Catacomb Adventure Series
- Catacomb 3D (1991)
The Catacomb Adventure Series was a trilogy of games that followed from Catacomb 3D. They were not developed by id Software but internally by Softdisk with a new staff for Gamer's Edge, who also made the later Dangerous Dave sequels. All of the games, including the original Catacomb titles, are now distributed legally by Flat Rock Software through their own web store and via gog.com. Flat Rock have also released the source code for the games under the GNU General Public License in June 2014 in a manner similar those done by id and partners. This has lead to the creation of the source port Reflection Catacomb, also called Reflection Keen due to shared support for Keen Dreams, and ports all of the 3D Catacomb games to modern systems.
The credits for the series are Mike Maynard, James Row, Nolan Martin (programming), Steven Maines (art direction), Carol Ludden, Jerry Jones, Adrian Carmack (art production), James Weiler, Judi Mangham (quality assurance), and id Software (3D imaging effects). The series' development head, Greg Malone, later became creative director for Duke Nukem 3D and also worked on Shadow Warrior for 3D Realms. Department heads Mike Maynard and Jim Row, meanwhile, would co-found JAM Productions (soon joined by Jerry Jones), the creators of Blake Stone using an enhanced Wolfenstein 3D engine.
The series also introduced an item called crystal hourglasses, which would temporarily freeze time and allow the player to stage shots to destroy enemies upon the resumption of normal time, pre-dating later bullet time features in games such as Requiem: Avenging Angel and Max Payne.
"So honestly after a while, playing through these became a bit of a slog, and Abyss is the only one I finished. However, it was interesting to see how Catacomb fits into gaming history. All those shooters we enjoy today count this as one of their direct ancestors. Walking around mazes shooting at chunky sprites, we were exploring the foundations of what would become one of the most important genres of computer game. We might have been kind of impressed, but we had no idea what marvels were to come. It’s amazing to think just how much progress happened in the next ten years; Half-Life feels light years ahead of this. Anyway, Catacomb 3D has come to be nearly forgotten in favour of its Nazi-shooting successor. I reckon that, even if it’s something you’d have to be a really serious retro-gamer to play for more than 15 minutes, it’s worth our raising a drink to this ancient ancestor of the shooters we enjoy today."
--Force for Good