue in D Minor".)
The Nerd: You know, the one that everybody thinks is from Dracula? Once you've heard it for a half hour straight, you get sick of it. Fortunately, you have the option to turn the music off, but you have to turn it off at the right time, when there isn’t a note playing, or else it sustains it. (The music is turned off, and a single note keeps playing.) Isn’t that the fuckest thing you’ve ever heard? Didn’t anyone test this shitty thing out? Also, whenever you die, the music comes back on again, so you have to keep turning it off. (Goes to turn off the music again.)
The Nerd: The giant fatal flaw with this game is the control. It looks like I’m playing like shit, but I'm actually trying my best. The controls are fucked up beyond belief, and that’s the hardest thing to explain. There is no way I can do it justice; the only way to know is to play it yourself, and I fucking dare you.
The Nerd: The first problem is that you’re nearly defenseless. The only weapon I found is rocks that you throw. Couldn’t this guy get a sword or something? And the way you throw them defies all common sense when it comes to gaming. You don’t just hold the D-Pad in the direction you wanna throw; instead, you have to gradually turn your arm around in a clockwise, or counter-clockwise motion, until it's pointing in the right direction. Try doing this when there’s a million enemies and projectiles trying to kill you! There’s not enough time to turn your arm around before you’re dead! Why couldn’t this just operate like any normal game? Whoever came up with this idea is nuttier than squirrel poop.
The Nerd: Even the stairs are a complete pain in the ass. It’s hard getting on the stairs; It’s hard getting off the stairs! The game simply doesn’t do what you tell it to do; you rock the D-Pad all over the place until you get lucky. Trying to grab the ropes, that’s another thing; I don’t even understand how it works. Sometimes you get lucky (Duncan grabs on to the rope), and other times you don’t. (Duncan jumps out to hold on to the rope, but he falls down and hurts himself instead.) The strange thing is that it’s not like the character is missing the ropes; he just stops in mid-air and falls straight down.
Duncan: (jumps, stops and falls down) Whoa!
The Nerd: Trying to pick stuff up: Down and B. Would it be too much trouble to ask to just be able to walk over the item; to be able to touch it without having to stop and risk getting killed? As you noticed, you can duck; it’s done by pressing Down and B, but it only ducks for like a second. To stay ducking, you have to press Up and B. Yep, pressing up to duck is pretty fucked up.
The Nerd: But other than that, I just can’t describe how this control feels; It is so awkward and stiff that I honestly thought something was wrong with my controller. That is totally inexcusable; to make a game where the challenge is not in the game itself, but in handicapping the player. You have better luck playing Silver Surfer with the Power Glove.
The Nerd: Some of the games that have the worst controls are Karate Champ on NES, and a lot of ones that I’ve reviewed already, like Spider-Man on Game Boy, Kid Kool on NES, the Zelda CD-i games, Terminator 2 on SNES, any of the Action 52 games, Lester the Unlikely on SNES, and I believe I said Winter Games on NES was the absolute worst when it comes to control, but now that I’ve played Dark Castle, this might take the cake. It’s hard to compare because they're two totally different kinds of games. I’d say at least for a platforming game, this is the worst I’ve played yet! And out of all the shit I’ve played, that’s saying a lot.
The Nerd: This game has sucked its fair share of ass, but now it’s going for some more! Your character is a total buffoon; everywhere you try to walk, he trips over things. You’d think his fucking shoelaces are tied together. Then he keeps getting dizzy; I don’t know why it happens, but it happens constantly. He steps on something, or touches something or whatever, and he starts spinning around which leaves you vulnerable to attacks.
The Nerd: This dizzy bullshit should be reserved for fighting games like Street Fighter. Even there I think it’s annoying; it just gives the other person a free shot. But at least it makes sense because you’re getting hit in the head. This guy, it doesn’t even matter; he gets touched on the foot and he gets dizzy.
Duncan: (groans with dizziness)
The Nerd: He also has no ability whatsoever to drop down from any height. He can be two fucking feet from the ground and it kills him, or at least sends him into a spinning frenzy. There’s random pitfalls everywhere; trap doors open up; anvils fall on you; it’s a nightmare. To make things even harder, most of the enemies never seem to die. Hit them with a rock, they fall down for about five seconds and get right back up; meanwhile, you're still trying to windmill your arm around to kill the other guys, so you’re never going to be able to kill everything on the screen.
