The Eternal Castle (1987) - probably fake

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David
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The Eternal Castle (1987) - probably fake

Post by David »

I was searching the Web Archive for some more PoP-like games: https://archive.org/details/software?an ... 0persia%22

At the bottom of the results was this: https://archive.org/details/TheEternalCastle
It's supposed to be a game from 1987 that was very ahead of its time, and comparable to Another World, Flashback, or Prince of Persia.
The ZIP download also contains three screenshots.
The commenters seem to remember it... One of them is "JMenko" who is also the uploader.

Another place with a download: http://www.classicdosgames.com/forum/vi ... php?t=1623

The uploader is "JohnM". I wonder if he is the same as the "JMenko" above, since they share the same initials...
He writes "I was currently able to play only the first part of the game".
I wonder how, since I couldn't get the game to work...
People there also complain about the game not working.

The first post has the three screenshots from archive.org plus a new one.

Also, this ZIP file here contains only README.EXE and SETUP.EXE.
README.EXE matches the README.EXE in the archive.org ZIP.
SETUP.EXE matches the ETERNAL.EXE in the archive.org ZIP.

Someone mentions the empty .dat files that are only in the archive.org version.
The first post was edited once, so I guess the post originally has that version as well.


Analysis of the files:
(Don't just believe me -- look into them yourself!)

* Most files contain only zero bytes.
As noted in the classicdosgames forum:
laserghost wrote:I wonder how is this game supposed to work if all the .dat files are empty.
* ANLGSND1.DAT, ANLGSND2.DAT, ANLGSND3.DAT
These are the copies of the DIGISND1.DAT, DIGISND2.DAT, DIGISND3.DAT files from Prince of Persia 1 (DOS) v1.0.
What are these files doing in a game supposedly from 1987?

* MELEE.COM
According to the text in the file, this is a "Star Control II crack".
This is also noted in the forum:
laserghost wrote:The crack for Star Control II doesn't seem to help. :lol: I wonder where are you going with it.
* MELEE.PKG
This is a picture with some unknown header. If you set the width to 256 in your hex editor, you'll see that it spells "STAR CONTROL 2 SUPER MELEE" at the top.

* SETUP.EXE
This is supposed to be the installer. It asks for disk 2, but it can't find it, so the only option is to quit.
It doesn't seem to contain the names of any files around it.
On startup it mentions DPMI. But DPMI was introduced only in 1989!
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DOS_Prote ... _Interface

* ETERNAL.EXE
This seems to be a different version of the installer.
It seems to start up somewhat faster.
It doesn't contain the names of any files around it, either. I has only some DOS commands to create and remove directories from "INSTALL1" to "INSTALL8".

* README.EXE
This displays the manual of the game. (You can redirect it to a file.)
It tells how to register the game (through an 1-800 phone number), the story (with some typos), how to install, and controls.
There is no info about who made the game, though.
Also, was the word "folder" used for directories on DOS, back in 1987?

* The EXE files contain error messages like "RETURN without GOSUB" and "Out of DATA".
This means that they were made in Basic.
This, by itself, does not prove anything, though.
There were some actual games made in Basic, like Castle Adventure (1984), Prisoner (1988), or Aquanoid (1992).

* screenshot_1.png
Open it in a hex editor or text editor.
You will find this in the metadata:

Code: Select all

         <photoshop:TextLayers>
            <rdf:Bag>
               <rdf:li rdf:parseType="Resource">
                  <photoshop:LayerName>@1987 T.E.C. CGA MODE</photoshop:LayerName>
                  <photoshop:LayerText>@1987 T.E.C. CGA MODE</photoshop:LayerText>
               </rdf:li>
               <rdf:li rdf:parseType="Resource">
                  <photoshop:LayerName>SYNTH ENABLED</photoshop:LayerName>
                  <photoshop:LayerText>SYNTH ENABLED</photoshop:LayerText>
               </rdf:li>
               <rdf:li rdf:parseType="Resource">
                  <photoshop:LayerName>Layer 17</photoshop:LayerName>
                  <photoshop:LayerText/>
               </rdf:li>
            </rdf:Bag>
         </photoshop:TextLayers>
It looks like the texts on the title screen were added with Photoshop.
Why would someone do this on a genuine screenshot?

