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Fun mix of puzzles and dungeon crawler
If you're a dedicated interactive fiction fan, a keen follower of the likes of text adventures such as The Mist or Zork, then Castle Ralf will be right up your alley. While not exactly earth shattering, lacking somewhat in the storyline department, it's a fun little adventure that boasts enough satisfying puzzles to keep newbies and veterans alike playing until it's done. To be honest, it's less of a traditional text adventure than a puzzle game with a less than complex narrative that sees players thrust into a mysterious and somewhat strange castle where the only hope of escape comes from solving a seemingly never-ending barrage of fiendish puzzles. In many ways, the game could be seen as more of a dungeon crawler, with the player roaming the halls in search of the next puzzle while making use of the clever and inventive (for its time) interface. instead of the usual text parser, you have a menu system which lists all available verbs and which saves on typing time, making this quite accessible to newcomers. As mentioned, the storyline is pretty much non-existent but what is present is told in a fashion which is intended to be humorous but which largely falls flat. However, it's the puzzles which are the stars here and there are plenty of them and which in the main are clever and genuinely challenging without being illogical or unfair. Castle Ralf is certainly no genre classic and those looking for an involving storyline would definitely be advised to look in the direction of Guild of Thieves or Corruption but if you're after something to test your puzzle-solving skills, this should keep you entertained.