There's no reason to play this game. I don't blame my fellow reviewers for writing this one off, "Escape The Strong Castle's" numerous faults outweigh what few merits it has. I assumed it was just a stupid joke game when it first came out and I was *this* close to shrugging it off again, but something made me look again. I didn't find a good game, but I did find a lot of effort that I hadn't found before.
For one, the game is beatable without abusing debug keys. You have to find almost all of the equipment (which is frustrating) and reach the boss with almost full health (which is easy) and you'll be able to survive his first punch and use the slide technique to reach victory. You only learn the slide technique in the same series of textboxes that introduces the final boss which is kind of clumsy.
Actually, the equipment is nicely balanced. I noticed I was starting to get hit more often and thought I was in trouble, but then found the "Dodge Band" and was back in the clear. The other items also feel useful against the monsters, but it would be nice if they were spread out a little better. There's only 3 pieces of equipment to find across 20 floors and most of 'em are pretty early. The other chests have healing items, which I mostly didn't need.
After that, it's all bad news. The graphics are mostly black squares on a white background which is almost seizure inducingly annoying. The music is the same 2 seconds of midi repeated over and over again which sometimes crashes game.exe and I had to replace it with another song to finish. The maps are waaaaaaaaaaaay too big for the little bit of content the game provides and running away from every battle is a hard concept to enjoy.
The author, jcenterprises, might've done well to cut the game down to say, 6 levels. Near the end there's some walls and mazes which makes for more interesting wandering than a blank open map and that's the area he should've focused on. All the big empty maps do is make the good ideas look small. It's a double whammy of First Game and Forty-Eight Hour Game blues, but I bet jcenterprises learned something from "Escape The Strong Castle" and that's the important thing.
2011 Score (Per Aug 21st): 71/100
Part of Gomey's 2011 Year In Review