FAQ/Walkthrough - Guide for Dark Castle

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Dark Castle FAQ/Walkthrough
Version 0.9.9
By Andrew Schultz [email protected]

This FAQ is for the game Dark Castle for DOS/Windows by Silicon Beach 
Software(1986) and Three Sixty Pacific(1987).  I am not affiliated with 
either entity, but I played this game 11 years ago and still liked it 
enough on replay to make a FAQ of it without having completed it.  
Please do not reproduce this FAQ for profit without my permission--it 
took a lot of playing and typing to get through with it.  I enjoy 
publicity of my work, but please ask politely and ask me by name, so 
your e-mail doesn't seem spammy.  Thanks!

****AD SPACE****
My home page:
My games page:










  ....and back again!
















  **This introduction is taken from the help option in Dark Castle.  No 
copyright infringement is intended, but I thought I should mention it.  
It seems succinct for the most part.  I've added important information 
where it seems necessary in curly brackets.**

Now you've done it!  Did you really have to volunteer to go in after the 
Black Knight?  You know what happened to the last warrior who did!  
Well, in your quest, you'll quickly discover that the Dark Castle has 
four areas, called Trouble, Fireball, Shield and Black Knight.  From the 
Great Hall, you enter these areas by choosing on of the four doors.

Pressing a key from 1 through 4 chooses a door.  The 1 and 2 doors 
randomly choose the Trouble or Fireball areas.  The 3 key chooses the 
Black Knight's Chambers and the 4 key sends you on your way to the 
Shield rooms.  {The identities of rooms 1 and 2 are constant for each 
game.  A neat trick is to start a game by hitting 2.  If you go to 
trouble, hit ctrl-q to quit and then restart until you go to fireball.}

[Page 2]

Beware, the Castle is infested with plague-ridden bats and rats.  Their 
bites usually mean instant death.

If you manage to reach the Black Knight, he can be defeated by toppling 
his throne.  Almost certain failure awaits you if you enter his Chambers 
without the Fireball, Shield and lots of rocks and elixir.

Little is known about all the pitfalls that await you, hearty 
adventurer, so you will have to rely on your quick wits and fast 
reactions to stay alive.  The folks in the village have heard many 
rumors though.

[Page 3]

The wizard was once seen hurling Fireballs.  Could he be the secret to 
obtaining them?  The peasants whisper of a magical shield that can 
render the owner invisible to dangerous objects for a short time.  And 
they talk of rumors that the wizard once concocted a batch of magic 
elixir which contains an antidote to the plague, caused by the many rats 
and bats in the castle.

[Page 4]

A year ago a wandering minstrel sang about a brave warrior who battled 
the Black Knight with only the rocks he had brought in many little bags.  
He failed, though he did find that there is a key at the bottom of the 
dungeon that will unlock the door back into the Great Hall.

[Page 5]

Use the keyboard cursor keys or the joystick to control the movement of 
the player.  Moving around will become much easier as soon as you learn 
to use two keys simultaneously.  For example, if you want to move to a 
ladder on the right and then go up, hold down the right and up keys.  
The player will run to the right and start climbing the ladder as soon 
as he gets there.

[Page 6]

The Space bar is used to make a jump.  To go far, jump while running.  
To go as high as possible, use a standing jump.  For downward jumps hold 
the down key and press the Space Bar.

Standing / Running / Downward

[Page 7]

The rocks can be thrown by using either the keyboard or the joystick.  
To aim with the joystick, move the joystick up or down with the right 
button down.  To aim with the keyboard, use keys "1" through "8" to 
select an arm position.  The "+" and "-" keys can be used to move the 
arm in finer increments.  To fire, push the left button on the joystick 
or the "Enter" or "INS" key on the keyboard.  You start out with 60 
rocks.  If you have 80 or more rocks, you cannot pick up any rock bags.  
When you get the Fireball power, your rocks turn into fireballs.

{Note--you can have 6 elixirs or 5 extra lives displayed on the screen, 
but the computer keeps track of surplus.}

[Page 8]

The "action" key is the "A" key.  It is used to get objects, activate 
switches, pull chains, etc...  To activate the shield, press and hold 
down the action key.  There is a time limit on how long it will stay 
active.  If you are standing on something else that uses the action key, 
you may have to press the action key twice to activate the shield.  The 
"D" key is used to cause the player to duck.  He continues to duck for 
as long as the "duck" key is held down.

Pressing Ctrl-Q quits the game in progress and returns to the "Scores of 
Merit" screen.

