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Action adventure thrills
While seemingly simple and straightforward, The Catacomb II is actually a pretty neat and inventive mix of Gauntlet-style action and rogue-like or RPG-lite adventuring that combines to make a satisfying slice of dungeon crawling fun. As is so often the way with old-school games there's actually a highly convoluted plot going on here but which isn't overly apparent in the gameplay itself but which at least serves to add some flavour to proceedings. Here, it's the usual fantasy nonsense, with some bizarrely named magician (the player) being called upon to loot the treasure of a fallen empire or somesuch foolishness. It's all fairly inconsequential for what follows, with the game playing out as an action adventure, where the player makes their way through various levels, slaying beasts, looking for keys and all the other sorts of things which these games require. There's a nice line in enemies to kill, including dragons, goblins and ogres while there is also a few different attacks to have fun with including the awesomely powerful Nuke and which help to maintain the fun. Visually, it's all fairly simple stuff with some strange choices in colour schemes, with sound that is equally minimalist and which is entirely forgettable. However, it's the gameplay here that's the main draw and in this respect, the game does a pretty good job of hooking the player in. It's not exactly complex or deep and it lacks the sheer intensity of Gauntlet but it is fun in an old-school way and blasting away at goblins is undeniably fun however you look at it. It's not going to set the world on fire but you could worse than spend some time down in the catacombs.