Labyrinth (Lucasfilm/Activision) Review | Zzap - Everygamegoing


By Activision
Commodore 64

Published in Zzap #23


There you were, sitting in the back row of the movies on a Saturday night, looking forward to a pleasant evening of escape from your own humdrum world into the fantasy and excitement of a new film. But little did you know that tonight really was going to be an escape from the real world...

The film started, and the face of Jareth, the Goblin King, appeared. Suddenly the fantasy became reality... Jareth picked you out from the other cinema-goers, and told you that he had stolen your soul. The only way to get it back is to destroy Jareth in his lair at the centre of the Labyrinth. But if you don't do so within 13 hours, you become his servant, doomed to wander the corridors of the maze forever.

The first part of Labyrinth is a text adventure, in which all commands are entered by means of two text lists at the bottom of the screen. One list contains verbs, the other objects. Words are selected from these lists by using the cursor keys to scroll through them. When a command has been selected, pressing RETURN inputs the phrase, and a response is given.

On completing the text adventure, the second part is loaded. Here, the action changes to that of a joystick-controlled arcade adventure. The character under your control is either a boy or a girl, depending on whether you input your sex as male or female at the beginning of the game.

A radar is situated at the bottom of the screen and shows the position of exits, inanimate and moving objects or creatures - mainly Jareth's goblin guards. Running into a goblin results in a trapdoor opening beneath your feet, and you fall into a dungeon where precious time is lost trying to escape.

The lists of texts are retained, and are used throughout to pick up objects and to help solve problems. In all, 22 sections have to be completed before Jareth can be overthrown and your soul reclaimed - and time is short.


Whilst superficially very flashy, there really isn't much to Labyrinth, I should imagine that tape users would get very frustrated reloading the game every time they made a mistake.

The animation of the large central character is smooth - he (or she) is one of the first game stars who doesn't appear to have come straight from the ministry of silly walks. Arcade freaks will soon get bored with the fairly slow pace though, and adventure fans are going to be unimpressed with the limited amount of (fairly simple) problem solving.

Lucasfilm have done a lot of good things in the past, so it's a pity to see them not make the grade this time.


To start off with, I got a good six hours worth of entertainment out of this. Some of the situations are amusing, and some of the problems are simple but fun to solve - I became so engrossed that I virtually completed it at one marathon sitting... but after that I got bored, and was stuck outside the Goblin's Castle, throwing rocks for what seemed like forever.

The characters are superb, large and well animated - but then so they should be as each section is loaded individually... Which makes me wonder why Activision bothered to put Labyrinth onto cassette - the disk version is slow enough.

Recommended though - if you have no objections to paying fifteen quid for a few hours of solid entertainment.


This is a real disappointment after such Lucasfilm classics as Ballblazer and Fractalus. Labyrinth is basically a simple arcade adventure which, although fairly original, doesn't really offer much in the way of excitement.

Progress through the Labyrinth is quite slow, and I found myself getting frustrated with the character's lazy pace - there seems to be too much time spent walking around, and not enough action. The graphics and sound are competent, but it simply isn't difficult enough to keep you playing for long.

If you like the sound of the program then give it a try, but I think that you may well be disappointed.


Presentation 79%
Almost great, but let down by the laborious multi-load.

Graphics 86%
Excellent cartoon-style drawings and animation.

Sound 60%
Tinny tunes and few simple spot FX.

Hookability 79%
Quite compulsive, but only for a few hours.

Lastability 39%
Fun to complete once, but rapidly loses any appeal.

Value For Money 39%
Not enough long-term enjoyment for the price.

Overall 50%
Professional, but lacking any real challenge.