STAIRWAY TO HELL
Professional, Originally Released On Cassette Only
Game Type : Arcade Platform Game
Authors : David Vout & Simon Vout
Standalone Release(s) : 1985: STAIRWAY TO HELL, Software Invasion, £9.95 (Big Box)
1986: STAIRWAY TO HELL, Software Invasion, £6.95 (Small Box)
Compilation Release(s) : None
Stated compatibility : BBC Side A, Electron Side B
Actual compatibility : As stated
Supplier : SOFTWARE INVASION, 50 Elborough Street, Southfields, LONDON
Disc compatibility : Incompatible. Customised Loading Sequences
STAIRWAY TO HELL is a 15 screen game in which your task is to guide your man down through the various caverns to the Earth's core where he will encounter the Devil. On the way, he must collect items of treasure to score points. Higher points are awarded the deeper you go and an extra man is given for each screen completed. All 15 screens must be completed to be able to win.
The journey is split into four stages with four screens per stage. On the tape version, each stage must be loaded from tape and the scores etc are automatically transferred.
Part 1 :- "The Mine", "The Pump Room", "The Grotto" and "Vermin"
Part 2 :- "Blizzards", "The Thaw", "The Garden" and "The Sub-Tropics"
Part 3 :- "Jungle", "Mangroves", "Swamp" and "Desert"
Part 4 :- "Entrance To Hell", "Fire & Brimstone" and "An Audience With The Devil!"
Z - Walk left, X - Walk right, : - Climb up, / - Climb down
RETURN - Jump (A short press will make a short jump and a long press will make a long jump)
SPACE BAR will stop the game, wipe the score and set up the next screen.
S - Sound, Q - Quiet
At "END OF GAME", pressing SPACE BAR will replay from the first screen of the particular section you are in and the RIGHT CURSOR KEY will load the next section. Tape versions must be loaded again from the start.
Instructions' Source : STAIRWAY TO HELL (SInvasion) Back Inlay
Review (Electron User)
By far the biggest game I've yet seen for the Electron, STAIRWAY TO HELL is basically a graphics action game. But it has been produced on such a scale that it takes on the aura of an adventure program. It is actually four linked programs - the first three consist of four separate screens each, and the last of these three, making a total of 15 screens, each of which is nearly a game in itself.
The object is to guide your explorer on his journey to the centre of the Earth through the various hazards to the last screen - an audience with the Devil. I haven't seen this final screen yet, but the preceding fourteen constitute a bewildering variety of detailed graphics and excellent animation.
Each is a variation on a familiar theme - climbing over obstacles, up and down ladders, jumping holes or moving hazards and collecting objects for points. Variation is the key word here, and I can't think of a possibility which has not been covered in some way in one or another of the locations.
Moving is by the usual keys (Z, X, * and ?) and <RETURN> for a jump. Each section of the game has some short instructions, informing you of the environments, how to score points and bonus marks, and what to look out for.
Part 1 takes you down into the subterranean world through mines, the pump room and the grotto, each with its own brand of hazard such as rock falls, trolleys and rats. From here you move into the realms of ice and snow, which gradually thaws to become a sub-tropical forest with mutant plants. The temperature rises still further in part three, where snakes abound in the jungle, crocodiles in the swamp and mosquitoes in the mangroves. Should you survive the desert and the entrance to Hell, fire and brimstone are everywhere as your explorer avoids falling lava and jumps flaming pits.
I'd really love to know what the audience with the Devil is like! The instructions do have the strange observation "Is this your journey's end?", so perhaps Software Invasion are keeping something up their sleeves.
My favourite screen is the Grotto, featuring invisible tunnels which you can only enter when approaching from the correct direction. Walking happily along you suddenly find yourself on a different level!
Along the way the very skilful will have accumulated enough points and information to enable them to solve the final screen, and in doing so stand a chance of winning one of the prizes being offered - the first worth seven hundred and fifty pounds!
Sound, however, is only adequate but to be fair this is not surprising when you consider how much has been packed in. STAIRWAY TO HELL has all the hallmarks of a very classy production. If you enjoy this sort of game, you'll love this one, and like all good adventures, it will take a lot of time and perseverance to complete.
One final point. The cassette is one of an increasing number with the Electron version on one side and the BBC Micro version on the other. The result is that many shops are now stocking Electron games where previously they only carried those for the BBC Micro. Manufacturers save on production costs as one tape is cheaper to produce than two, and of course more Electron programs in the shops means more tapes sold. This has to be good for the industry in general and Electron users in particular, and I would like to see this practice adopted by all software houses whenever it is practical.
Nick Rhodes, ELECTRON USER 3. 6