{You can get your high score placed that way.  Also, the A key can be 
awkward because you may wind up just next to an item, and when you have 
the shield, that will activate the shield as well as not taking the 

[Page 9]


You get a bonus for completing a room quickly.  The bonus timer starts 
counting down to zero when you enter a room.  You get the points 
remaining on the timer when you leave the room.  Starting values:  
Beginner = 2000, Intermediate = 3000, Advanced = 4000.

{On Trouble 3, you get the bonus and reset the counter after getting the 
key.  Also, the bonuses are shown in increments of 100, but they are 
given in increments of 10.  For instance, a bonus of 1700 means you 
might get anywhere from 1610 to 1700 points for completing the level.  
And NO, walking in and out of a level gives you nothing.}

When you reach a certain number of points, extra men are given.  The 
number of points needed are:  Beginner = 5000, Intermediate = 7500, 
Advanced = 10000.

{The tougher it is, the more monsters the computer drops in.  Eegh.}

Getting Fireball or Shield = 1000 points.
Toppling Black Knight's Throne = 5000 points.

[Page 11]

Bad Guys

Bat 30 pts.
Vulture 30 pts.
Rat 20 pts.
Magic Broom 30 pts.
Guard 50 pts.
Whip Henchman 150 pts.
Dragon 150 pts.
Mutant 30 pts.
Burning Eye 30 pts.  {This is 25, strangely, in my version.}
Rock henchman 100 pts.
Gargoyle 100 pts.

{Note--100 for each chain you pull in the Black Knight's chamber.  You 
get 500 for the key or for leaving Trouble.}


At the start of the game you find yourself in a hall with your player's 
back to you.  Based on the number you pick(1-4) he will run through a 
door on the left(1-2) or the center door(3) or the right door(4) and the 
adventure begins.  Doors 1 and 2 lead randomly to the Trouble and 
Fireball area, while door 3 leads to the Shield area and door 4 leads to 
the Black Knight area.

You use arrows to control your character, and the keys 1-8 to aim 
rocks(1=top, 8=bottom, the numbers between are various angles,) and 
return to throw the rocks.  The action key "A" lets you pick up elixirs 
or rocks or important items or activates your shield for temporary 
invincibility, and the key "D" lets you duck--although it is not useful 
for extensive periods of time.

Useful notes:
--you long-jump faster than you run.
--On a vine, you must hit an arrow twice to move to an adjacent vine.  
Hitting it once either 1)switches whether you're to the left or right of 
it or 2)switches the vine and switches you from the left to the right 
side or vice versa.

Things you can't do:
--throw rocks on the stairs or on vines


Monster      |Points|Powers                   |Seen
Bat          |30    |lose 1 elixir.  They'll  |T1,2,3
(flying, from|      |stick w/you and drain    |S3,4
  ceiling)   |      |elixir 'til killed.      |F2,3
Vulture      |30    |swoop, can kill.  You can|F1
(flying, from|      |duck the first time, but |S2
  formation) |      |they get smart.  They get|
             |      |replaced if killed.
Rat          |20    |lose 1 elixir            |T1,3 S3
Magic Broom  |30    |Can split in 3 when hit  |F4
Guard        |50    |Fire crossbows(parabola) |T1,2,3
Whip Henchman|150   |Ignore rocks, long range |T3
Dragon       |150   |Breathes flame, ignores  |S2
             |      |rocks                    |
Mutant       |30    |                   |F1,4 S1
Burning Eye  |30    |shoots fireballs, stalled|F4
             |      |by rocks                 |
Rock henchman|100   |Throws rocks             |S1
Gargoyle     |100   |Drops you to Trouble.    |D1



    The trouble sequence is the easiest of the lot to complete.  
However, it doesn't further you in the game.  You just get to the 
bottom, get up, and get out.  This level is a good one for practice, 
though.  To make things easier for yourself you may want to try to hit 
the two bats on the ceiling and also the rats before you walk down.  
Hold the right-arrow/down-arrow keys to climb down, but remember that 
you can't throw anything when you are on the stairs.
    Basically, you climb down two flights of stairs and knock the guard 
out below before climbing down again.  Then jump to the right over the 
small drop(or you will be stunned)--you can knock out the rats with 
5(from a distance) or 6(up close.)  Jump on to a vine and climb all the 
way to the top.  The rats seem to know which vine you are on, so wait on 
one and then change to get to the upper right ledge and to level 2.

