Castles of Darkness: Sounds   9 comments

I was already planning on this follow-up post to discuss the sound, but what I did not expect is what is likely the first sound-based puzzle in an adventure game. That is, a puzzle reliant on literal sound made from the computer, not as described in text.

To continue from last time, I had a key I couldn’t reach. Hidden in one of the many cracks of the rooms was a parchment that read


I originally tested this on doors (the usual use in adventure games) but I realized the locked chest might be KNOCK-able.

The chest had a METAL BAR and STRANGE RING. When you pick up the ring it is described in inventory as a RING WITH STRANGE SHAPES ON IT. The bar is described as a METER LONG BAR. (This is a general pattern of the game; the initial description of an object is less detailed than what you see when the object is being held.)

I was able to get the key with the bar (it was magnetic), which let me open a door to … a dead end.

As the game’s HELP indicates, you won’t get anywhere fighting this troll, its skin is too tough.

I was seriously baffled for long enough I pulled up the game’s hint sheet, but it led me to being even more baffled.

From the Gallery of Undiscovered Entities.

The puzzles seem to roughly be in a sequence, and the one after using the key is CAN’T STOP CLICKING NOISE? Wait, clicking noise?

I knew there was sound (I had tested it and found in combat you could hear things; video below from Highretrogamelord)…

…but the game was silent otherwise, so I had shut it off (I sometimes play in scenarios where it would be impolite to have weird booping Apple II sounds, and to be honest, I’m not wild about weird booping Apple II sounds). After you hit the dead end, and assuming you can hear the Apple II’s noises, whenever you take steps, you hear (as the hints indicate) a clicking sound.

I still was somewhat baffled, although I did find LISTEN was giving a hint. If you LISTEN normally:


If you LISTEN after the clicking starts


Even though it isn’t mentioned as inventory, you’re supposed to look in your SHOE.


Inside there was a coin. Gah!

The only reason this is semi-fair is that there was a reasonably long puzzle sequence to get to that dead end, so I knew there had to be a secret of some sort. I don’t know if I would have ever got the idea of checking clothing on my own (I had to poke at a walkthrough, it’s not even clear from the hint sheet).

The coin’s magic word (EXCELSIOR) can be used on the second castle to open it.

There are some interesting items inside, like a ENVELOPE with a PILL where the envelope indicates you should eat the pill when lightning is about to strike. There’s a strange umbrella (PROPERTY OF M. POPPINS) and a “short, flexible yew pole” (I SEE NOTCHES ON BOTH ENDS). There’s also a dartboard on a wall (I have tried to throw the pole but no dice; maybe I need to assemble a full dart with items later).

I solved one other puzzle, but I need to rewind a bit first — remember when I said VANISH worked to get rid of a wraith? That was incorrect. Even if you don’t HIT WRAITH your character still is fighting, so what happened was I tried SAY VANISH at the same time my character coincidentally hit the wraith and it ran away. On a second playthrough (I was testing things out) I didn’t have the same effect and was baffled. Whoops.

So VANISH was still in play, but I got to use it here.

You can lift the cage (there’s a rope and pulley) but the wraith kills you. If you SAY VANISH first — remember this message came from the charm — it causes your character to go invisible. (Since the game is in third-person perspective, this is done purely graphically!)

This lets you get by the cage and get stuck by a large boulder, or at least that’s where I’m stuck at the moment. It seemed like a good stopping point.

Posted November 17, 2020 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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9 responses to “Castles of Darkness: Sounds

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  1. “short, flexible yew pole” (I SEE NOTCHES ON BOTH ENDS).

    Sounds like a bow looking for a string.

  2. Wow. This hits close to home. In the purely literal sense of “That address is a couple of miles from my house.” The Chatham mall was de-malled about 25 years ago, and the address given now belongs to a grocery store that was renovated from the anchor store. It used to be the last freestanding Sears I’d ever seen, though the Sears was not a leftover from the mall days; it had been a K-Mart before the one bought the other.

    I don’t recall ever having been to Chatham when it was a mall, but it was really close to a theme park I have very fond memories of, now also long-demolished. I would be tickled if there are any fairytale references in the game that might’ve been inspired by the theme park.

    None of this is strictly relevant to anything, but dead malls are a weird interest of mine and I thought someone might find the historical anecdata interesting.

    • Wow, that’s neat! I haven’t done much in regards to the specific locations people/companies have been at, but there was one case that was close. If you remember that scam artist referenced in House of 30 Gables, his last scam was in Tucson, and I used to live in walking distance of the address.

  3. The shoe puzzle reminds me of +=3:

    Who knew that +=3 had an actual precedent?!

    • I was just reading about +=3 a couple of days ago! Basically, co-author David Baggett became extremely successful in business (programming Crash Bandicoot was just the first stage in his campaign of world conquest after warming up with the Unnkulian Adventures) and I was thinking that if the IFTF wanted to finance the state of TADS support, they could do worse than headhunting him to underwrite it.

  4. I’m playing along and am literally exactly where you are. I also had to look at a walkthrough for the shoe thing – I have no idea where that was even hinted at. However it sounds like you had the sound turned off when you found the ring. Have you tried to wear it? There is a very nice digitized “BEWARE” that is spoken by the Apple’s speaker. Much more clear than the speech in Castle Wolfenstein. Funnily, I hit some sort of bug on one attempt, where the “BEWARE” sound clip became the default sound when fighting. (I actually tried to fight a troll to the end, and kept hearing “BEWARE” over and over).

    • I finished the game, but that still helps; I couldn’t figure out how I’d know the ring’s effect was happening. I mentioned this comment in my finale post, but I do spoil everything so you might want to wait on reading it.

  5. Pingback: Castles of Darkness: The Sun is Shining | Renga in Blue

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