This week’s game inspiration is Catacomb.
Catacomb is a third person shooter, created in 1989 by John Carmack for the Apple II. Later, it got ported to DOS. You play as a magician named Petton Everhail who tosses fireballs at skeletons and demons. It’s an early precursor to the other games in Catacomb series.
Mechanically, you’re tossed into a maze full of monsters. You can cast an infinite number of fireballs to kill the monsters of the maze. You can all charge your regular fireball into a super fireball. There are two other spells that cost you scrolls as ammunition. One is basically a super, super fireball. The other is a ring of fireballs which damages everything around you. They are inconveniently mapped to B and N, with your main attack being mapped to CTRL.
You run around in the maze finding keys to open gates to get to portals to advance further into the catacomb. When enemies touch you, your body meter decreases. When it’s empty, you die. You get to put your name in the high score table and the game restarts. No extra lives, no saves, no continues. I like that mechanic. It’s a little counter-intuitive, but I think only having one life adds replayability to the game. It gives it an arcade vibe that I really like.