Atomic Castle

Laser disc based coin-op arcade game

Laser Disc Computer Systems (LDCS) was one of the first game companies to begin development of laserdisc-based video games. Unfortunately, numerous delays ultimately forced the game to be released in the heart of the late-1980s coin-op crash. Not many people ever saw the game in arcades, and few if any consoles are still in existence today. It is, however, considered a classic.

The objective of the game is to make it through the castle and disarm a doomsday device. Game play begins on the castle ramparts, where radiation balls and other nasty objects are hurling through space. These targets have to be destroyed in order for the player to avoid acquiring dangerous levels of radiation. If it gets to a critical level, the player loses a life. But if the player can avoid the radiation sources and find the key to the next level, he/she is "decontaminated" and moves into the castle itself, through a maze of corridors and inner chambers, where new obstacles and foes stand in the way.

The game includes real-time computer graphics overlaid over high quality photographic (not animated) video footage shot on location in a Scottish castle and on sound stages in Boston and Utah. The actors and costumes are impressive, if a bit silly at times. Atomic Castle was one of the first uses of 3D digital effects and compositing outside of the movie industry.

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