3D Mon­ster Maze

Still ter­ri­fy­ing me, three decades on

Retro Gamer - - CONTENTS -

The ZX81 clas­sic scared the be­je­sus out of Dar­ran in 1982 and is still mak­ing him yelp in his seat to­day

» ZX81 » Mal­colm Evans » 1982

I’ll never for­get my first en­counter with Mal­colm

Evans’ epic 3D Mon­ster Maze. I was play­ing around a friend’s house and he was proudly telling me about his new game and pro­claim­ing to me how amaz­ing it was. Of course, this wasn’t the first time that Paul had hood­winked me with grand claims over a ZX81 game, so my guard was up some­what. I’d been un­in­ter­ested with his sto­ries on how life­like Chess was, while Flight Sim­u­la­tor was sim­ply too com­pli­cated for me to play. So when he earnestly told me that 3D Mon­ster Maze was the scari­est game I would ever play I smiled pa­tiently to my­self and sim­ply waited for the game to load up.

Ush­er­ing me to have the first go (Paul was noth­ing if not gen­er­ous when we played his new games) I found my­self in an as­ton­ish­ing-look­ing 3D maze and I gin­gerly started to ex­plore it, fully aware that a gi­gan­tic di­nosaur was trapped some­where in there with me. There was no sound, but prompts like ‘Rex Lies In Wait’, ‘Rex Has Seen You’ or ‘Run He Is Be­hind You’ were no less ter­ri­fy­ing and I’m not ashamed to say that I squeaked with fright the first time he caught me – I was nine, af­ter all.

Of course, I’m a grown, adult man now. I’ve played the likes of Alien: Iso­la­tion, Am­ne­sia: The Dark De­scent, Out­last and var­i­ous other sur­vival hor­ror games, I’m cer­tainly not go­ing to be fright­ened of some­thing as ba­sic as 3D Mon­ster Maze…

“Are you fright­ened, Dar­ran?” Drew asked me, roughly three min­utes into my playthrough af­ter I jerked back in my chair and made a noise not that dis­sim­i­lar to the one I emit­ted in 1982. “Did you have a lit­tle scare?” He might have been teas­ing me but he was right. For a brief mo­ment I for­got I was in an of­fice and I was once again that fright­ened lit­tle nine-year-old who had jumped out of his skin thanks to the skill of a de­vel­oper who was able to turn a bunch of ASCII char­ac­ters into a fe­ro­cious and dan­ger­ous T-rex.

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