Escape From The Mindmaster

Name:
Escape From The Mindmaster
Company: Starpath
Model #:
AR4200
Programmer:
Dennis Caswell
Year: 1983
Released?
Yes
Notes:
Originally called Labyrinth

 

Escape From The Mindmaster was one of Starpath's first multi-load games.  By having multiple loads Starpath was able to increase the complexity and length of their games in such a way that would have been impossible on an 4K or 8K cartridge.  As the title title suggests, Escape From the Mindmaster is a strategy game in which the player must solve devious puzzles in an attempt to impress the Mindmaster, an devious being who has kidnapped and imprisoned you in a giant maze.  

 

Each level of Escape From the Mindmaster consists of two different segments: The Peg Puzzle Maze, and The Intelligence Test.

 

The Peg Puzzle Maze

This is the main part of the game, and as such is the portion in which you will spend most of your time.  The Peg Puzzle, as you may have guessed, involves finding a peg and placing it into the proper hole (that's what she said...).  Each peg is hidden somewhere in the diabolical maze, and must be located before time runs out.  Fortunately you are given a map of the maze, however it does not show the locations of the pegs, you must find those yourself.

 

The mazes are fairly straight forward; Pushing up and down moves you forward, while pushing left and right turn you 90 degrees in the appropriate direction.  Hidden somewhere in the maze is a locked door which leads to the next level, this door will not open until all the pegs have been put in the holes.  Starting on maze four there are devious one-way doors which disappear and will not allow you to go back once you pass through.  Plan your strategy carefully around these doors.

 

Of course it wouldn't be much of a game without some obstacles to get in your way.  In Escape From the Mindmaster these obstacles take the shape of the Alien Hunter, and the Sliding Force Field.

The Alien Hunter

The Alien Hunter is a little green guy which roams the maze stalking you.  His whole goal in life is to hunt you down and steal your lives.  If he touches you, you will lose of chances (lives), so be careful.  Thankfully there is a warning sound which accompanies the Hunter, tipping you off that he is near.  Another plus is that the Alien Hunter cannot pass through doors or walls, making it possible to avoid him altogether with just a little strategy.

 

The Sliding Force Field

The other obstacle in the maze is the Sliding Force Field.  The Force Field appears as a block which randomly moves throughout the maze.  However instead of moving down corridors like the Alien Hunter, the Sliding Force Field moves sideways through walls!  As you probably guessed the Force Field is deadly to the touch, so avoid it when possible.  

 

The Intelligence Test

As you advance through each maze you will be given a surprise intelligence test.  Each maze has its own unique test, which tests a different attribute.

Test 1: Agility - This is one of the simpler tests, as all you must do is jump form side to side avoiding falling bricks.  If you get by four bricks you fail the test.

Test 2: Reflexes - In this test you must try and move the joystick in the direction of the flashing arrow as quickly as possible.

Test 3: Recall - Basically a game of Simon Says.  Here you are shown a sequence of arrows and must reproduce the pattern with the joystick.

Test 4: Dexterity - This test is very similar to the first one.  Here you must make your way through a stream of falling bricks, but this time you cannot touch even one.

Test 5: Coordination - Lunar Lander!  In this test you must land a spaceship on the platform without using too much fuel.  This is by far the trickiest of all the tests.

Test 6: Unknown - Only expert players who make it through all six mazes are allowed to see this test.

 

Escape From the Mindmaster proves that the 2600 was capable of complex strategy games, if the programmer put their mind to it (the extra memory of the Supercharger helps too).  Starpath showed that they really knew their stuff, and that they were not afraid to put out a game that wasn't the 'norm'.  Escape From the Mindmaster is a brilliant thinking/action game, and is truly one of the hidden games of the 2600 library.

 

Version Cart Text Description
?????? Labyrinth Mid-level WIP

 

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