Top 5: Video Game Castles of All Time
It’s the videogame equivalent of a Big Mac at McDonalds or having Samuel L Jackson turn up in your movie – let’s face it, we like our castles and we like them big and impressive.
Now I’m sure we all have our favourite haunts from across the games we’ve played, from the castle from Castlevania to Peach’s Castle in Mario 64, but I thought I might collect a few of my favourites and provide a few reasons as to why they make up my Top 5 Video Game Castles of All Time.
5. Bowser’s Castle – Super Mario World
Sorry, my number one is in another castle. But this castle still makes the list, as well as creating one of the most famous videogame memes of all time. Now it wasn’t so much the actual level composition of this castle which makes up the final level of the first world in Super Mario World, it was more the absolute troll factor of setting this up as a huge confrontation with the big boss Bowser and then casually backhanding you across the face and telling you that you’ve been in the wrong place the whole time. There is a reason that line is famous – it’s hilarious! And that was just about enough to give Bowser’s Castle (the first one) my number five spot.
4. Castles (varied) – Age of Empires 2: Age of Kings
Wait what? Number 2 and I’m already copping out by giving a place to a whole variety of castles? Well, wait, hear me out. The real reason this games castle(s) takes my fourth spot is just how integral they became to the gameplay after making the big jump up from the original Age of Empires (and for my childhood, the original Real-Time Strategy game that my parents let me play because it was somewhat educational). These fortresses were costly and time consuming to build, but this was more than offset by their durability and just general badassery – especially in the games Regicide mode, where you had to destroy an enemy’s castle and kill their king to win.
3. Hyrule Castle – The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
Do I really have to include something from Ocarina of Time in every list I make? Well apparently so, at least most of the time, because here we are again. Still I think Hyrule castle is deserved here, functioning as not only an amazing location for story set up, but also as a final destination/temple for your end of the game exploits. And let’s not forget some great times spent walking on top of hedges to get around guards while picking up a red rupee in the process. But mainly, this castle was distinctive and memorable – and probably the first one I thought of when coming up with this list. That’s gotta be worth something right?
2. Anor Londo – Dark Souls
This one takes the second spot for two very simple reasons: beauty and size. Anor Londo is filled with deadly enemies and precarious falls, as well as several skinny gargoyles who shoot lightning and are a real pain, but more than anything it’s just a stunning location to explore in any context – let alone in the mindbendingly difficult setting of Dark Souls. Still my appreciation for its scope and beauty were only slightly decreased my frequent deaths and long run backs, and it’s also home to one of my favourite boss pairs of all time (just got an idea for another list) Smough and Ornstein – so it has to take the second spot.
Side note: Those two knights with the bows and the really huge arrows almost made kicked Anor Londo off the list. I hate those guys.
1. Karazhan – World of Warcraft
And in what is probably sacrilege to some I’m going to finish by placing a World of Warcraft location on top. Maybe it’s because I spent literally days of my youth within its walls, maybe it’s the rose-tinted glasses of nostalgia. Maybe it’s because this is the only castle on the list with a giant demon who summons meteor monsters on its roof and a lifesize game of chess for everyone to enjoy. Whatever the reasons, Karazhan has always been one of my favourite Raids from WoW and is home to some of my favourite raiding (and playing) memories from across my 8 years of service to that MMO-prison so I figured I had to put it on this list. Oh and I just remembered it also had an Opera event which is to this day one of the best encounters in any game ever. Yeah that probably pushed it up to number one.