• Graeme Mason

The Antstream Arcade Archive: Crystal Castles

This weekend on Antstream Aracde, you can take part in our latest global retro tournament, this time on the Atari classic retro video game, Crystal Castles!


From today until 12pm on Monday 20th, you can climb the leaderboards and nab some of the prize pool. For some hints and tips on how to get ahead...we got you!


To celebrate our latest tournament it's time for our latest Archive feature, and we'll be giving you the lowdown on all things Crystal Castles; its plot and gameplay, as well as what to expect when you play this classic retro game on Antstream Arcade.


So what’s it all about?

Crystal Castles is the story of Bentley Bear, a little furry fellow who likes to collect shiny gems. Bentley lives in a magical kingdom full of mystical castles, each containing secret passageways and paths. Standing in his way is an array of fantastical enemies – fortunately, this agile bear possesses a nimble leap that can be used to stun his opponents. There are nine levels, each with four castles, before the final end castle, making a mammoth 37 screens in total to be cleared.


Crikey. That doesn’t sound easy.

No, it isn’t, and the variety of enemies in Crystal Castles ensures that you’re almost constantly on your toes. There are bouncing balls, lurching trees, ghosts, a malevolent witch called Berthilda and a swarm of buzzing bees, each requiring different tactics in order to avoid or beat. Finally, there are gem eaters, elongated creatures that gobble up all the gems he’s diligently collecting.



Like Lock ‘n’ Chase, it looks rather familiar to a certain arcade classic…

Yep, it’s another arcade game that owes more than a little inspiration to Namco’s dot-munching classic. Funnily enough, Pac-Man follow-up, Pac-Mania, in turn, took Crystal Castle’s isometric view, also incorporating a Bentley Bear-style jump for its yellow star.


So if you can jump, it must be easy to avoid all the bad guys, right?

Initially, yes, but in the finest tradition of arcade gaming, it’s not long before the enemies get faster and meaner, and when that swarm of bees appears, stalking the poor fellow throughout the maze, things can get very tricky, very fast. Don’t underestimate those skulking trees either!


Yeah, and I don’t like the look of those bees – any tips?

Grabbing the honeypot slows down the appearance of the swarm, so that should be your first target, as well as eliminating any of those pesky gem eaters. Many of the levels also have hidden passages that snake around the castles – learning and using these is often the key to survival. Oh, and make sure you grab that last gem in order to secure a tasty bonus.


How does the leaderboard look?

StevesRetro and Tnderstruck occupy 3 rd and 2 nd place respectively, but almost 100,000 points clear in first place is VeeKiraRay with a mammoth score of 262,981. That’ll take some beating.


Yikes. Are there any challenges I can try in the meantime?

We have three tricky challenges for fans to try in Crystal Castles. Gem Gluttony is a score-attack

challenge where you have to grab as many gems as possible before losing a life, while Gulp! requires you to get as high a score as possible within just sixty seconds. Finally, in Stumped, Bentley has to jump over the nasty tree as many times as possible without dying – not as easy as it sounds!


It never is! Sounds like my weekend is sorted.

There’s always something to entertain on Antstream Arcade, and with our Crystal Castles tournament running this weekend, it’s the perfect time to get into this old school arcade game. For the bargain price of 50 gems, you can compete against Antstream Arcaders from all over the world in the Gem Gluttony challenge, and there’s already a prize pot of almost 2000 gems up for grabs. The tournament runs until 12pm UK time Monday the 20th – so get snatching those precious stones!


Excellent, better get practising with ‘ol Bentley then! Anything similar on Antstream Arcade?

Of course. There are plenty of arcade maze games such as Data East’s crime caper Lock ‘n’ Chase and

SNK’s multi-dimensional Marvin’s Maze, as well as the Taito sci-fi collect-‘em-up, Raimais. And if you’ve got a liking for tricky mazes, you should head over to Mind-Roll, a bizarre rolling ball game on the Commodore Amiga, all available on Antstream Arcade today.


Thank you for reading - watch out for another blast from the Antstream Arcade Archive soon!

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