Airlock (1982)

by Nish
5 minutes read


Airlock (1982): A Deep Dive into a Forgotten Classic

In the annals of gaming history, there are countless titles that have faded into obscurity, their once-bright lights dimmed by the passage of time and the relentless march of technological progress. Among these lost gems is Airlock (1982), a thrilling underwater adventure that captivated gamers with its intense action, clever level design, and nail-biting time limit.

A Race Against Time in the Depths of the Sea

Airlock thrusts players into the claustrophobic confines of a crashed nuclear submarine, where they take on the role of a lone diver tasked with escaping the watery abyss. The submarine is rapidly flooding, and each level represents a different deck that must be traversed in order to reach the surface.

The challenge lies not only in navigating the submarine’s treacherous corridors but also in managing the ever-dwindling oxygen supply. Players must carefully ration their air, using it sparingly to explore each level and collect the two hatch keys required to unlock the elevator to the next deck.

Torpedoes and Treacherous Waters

As if the flooding submarine and dwindling oxygen weren’t enough to contend with, players must also dodge torpedoes that have been dislodged from their moorings and now roam the corridors erratically. These torpedoes pose a constant threat, and colliding with one will stun the player, costing them precious time and potentially leading to a watery demise.

The submarine’s constant rocking motion adds an extra layer of difficulty, making it challenging to control the player character’s movements and avoid the torpedoes. Players must master the art of jumping over the torpedoes with precise timing, or risk losing valuable seconds that could spell the difference between escape and drowning.

Clever Level Design and a Tense Atmosphere

Airlock’s level design is both clever and unforgiving. Each deck presents a unique set of challenges, from flooded corridors to narrow passages and treacherous machinery. Players must use their wits to find the quickest and safest path through each level, while keeping a watchful eye on their oxygen supply and the ever-present threat of torpedoes.

The game’s atmosphere is one of constant tension and urgency. The ticking clock and the relentless flooding create a sense of panic that drives players to make quick decisions and take calculated risks. The sound design is equally effective, with the constant dripping of water and the distant rumble of the submarine’s engines adding to the immersive experience.

A Forgotten Gem Worth Revisiting

Despite its critical acclaim upon release, Airlock has largely been forgotten by modern gamers. However, this hidden gem deserves to be rediscovered and appreciated for its innovative gameplay, challenging level design, and timeless atmosphere.

While its graphics may seem primitive by today’s standards, Airlock’s core gameplay mechanics remain as engaging and thrilling as ever. It is a testament to the game’s enduring quality that it can still provide hours of enjoyment to retro gaming enthusiasts and newcomers alike.

Tips for Surviving the Depths

  • Prioritize key collection: Focus on finding the two hatch keys on each level before exploring further. This will save you valuable time and reduce the risk of running out of oxygen.

  • Manage your air supply: Use your air sparingly, only using it when necessary to navigate flooded areas or collect keys.

  • Master torpedo dodging: Practice jumping over torpedoes with precise timing. This skill is essential for avoiding stuns and conserving oxygen.

  • Use the environment: Obstacles like machinery and crates can be used to block torpedoes or create safe zones to catch your breath.

  • Don’t panic: The time limit can be daunting, but try to stay calm and make calculated decisions. Panicking will only lead to mistakes and wasted oxygen.


Airlock (1982) is a forgotten classic that deserves to be rediscovered by modern gamers. Its intense action, clever level design, and nail-biting time limit create a truly immersive and thrilling experience that will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. Whether you’re a seasoned retro gaming enthusiast or a newcomer to the genre, Airlock is a hidden gem that is well worth seeking out. So dive into the depths, collect those hatch keys, and escape the watery abyss before it’s too late!

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