The Trap Door, ZX Spectrum

An adaptation of the British children’s television show of the same name, The Trap Door, which was made by Don Priestley for DK’Tronics in 1986.

The game is basically a continuation of Priestley‘s innovative ‘character square sprites’ graphics system that he devised for Popeye, which used bolted-together character squares (8×8 pixels each) to create large, colourful, moving ‘sprites’ (character graphics), but without any colour clash. Thus, the large, attractive character graphics in The Trap Door. The technique is a bit of a fudge though, and movement is a bit jerky as a result. It is acceptable overall though.

In terms of gameplay, The Trap Door is a challenging game of ‘fetch’. Just like in the TV show, Berk (the blue bloke you control and the ‘star’ of the TV series), is at the beck and call of his master (“The Thing Upstairs”) who is constantly barking instructions to him. Usually to bring him food.

To solve many of the tasks you’re given, you have to utilise the weird creatures found inhabiting the castle, and – of course – the titular Trap Door. It’s not easy because there is a random element to the movement of the various creatures. Berk’s time is also limited by the his master’s rising anger levels, which is shown as a bar at the bottom of the screen. When the bar reaches the top, you fail the task and have to start again.

Don Priestley‘s ‘big sprite’ games on The King of Grabs:
Popeye (1985)
Benny Hill’s Madcap Chase (1985)
The Trap Door (1986)
Through The Trap Door (1987)
Flunky (1987)
Gregory Loses His Clock (1989)

More: The Trap Door on Wikipedia
More: The Trap Door on World of Spectrum

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