Cyberdrome in your own home ? – the PC Crystal Maze

Following on from the Crystal Maze Arcade Game discussion, I stumbled upon the PC version via the Collection Chamber.

As you can see in the Retro Pixel Lizard video, the general principles are similar to the Team Challenge, in that individual players can be assigned to particular games. However, unlike the arcade game, each of the collection of players has particular skills (the man in glasses has better luck with mental games, the man with the small chin and large face is better at physical etc). These skills manifest by lowering or raising the difficulty of each game (there’s also a master setting for this too, and you won’t get the best ending until you win on the highest levels). What is unfortunate though is that there’s no way of knowing who is good at what in advance, even with the manual, it’s all trial and error. Pick wrongly in a skill challenge for example and you may find the controls reversed, which is no good to anyone. I mention this because on casual pickup, there’s little chance that a player is going to pick up on this.

Digital Jellyfish Design actually created the game, but it was published by Sherston Software, a software house better known for more traditional edutainment titles. As a consequence, the PC version was also ported to the Acorn Archimedes computer series, a hardware line for which Sherston had produced many educational games. It was this version that I enjoyed at the time, although without a hard disc, the relentless floppy swapping between zones rapidly became tiresome.

The Collection Chamber version posted above runs DOSBox and all you need to play the game, which works well with keyboard and mouse, or a compatible joystick – just watch the top right corner of the screen to see what input you should be using at any one time ingame. The largely image based navigation takes a bit of getting used to, but it’s a reasonably diverting collection of games, and unlike the arcade, each zone has its own exclusive game set.



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