Castles and Clowns

by Christopher
3 minutes read


Castles and Clowns: A Nostalgic Journey Through a Colorful Arcade Classic


Castles and Clowns, released in 1993 by the Japanese developer Toaplan, is a side-scrolling shoot-’em-up arcade game that stands out for its unique castle-themed setting, charming visuals, and frantic gameplay. Players take control of a lone spaceship and must navigate through a series of colorful and whimsical levels, battling hordes of enemy clowns and other bizarre creatures.


Castles and Clowns is a classic vertically-scrolling shoot-’em-up, similar to games like R-Type and Gradius. The player’s ship is equipped with a standard shot, as well as a variety of power-ups that can be collected throughout the levels. These power-ups include homing missiles, spread shots, and even a temporary invincibility shield.

The game’s levels are filled with a wide variety of enemies, from standard clowns to giant bosses. Each level also features unique environmental hazards, such as moving platforms, rotating gears, and even giant, fire-breathing dragons.

Setting and Visuals

One of the things that sets Castles and Clowns apart from other shoot-’em-ups is its unique setting. The game takes place in a colorful and whimsical castle world, with levels that range from lush forests to medieval fortresses. The visuals are bright and vibrant, with a charming cartoonish style that gives the game a timeless appeal.

The enemy designs in Castles and Clowns are also quite memorable. Players will encounter a variety of different clowns, each with their own unique attacks and abilities. There are also giant spiders, bats, and even a giant, floating head that shoots lasers from its eyes.

Music and Sound

The music and sound effects in Castles and Clowns are also top-notch. The game’s soundtrack is composed of catchy and upbeat tunes that perfectly complement the vibrant visuals. The sound effects are also well-done, with realistic explosions and enemy death cries.


Castles and Clowns was a critical and commercial success upon its release in 1993. It was praised for its unique setting, charming visuals, and frantic gameplay. The game has since been ported to a variety of platforms, including the Sega Saturn, PlayStation, and Nintendo Switch.

Castles and Clowns has also been cited as an influence on a number of other shoot-’em-up games, including the popular Touhou Project series. The game’s unique setting and memorable enemy designs have helped to ensure its place as a cult classic among fans of the genre.


Castles and Clowns is a charming and challenging arcade shoot-’em-up that offers a unique and unforgettable experience. With its colorful visuals, memorable enemy designs, and catchy soundtrack, Castles and Clowns is a game that is sure to appeal to fans of the genre and retro gaming enthusiasts alike.

Review Score


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