Panic (Investronica, 1983) aka Monsters in Hell (Softek)

Panic AKA Monsters in Hell start screenA very simple platformer, Panic (AKA Monsters In Hell) has you running around the platforms collecting the crosses, and avoiding the monsters. That’s about it really so see you for the next super review, and…. Oh sorry, we need a little more than that?

OK, you do have a little bit more than just running around the platforms and climbing ladders, you can also dg holes in the floors, no, really you dig holes in the floors and the monsters will fall down them and die. This digging does add an extra element to the game too, as you can dig in the wrong spot and trap yourself. I know this as I did it, several times, and then you find some of the ways you can die other than taking hits from the monsters.

Yes, you are not immortal, you start with an amount of power which ticks down, and also gets knocked down quicker when you hit the monsters, you also lose a bit by falling down your own holes. You gain power back by collecting the crosses, which is where the trapping yourself problem comes in. By digging holes in the wrong places, you can get stuck with no ladder to climb and can only sit and watch as your power dwindles to 0 and you die. I also found that digging a hole in the bottom layer and jumping down through it roasts you in the flames of hell. Pleanty of ways for your character to meet with his untimely demise then.

Monsters in Hell, Investronica platformerThe game is simple as we started out by saying, the graphics are simple, the sound is simple, gameplay is simple, but it also has a devious little one more go thing going on. Each time you die you know you can do better next time as it’s so simple right? One more go, yeah that was a stupid death, one more go.. and so it goes on, because as simple as it is you don’t die for any reason other than your own failings, the player moves fast enough, the enemy monsters are pretty simple in their movements and easy to lure to their doom, so you can always have one more go to beat them this time.

So in summary, a fun little platformer, easy to pick up and play, but harder to put down once you start playing.

– Doug Titchmarsh

Late 40s and been playing video games since the late 1970s Still own the ZX Spectrum I had in the early 1980s and still play 8 and 16 bit games to this day.