Personal Computer News11th May 1985
Published in Personal Computer News #110
Tunnels, ladders and monsters - that's what this game offers, but don't get excited. It's an anti-climax after Durell's superb Combat Lynx.
You start off above ground, a chunky, helmeted figure carrying a shovel. Move left or right and you come across a tent or Land Rover. These are red herrings. The only way into the game is via the single downward set of ladders.
Underground you'll find a pretty standard scenario of more ladders linked by tunnels. You'll also be struck by the lack of variation and action. You're supposed to wander about, gathering up gold bars, with the aim of amassing a fortune. There's a gem somewhere and the game ends when you take it back to the tent, so you're advised to leave doing that until last.
The shovel's not for digging - it's for bashing nasties intent on preventing your fortune-hunting. Use the T key (or fire) to collect gold, or the space bar to select a carried item for use.
One of the worst faults is that screens don't carry across from one to another. If you're trucking down a ladder and a deadly scorpion waddles up towards you, just nip up to the screen above, then duck down and it'll have disappeared. This makes for a boring gameplay - it's too easy to stay out of trouble.
Death Pit lacks variation - all you have to do is troll about, dodging or bashing nasties and picking up gold bars. Flooded tunnels and a declining battery merely complicate the rules, but not the play. The choice of colours is odd too - khaki-green bats on khaki-green steps are hard to pick out.
A game like this could and should have incorporated caverns among the passageways, perhaps some platform element, and a greater variety of hazards. The software sprites show promise, but it's just not realised.
All in all, Death Pit is a disappointment. And why do so many software houses insist on converting Spectrum and Commodore 64 games for the Amstrad? Why are there so few original games for the machine?