COUNTDOWN TO DOOM
Professional, Originally Released On DFS 1900 Disc
Game Type††††††††† : Text Adventure; Disc-based
Authors ††††††††††† : Peter Killworth
Standalone Release(s)†† : 1987: COUNTDOWN TO DOOM, Topologika, £9.95
Compilation Release(s)†† : None
Stated compatibility††† : Electron
Actual compatibility††† : Electron, BBC B, B+ and Master 128
Supplier††††††††††† : TOPOLOGIKA, 1 South Harbour, Harbour Village, Penryn,
††††††††††††††††† † CORNWALL TR10 8LR
About The Author...
By profession a theoretical research oceanographer - and an occasional anthropologist and magician - PETER KILLWORTH fell in love with adventures when he discovered 'Colossal Cave'. His own first attempt at this new art form ('Philosopher's Quest', originally published by ACORNSOFT) sold 25,000 copies.
'The programming,' he recalls, 'was totally functional, and fairly crude by my current standards. But the plot and puzzles were good. It's very easy to write a bad adventure (it just needs hard work); but a good one needs plotting like a novel, the appropriate writing skills, and the ability to create new puzzle types instead of just repeating old patterns'.
His family occasionally see him away from his computer terminal at home. They do NOT play adventure games.
About The Adventure...
You set off from Earth in your one-man ship, and are soon orbiting Doom.
Doomawangara - Doom for short - with its weird climate that varies from desert to jungle, glacier to swamp; the gome, aeons ago, of the Ancients, whose crumbling dwellings at last begin to show up on your scanners, their images giving you the feeling that they're watching you - not the other way round. Doom, famed across the Galaxy as a POTENTIALLY lucrative tive source of income, its surface littered with crashed treasure ships, rapidly corroding in the intensely volatile atmosphere.
Only those known as adventurers would dare to land.
You make one more pass over the enticing planet, wondering if YOU have the courage. The decision in made for you when your ship comes under a sudden and violent attack that sends it tumbling out of control until it hits the surface with a force that could have killed you.
You pick yourself up and survey the wreckage, knowing that both you and your ship are well and truly doomed unless you can find the spares to repair it in time...
GAME SIZE: Medium.†† RATING: Medium.
DOOMAWANGAKA. Abbr:†† Doom. Climate:†† Varies dramatically from desert to jungle, glacier to swamp. Atmosphere intensely volatile; explorers must guard against rapid corrosion of equipment and spaceship alike. Dangers:†† Atmosphere, as above. Automatic defence system. Also the Ruins, reputed to have been the home, aeons ago, of The Ancients; none who has entered them has ever returned. Special features:†† The large number of crashed spaceships littering its surface, many of which had been carrying treasure from one planet to another, make Doom a potentially lucrative source of income for that special breed of Explorer known as Adventurer...
- Extract from INTERGALACTIC TIMES, Vol. 3, Sec. 7, pp 167
You set off from Earth in your one-man ship, and are soon orbiting Doom.
Before you can contemplate a landing, however, your ship comes under a violent attack from Doom's automatic defence system. "No wonder most ships never come back!" you tell yourself as your ship tumbles out of control towards Doom's surface with you playing the controls like the expert you are.
Nothing you can do can prevent the crash-landing, however, and your ship hits the ground with a force that would have killed you had you not jumped at the last moment to absorb some of the momentum...
You pick yourself up and survey the wreckage, knowing that your ship will corrode away in a mere 400 Time Units. Repair it by then or you'll be stuck on the planet forever. DOOMed, in fact...
To function properly, your ship needs certain items (see below).
DILITHIUM CRYSTALS (for power - very dangerous to handle)
a MOTOR UNIT
a NAVIGATION UNIT BOX
a LIFE SUPPORT SYSTEM
a NUCLEAR REACTOR
Without these, your ship simply won't fly. If any are too old or corroded, they won't work. If you can leave these components (and any treasure you find) in your cargo hold, what's left of your ship's systems - controlled by an intelligent console in the control toom - will reassemble your ship and fly you home, hopefully a much richer person.