    Grabbing the left rope is not tough(wait 'til it swings all the way 
left,) but you can knock out the two bats on the ceiling first.  Then 
wait until the right rope is all the way left and grab it.  You can 
shoot the guards down from above and then climb down the two stairs.  Go 
left, jump up, and climb down the stairs to the third level.

    You must make a running jump across the gap.  Beware the guard that 
will come from the left.  You might want to wait to shoot him(pick off 
the bats on the ceiling) and then pick off the guards on the two levels 
below.  Go down, right, down, and jump left over the gap(the rat on the 
other side can be nailed by shooting a rock at angle 5) and go all the 
way down the stairs.  Beneath the mace's handle, type A.  Make sure the 
bats are all cleared away first, because you cannot defend yourself 
against them.  Then walk over to the guy with the whip and when he's 
stopped whipping to the left, run at him and hit him.  Now jump over him 
and you will be by two keys.  Get under one and if the prisoners shake 
their heads, take the other one because that key is trapped.  Then 
quickly jump over the prostrate whip guy(if you're not quick enough 
you'll lose a life) and go back the way you came.

  ....and back again!

[NOTE:  You can get a lot of rocks and elixirs going back and forth 
between the two levels.  But you don't get bonus points unless you 
COMPLETE a level, i.e. go from one entrance to another!]

    Nothing too tough here about going back.  The swinging ropes are the 
toughest but if you wait 'til the left rope is at its furthest right you 
should catch it.  At Trouble 1 "A" with the key at the right of the door 
to unlock it and then go left to get back to the main room.

    First note that if you run right, the left-hand platform blinks.  If 
you try to leave the way you came, you fall to trouble three.  But this 
level is fortunately not too difficult.  Run right, then up, left, 
right, up, run right and jump twice.  Ah, but the boulders and mutants 
get in your way.  To avoid boulders coming at you, stay by stairs and be 
ready to climb them back and forth, and remember that you can't outrun a 
boulder unless you running-jump.  To nail the mutants, walk under them 
and kill them.

    You can knock out a lot of the bird formation if you want to before 
proceeding further, but also if you run a bit, duck, get up and jump 
over the blinking panel in the middle(which will drop you to Trouble 3 
if you step on it) and go to the right.  Pick up the items and wait on 
the far right where the birds can't touch you.  Eventually you'll need 
to risk it--climb up the stairs just after the dragon has retreated and 
RUN RIGHT.  Even if the dragon shows up, he won't kill you.  It's just 
his breath.  You may be able to knock him out with fireballs, as well.

    You'll probably lose one elixir just by chance in this level, but 
there is a way to get through a huge part of it rather quickly.  Jump 
onto the rope immediately, drop down, and push 1 and throw a rock to get 
the bat.  Then jump again--you'll catch a rope to the right.  You can 
fall onto the next platform and repeat, or you can climb upwards and 
make a beeline right.  When you get to a platform, nail the bat that's 
probably gotten near you, jump right, climb up, walk right, and climb up 
the ladder.


    It's not too bad to kill the two birds.  Hit right twice, then left, 
and push 1 and fire.  Then go to the rightmost platform and hit 3 and 
fire left.  Now you can concentrate on the platforms.
    You must jump diagonally from platform to platform until you reach 
the upper left where there is a stair.  Half of the platforms here are 
fake, and this is random every time you get to the level.  It's a matter 
of trial and error, but fortunately the error doesn't kill you like 
usual--it just drops you down to the next platform below.  Each diagonal 
jump in the same direction takes you a little closer to falling off an 
edge, so if you think you are too close to an edge take two steps back 
and one forward(carefully!)  Wait until the thunder clouds won't be at 
the left end for a moment, and try to pass them just after they have 
struck lightning.  A running jump doesn't hurt.  When you get to the 
shield, push A to take it and when the clouds are close push A.  They'll 
zap the shield, and you'll be back in the hallway with the shield and 
some bonus points.

**WARNING**:  When jumping right onto a corner platform, if you hit the 
wall, the computer encounters a bug where you are stuck.

    Taking out the vulture formation is tricky.  You'll want to make a 
run for it(and jump before the slight drop) and shoot the mutants with 5 
and 6.  Then you can go to either lower right ledge where you will be 
safe and can get items.  The mutants will usually climb down the vine 
that you are on so be prepared to change vines.  The right edge of the 
top ledge leads to the next level.