The Nerd: It’s hard enough just trying to navigate this guy without stumbling all over the place, they make it as difficult as it can possibly be, and if that’s not enough, they have to fuck you in the ear with obnoxious sound effects!
Mutant Enemies: Nyanyanyanyanya!
The Nerd: It’s as if the game is literally making fun of you.
The Nerd: On top of everything, it’s one of those maze-like, mindfuck games, where you never know where to go. Can I go here? Nope. Can I go there? Nope. What about here? Nope. Three spots on the same screen, all dead ends. Well, if it’s a dead end, WHY CAN'T THEY MAKE IT LOOK LIKE A DEAD END?! PUT A WALL THERE OR SOMETHING! WHY DOES IT HAVE TO LOOK LIKE A WIDE OPEN PASSAGEWAY?!
The Nerd: Anywhere you fall down drops you into this torture room where people are getting whipped. I’m not even kidding by saying I’ve been playing this game for about a half hour, and I’ve somehow ended up in the same room probably a hundred times. It’s like playing a Monopoly game where every space on the board says "Go to Jail", and there’s no way out.
The Nerd: I happened to find a key, but I can’t figure out what it does. I tried every spot I can think of, but this key is as useless as boobs on a bull. Anything you do, you’re fucked. (Duncan dies over and over many times) Try this, you're fucked. Try that, you’re fucked. You’re fucked, you’re fucked, you’re fucked, you’re fucked, you’re fucked, you’re fucked, you’re fucked!
The Nerd: This... is, beyond any doubt...the WORST Sega Genesis game I have ever played! There’s gotta be something I’m doing wrong. Lemme see; maybe it’s on a really high difficulty setting. Yeah, lemme see what I can do here. (Selects the 'difficulty' settings) Umm... EASY?! IT WAS ON EASY?! THAT'S THEIR IDEA OF FUCKING EASY?! ARE THEY OUT OF THEIR MINDS?! (The Nerd throws his controller down and we hear the sound of breaking glass.) Alright, let’s flick that shit-switch and crank up that diarrhea-dial; I got Dark Castle on C... D... (yells) I! (Flames erupt in the Nerd's room.)
The Nerd: Since this is a more advanced console, you’d think maybe this one would be a little better, right? Well, the graphics are even cheesier and more cartoonish, and the controls... Oh, my fucking God. It’s even worse. I can barely even fucking move; the control is impossible. You can’t control it; you have more control over the weather than you do the character in this game.
(Vulture dives down on Duncan)
(Duncan picks up something, trips over something, starts spinning around and a vulture kills him.)
The Nerd: I keep dying instantly on the first screen; I can’t even move an inch before I get bombarded with a Space Invaders ensemble of bats!
(Duncan trips over something while mutants yammer.)
The Nerd: Jeez, you can’t even let me walk two feet before raining enemies down on me?! It still takes just as long to aim your arm at somebody. And you can get dizzy just by jumping!
Duncan: Whoa! (Mumbles and grunts) Whoa!
The Nerd: Oh, a platform dropped; what, I stood still too long? You can’t stand for more than two seconds? The stairs? Good Lord. I just keep slipping all over the place. Why can’t I do anything?
The Nerd: The Genesis version was bad, but this one fucks you harder than life itself! It’s like mixing shit with turds! It’s the most heinously anus thing ever conceived by humankind! It’s a curse to the soul, and must suffer the tortures of the damned!
(The Nerd takes out the "Dark Castle" CD-i disc, chains it to the wall and whips it two times while he grunts and yells. The Nerd then takes out the "Dark Castle" Genesis cartridge, chains it to the wall and whips it three times, dislodging a chain.)
- The Nerd says that to keep ducking, one has to hold Up + B when in fact it only needs holding B.
- He also incorrectly refers to the flying enemies that don't squeal as bats, when they're actually vultures.
- The Nerd never refers to Duncan, the protagonist of the game, by his name.
- Dark Castle was originally made in 1986 for the Apple Macintosh and was highly praised, there could be a revisit if someone donated copies of Dark Castle and/or Beyond Dark Castle for either the Commodore Amiga or the Commodore 64.
- These are the only two computer systems James has that have ports of Dark Castle & Beyond, the Amiga is an A600.