But remember - the corrosion clock is ticking away...
COUNTDOWN TO DOOM comes with on-line help which you can get into by typing HELP <RETURN>. The program will halt and wait for you to type in a number so that it knows which 'hint' you want. You therefore need to know which numbers refer to which hints.
Pages 2-4 of this Help Sheet contain a series of questions that players typically ask, like 'How do I get out of the spaceship?'
Various 'key words' have been deleted from these questions - making it harder to accidentally see the solutions to other questions - and are reproduced below. The numbers alongside the words refer to the questions. The number that follows each question is the number to key for that particular hint. Good luck!
†ALLODILE††††††††† 11†††† FLICKERING††††††† 45†††† POWER†††††††††††† 13
†ARTEFACT†††† 2,14,28†††† GLACIER†††††††††† 32†††† PRESENT†††††††††† 24
†BEAM††††††††††††† 47†††† HALL††††††††††††† 21†††† ROBOT††††††††††††† 9
†BLOB††††††††††††† 39†††† HELMET†††††††††††† 1†††† ROOF†††††††††††††† 1
†BLOWN††††††††††††† 8†††† ICE†††††††††††††† 44†††† SCREEN††††††††††† 45
†CABINET†††††††††† 15†††† ICICLE††††††††††† 42†††† SEESAW††††††††††† 29
†CHEST††††††††††††† 7†††† IGLOO†††††††††††† 38†††† SKATES††† ††††††††38
†COMPONENTS††††††† 51†††† JUNGLE†††††††† 19,26†††† SLUGS†††††††††††† 43
†COMPUTER†††††† 12,24†††† LASER†††††††††††† 47†††† SPACESHIP††††††††† 4
††††††††††††††† 27,50†††† LIGHT†††††††††††† 34†††† SWAMP††††††† 6,20,34
†CORRIDOR†††††††††† 2†††† METATERMITES††††† 22†††† SWITCHES††††††††† 30
†CRYSTALS†††††† 16,33†††† MONSTER†††††††††† 33†††† THOUGHT†††††††††† 49
†DECAPODS††††††††† 35†††† MOTOR†††††††††††† 48†††† TIME††††††††††††† 40
†DESERT†††††††† 17,18†††† MYSELF††††††††††† 25†††† TRAP††††††††††††† 19
†DISCS†††††††††††† 50†††† OBJECT††††††††††† 46†††† TREASURE††††††††† 10
†DOOR††††††††††††† 21†††† PAN†††††††††††††† 23†††† TUBES†††††††††††† 37
†DOORS†††††††††††† 49†††† PHASER†††††††††††† 5†††† UNIT††††††††††††† 48
†EATING††††††††††† 22†††† PIT††††††† ††††††††3†††† UP††††††††††††† 8,31
†ENTRANCE††††††††† 28†††† PLATFORM††††††††† 13†††† VOLCANO††††††† 31,41
†EXPLOSIVE†††††††† 36†††† PNEUMATIC†††††††† 37
†1†† How do I get the ****** onto the ****?††††††††††††††††††††††††† 43
†2†† How can I get out of the curving ******** in the ********?†††††† 6
†3†† How do I avoid dying in the ***?††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 27
†4†† How do I get out of the ********?†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† †1
†5†† How can I stop the ****** killing me?†††††††††††††††††††††††††† 11
†6†† How do I avoid dying after sinking safely to the bottom of the
††††††† *****?†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 22
†7†† How can I stay alive opening the *****?†††††††††††††††††††††††† 38
†8†† How do I stop myself getting ***** **?†††††††††††††††††††††††††† 2
†9†† How can I stop the ***** taking all my objects?†††††††††††††††† 26
10†† How do I locate ********?†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 48
11†† How do I get across the ********?†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 25
12†† How do I avoid dying when I leave the ******** room?††††††††††† 34
13†† How can I stop the ******** running out of ***** in the wrong
††††††† place?†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††14
14†† How can I not be killed when I enter the ******** from the NE?†† 4
15†† How can I stay alive opening the *******?†††††††††††††††††††††† 38
16†† How can I stop the ******** killing me?†††††††††††††††††††††††† 17
17†† How can I get back from beyond the ******?†††††††††††††††††††††† 9
18†† How can I survive in the ******?†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 7
19†† How can I get across the *** in the ******?†††††††††††††††††††† 46
20†† How do I stay alive in the ****?††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††18
21†† How do I get through the large **** in the ***?†††††††††††††††† 45
22†† How do I stop the ************ ****** everything?†††††††††††††† 42
23†† How can I stay alive opening the ***?†††††††††††††††††††††††††† 38
24†† How do I avoid getting killed going through doors after getting
