I am going through a phase of playing through Coleco games on my Ultimate SD, and last week, I started playing Alcazar: The Forgotten Fortress. I couldn't find a thread dedicated specifically to this game, so I decided to start my own.
I was surprised at how much I liked the game (having never heard of it before), and I just got finished making it to the throne on the hardest difficulty. This is truly a great game that reminds me of a handful of other games from the era like AD&D Cloudy Mountain, Swords & Serpents, Wolfenstein, and the original Metal Gear.
I really liked the way the game forced you to play differently as the difficulty increased. Here are some tips from someone fresh from playing this hidden gem:
1) Read the fnck!ng manual (LOL)
2) After #1, make note of what special item kills which enemy AND which color castle has which resources and shortcut item. I wrote this down on a small piece of paper and just kept it next to me for reference:
- Oil kills Griffins
- Bleach kills Oilmoebas
- Water and Ring kill Genies
- Only Bullets kill the Guards
- Rope is in the Blue Castle (lots of guns)
- Raft and WATER are in the Red Castle (no guns on lvl 4)
- Ring is in the Purple Castle (little bit of everything; no genies)
- Extra life is in the Black Castle (despite the manual, usually has guns)
3) Go slow and learn to recognize the hints about which enemies are where. On the higher levels, you can't let yourself get surprised. You'll almost always be killed by every enemy unless you have a plan.
4) If you do get surprised, carrying meat in your hand can help you quickly stun any enemy.
5) Follow the tips in the manual and learn to lure enemies down pits. I find that the tiger and the oilmoeba are especially easy to lure down the small pits in level 3 and 4 (4 is the highest) even if chasing you for a few screens (they're slow). The guard and the griffin are pretty fast, so only a direct lure down a pit is recommended for them.
6) Your route matters! You want to plan your route so that the last castle you visit before the Alcazar is either a Red or Purple Castle. If the map isn't favorable, don't wast time. Just reset the game until you see one you like.
7) Blue Castles are the easiest, but the rope is the least useful special item and bullets aren't very helpful in the Alcazar. Blue Castles are good to visit early to stock up on bullets and can be a relief to pass through on your route to the finish, but don't waste too much time on maps with large numbers of them near the Alcazar.
8.) Black Castles are a good first stop to stock up on supplies, but getting the extra man can be very tough (and expensive) especially on level 4. Step into Black Castles early and look around, but be prepared to backtrack and leave rather than waste resources. Also, you don't want to pick up a key too early or it will use valuable inventory space.
9) Carry 2 bottles of water with you into the Alcazar. Sometimes you can find one bottle in there, but don't count on it. You will almost always need to kill at least 2 genies to get to the throne.
10) On level 3 and 4, you will need to carry keys with you into the Alcazar. You can get these only from guards in the Purple or Black Castles. Ideal inventory starting Alcazar on level 4:
- Oil or Bleach**
*can substitute a ring
**You don't really need bullets in the Alcazar because there are no guards
11) When you find it, you need to make contact with the left part of the throne. That's the part that most looks like the seat. If you are racing a genie to the throne, be aware that you cannot just touch it anywhere.