    The rocks are nasty until first solved, and so you want to get rid 
of the added distractions of the bats as quickly as possible.  You can 
move a bit right, turn left, hit 8 and fire.  Then throw at angle 4 once 
you are on the first rock.  If you wish to go the long way, the rocks to 
jump on to(using standing jumps, in order of height) are 1, 2, 4, 5, 3, 
6, 7.  However, the short way consists of a down-jump to the right when 
the small target platform is just about to turn back right, then one to 
the left when the target platform passes under the rough vertical line 
in the middle of its range, then down and to the right.  You can kill 
the bats as follows:  right, turn left, and hit 8.  Then wait until the 
other bat comes down and throw with 5.  It's also important to wait for 
the stalactite to fall before starting off, or it'll nail you on the 
first platform.  With a bit of timing, this level's a cinch.

    Push three and throw a rock immediately to get rid of the bat.  Then 
jump immediately on the first raft and wait until the second rock 
bounces.  You'll need a bit of luck and judgement to get by this level.  
After a while you know when a rock will fall on you and when it won't.  
Alsways stay on the left edge of a raft/log and duck if the boulder is 
coming to the front of the raft or jump left if it's in the middle.  
You'll exit the top right and come out on the bottom left.  Sometiems a 
boulder will come by and just ruin your day, but otherwise, wait until 
you're past half way on the screen to hit the mutant(angle five,) or 
Sod's Law will assure that he nails you as you exit, since he 
regenerates after a certain amount of time.  Then go right on the log 
and make a running jump to get to level 4.  A standing jump will only 
land you in Trouble 3.

    The broom breaks into three small brooms, which break into three 
smaller brooms.  You can kill all but three, after which they just stop 
when hit.  As for the eye, you can hit it with as many rocks as you 
want.  Each hit pauses it and gets you 25 points.  I find I'm close to 
5000 when playing through this on beginner so someone trying to master 
this may want to hit the eye a lot to get the extra life and experience 
that result.  Now, you don't have to break the broom into tiny brooms 
and wait to jump over them.  My preferred solution is to hit 3 and enter 
right when I get in this room.  Then I climb down the stairs, hit 5 and 
enter, and quickly jump right when I see the broom close.  I make a 
beeline for the rope and then jump up and down on the platforms.  Your 
key break here is that touching the eye while it's stunned will not hurt 
you.  You can jump onto the left vine and then hit A when in front of 
each lever.  One will flash the wall to the right.  Jump through and 
wait on the platform next to the wizard(getting too close will kill 
you.)  He'll give you fireball capabilities before going back to reading 
his book.
    This level is not too bad, but it's confusing, and the broom and 
eyeball look intimidating at first.


    The gargoyle will fly by and try to pick you up and drop you in 
Trouble 3--he will succeed unless you use the fireballs.  Put your arm 
angle at 4 and remember the gargoyle comes from the opposite half of the 
screen you're on.  Rats may interfere with your fireballs, so you'll 
want to clear them out beforehand and not wait until the last second to 
shoot the gargoyle.  The gargoyle also gives warning noises when he's 
about to come on.  Usually it's about every 600 bonus points.  This 
occurs in all three dark knight levels.  What is also annoying is that 
if you are hit by an arrow you may be dropped to Trouble 3, which can be 
more time-wasting than just getting killed.  If only there was a 
password that allowed you to start on a Dark Knight level!
    Navigating the vines is also tricky--see below--but the main thing 
to remember is that if you are too close to a vine and jump for it, 
you'll miss it.
    Looking at this level, you may notice dots on the vines.  Those make 
it impossible to pass while you're on a certain side of a vine.  If you 
try to jump on that dot, you will fall, likely into Trouble 3.  The way 
things are organized, there is a definite pattern to this board.  You 
will also have to shoot the gargoyle two times, and I recommend one of 
the three central bottom platforms for the first one(the right is best) 
and the corner lower right for the second.  You'll have to bide your 
time a bit and resist the temptation to finish quickly.
    To start off, walk a few steps and jump on the vine, or your 
starting platform will disappear and drag you down.  Now the nuisance of 
possibly repeating this level is minimized by the amount of elixir and 
rocks you can immediately pick up, and after a little practice in 
Trouble you will be able to recharge there and maybe get an extra guy or 
two--6k to 7k at a pop makes this a great way to store up extra guys for 
the final confrontation.  So pick everything you can up as you scale the 
wall.  Go right two vines at the top and wait for the rat to fall.  
Shimmy down the right side of the vine, switching at the dot on the 
right, then go to the left and quickly go right until you drop on the 
platform.  You may get hit by a rat as they come down pretty quickly, 
but with practice you'll just miss it.  Fire at the rats on the platform 
above with 1, and hit the ones to the right with 6.  Jump right and 
right again without walking(don't move or change orientation after you 
drop off the vine!) and wait for the gargoyle.  You might want to shoot 
the guard with the crossbow as he may fire at you.  Face right and hit 5 
and 4 to get both of them.  From there climb up the vine to below the 
dot, pick up the elixir to the right, and fire 7 to the left to knock 
off the rats.  Firing at angle 6 to the right will wipe out a meddlesome 
guard who sometimes shoots you--and falling to Trouble 3 can be a fate 
worse than death!  Climb right across the vines.  Drop in where the rats 
were, climb right and up, and at the top, floor it right until you're on 
the right side of the second-right vine.  Wait for the guard to turn 
away before falling right off the vine and shoot him.  Wait for the 
gargoyle, then jump up a platform, climb the stairs, and climb the 
leftmost vine.  Make sure you're high up before you go right or you'll 
fall to your death.  Here's another place where you might have to 
sacrifice an elixir as rats are constantly sent here.  I'd recommend 
jumping from a low enough height so you won't get dizzy.  Then climb up 
to level 2.