††††††† the ******* from the ********?†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 37
25†† What should I give ******?††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 21
26†† How do I avoid getting lost in the ******?††††††††††††††††††††† 12
27†† How do I stop the ******** telling me off for killing?††††††††† 36
28†† How can I get into the ******** through the SW ********?†††††††† 5
29†† How do I use the ******?†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 8
30†† How can I get all the ******** turned to ON?††††††††††††††††††† 19
31†† How do I avoid dying going ** the *******?††††††††††††††††††††† 30
32†† How do I avoid dying of cold on the *******?††††††††††††††††††† 10
33†† How can I stop the ******* killing me when I try to go past or
††††††† take the ********?†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 16
34†† How do I get ***** below the *****?†††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 29
35†† How do I stop the ******** getting me?††††††††††††††††††††††††† 24
36†† How do I get out once I've used the *****?††† †††††††††††††††††††3
37†† How can I avoid getting lost in the ********* ***** maze?†††††† 23
38†† How do I get the ****** out of the *****?†††††††††††††††††††††† 31
39†† How can I stop the **** killing me when I pick it up?†††††††††† 15
40†† How can I achieve anything when I'm forward in ****?††††††††††† 20
41†† How do I avoid dying going down the *******?††††††††††††††††††† 41
42†† How can I get the ******?†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 39
43†† How do I stop the ***** killing me?†††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††40
44†† How can I stay alive crossing the *** rink?†††††††††††††††††††† 32
45†† How can I stop the ********** ****** killing me?††††††††††††††† 28
46†† How do I enquire about the use of any ******?†††††††††††††††††† 47
47†† How do I stop the ***** **** killing me?††††††††††††††††††††††† 33
48†† How do I get the ***** ****?††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 13
49†† How do I get past the *******-sensing *****?††††††††††††††††††† 44
50†† How do I make the ******** accept the *****?††††††††††††††††† ††35
51†† How do I locate spaceship **********?†††††††††††††††††††††††††† 48
Instructions' Source†† : COUNTDOWN TO DOOM (Topologika) Help Booklet
Review (Electron User) - "Disc-based Adventures"
I have never been much of a science fiction fan, but COUNTDOWN TO DOOM was always one of my favourite Acornsoft adventures. Now released in a totally rewritten form by its author Peter Killworth, this game is definitely worth a second look.
It is presented in a stylish black folder with an excellent hint sheet and superb pamphlet on playing adventure games.
The adventure has been greatly enlarged with extra locations and excruciating puzzles, a new parser and layered atmosphere at each location.
You play the role of a pilot of an interplanetary spaceship which has crashed on the planet Doomawangara, a world at its best inhospitable and at its worst your graveyard.
It has a weird climate that varies from desert to jungle, glacier to swamp, and is the home of many crashed treasure ships.
Your task is to find spares to repair your ship so you can escape from this galactic hell hole. The problems are manifold and even if you have solved the original Acornsoft version of this game, that is no guarantee you will be successful this time.
The discs still need to be collected and inserted in the order in which you found them, and the blob is still present, but is encountered much later in the game.
The goggles are essential protection and the rat must not be harmed. Other than that, everything else in the adventure has changed almost beyond recognition.
The beginning is complex, the main part of the adventure riddled with new problems and the end-game is quite novel.
The quest basically involves collecting an assortment of items and then deciding upon their correct use.
Even experienced adventurers will find themselves resorting to the hint sheet on more than one occasion and planning a new strategy or approach.
