Catacomb (1989)

by Christopher
4 minutes read


Catacomb (1989): A Pioneering Top-Down Shooter

Released in 1989, Catacomb is a 2D top-down third-person shooter created by John Carmack, the legendary programmer behind Wolfenstein 3D and Doom. Originally developed for the Apple II, it was later ported to the PC. Catacomb is notable for its innovative gameplay, challenging levels, and haunting atmosphere, and is considered a classic of the shooter genre.


Catacomb is played from a top-down perspective, with the player controlling the magician Petton Everhail. The goal of the game is to navigate through a series of dungeon levels, collecting treasure and defeating monsters. To progress to the next level, the player must find a magic teleportation mirror, which is usually behind a locked door. To unlock the door, the player must find a key hidden somewhere in the level.

Catacomb features a variety of enemies, including zombies, skeletons, bats, and spiders. Each enemy has its own unique攻擊方式, and the player must use different strategies to defeat them. For example, zombies are slow and easy to kill, but they can overwhelm the player if they are not dealt with quickly. Skeletons are faster and more agile, and they can shoot projectiles at the player. Bats can fly, making them difficult to hit. Spiders are small and can move quickly, making them difficult to avoid.

In addition to the standard enemies, Catacomb also features a number of bosses. These bosses are much more powerful than the regular enemies, and they require the player to use all of their skills and resources to defeat them.


Catacomb consists of fifteen levels in the Apple II version, ten levels in the PC demo disk promoting Gamer’s Edge, and 30 levels in the full PC version (The Catacomb, aka Catacomb II). The levels are all procedurally generated, which means that they are different every time the player starts a new game. This ensures that the game remains fresh and challenging, even after multiple playthroughs.

The levels in Catacomb are varied and充滿挑戰性. Some levels are large and open, while others are small and claustrophobic. Some levels are filled with traps and hazards, while others are relatively safe. The player must use their wits and skills to navigate the levels and defeat the enemies.

Graphics and Sound

Catacomb uses EGA and CGA graphics, which were state-of-the-art at the time of the game’s release. The graphics are simple but effective, and they create a suitably dark and atmospheric environment. The sound effects are also well-done, and they help to create a sense of suspense and danger.


Catacomb was a critical and commercial success, and it is considered to be one of the most influential early shooters. The game’s innovative gameplay, challenging levels, and haunting atmosphere set a new standard for the genre. Catacomb also helped to popularize the use of procedurally generated levels, which has become a staple of many modern shooters.

Catacomb has been ported to a variety of platforms over the years, including the PC, Mac, and Linux. The game is also available on and Steam.


Catacomb is a classic shooter that still holds up today. Its innovative gameplay, challenging levels, and haunting atmosphere make it a must-play for fans of the genre. If you’re looking for a classic shooter to play, then Catacomb is definitely worth checking out.

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