Labyrinth (Activision) Review | Commodore User - Everygamegoing

Commodore User

By Activision
Commodore 64

Published in Commodore User #40


Labyrinth is based on the film starring David Bowie. Games based on film titles I can take or leave - so often a licence is a guarantee of sales, not necessarily of quality. But here is a superb game, and although it is not quite 100% adventure, I am prepared to accept it as such, just to have an excuse to play it!

A mini-adventure sets the scene, in which there are fairly limited choices. Making the right ones gains you a few useful objects, and you end up watching the film. This takes the form of game instructions issued as a series of word-bubbles, screened with music, from the digitised and cleverly animated face of the star.

Text input is limited to two words, selectable from two scrollable lists by the cursor control keys. This is a rather tedious process for true adventurers.

Soon you are confronted with a red castle door, complete with eyes and mouth, set into a massive grey stone wall. Slowly, the door creaks open, leaving an inviting entrance into the darkness beyond. 'You' are shown in cartoon form, and here the joystick comes into play, moving the player to left and right, forward and backward. The scrolling background, and character animation, is beautifully smooth.

Inevitably, before long you decide to enter the doorway, and with a gulping sound, the door closes behind you...

You are at the brick wall, a seemingly endless wall. The corridor in front contains a number of objects, and a creature. Below the picture is a narrow strip showing a plan view of your position relative to the other characters and objects in your vicinity, but more of it than is visible in the picture. You can therefore see when there is something up ahead of you well before you get there.

Below this, again, are the two word columns, for selection of commands by the arrow keys.

Escape from the brick wall is, eventually, a lot easier than at first it seems, once you realise that the markings are not all brickwork!

Next follows a series of short corridors with about half a dozen doors in them, some open, some closed. By using the text input mode, it is possible to open the closed ones, and then to enter one using the joystick. However, there are a variety of objects and creatures to help you, and to hinder!

There are vending machines scattered around, but they don't seem very reliable, though sometimes producing merchandise with promise. A rather troublesome creature patrols the corridors, causing havoc if he gets near you by opening up an invisible trapdoor beneath your feet, and casting you into an oubliette from which - if you are destitute or non-astute - there is no escape!

The aim is to reach the centre of the labyrinth, for there are problematical encounters too, as with Alph and Ralph for example. Alph and Ralph guard two doors. Alph will tell you that one leads to the centre - the other to certain death. Ralph will not comment until all the doors in the labyrinth have been opened!

Aaargh! I'm falling down an endless tunnel! Well, not quite endless perhaps. Suffice to say, I was trapped in the labyrinth forever!

Great fun, and highly addictive.

Keith Campbell

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