Peter Killworth has gone to great extremes to make the whole experience more polished and enjoyable. The constant disc-access slows down manoeuvres, but is worthwhile payment for a bigger and better game.
I wholeheartedly recommend this adventure, whether or not you have played the Acornsoft original. New versions of ACHETON and KINGDOM OF HAMIL are promised and I await them with anticipation.
Presentation ................... 10
Atmosphere ...................... 9
Frustration factor .............. 8
Value for money ................. 8
Overall ......................... 9
Pendragon, ELECTRON USER 5. 9
Not the Acornsoft ROM cartridge version, Peter Killworth's COUNTDOWN TO DOOM re-release by Topologika is a mammoth upgrade to the original with many more puzzles, locations and characters. In many respects a cult classic it is both one of the few Electron games solely produced on disk (and in fact one of only ten games ever which were customised to work only with PRES' AP4 upgrade) and one that is still available from its software company to this day.
The first installment in a trilogy of text adventures about the plague planet Doomawangara (followed by RETURN TO DOOM and THE LAST DAYS OF DOOM in 1988 and 1990 respectively), it mixes a surprisingly detailed narrative of exits and locations with unexpected sarcastic comments when you try particular actions.
The scene is set when your spaceship crashlands and a countdown (of the title) starts ticking away to ship collapse. The description of what is left of your ship's interior hardly inspires hope that any of it is fixable but, with Doomawangara best described as a spaceship graveyard, there is a small chance you can collect enough sundries to get the craft airborne again. A simple puzzle will see you out onto terra firma (after blowing up even more of your ship) and present you with a swamp, jungle, valley, desert, mountain path and narrow path; all exquisitely detailed as, you will quickly appreciate, is the norm.
What is irksome about continuing from this point is that any false sense of security you had developed thanks to the simpilicity of your escape is then repeatedly squished. Almost every move you make now results in a hideous and sometimes quite unconnected death. For example, you choose the desert, death by heatstroke; swamp, death by drowning; narrow path, death by slugs falling out of the sky; etc.
As in all adventures, there are objects to find and use correctly. Unlike in many, there is no need to EXAMINE anything. Doing so brings up the message "I've already told you everything you need to know about that!" which comes direct from the hand of Peter Killworth, not the Doom-stranded adventurer who is refered to in the second person. Once again though, you are forced to die a number of bloodthirsty deaths to discover what is safe to pick up or manipulate. Oh, goody, a gun, I'll fire it. Dead. What's that blob wriggling towards the cliff? I'll TAKE it. Dead. And these are only in the first six or seven locations! Bearing in mind that professional adventures such as this tend to get harder and harder the further the adventurer manages to progress, some will probably be very discouraged by these early setbacks which, if you have not SAVEd the position, immediately return you to the start of it.
A better solution, which is contained in some other Topologika releases, is to ask "Do you want to pretend you hadn't done that?" and wait for the inevitable Y keypress. This saves a large measure of frustration.
As you may have guessed, I have not personally made much headway in this hellhole but apart from the spotless spelling and atmosphere, the game has one more feature to recommend it and this is the on line help facility.
With the original disk comes a sheet of most-likely-to-be-asked questions. However, instead of having to decrypt a coded answer or look it up on another sheet, you obtain the answer from the game itself by typing HELP and then the NUMBER following the appropriate question. You get one hint and, if this is too cryptic, can ask for further ones until you are given a solution. In this way, the game's appeal is advanced as you can make progress without needing Britain's Biggest Brain.
Presented in a stylish clear plastic folder with an illustrated low-down on the planet and a playing guide, COUNTDOWN TO DOOM suggests at every level that it is a very serious adventure which will tax the old grey matter to bursting point. This is exactly what the software itself does and it's no bad thing at all. It incorporates many new items over the original version and, although it includes some tried (or should that be tired?) and tested puzzles from other adventures, manages to cram in a few new ideas too. If you can live with being knocked off every few minutes, and don't mind responses like "Gee, I hope you enjoyed that!" if you do something Killworth considers unnecessary, then give this adventure a go. But be warned though, it's not easy!
Dave Edwards, EUG #54