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John Shepherd
Arcade: Maze
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Chris Bourne

Our hero is trapped, deep in the darkest recesses of a set of dank caves. The only light comes from glowing patches of phosphorous on the slime covered walls which twinkle in the half-light. As feelings of claustrophobia set in, he realises he must get out as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the character has not been blessed with huge amounts of courage and this makes his task all the more difficult.

To add to his predicament the caverns of Kontonia are filled with various monsters whose staple diet seems to consist mainly of unwary pot-holers. These nasties must be avoided at all costs. Every time the character clashes with them his courage is sapped and eventually it fails him altogether and he dies. The courage-count is represented by an apple at the bottom of the screen. As the far from intrepid explorer gets weaker, the apple is eaten away to the core.

Life in the caverns isn't too hopeless, however, as there are various objects lying around that come in handy. The only way to get out of the underground maze is to collect the sword and the key of ultimate power. Without these, the mission is futile. Other objects that assist escape are shown at the top of the main screen. When an umbrella is picked up, for example, the potholer is protected from the occasional shower of toxic rain. The bag of hole-filler may be used to bridge gaps in the cavern floor which you can't get over.

The best way to stay alive in the Caverns of Kontonia is to avoid the monsters, but our hero can get his own back. If he manages to pick up the hammer, then he can have great fun indulging in a spot of nasty-bashing until the hammer breaks. Some of the caverns in the game are filled with poisonous gases. Gas kills, unless you have had the foresight to pick up and wear the gas-mask.

Our hero moves around the caves on foot, climbing down ropes to get to the lower levels or using teleports to explore new parts of the cave system.

The game contains eight screens, and some levels cannot be completed before the correct objects have been picked up. Do you have the strength to keep the wimpy hero going, or will his courage fall and condemn him to spend the rest of his life entombed within the evil Caverns of Kontonia?


'This has to be the most infuriating game of the week. It's so easy to die before you get anywhere. Like so many other budget games, this has no lasting appeal or outstanding features. The graphics are of an average standard: the many undetailed characters flicker and the backgrounds are boring and uncolourful. The sound is also fairly mediocre, with only a few odd effects here and there. Not a wondrous game'

'Ugh! What's happened to ATLANTIS games of late? Some of the ones I've seen have been really dire. A pity, after they started with such playable games, Caverns of Kontonia is pretty bad. The graphics are quite pleasing to start with, but when the colour starts clashing, they get less and less attractive. Playing through the same boring screens time and time again is very irritating, and the whole game begins to get very boring after an all too short while. Not one I'd recommend'

'Oh great, at last ATLANTIS have come up with a game that is above their usual standard. The game reminded me very much of the not so old Hocus Focus. The screen display is only a third of the screen big, and it consists of some very large, colourful and podgy graphics. The presentation of the game was very poor - there's only two lines of instructions in the inlay, and very poor sound in the game itself. The control of your character is a bit Sack but it was quite easy to get used to after a while. Overall, another typical budget game, but bit better than the usual ATLANTIS efforts.'

Control keys: Q up/down, A down/pick-up/activate, O left, P right, H hold
Joystick: Kempston
Keyboard play: fairly responsive
Use of colour quite colourful, though there are some clashes
Graphics: not very good
Sound: poor sound
Skill levels: one
Screens: eight
General Rating: A fairly run-of-the-mill budget title.


Screenshot Text

If our little hero is not vigilant, then a fate worse than death awaits him. It's not nice being stripped to the bone...