Not to be confused with The Catacombs by Anirog that was released a few years earlier, this was to be a text adventure release in a nice large clam box by Classic Quests around 1986 time.
This was something that was done to a few Supersoft games written by Brian Cotton, so we believe that Brian was also the author of this game. It seems some of his adventures were enhanced slightly for release under the Classic Quests label (part of Supersoft), though this one doesn’t seem to have surfaced before under Supersoft.
The catalogue entry details the game as follows:
The old Gothic church, so the locals say, used to have a veritable labyrinth of passages beneath it, but the whereabouts of the entrance to the passages has long since been forgotten. The church itself has fallen into disuse for a variety of reasons, the main one being the sinister aura that surrounds one of the large tombs in the church graveyard. The church’s treasures have long since disappeared without a trace.
An ancient local legend, all but forgotten now, tells of a vast underground land inhabited by weird monsters guarding wonderful treasures. Could there be any connection between this legend and the lost treasures? By the way, if you do find any treasure, take it back to the church, and lay it on the altar – after all, it doesn’t belong to you!
CATACOMBS is a large and complex adventure which is definitely not for beginners. Many of the puzzles to be solved are unusual, with ingenious solutions, and will stretch your imagination to its limits.
It was due for release overall on the Commodore PET, 64, 128 and Plus 4, Amstrad CPC, 6127, PCW, PC and IBM PC compatibles. It seems no other versions have surfaced, but contributor Strident (see comments) has done some investigations which show evidence that the Classic Quests versions of Catacombs and Forestland were released on multiple platforms: http://8bitag.com/info/catacombs.html
Was it completed or released in any way? Or was it cancelled early on?
More soon we hope…
Is it per any chance possible to share those PC version?
Thanks in advance!
Could you please send me all 5 text adventure games you have (Witch Hunt, Cornucopia, Forestland Goblin Towers & Catacombs)? Of course I’m talking about the DOS versions
Postscript to my previous comment:
The opening text of the 1987 PC version is as follows:
“CATACOMBS REVISITED- Written by Brian Cotton, Copyright (c)1986. Distributed
by SUPERSOFT. Now available on Commodore 64, Plus 4, Amstrad PCW 8256/8512,
CPC6128 and OBM PC’s and compatibles.
You are outside an old Gothic church circa 1432, …!
Thanks for confirming Julian – that is great to hear and gives some hope that something of the C64 conversion can be found in the future. Hopefully its just an obscure release, rather than never released.
Internet ‘knowledge’ seems to imply that Brian Cotton’s “Catacombs” is not archived anywhere. However, I have [and tested this week using the Windows ‘DosBox’ emulator] a copy of the PC version of Catacombs.
It is dated 28/07/1987, is 50K in size & is named “CATCOMBS.EXE”.
I also have PC versions of thge other 4 Brian Cotton text adventures in the series, Witch Hunt, Cornucopia, Forestland & Goblin Towers.
Here’s our investigation into the original Catacombs that also includes some evidence that the Classic Quests versions of Catacombs (and the other game mentioned on the site, Forestland) was actually released on multiple platforms.
It seems highly likely, given its origin as a Commodore PET game, that the C64 version of Catacombs would’ve also been released, especially as a decent number of other titles from the Classic Quests series are known to exist for C64.
Just added additional Australian advertising and articles (at the bottom of the page linked to above) which shows pretty definitively that the C64 version was released by Pactronics over there. So the Classic Quests versions of Catacombs and Forestland existed… they just need locating.
Thanks Strident! Hopefully it won’t be long until they are located.
The “1981” Catacombs appears a few times in the Supersoft advertising from that year, and was released prior to their Hitchhiker’s game, making it one of the earliest British-authored text adventures…if it was a”proper” text adventure, rather than an RPG/action-adventure. It’s a shame that it doesn’t seem to have survived in any of its forms… and that there isn’t much information about it.
That is a shame – hopefully some day it will turn up. I suspect the later edition is just the same, but with the usual enhanced font/graphic screens added.
Did this have any connection to the 1981 (?) game Catacombs by Supersoft?
An enhanced re-release?
I came across this advert when I was browsing Computer Today March 1981
Hi Strident, I think it must be!
So they were just taking their old adventures and enhancing them a bit to make a quick buck by the looks of it.