The evil Lord of Doom is a bit averse to strangers snooping around his planet. Understandable really, but when most people would tell the odd explorer or two to shove off, this guy casts intruders into a pit and leaves them to die. He's not called the evil Lord of Doom for nothing you know.
Oblivious to the nasty nature of the planet's master, you decide to do a bit of exploring on Doom. Predictably enough, you are captured by the denizens of the evil Lord, and are left to die, deep within the bowels of the planet. It's all a bit perturbing really.
After going through heavy bouts of feeling sorry for yourself it soon becomes apparent that the best plan is to try and escape back to the surface where your rocket ship awaits. Obviously it's not that easy. Numerous sentries are stationed around the Dark Lord's underground citadel. Some are intelligent, homing in on your body heat, white others patrol mindlessly along their designated paths. Be warned, a sentry's touch is deadly.
Locked doors bar your route to freedom, blocking the main passageways back to the surface. There are five different types of door, and each needs to be opened with a key which matches the colour of its paintwork. Keys are to be found knocking about the citadel and are picked up by flying over them. One of the keys is a composite object, split into three pieces; all three parts must be collected before the key works. Seven bits to collect in all.
You get around the caves using your jet powered backpack. When you fly, the whirr of jet thrusters resonates around the cave. The only real drawback it has, is that it's not very economic on fuel. Luckily, ample amounts of this wonder mixture can be found and collected within the subterranean caverns. Strolling over a purple fuel canister tops up your tanks and moves the bar gauge at the top of the screen to the right. Economy driving flogging along on foot doesn't use any fuel, but it is a little slow and you are more likely to get totalled by attacking aliens when you're on foot.
Each cave occupies the lower part of the screen with the upper area reserved for important information relating to status, lives remaining and score. There is usually an exit on at least one wall of each cave, and as you fly/walk through it another screen flips into view. Dodging the mindless nasties successfully comes with practice, but the homing baddies present more of a problem. They look like white stick men and zoom towards your location with a frightening fervour. You have eight lives to start with, and some quick learning is called for... Your man is unarmed, so the nasties have to be avoided rather than killed, and points are awarded for progress.
Those of you having difficulty with certain screens, or the game as a whole will no doubt leap into the editor supplied. This most handy of utilities permits the playing area supplied with the game to be remodelled, or completely destroyed and rebuilt. In edit mode, the cursor remains stationary while the landscape scrolls behind it. Keying 0 deposits a building block selected from the menu of 255 components under the cursor.
The editor gives access to an infinite number of DIY games, and is perhaps the ultimate cheat mode. But are you sprite enough to cheat death in Caves of Doom the honest way?