Castle Excellent is a fantasy puzzle-adventure platformer developed and published by ASCII for NEC PC-9801, NEC PC-8801, Sharp X1 and FM-7 computers in Japan on November 1985. It was later released for MSX computers in 1986.
A sequel to The Castle, released earlier that year, Castle Excellent restructures the 100-room castle with more-challenging puzzles. Its story, gameplay, graphics, and audio remain the same (albeit with a new logo). The game's story involves traversing Groken Castle as Prince Rafael as he rescues the imprisoned Princess Margarita.
The game received a port to the Family Computer in Japan on November 28, 1986. This version features numerous differences, such as redrawn graphics, restructured room layouts (with wider rooms and horizontal screen scrolling), and a way for the player to directly attack (with a short-ranged dagger). It also supports both the Famicom Data Recorder and ASCII's own Turbo File devices for game saving. This version was later released overseas for the Nintendo Entertainment System in North America by NEXOFT on September 1989. Released then as Castlequest, it removes game saving and instead gives the player 50 lives to start with.
Game completion is difficult as there are many dead-ends and limited keys-to-doors ratio which means it's possible to open the wrong door and not have any keys left and have to start from the beginning. To compensate for that, the player starts out with 50 lives, instead of 3-5 in normal platformer games.
Rafael is only given a dagger which hits enemies at close range, and some enemies are impervious to it and can only be killed by having a block fall on top of them. Rafael can push certain objects throughout the game to accomplish his goal. In some rooms, the prince can only advance to the next room by aligning various steeping stones in the correct places to advance the room including: cement blocks, honey jars, candles, and the elevator.
To advance from room-to-room, the player must carry a key that matches the color of the door they intend to open. Pink key opens the pink door, blue key to blue door.. and so on and so forth. There are 6 key colors in total:
- Light Blue
- and Yellow.
Items in the game such as rings, crosses, money bags, and pieces of treasure add a point score though do not contribute towards helping the player complete the game.
Air pack: A few of these can be found in various rooms of the game, and allows Rafael to breathe underwater for a brief period of time.