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Peter Killworth

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Countdown To Doom

Countdown To Doom

Countdown To Doom


While orbiting the treasure-laden, but inhospitable, planet Doomawangara (Doom for short) your ship suffers a devastating attack from the local air defence system. Grounded on Doom, your ship is both damaged, and threatened with total disintegration due to the corrosive effects of the Doom atmosphere. Repairs to the ship must be made before you can escape, and there's also a tempting array of treasure to be collected; but the clock is ticking away all the while, and it's only a matter of time before the ship will disappear in a cloud of dust, whereupon you must resign yourself to a life in the wilderness of Doom.

This ROM Cartridge is designed for use with the Electron Plus 1.

As you play the game, you'll find that you will want to SAVE a game at a particular point (for example, before doing something risky, or simply to return to the game at a later time). You will be prompted to find a suitable area on one of your tapes, followed by the usual "RECORD then RETURN" message. This will put the 'dynamic' part of the database onto tape - this is the part which attends to the general house-keeping - where you are, where the objects are etc. The file is automatically called INIT so if you make several SAVEs, you'll need to keep track of which INIT is where.

If you wish to restart at one of these positions, load the program as usual, but select S to start from a saved position. You'll be asked to Position the database file. Locate the saved position on tape, set it playing, and press RETURN. Once INIT is loaded (about 45 seconds) the game will start from where you left off.

Should you QUIT or die, you'll be asked if you want another game. "Y" or "y" will return you to the start of the game; "N" or "n" will simply end it.

Playing The Game

The game starts with a description of your immediate surroundings and any objects you might be able to use (try TAKE or GET followed by the name of the object). The computer becomes your eyes and hands. It will tell you what you can see and what is happening to you. You must tell it, in return, what to do (it prompts you with a colon).

Use commands of one or two words, in upper or lower case (typically a verb or a verb and object). The computer only looks at the first four letters of any word you type, so that the command Northeast must be typed as NE to distinguish it from North (or N - there are various abbreviations you will pick up as you play).

Some General Advice

Passages bend sometimes, so going north from one area doesn't necessarily bring you into the next area from the south. (You can try BACK or B if you're confused). "Eh?" means the computer doesn't understand the first word you said; "I don't understand that!" usually means the second word wasn't understood. Some objects can have special properties, as you'll find out; some of them are a help and some a hindrance.

Useful Words

Part of the fun is finding out what words are understood! However, a short list of those you might not guess is given here:

To move in some direction, try something like MOVE UP, CLIMB, WEST, GO SOUTH.

To get or drop a gun, for example, try GET GUN or DROP GUN, GET, TAKE and DROP alone pick up or drop the first object the computer sees.

To get a full description of your immediate surroundings, use LOOK.

To get a list of your possessions, use INV (for inventory).

To stop altogether, use Q, QUIT or STOP.

To save a game for later - and the computer won't let you do this sometimes for reasons only time will explain - use SAVE.

Certain geometrical shapes are particularly significant in the game. However, words like 'square' refer to a specific object, so don't worry if you mention a square and the computer says it can't see it - it's talking about an object you probably haven't found yet.


During the game, you can display your score by typing SCORE and pressing RETURN. Finding treasures and working ship components will earn you points, as will depositing them in the ship's cargo hold, and you will gradually discover other ways of gaining points. The maximum score is 250. You can end (and win) the game once your ship has all six components (in the cargo hold) by taking off from the planet with all six treasures. But beware, finding them all is not easy!

Hints And Answers

Here is a list of commonly asked questions about Countdown To Doom, together with a set of hints and answers.

