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Castle of Shikigami Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . Despite my misgivings about the easy difficulty and short story, I'm happy that Castle of Shikigami is finally getting a PC release. I like that this game has a proper story, more than a dozen cool bosses, attractive level designs and six characters with different abilities. It gives me a lot of hope that we'll eventually see ports of both Castle Shikigami 2 and Castle of Shikigami III in the near future. Now that's a trilogy I wouldn't mind owning. Rating: 64%
Castle of Shikigami
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Castle of Shikigami Castle of Shikigami Castle of Shikigami Castle of Shikigami
  • Review Score:

  • B-
Movies and television have taught me that if there's a serial killer on the loose, then you need to investigate all the leads and interview the witnesses. Leave no stone unturned, as they say. But what if there was an easier way to crack the case? Instead of scouring for clues, the heroes of Castle of Shikigami have devised a plan Joe Friday would never have even considered. These investigators literally fly through the air in hopes of putting an end to the murder spree.

Castle of Shikigami is a port of the 2001 arcade shoot-em-up from Alfa System. It sees you take control of six characters that all have different reasons to investigate this case. There's the teenage boy who hates what adults have done to this world, a woman who is hearing voices of despair and the teacher who wants to take revenge after one of his students is killed. These six characters take to the skies to shoot down demons in five moderately challenging levels.


Oh, did I not mention that the Castle of Shikigami is affectionately known as "the castle of demons"? Well, it is. I'm not sure that explains how we're floating through the air with super-human abilities, but if that's what they need to do to get us to an overhead 2D shoot-em-up, then I'm not going to complain.

Thankfully, Castle of Shikigamis is a damn good shooter. I love how different the six characters are, as each has their own type of fire and special moves. It's fun to play through the game multiple times in order to fill in the story and see the different endings. I also enjoyed the small touches, like how your bullets will power-up when you skim enemy fire. Plus, there's a scoring system that has you exploiting the time system to rank higher on the leaderboard. There's a lot that I like about this release.

The real emphasis here is on the boss battles. Each stage will have you facing off against three different bosses. In fact, you'll often go straight from one fight to the next with barely a pause in between. Some battles are better than others, but I really enjoyed how many different types of bosses popped up. They look great when placed in front of the fully 3D backgrounds that change perspective as you move back and forth.

For as great as many of the bosses are, I found myself constantly wanting a little more filler in between the epic fights. This is a short game. The five stages will take you no more than a half hour to complete, which left me wanting more. It's interesting to see the different cinemas for each character, but replaying the game doesn't change the action in any substantial way. Of course, this has more to do with it being an arcade game from 2001 than anything else, but I still found it disappointingly short.

Castle of Shikigami (Steam)Click For the Full Picture Archive

Castle of Shikigami is also insanely easy. It's a little weird to say that about an old school 2D shooter, but there's a lot about how this game is developed that makes it a pushover. For one thing, all six characters have a move that wipes the bullets off the screen that can be used multiple times between deaths. On top of that, there are unlimited continues where you'll respawn right where you died. Even on the highest difficulty, you'll be able to push your way through to the end, no matter how many times you die.

On the topic of disappointments, Castle of Shikigami is surprisingly barebones compared to Degica's other shoot-em-up ports. Their past games have included time attack modes, a bunch of sound options and more, but none of that is here. You can change the UI and adjust the difficulty, but that's about it. I was hoping for more.

Despite my misgivings about the easy difficulty and short story, I'm happy that Castle of Shikigami is finally getting a PC release. I like that this game has a proper story, more than a dozen cool bosses, attractive level designs and six characters with different abilities. It gives me a lot of hope that we'll eventually see ports of both Castle Shikigami 2 and Castle of Shkigami III in the near future. Now that's a trilogy I wouldn't mind owning.
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