    There's no way back to level one.  Go right immediately to avoid yet 
another drop to Trouble 3.  Note that the middle disappears soon after 
for another drop.  Jump over it and up to the bottom floating platform 
level.  It's not too hard to time the platforms, and in fact, there's a 
pretty easy pattern to this.  Get up the stairs as quickly as possible, 
jump on the platform, and go left.  It'll always work even if you may 
have to run up the stairs on the left.  From there, you can jump on the 
upper platform at any time, as the shield you have will render you 
invulnerable for a short time, in a pinch--remember that the gargoyle 
may appear as well, and although you can get through most of this level 
before he appears, waiting below the rock henchman makes the gargoyle 
easy picking.  You'll want to jump up to the small platform with the 
lever soon after your first jump up top.  Pulling the lever drops 16 
tons on the henchman, and then you should go to the right of the 
platform and jump left--again a bit of timing--and then jump to the 
final floating platform.  Take the rats out with rocks, climb up the 
ladder, climb the stairs, and exit in the top right.


    Bleah.  The Dark Knight sits on his throne constantly drinking a cup 
of something and throwing it.  There appear to be six directions he 
throws it in, depending on where you were when he finished his drink, 
and they correspond roughly to the five levers.  Two go in the bottom 
corners, two to the tops of the stairs on the edges, and two down the 
center slightly left or right.  The bottom-corner mugs are nasty, as 
they are thrown in sync with your invincibility counter, meaning you can 
get stuck just using your shield while the knight throws cups.  Then 
along comes the gargoyle...  If you're concentrating on this level, it 
may be better to get killed by the cup than dropped by the gargoyle.
    For starters, go left or right.  But do it quickly unless you want 
to go through the first two dark knight levels--and three trouble 
scenes--again.  To pull the top levers, run quickly left, jump, get on 
the left side of the vine, climb on top, go to the leftmost vine, fall 
off to the left, and climb to the upper left corner.  The cup will just 
miss you.  Run over and pull the lever.  The knight may be shocked and 
look around a bit, but in any case sneak by him and downt he rope.  **** 
A down jump to the right gets you to the area of the second lever, and 
while you wait, a safe area is just under the knight's nose.  Beware 
that the middle platform is not solid at the start, and jumping on it 
will lead to Trouble 3.  I think you can jump between center platforms, 
but in any case to get back up, you to the opposite jump from your down 
jump.  I assume the platform appears that allows you to take the 
knight's time.  As always, wait until you see where he's thrown it to 
move it.  See the ending, and drop me a line about it if you can!!  


--"Vandals sack" and "Huns rule" are the graffiti.
--You can bounce a rock off a whip henchman and hit a bird.
--Apparently on the MAC version there are trees that appear in some 
dungeons if your date is set to Christmas.  Cute easter egg!


End of FAQ proper.


0.1.0 10/20/2000:  Created first crack at the FAQ.  "Solved" through 
Shield 4, Fireball 3, Trouble 3.
0.9.9 2/10/2001:  Got all but Black Knight 3 done.  It's just too much 
physical effort to win the game, but there's only one way it can be 
done.  So this is likely a final draft.

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