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Have You Played... Catacomb 3-D?

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Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

It’s the first first-person shooter, you know. Don’t listen to those blowhards who talk about Wolfenstein: they know nothing, John Snow. Even then, it depends on your definition of first-person shooter, but if we’re going with ‘you can see a hand and that hand fires things at enemies’, then bingo.

The thing about Catacomb 3-D is that it’s actually more elaborate than its follow-up, Wolfenstein 3D, in some ways. Id Software’s earlier take on maze-based 3D shooting is less slick and less technically impressive (or landmark), but there’s a little bit more to pay attention to. This is a fantasy setting (albeit one with ‘nukes’) rather than a military or sci-fi one, and it has you worrying about stockpiling heals, replenishing spells and even destroying bits of wall to progress. Don’t get me wrong, there ain’t a lot to it, but it’s fascinating to revisit some of the stuff that the grandaddies of the FPS were experimenting with before they decided to double-down on guns, guns, guns. I think it’s moodier and paicer than Wolfenstein too, though maybe I’m just romanticising EGA.

You can play it streamed in your browser on Archive.org, though the legal status of what they’re doing with all those olden DOS games has a hundred million question marks hung over it, so don’t blame me if this is a dead link by the time you click on it.

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Alec Meer

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Co-founder of RPS. Dungeon Keeper & X-COM 4 Life.

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