Castle of the Winds

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640x480 graphic display, 80286 CPU, 2MB RAM, Windows 3.x or above

Castle of the Winds (CotW) is a tile-based roguelike computer game for Windows 3.x. It was developed by SaadaSoft and published by Epic MegaGames in 1989.[1]


Release history

The game is composed of two parts: A Question of Vengeance, released as shareware, and Lifthransir's Bane, sold commercially. A combined license for both parts was also sold.

In 1998, the game's author, Rick Saada, decided to distribute the entirety of Castle of the Winds free of charge.[2]


The game differs from most roguelikes in a number of ways. Its interface is mouse-dependent, but supports keyboard shortcuts (such as 'g' to get an item). Castle of the Winds also allows the player to restore saved games after dying.


The game favors the use of magic in combat, as spells are the only weapons that work from a distance. The player character automatically gains a spell with each experience level, and can permanently gain others using corresponding books, until all thirty spells available are learned. There are two opposing pairs of elements: cold vs. fire and lightning vs. acid/poison. Spells are divided into six categories: attack, defense, healing, movement, divination, and miscellaneous.


Castle of the Winds possesses an inventory system that limits a player's load based on weight and bulk, rather than by number of items. It allows the character to use different containers, including packs, belts, chests, and bags. Other items include weapons, armor, protective clothing, purses, and ornamental jewellery. Almost every item in the game can be normal, cursed, or enchanted, with curses and enchantments working in a manner similar to NetHack. Although items do not break with use, they may already be broken or rusted when found. Most objects that the character currently carries can be renamed.


The game tracks how much time has been spent playing the game. Although story events are not triggered by the passage of time, it does determine when merchants rotate their stock. Victorious players are listed as "Valhalla's Champions" in the order of time taken, from fastest to slowest. If the player dies, they are still put on the list, but are categorized as "Dead", with their experience point total listed as at the final killing blow. The amount of time spent also determines the difficulty of the last boss.

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