Sunday, 21 December 2008

Trapdoor - Spectrum Style!

Somewhere in the dark and nasty regions, where nobody goes, stands an ancient castle. Deep within this dank and uninviting place lives Berk.


Overworked servant of the Thing upstairs.


But that's nothing compared to the horrors that lurk beneath the trapdoor. For there is always something down there, in the dark, waiting to come out…

#Don't you open that trapdoor#
#You're a fool if you dare#
#Stay away from that trapdoor#
#Cos there's something down there#

Well.. that's that self-indulgence over with. If you've never heard the theme tune to this incredible series, never mind simply not heard of it, shame on you! Hang your head in a bucket of maggots, for you would have missed out on one of the finest dramas since Shakespeare unveiled King Lear... that is, of course, if all the characters in Lear were made from plastercine and said things like "Globbits." Anyway, Berk lived in this big castle, and had to fetch things for the Thing upstairs. He was, then, the Jeeves of his time. But not.

Today, however, I shan't look at the series (good as it was) but the computer game. As a kid, the Trapdoor computer game for the ZX Spectrum was one of the great wonders of the world, in it's complexity and amazingness-factor, to use the correct jargon. This article was to have been a walkthrough on how to complete the game with maximum points, since I reasoned that because it was aimed at 5-year-old children, I should have no trouble

Boy, was I wrong.

The main excuse for my utter ineptitude at this game was the "amazing" 3D system the game used. Now, when I say 3D, I really mean that Berk was able to move up and down the screen in such a manner as to never, ever, interact with any object. Ever. Need to push a pot to complete a mission? Well, you'd be walking up and down for half an hour whilst the time ran out trying to touch the damn thing. Think I'm lying? Well, download it and find out (instructions at the end of this article)

Nevertheless, I shall do a guide on how to play this game. Only on how to play this game and fail miserably.

1 - Get The Worms!
Here's the main room. The blue guy in front of you is Berk. Aaw. He's got giant hands and big feet. I don't know why I mentioned that, but just in case anyone reading this happens to be blind... The trapdoor to the right is the titular Trapdoor. Open it... and all kinds of monsters could come out! Or worms, although I'm sure worms can be considered scary fiends, especially by squeamish housewives (or househusbands, to be PC).

With that bit of filler out of the way, it's onto the first task - to get the boss a Can Of Worms. Mmmm, cuisine. Sounds easy, no? just pick up a few worms and send them up. Well, it would be... if there were two 'friends' who didn't get in your way!
a) Boni

The chap on the left is your best friend, Boni. Well, for a start, it's a pretty sad state of affairs when the bloke you hang around with is a fleshless skull, but if it makes Berk happy... Anyway, picking Boni up will cause him to give you an infuriatingly cryptic clue, such as "You need a can to hold the worms," or "To get the worms, open the trapdoor."  Stop confounding me with your devilish riddles! I swear, this skull just hinders your quest, as you must wait for ages as the time ticks away to work out his sick little games.

b) Drutt

What's worse than a wisecracking, smarmy skull? Well, a yellow hoppy thing, that's what! To get the worms, you need to open the trapdoor. But then this delightful little fellow is waiting, and gobbles your hard-earned worms up, getting you in trouble! And even my attempts to fling his miserable carcass into the trapdoor fails, as he simply jumps back out again. Grr

2 - Boiled Slimeys
 This game had such an impact in our house, that every time my mum would cook something disgusting, like casserole or potatoes for tea, we would call it "Boiled Slimeys." Needless to say, every night we ate Boiled Slimeys. But anyway, the boss wants boiled slimeys, and by hell he's going to get them! To do this, Berk needs to go outside into the swamps and catch the little blighters, which is easier said than done. With approximately 6 seconds to go, you then have to plop them in the pot, cook them, then push it into the elevator.

Two problems here.

Firstly - in this game, it is impossible to cook anything. There's a cooker, but it's about as hot as your 70-year-old granny. Try to push anything up to it, or put a frying pan full of eggs on it (this comes later) and the thing will do absolutely nothing! Secondly, as stated before, you cannot push anything without an hour to try to get Berk to line up with it. It makes me want to cry...

3 - Eyeball Crush
The boss was pissed that I hadn't actually delivered anything so far. In order to douse his rage, he wanted a nice, refreshing glass of eyeball crush. Getting the eyeballs was the first hurdle... I had thought about getting Berk to remove his own eyes and crush them, but for some inconsiderate reason, the programmers had declined to put this command in the game. So I had to grow my own, using eyeball plants. The eyeballs fully grown and fallen off the branch, I put them in the vat, then decided to push it to the crusher. Push... see the problem there?

Yeah, so after half an hour, with Berk walking anywhere but to intercept the vat, I got bored, and decided to open the trapdoor, to see what was so scary that it shouldn't be opened...
 ...and was immediately greeted by an alien on wheels! Eep! It's hilarious appearance is offset by the fact that this muther can breath fire! And when the fire hits you, you get teleported somewhere else! And the thing stalks you, and is indestructible and makes noises and ohgodmummyitscomingitswaitingohnonononono


Yeah, so this giant green balloon had me on the run. I had literally minutes before I needed to deliver the precious eyeball crush, but was foiled at every turn by this cunning genius. With no sawn-off-shotguns to dispatch it a la Terminator, I was forced to turn into Rambo!
 There was no option! I bravely lured it into the kitchen, and chucked giant eyeballs onto its head. Ha - that'll show it!

Unfortunately it didn't, so I had to restart the game. Never one to admit defeat, me.

4 - Fried Eggs
The final task in this Herculean epic was to fry some eggs... not that hard you'd think. But I looked all over the castle - no eggs. There was only one thing for it - to let Satan's Bird escape from the trapdoor. Oooh, scary. But getting the eggs out of the bird is another matter entirely, the thing just flies back and forth. Boni was no help - he just told me to scare it. And what, I thought, was more scary than a Boiled Slimey? Sadly such a cunning tactic was useless, so I consulted the skull again.

"Bullet" was all he said. After searching for a gun, or any projectile weapon for ages, I was forced to admit defeat. But then I had an idea... if you put an item on the trapdoor, the said item would shoot into the air. In the kitchen were several empty items - there was only one thing to do!

After putting Boni on the trapdoor, I waited till the bird was overhead... and fired!
I suppose having a skull inserted at high velocity up your anus would cause even YOU to go boggle-eyed. This caused the bird to lay an egg. Wahey! I also never got Boni back


So that was my tasks over. Well, I was never able to cook the egg, so the boss had it cold. Bah. Anyway, down the trapdoor, there are three monsters... so I was curious - what does the third look like? I wish I had never found out...
Erm, yeah.

It's a... thing. That jumps everywhere. You're not supposed to open the Trapdoor because of any danger. No, it's because of the weirdness inside that will lose you several IQ points.
Boing, boing, boing.


Still, there was only one option. I had to escape - and since the monsters were in my house, I moved into theirs.
Bye! Argh.


  1. hasn't this been posted before? Please tell me you aren't just doing repeats.

  2. Kinda! I have to upload all my old stuff which I completely lost when the server went down, so I'm taking the opportunity to rewrite it all as well!