Way back in 1980 Cinematronics released Star Castle as a vector arcade game requiring a colour overlay so as to give the impression the vectors were in fact colour. Designed by genius game maker Tim Skelly ,and programmed by Scott Boden, arcade Star Castle was also featured in the beginning of the movie ‘Maximum Overdrive’ which incidentally featured music from Australian hardrock band AC/DC (Butler 2003).
The release of arcade Star Castle was shrouded in controversy as Cinematronics nearly had to recall the machine as the stars which are featured in the background of the game formed an outline of the centrefold from February 1980 ‘Oui’ pornographic magazine. This has got to be one of the most colourful Vectrex overlays and I remember the excitement I felt when I received my first Vectrex Star Castle. Again the game was only released in the U.S. therefore it gets auctioned on ebay for around $US80 -$US90
A small handheld version of Star Castle was also released in the 80’s which was called ‘Tiger – Star Castle’. The ship in Star Castle is very similar to the Asteroids ship and the object of the game is to manoeuvre it and take shots at a cannon positioned in the centre of the playfield and eventually destroy it. The cannon is surrounded by a fortress composed of 3 spinning force fields which look like rings and occasionally sparks fly from the rings and head straight at your ship. Once the force field is destroyed the cannon takes a shot at your spaceship and more often than not this destroys your ship. It can get quite frustrating at times.
Nevertheless Star Castle is an enjoyable, if not difficult, game which was one of the last GCE releases for the Vectrex.
Review written by Daniel Foot
Instruction can be found at: