The Catacomb is the rare, forgotten first Catacomb game that predates the well-known Catacomb 3D trilogy by months. For those not in the know, here is why Catacomb 3D is a milestone in action gaming, in the words of John Carmack himself: "Catacomb 3D was the first texture mapped 3D action game, although it followed Hovertank, which had scaled sprites but flat shaded walls. The catacombs engine looked similar to wolf, but it was quite different internally, and had more error conditions." Carmack probably did not mention The Catacomb because it is a very primitive-looking top-down game-- nothing compared to the sequels. But since it is always interesting to trace beginnings of a famous series, The Catacomb definitely belongs on this site :) |
On to the plot, which is very typical of fantasy games, but at least sets the stage for later Catacomb games: you are a mighty wizard who has been sent on a mission to free the Palace of Kierlon from the powers of darkness. Armed with the power to hurl powerful magic missiles, you strike out on a grand adventure. The gameplay is standard shoot-monsters-and-pick-up-keys type, although there are some nice touches that would characterize Carmack's later games. The mazes (of which there are 30 in total) are cleverly designed, with hidden passages you can discover by searching walls or destroying them with your magical missiles. Overall, a primitive-looking game that is quite enjoyable, and bodes well for the much better-looking Catacomb 3D series.
Reviewed by: Underdogs