12. Dark Castle (Genesis)
Right around midnight last night, I beat this on Easy for the first time. Medium followed around noon today, and then Hard at 11:30, so I guess I did the whole thing inside of 24 hours. Hard is brutally unforgiving because of the very short respawn times, but there's really only one spot of extreme difficulty -- the rest requires accuracy, but isn't otherwise that bad.
For those who may not know, this is almost universally reviled as one of the very worst Genesis games, though it's ported from a compact Mac game that got much better reviews. Personally, I'd give this version a D-. As a product, it's essentially a complete failure: it never should have been ported to the Genesis to begin with, and they messed up many things in the process. The game is inexcusably short, terribly outdated, and -- especially at first -- incredibly frustrating.
But the thing is, the original source material was pretty good for its time, and that shines through somewhat. Once you get the hang of the game's horrible jumping algorithm, and learn a few other tricks, it opens up a little bit and the frustration factor drops dramatically. Honestly I had a lot of fun beating it, though obviously the game's reputation contributed to that -- when you know you're taking down one of the most reviled and (allegedly) ball-bustingly difficult games in the Genesis library, it's kind of a rush.
I think this Youtube video
was made by a member of Sega-16 IIRC, and it was incredibly helpful in learning where to jump from in the final stage. But the player misses a few things that make the game far more manageable: for one, you can shoot the Dark Knight's mugs and stop him from attacking (which is probably a bug). More importantly, the Shield item is an absolute must to deal with the Gargoyle. I learned all this from the Dark Castle wiki
, which was a big help.
Anyway, D-minus. But not quite an F, because no game I actually enjoyed gets an F from me.