Hydra Castle Labyrinth


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Rating: 4.6/5 (27 votes)
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Hydra Castle Labyrinth

JohnBOriginally released in mid-2011 by indie game creator E. Hashimoto (Buster), Hydra Castle Labyrinth is an old school-styled platform adventure that was previously only available in Japanese. A brave soul recently translated the game to English, and now the cute metroidvania title is available for a much wider audience to enjoy. And enjoy it ye shall!

hydracastlelabyrinth.gifWith no story or set-up to speak of, Hydra Castle Labyrinth drops you right in the middle of a castle with little more than your sword and an enormously over-sized helmet to fit your enormously over-sized head. You have a number of paths to explore, many of which will end in a temporary dead end. To continue, you'll have to back track, find the right item (or key, in some cases), then charge forward again, ready to discover new territory!

Enemies are all over the place, but most of them are dispatched with relative ease (except the bosses). You start with a sword, which is useful enough for close combat, but eventually obtain a few more useful weapons to unleash. Enemies tend to follow simple patterns and take just a few hits to get rid of, but if you're not careful, they can end your game faster than you can say "wait, when was the last time I found a save point?".

Analysis: Hydra Castle Labyrinth is filled with items to find, a surprising number considering the relatively small size of the explorable map. You'll locate almost 30 items in your quest, as well as half a dozen sub-weapons and a fistful of keys. Back tracking is a major part of the game, so hopefully you won't mind seeing the same areas two or three times while you make your item-collecting rounds.

One thing you'll inevitably notice is that you can't jump from ladders. There doesn't seem to be a real reason for it, you just can't. So, instead taking a daring leap from the rungs to cut short your downwards climb, you'll find the avatar knight holding fast to the ladder, as still as a stone. The gameplay doesn't suffer from the exclusion, it just seems so obvious to anyone who has played a platform game, and possibly a bit annoying at first.

It's great to see games like Hydra Castle Labyrinth get a new life with a translation patch, especially when they're as enjoyable and good-looking as this. Expect a solid two or three hours of gameplay, and expect to get lost and feel frightened for your pixellated life several times. Hydra Castle Labyrinth is a great metroidvania game at a price you can't beat!

WindowsWindows:
Download the free full version (click the top download link)
Get the English translation patch
Download the pre-patched game

Mac OS XMac OS X:
Not available.
Try Boot Camp or Parallels or CrossOver Games.

Walkthrough Guide


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This game is simply amazing.

Castle map:

37 Comments

Why isn't this game tagged as a platformer? It looks like a platformer.

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Grew on me after the first 10-15 minutes but the start is pretty uncompromising in an old-school way.

Even finding a save point feels like an achievement.

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Green Tengu Author Profile Page January 29, 2012 11:25 AM

Anybody else first find out about this game via DeceasedCrab? Anyway, I used an early version of the English patch to play the darn thing, and I loved the game more than most. Unlike Akuji the Demon, though, this game has a bit of edge in terms of difficulty, so player beware!

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SonicLover Author Profile Page January 29, 2012 12:20 PM

I don't know what's wrong with me, but I keep reading "Hydra Castle" as "Hyrule Castle".

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Good game so far. I just wish I could mute the music. I tried going into the system box to put the volume way down but it doesn't do anything.

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Anonymous January 29, 2012 5:06 PM

What version is the prepatched link?

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Interesting. Mine's not playing any music, and so I just assumed there was none. For what it's worth I downloaded the pre-patched version.

This is a great little game so far. I appreciate how lost you are at first, finding, for example, doors and save spots with no way to use the former and not much purpose in using the latter.

I happened to stumble across the double-jump before anything else, which took two leaps of faith: one off the screen, and the other in bothering to clear a screen of enemies, despite the game having offered to reward for doing so thus far. In retrospect, the fact that it was a dead-end otherwise, especially after it taking that first leap of faith to reach there, was probably the tip off that made me try a few times to clear the screen despite the difficulty. So that may count as excellent subtle design.

Thanks for posting about this!

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Any other keys besides U, D, L, R, X and space?

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Very enjoyable! Although I did rage quit twice already, it keeps me interested enough to come back.

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I have a serious bug. When I reach the Dodo den, a error dialog in japanese will pop out and I can't continue afterwards. Also I will suffer some damages some times when I climb up stairs. Anyone knows what is the problems?

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datavenia January 30, 2012 6:17 AM

I'm having same problems, only In my case, error occurs anywhere, also it freezes my computer as well.
I'm using win7 for my os.

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@Dave:
Are you using a Dvorak keyboard? Here the keys are, as far as I know:
z - jump
x - melee attack
c - alternative attack
a - cycle through alternative attacks

Also, since we have to find these things on our own, let's register the obvious as well:
Arrows for movement. Up to open chests, open doors and activate the save/checkpoint thingies.

