Williams' 1984 Inferno

A complex mix of Robotronish gameplay on a Crystal Castley 3D layout in a Joustian fantasy world of dark, twisting mazes. You play the presumably good guy, blasting away at the assumingly evil lizard labyrinth dwellers. Once you blast the bad guys, tag their souls (black, shadowy versions of their former selves) that are wandering around before they become regenerated.

There is an incredible amount of depth to the gameplay of Inferno. From multi- tiered mazes (that eventually play a role in targeting enemies in later levels) to warp squares to bonus rounds that take place inside the mouth of the Grand Lizard, there is a lot of variety in this game.

According to the attract mode, and the double dual joystick layout of the cabinet it is possible to have two players blasting away simultaneously at the little, lilly-livered, lizard-like, liberally-leveled-limestone-labyrinth living locals. Sorry. I don't really know if it's limestone. I'm just assuming.

Missing Ingredient

A simpler control scheme. Playing Inferno inside it's original cabinet with custom controls may have been a slightly less confusing experience. But emulating the dual joystick and trigger controls with home equipment and MAME, trying to navigate the 3D perspective of Inferno is frustrating at best.

Larger, more detailed graphics also would have helped in a couple ways. First it would have made it easier to see all of the impressive graphical touches like the dripping stalactites underneath the pathways. And more importantly it would have narrowed the playfield down to a more manageable size. It's possible that the developers were going for a Robotron-like frenzied game experience in keeping the playfield at its current size. But all of the twisting curves and dead ends in the maze layouts require a player to concentrate more on navigating through the environments and detract from the intuitive, split-second, Robotron gameplay.

Thanks to Jeffrey Carl at ServInt for providing the space for CinemArcade


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