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Standard fantasy-themed action
The Catacomb series, which includes Curse of the Catacombs and Terror of the Catacombs, is a set of first-person shooters that are notable for being developed from the original Catacomb which was designed by John Cormack, of Doom, Commander Keen and Wolfenstein fame. This is the fourth game in the series and plays out in similar fashion to the prequels and sequels but which remains an enjoyable enough entry. The game is a sort of cross between Gauntlet and Doom, with a fantasy style that sees the player taking the role of a magician who makes use of fireballs and spells rather than hi-tech weaponry. You are once again on the trail of the evil Nemesis and must free the townspeople from his reign of terror, which basically means venturing into a series of dungeons and blasting his minions into dust. Changes to the formula this time around include new environments which see you exploring areas beyond the previous games dungeons, including gardens, volcanoes and mines, and new enemies with some distinctive behaviour. The addition of a radar is also a neat touch and which requires the player to discover specific gems in order to reveal different kinds of monsters. Catacomb Abyss is a solid entry into the series, offering a few changes to the basic gameplay but nothing revolutionary. The combat remains fast, furious and uncomplicated and there are plenty of thrilling moments to be experienced. The graphics are decent enough in that old-school fashion, with big, bold sprites and varied environments which present plenty of opportunities for exploration. If you're looking for an enjoyable shooter then this certainly delivers, but its lack of depth and variety soon become obvious and its appeal wanes quickly.
Good dungeon crawler with a focus on action
You can think of this game as a simplified Golden Box role playing game. In many ways it plays as if it were a sort of Wolf 3D with a more magic driven premise. Thus instead of shooting bullets and trying to escape from fire weapons wielding Nazis, you will instead shoot fire balls and fight other mages as well as other creatures. The gameplay has two major elements, the fights which I just mentioned and then the exploration and the finding of your way out of each and every maze. If you've ever played Wolf 3D or any other FPS of the era, you will immediately be clear about the controls. You can WASD your way around and even strafe, but won't be able to look up or down. However, you don't need controls for elevations since each level is plane as it gets, with no elevations. So, if you want a simplified RPG like experience but don't want the hassle of managing a larger group of allied player characters, this one is as simple as they can get. Expect simple gameplay and mazes that get more complicated as you progress, which can be a really entertaining yet simple premise.
Gray Design, 1994
Softdisk Publishing, 1992
Softdisk Publishing, 1992
id Software, 1991
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Softdisk Publishing, 1989
id Software, 1992