Escape From The Mindmaster
|Escape From The Mindmaster
| Dennis Caswell
|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
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
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
to 2600 Software