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Mastertronic Ltd
1985
Arcade: Platform
£1.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

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38,39
Chris Bourne

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?

CRITICISM

'Caves of Doom is a pretty good platform game with straightforward but good graphics. There's not much sound - a little more would have made for more cheerful play. A fast, jolly platform game which I found fun. I enjoyed the editor, too- it added an extra dimension to the basic game. You should get your money's worth of fun with this one.'

'Although Caves is not bad, maybe it would have been better value in combination with another, similar program on the tape for £1.99. The cave designer is nice and easy to use but it doesn't add to the game. I found it did the opposite: instead of enjoying the frustration at a given point in the game, it's all to easy to edit out the problem altogether. Generally, this is not an excellent program, but better than average.'

'A couple of years ago I would have been really impressed with this game as it has lots of screens and even a screen editor. Nowadays, it's below average, and even for a cheapo game it's not brilliant. Playing the game is fairly straightforward: just fly around and collect the fuel pods for points and try to get all the keys. Graphically, Caves of Doom isn't good, the characters are small, undetailed and jerky and the backgrounds are too colourful and often garish. Nevertheless, there is a strange sort of addiction about this game - you'll play it when you re bored with everything else and then get really addicted to it. The screen editor is very strange and takes time to get used to, but once you do, it's very useful.'

COMMENTS
Control keys: O left, P right, A up, Z down, G start game, E to edit, 5, 6, 7, B to move cursor in edit mode, J/K backwards/ forwards through character set
Joystick: Kempston, Interface 2. Cursor, Fuller
Keyboard play: responsive, well laid out
Use of colour: a bit garish at times
Graphics: simplistic
Sound: jetpack noise only
Skill levels: one
Screens: 40
General Rating: A fun little game.

65%
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Screenshot Text

Inside the editor in CAVES OF DOOM from Mastertronic. if you can't get through a screen you can always edit the awkward bits out!

Dancing Chinamen do their best to block your progress in CAVES OF DOOM.