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The items I have so far and what I think they do. I'm making up names and a (a,b) means the row and column they are in the F1 screen:

Pick axe (1,1) - makes all your attacks break special breakable tiles.

Bell (1,3) - No idea what it does. It rings sometimes when I enter a new area. First I thought it was indicating me the areas I haven't explored before, but that's not the case.

Some piece of armor (1,5) - Looks like a helmet or something like that. I don't know what it does, but I suspect it increased my energy bar.

Horse mask thing (2,1) - No idea. At all. None.

Rings (2,2) (2,3) (maybe more) - No idea what it does.

Necklace? (2,5) - No idea what it does.

Winged shoes (2,6) - Double jump!

Shield (3,1) - protects from projectiles. The use is automatic, but you have to be standing still and looking in the direction you want to defend.

Keys (located in the lower bar) - I have 2, each of them opens a specific door.

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@Diego
Bell ringing is supposed to indicate treasure is nearby.

Game really starts you off with no direction. Had to watch a video to find first three items.

Now I have first two sub weapons - arrow and throwing axe. First two keys - only have used first one though.

And acquired items (1,1) (1,2) Better Pick Axe (1,3) (1,5) Item for faster ladder climbing, and (3,1)

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@Diego

What's the video called so I can search for it?

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Diego, are you playing without the English language patch? On the F1 screen, if you use the arrow keys you can move around the middle section and see a brief description of each of the objects you've found thus far.

This is really a great little game. I finished with everything but whatever goes to the right of the Hunter's Shield. I'm thinking it's probably not worth spending an hour wandering around to find the one thing I missed.

I'm also thinking that it wasn't quite intended for the double-jump to be found so early, seeing as it allows you to bypass a bunch of minor time-consuming headaches in the later dungeons.

Thanks again for posting this.

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Doh! I forgot there is patch..

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Now I don't have sound effects anymore :(

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Eh, nevermind. Just had to adjust the settings (sorry for posting)

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I have a map of the main dungeon (I'm putting together the boss dungeons as I get to them), but I'm not sure how to put up a link to the image. Can anyone tell me how?

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Is there any way to separate the music from the sound affects at all ?

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okay the power of posting is the power of thought !

Ive moved the main midi files for now - seems to be working for now

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@yaddab, if you go into the settings file, titled "inikaeru", you can increase the sound effects volume bar at the bottom to max. That should let you hear it over the music.

Fun game! Stuck on Dungeon 4, keep getting thrown into the water!

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With the help of Youtube videos by DeceasedCrab (first video here), I was able to get all the items.

Two tips:
Turn up the sound effects so you can actually hear the chime (He gets it at 3:40 in the video, in case you don't have it yourself). It lets you know when you enter a room with a chest in it.

Second, there are some breakable blocks that look just like a part of the wall.

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This looks like fun.

I tried using a gamepad, but it doesn't seem to understand the concept of a "dead zone," so back to the keyboard for me.

The control configuration is odd, but I managed to make it work for me.

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In case anyone wants a map (and to be god darn serious, I really wanted this game to have an in-game map).

Minor warning though - it pretty much shows where to get many of the main dungeon items, including some optional ones (but nothing too entirely game-breaking).

@nobody:
Should be pointed out that

Double jump is an optional upgrade - you can tell with certain parts of the game. Pretty much every upgrade that you obtain from Double Jumping is also optional, and some are fairly game-breaking even.

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This game is simply amazing.

Castle map:

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Thanks for the map, can't get past the metal blocks at boss #3.

Tried watching the videos (found them, that was easy... : p), but trying to find where to open those turned this game into work...

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Nevermind, found away around. This game is big!

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This makes it a lot easier at difficult places

If you take a hit and fall off a ledge in an inconvenient place, close the window and restart. It will start you at the beginning of the screen.

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Forgot to add:

Seems to work sometimes, but not others. YMMV

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Crabbadon January 31, 2012 8:35 PM

I ran across a part of the second dungeon which:

was blocked off with a grey block. How on earth do I get past it? I presume I'm meant to if double jumping is optional...

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Yeah, stuck in the exact same spot. Thought the

Power Band

would fix this, but alas.

Off dungeon crawling till we find something better, I guess...

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Second Dungeon and Gray Block Info:

All gray blocks of this types I have encountered so far either required killing all enemies in the room or hit the appropriate switches.

For the one in the second dungeon you have to kill all the stationary shooter enemies in that room.

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Great game! I haven't been so hooked on a game since I last played Zelda..
Fourth dungeon question:

Is there any way to get the underwater breathing mask or the flippers without having double jump or dash?

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And win. 3hr 10min, 100% items. Don't expect much storyline but the gameplay is really great. I love this style game.

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