The Castles of Dr. Creep

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The Castles of Dr. Creep
The Castles of Dr. Creep
Publisher(s) Brøderbund
Designer(s) Ed Hobbs[1]
Platform(s) Commodore 64
Release date(s)
Genre(s) Platform/Puzzle
Mode(s) Single-player, cooperative

The Castles of Dr. Creep is a computer game for the Commodore 64 written by Ed Hobbs and published by Brøderbund in 1984.[1]

The Castles of Dr. Creep is a platform game with a heavy puzzle element. It takes place in thirteen medieval castles owned by the eponymous Dr. Creep, and the player's task is to escape from each castle. One or two-player game is possible, allowing collaborative gaming for solving the puzzles.


When the game starts, the player can select from any of the thirteen castles, which have horror-movie-style names such as Sylvania, Carpathia, Callanwolde, or Lovecraft, or a tutorial castle (which, if counted, brings the total to fourteen). The player then starts from a specific room inside the castle, and must use his wits and skill to traverse through a vast network of interconnected rooms to find the exit.

The rooms consist of platforms on various levels, connected by ladders and sliding poles. Doors lead from one room to another. Some doors are locked, and the player must find a key to be able to go through them. Most doors are not locked but may be opened by a doorbell. However, in some cases, the doorbell is only on one "side" of the door (i.e. in one connecting room but not the other), and sometimes the doorbell is difficult to reach.

A central aspect of the game is the imaginative use of various contraptions and devices in the rooms. Conveyor belts, force fields, and laser guns hinder the player's progress. In some places he must avoid, trap, or kill mummies and Frankenstein monsters. Teleport devices are often required to navigate through a room.

The player in The Castles of Dr. Creep has an unlimited amount of lives. If the player dies, he or she re-enters the castle at the "start" door. The game constantly keeps track of how much time has passed, and when the player manages to escape the castle, the time taken is recorded into the Hall of Fame, but only if the unlimited lives option is turned off (in this case there are three lives). In the original Commodore 64 platform, saving and re-loading a game disqualifies a player for the Hall of Fame.

Game items[edit]

You can climb up or down on ladders.
Sliding pole 
You can only slide down on sliding poles.
Doors lead to other rooms. You can open a door by the corresponding doorbell.
Locked door 
Like a door, but to open it, you must find both the corresponding key and the corresponding lock.
Exit door 
When you go through this door, you have completed the castle. May or may not be locked.
Conveyor belt 
Has three states: running left, stationary, or running right. The states can be toggled by an external switch. It is impossible to run against conveyor belts; they move faster than the player or any enemy.
Can be opened or shut by an external switch. Open trap doors are impassable. A trapdoor opening underneath the player kills the player. The switch is triggered by a player or enemy passing by it; these are the only switches an enemy can toggle.
Normally active and impassable, but hitting an external switch disables it. After eight seconds, it automatically reactivates.
Matter transmitter 
A teleportation system that consists of a booth and a series of colour-coded receptables. In the booth, you can choose the colour of your receptable and then teleport directly to there.
Ray gun 
Moves up and down on a vertical girder. Left alone, continuously tracks the player and will fire upon getting on the same level. With an external switch, the player can manually control the gun.
Lightning machine 
Hangs down from the ceiling. Has two states: active and passive, which can be toggled by an external control. Active lightning machines are lethal to both the player and enemies.
Running past an ankh causes the mummy to emerge from its tomb. Mummies follow the player around but cannot use ladders or sliding poles.
Frankenstein monster 
Facing its coffin (even when far away) causes the monster to emerge. Frankenstein monsters follow the player around, and can use ladders and sliding poles.

Both mummies and Frankenstein monsters are vulnerable to the same dangers as the player (e.g.: either will die if a trapdoor is opened under them), but neither can trigger any switches except for trapdoor switches. Frankenstein monsters are slightly slower than the player and mummies are even slower.


An unauthorized spin-off, named Dungeons of Dr. Creep, was released in 1985, made by a band of crackers known as Star Frontiers. The game was the result of a reverse engineering of the file format. It added features such as invisible ladders, poles, and floors, and the allowance of multiple teleport "circuits" in the same room (i.e. there may be more than one "red dot", and different booths use different "networks").


External links[edit]