Crystal Castles - Christopher Tupa

Retro Arcade Art By CTupa: Crystal Castles (1983)

Christopher Tupa has certainly chosen an arcade classic with Crystal Castles! His pick for this week’s Retro Arcade Art is another favorite of mine. Developed and released by Atari back in July of ’83. Crystal Castles is an isometric 3D maze game with elements of Pac-Man. While the protagonist of Crystal Castles might seem cartoonish, the game is anything but child’s play!
Crystal Castles - Arcade Marquee

Crystal Castles may indeed have some elements of 1980’s Pac-Man. It however in fact started out as being a 3D version of another very popular Atari game. In this case I am referring to the 1979 title – Asteroids.

While it might be a little hard to believe that Crystal Castles started out as an intergalactic shooter. I think it’s more than fair to say that the change in gameplay was a wise choice. With it’s fantasy elements I feel it certainly helped to make the game stand out. Besides, the character of Bentley Bear is more endearing than a starship, right?
Crystal Castles - Bentley Bear

CTupa’s latest pick for his Retro Arcade Art project marks the first title to feature the trackball. Which puts it on par with other Atari arcade classics like Missile Command, Centipede, and Marble Madness. In addition to allowing on the fly precision control while helping Bentley Bear through the 3D mazes.
Crysal Castles - Trakball

The trackball games also were known to cause severe pinching in some cases. At the very least I can attest to this when I frequently played Crystal Castles at my local Showbiz Pizza!
Crystal Castles - Arcade Cabinet

The gameplay is pretty simple. The Player attempts to help Bentley pick up the number of gems that are strewn across the maze floors of each level. All the while avoiding coming into contact with various and colorful foes. Gem Eaters, Ghosts, Skeletons, Nasty Trees, ravenous Crystal Balls, as well as Berthilda the Witch. Who enjoys nothing more than chasing poor Bentley Bear around the 3D maze once a stage is cleared of gems.
Crystal Castles - Berthilda

On each stage the Players are in kind of a race to pick up as many gems as they can. Some of the foes like the Nasty Trees, Crystal Balls, and of course the Gem Eaters – will devour any of the colorful gems they travel over. Any contact with a foe will normally result in the loss of a life. However in the case of the Gem Eaters, when they are pausing to swallow a gem. If Bentley runs smack into them he will actually defeat this particular foe.
Crystal Castles - Gem Eater

In truth, Bentley does not have a lot to protect himself with. However he is able to jump over enemies, which in some cases stuns them. This in fact is easier said than done. All too often if you aren’t careful with the trackball you will leap to safety, only to crash into another enemy. In most mazes there is also a magical hat. Once Bentley dons the oversized wizard’s cap he can race through enemies without fear of losing a life. This of course only lasts for a very limited amount of time.
Crystal Castles - Magic Hat

There is one other bad guy that Bently must be wary of. That is naturally a swarm of very, very angry bees. While the bees do not care a fig for all of the gems in the mazes. They do everything they can to protect the honey pot that temps Bentley with a quick 1000 points. Much like the Nasty Trees, the swarm of bees will literally attempt to track down the Player. Making them very dangerous.
Crystal Castles - Honey

Now that you know the basics of Crystal Castles how about seeing the game in action?

[Via] Old Classic Retro Gaming

As always with CTupa’s Retro Arcade Art project, you can purchase the artwork featured in this post. The originals are ink and watercolor and are 5″x7″ on 8.5″x11″ size paper. You can hop on over to Christopher’s Official Site to contact him as well as check out more artwork from his project!

I hope you won’t forget to check out CTupa’s previous entries in his Retro Arcade Art Project as well!


Editor at Retroist
Searching through the alleys for useful knowledge in the city of Nostalgia. Huge cinema fanatic and sometimes carrier of the flame for the weirding ways of 80s gaming, toys, and television. When his wife lets him he is quite happy sitting in the corner eating buckets of beef jerky.

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