I found this out when I was searching the texts on the picture in the game's files.
But those texts appear only in this PNG file, not in any of the EXEs.


There aren't much pages on the web about this game.
Here are the others I found:

* https://twitter.com/EternalCastle87 -- Remake of the 1987 cinematic platformer "The Eternal Castle"
It links to www.theeternalcaste.com. If you fix the typo, www.theeternalcastle.com shows just a default Free DNS page.

* https://trello.com/b/SPP6CO2E/the-etern ... remastered
This is some To-Do list.
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Norbert
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Re: The Eternal Castle (1987) - probably fake

Post by Norbert »

Here's another long list:
https://web.archive.org/web/20170731204 ... p?t=989633

I think maybe you should read
-----
Remake of the 1987 cinematic platformer "The Eternal Castle"
-----
as
-----
Remake of the 1987 cinematic platformer "Beyond Dark Castle": "The Eternal Castle"
-----

Which makes "The Eternal Castle" the remake-in-progress, by grabbing random files from platform games and trying to get these to work together.
And then some other people are just pretending "The Eternal Castle" was an old game, just trolling using the demo of the remake that they obtained.
David
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Re: The Eternal Castle (1987) - probably fake

Post by David »

Norbert wrote: October 23rd, 2017, 7:34 pm Here's another long list:
https://web.archive.org/web/20170731204 ... p?t=989633
Wow, that's a long list of cinematic platformers!
It has PoP, Karateka, games we mentioned on the forum (Cruel World, Zorro, Nosferatu, but not Runen), and some games that I heard to be PoP-like (Another World, Flashback, Blackthorne).
(Btw, the page still exists: http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=989633 )
Norbert wrote: October 23rd, 2017, 7:34 pm just trolling using the demo of the remake that they obtained.
Dunno, but the linked page seems to be a levelset for Zelda Classic, not a remake of "Beyond Dark Castle".
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Norbert
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Re: The Eternal Castle (1987) - probably fake

Post by Norbert »

David
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Re: The Eternal Castle (1987) - probably fake

Post by David »

So was the Web Archive thing a marketing ploy for the upcoming "remastered" game?

The page on Archive.org was already flagged as "This Item May Contain Spam, Scam or Fraud": https://archive.org/details/TheEternalCastle

I've looked through the Steam forums of the game: https://steamcommunity.com/app/963450/discussions/
I found these threads about the existence of the original game:
https://steamcommunity.com/app/963450/d ... 712532168/
https://steamcommunity.com/app/963450/d ... 799075713/
https://steamcommunity.com/app/963450/d ... 816614994/
Some people don't like that the developers said there was an original game.
Other people say it's not such a big deal, and that it's part of the game.

And the oddest thing: one user writes that they actually had a re-release version of the original game from 1991, called "9000 Smiles edition":
https://steamcommunity.com/app/963450/d ... 710345820/
However, if I search the web for "9000 Smiles edition", most results are about Battletoads.
This one looks very interesting:
https://thetv.info/tv79596d56647a6766684359 wrote: What made it into a meme is not entirely known.
What we do know is that it started on 4chan with...
"Battletoads" as the unhelpful answer to any question about a game,
and "is this Battletoads?" as the follow-up question to any game trailer.
It got old fast.
Then all of a sudden, people from 4chan found a funny game.
Call GameStop and ask them for Battletoads pre-orders for the new Nintendo Wii.
A game, of course, that didn't exist.
[...]
Eventually, other lines like 'Mudkips Edition' and '9000 Smiles Edition' made their way into the routine.
[Anon] The game is Battletoads for Wii.
[Employee] Oh yeah, we got plenty of Battletoads
[Anon] You do? Umm...I'm looking for the limited edition actually.
Do you have the one with the '9000 Mudkips'?
Sooo, is this "9000 Smiles Edition" thing a fake?

Then I found an article that quotes from our forum thread:
https://www.polygon.com/2019/1/9/18173739/eternal-castle-remastered-fake-history wrote: “What are these files doing in a game supposedly from 1987?”
Furthermore, the article mentions this from the Press Kit:
http://www.theeternalcastle.net/press-kit.html wrote: The team is made by three passionate independent developers from Europe and Los Angeles, who put all their minds and souls to achieve something that gets as close as possible to the dream-game they wish they could’ve played when they were kids.
Could this be understood as an acknowledgement that there was no original game?
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