Catacomb Abyss

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This article is for the original shareware game, for the fan made ZDoom recreation see Catacomb: ABYSS

"THE CATACOMB ABYSS 3-D is the first part of a three-part series of games known as The Catacomb 3-D Adventures. Parts 2 & 3 are titled THE CATACOMB ARMAGEDDON 3-D and THE CATACOMB APOCALYPSE 3-D respectively. THE CATACOMB ABYSS 3-D is a captivating tale of wizards and fantasy trips into other dimensions. You'll find the very best 3-D perspective graphics and animations available on the market today! You are the mighty wizard who has been called upon to perform feats of magic and courage against the workings of your arch-rival, Nemesis. Your quest will lead you into the dark realms of the underworld where you will discover a myriad of bizarre and intriguing creatures set against you. Armed with your wit and the power to hurl powerful magic weapons at our opponents, you embark on an unforgettable adventure into the 3-D realm of THE CATACOMB ABYSS 3-D."

Catacomb Abyss was the sequel to Catacomb 3-D and the first of the Catacomb Adventure Series, and featured the same main character in a new adventure: since his defeat, some of Nemesis' minions have built a mausoleum in his honour. Fearful of the dark mage's return, the townspeople hire Petton Everhail to descend below and end the evil. The environments are more varied than in Catacomb 3D, featuring crypts, gardens, mines, aqueducts, volcanic regions and various other locales. It was the only game in the series that was released as shareware, released by Softdisk in 1992.


"You defeated your archrival Nemesis in a recent adventure into the catacombs. Since his defeat, the blinded minions of Nemesis have erected a mausoleum in his honor east of the Towne Cemetery. Since the mausoleum's erection, a dark cloud has overcast the land, giving rise to unspeakable visions of terror and acts of violence from the forces of Nemesis. The townspeople have once again hired you to perform your feats of wizardry and prowess against what appears to be the work of the villainous Nemesis. You will now proceed forward into the Towne Cemetery and beyond... seeking the source of the evil, and perhaps uncovering another of Nemesis' diabolical schemes."


"You begin your quest in The Towne Cemetery, a place known for its many sad departures. As you take your first tenuous steps inside the dark compound, you reflect on a rumor which you heard in the Towne. It is rumored that beyond the hedges of the Garden of Tears lies a mausoleum erected to the glory of the evil mage, Nemesis, your arch rival. One can only imagine what nightmarish terrors lurk in his crypt, and in the subterranean worlds that lie below its foundations. The Sacred Script speaks of an ancient aqueduct system buried beneath the Towne. The revered fables tell us that the aqueduct leads to such diverse haunts as the Orc Mines, the Lair of the Troll, the Demon's Inferno and the fearful Battleground of the Titans. The Druids speak emphatically about a Coven of Mages which has risen to the call of Nemesis to enslave and torture the inhabitants of the Abyss. These grim Keepers of Esoteric Ways guard the path which leads to the Inner Sanctum of Nemesis and to the certain Ways of Pain."

- maati80 (alternate file link)




  • F-10+G (Triggers God Mode ON or OFF)
  • F-10+W (Warps To Any Level Throughout Game)
  • F-10+I (Gives You Many Items)
  • F-10+B (Trigger Different Game Border Colours)


Computer Gaming World in May 1993 called The Catacomb Abyss "very enjoyable" despite the "minimal" EGA graphics and sound.

"[Catacomb Abyss] was an iD game for those with EGA monitors, loosely based on the Wolfenstein engine. It was released by Gamer's Edge, who put nowhere near the same standard of presentation on it as Apogee would have. The sound was bad - no SB music! However, all this aside, Catacomb Abyss is a very good game. It introduced some new features. You fire fireballs, of which you have an unlimited number, at the undead enemies. Ha! Undead? DEAD! You can pick up spells, such as the machine-gun effect spell, which streams off a line of fireballs at the enemy. The graphics are nothing to write home about - 'functional' is as far as it gets. However, this is highly recommended to Wolfenstein fans."
--Adam Williamson, DieHardWolfers

"From Gamer's Edge - A Tribute To Bobby Bearing, and a shooter of somewhat weird parentage. The original Catacomb 3D was one of John Carmack's earlier 3D games (though not the first), and took a fantasy spin on shooting - magic and monsters, Xykon from Order Of The Stick as the baddie, and lots of fireballs hurled from a visible on-screen hand. Catacomb Abyss came a year or so later, with a different team continuing the franchise while id went on to become legends. It's incredibly primitive, but is an interesting glimpse at a different direction that shooters could have gone, had Wolfenstein and Doom not laid down the templates for the next few years. Strange game though. Windows on walls are used as code for 'breakable', the commercial chapters casually shift the action in time to the present day and distant past, and in one later re-release, all atmosphere was completely knifed through the gut by the addition of a grinning cartoon frog to the interface. Probably the two most memorable things about Catacomb Abyss are that its series boasted some of the most eye-poppingly awful wall textures ever, and that it offered a really cute timestop mechanic. The items needed were incredibly rare, but with a little cheating, you could freeze time, lay down zillions of shots, restart time, and watch enemies getting absolutely annihilated. This was extremely cool, and long before games like Requiem gave us what we now know as 'bullet time'. Thanks, The Matrix!"
--Saturday Crapshoot: The Ultimate Shareware Games Collection, Vol 1 by Richard Cobbett, January 05, 2013 (PC Gamer)

"FINAL VERDICT: 7/10 Fans of old shooters ought to enjoy this one. Its bright and colorful visuals combined with smooth and classic gameplay are pretty darn fun, especially when one wants a fantasy style game but isn't in the mood for a full-sized and complicated RPG. That being said, like all pre-doom shooters, it suffers from crowded and sometimes confusing level design."
--Warchest's Rero Game Reviews

"Catacomb Abyss is the only one of the series that was ever available as shareware, consequently it’s the only one easy to download. From what I’ve played, it’s actually quite decent although a little clunky in some aspects like the controls. Still it has great atmosphere and having short levels means you don’t get as lost as you might with something like Wolf3d. You can buy this along with the rest of the series on the Good old Games website for I think about $8 US dollars."

Apple IIGS Port[edit]

A port to the Apple IIGS was worked on by Rebecca "Burger" Heiniman circa 1994, but was never released. It is largely faithful, but with slightly diminished graphics and seemingly no audio.

Catacomb Abyss
Characters: Petton Everhail - Nemesis
Enemies: Zombies - Bats - Wraith - Skeleton Warriors - Mages - Blue Demons - Water Trolls
Orcs - Green Trolls - Evil Eyes - Red Demons
Items: Magick Missile - Cure Potions - Treasure Chests - Keys - Zappers - Xterminators - Scrolls
Jewels - Crystal Sphere - Gates - Crystal Hour Glasses
Catacomb Adventure Series
Games: Catacomb Abyss - Catacomb Armageddon - Catacomb Apocalypse
Lore: Petton Everhail - Nemesis - The Towne
Common Enemies: Demon - Troll - Evil Eye - Skeleton Warrior - Mage
Common Items: Bolt, Zapper, Xterminator, Cure Potion, Scroll, Jewel, Key, Treasure Chest - Crystal Sphere - Crystal Hour Glass
Developers: Greg Paul Malone II - Nolan Martin - Michael Maynard - James T. Row - Jerry Jones - Carol Ludden - Steven Maines