It all began as a run of the mill journey to the centre of the earth. But unbeknown to Sir Charles Frobisher the path he was following was to become a Stairway to Hell. Software Invasion use his story as the basis of this new arcade game.
On paper Stairway To Hell appears similar to every other ladders and levels game. It has multiple screens, tortuous path ways to be negotiated, and lots of baddies.
Yet it scores over the competition by virtue of the quality of each of these aspects.
There are 15 screens, stored as four separate files on disc or tape. As you complete each section you must load the new data before you can continue.
This is fine for disc users but a bit of a chore for the less affluent.
Mode 1 graphics have been used throughout, allowing the programmer to pack as much detail as possible on to each screen.
Having seen every screen I have come to the conclusion that it probably took the programmers longer to create them than it did to write the program. Their use of colour and shading is excellent.
Good graphics are welcome in a game of this nature, but tricky problems to solve are a must.
On each level your task is to make your way to the bottom of the screen, and you quickly realise that there is only one safe route to your goal.
To successfully complete a screen you require agility, timing and cunning. One particularly devious screen involved Sir Charles being sealed off in a small section of the scene.
As he walked along he kept vanishing and reappearing somewhere else in that small area. That particular puzzle took some solving but your intrepid reviewer passed with flying colours.
The ladders and levels section of the games market is congested with many mediocre programs.
To succeed a program has to have something special. I believe Stairway To Hell has got what it takes.