  1. I can't get out of the spaceship.
    H. The door is jammed. How would you unjam it?
    A. Try lighting the fuse!
  2. I keep blowing myself up.
    H. Try leaving the explosive behind in a sensible place, then going away!
  3. I blew the door up, but it's still there.
    H. How would you move it in real life?
    A. Push it.
  4. I keep dying in the swamp.
    H. There are two distinct puzzles to the swamp. For one, you need to be able to tell which are the safe bits before you tread on them. You'll need some equipment. For the other puzzle, you need to rush in and stay alive. For that, you'll need something with oxygen.
    A. To cross swamps, find and wear the goggles. To sink into swamps, find and wear a not-too-ancient spacesuit.
  5. I'm lost in the jungle.
    H. You shouldn't be! Each area of the jungle has its own description. Look carefully!
  6. I get too cold and die on the glacier.
    H. Well you would, wouldn't you? Try warming up the far end of the glacier.
    A. Fire the phaser at the end of the glacier.
  7. The phaser kills me.
    H. It needs to be colder to work.
    A. Go to the far end of the glacier.
  8. The monster kills me when I try to go past or take the crystals.
    H. It's unbeatable as an adult. Can you beat it when it's baby?
  9. I get the crystals but I'm dying from their radiation.
    H. Spend as little time as possible holding them.
    A. Make taking the crystals the last thing you do back in time.
  10. I die in the desert.
    H. Remember the warning about quiet!
    A. Try doing something noisy like jumping or shouting or banging.
  11. The pit is killing me.
    H. Acid + alkali = ?
    A. Get the can and throw it in first.
  12. I can't get back from beyond the desert.
    H. Really? Head up-river and try using the vine.
  13. The blob kills me when I pick it up.
    H. Try catching it in a useful receptacle.
  14. The platform runs out of power at the wrong place.
    H. Yes, it's odd when you need even, or vice verse. There is a route back to the ship which needs one move more than normal. Can you find it?
  15. I die when entering the artefact through its NE entrance.
    H. Yes, you do. That's the exit!
  16. I can't get into the artefact through its SW entrance.
    H. Yes, you can. Just don't take anything with you.
  17. I can't get out of the curving corridor in the artefact.
    H. A little muscle helps.
    A. Push one of the niches.
  18. I'm lost in the pneumatic tubes maze.
    H. You can label the rooms and their orientation.
    A. Drop objects to identify a room. Their position will show you which way round you are.
  19. The robot takes all my objects.
    H. Yes, he does. Can you de-activate him?
    A. Use the word hidden in the cryptogram. There are sufficient clues around to make solving it easy.
  20. The flickering screen kills me.
    H. De-activate the robot by it and see what happens.
  21. When I leave the computer room, I die no matter which door I go through.
    H. Then you didn't treat the computer right. It was waiting for input.
    A. You should feed it with disks first - in the right order.
  22. The computer spits out my disks.
    H. Then you're feeding it in the wrong order.
  23. I killed the rat and the computer seemed upset.
    H. Poor old rat! What harm did he do to you?
  24. I got the present from the computer but died going through a door.
    H. Twit! Haven't you got the order sorted out by now?
  25. I sank OK to the bottom of the swamp but died when I moved.
    H. Look at the state of your spacesuit - it was ancient! Surely there's a time when it wasn't!
  26. Below the swamp it's pitch dark. I'm lost. How do I get light?
    H. Yes indeed; you can map the area without light.
    A. Try 'dropping' and 'getting' objects to label rooms. INV will tell you which room you're in. You can then map the maze.
  27. I die in the volcano going down
    H. Yes you do! Always!
  28. I die in the volcano going up
    H. One of the routes out of the machine room is the correct one, but it keeps changing.
    A. Think of the machine noises as times on a clock, with the 'safe' direction.


To load and run the program:

  1. Switch off the computer.
  2. Insert the ROM Cartridge into the front cartridge slot with the label facing you.
  3. Switch the computer on.

The title page will appear in a few seconds. While using the program, keep the ROM Cartridge in the cartridge slot. When you wish to leave the program, switch off the computer before removing the ROM Cartridge.


Cover Art Language(s): English
Compatibility: Acorn Electron
Release: On ROM Cart
Original Release Date: 1st Jan 1984
Links: Everygamegoing,

Cover Art

Media Scan Images


Countdown To Doom (ROM Cart)