The maze of death.

Deathmaze....ho boy, where do I begin? This is one of the games I had for my actual Apple. They're not kidding...I never lived through the game even once.

"Good Luck" my foot. CHARGE may be helpful in movement because anyplace you use it, you don't stop charging until you bash your brains into a wall and die. HELP is a useful command because every time you ask for it, all the advice you are given is "Type instructions." Unfortunately, I don't have enough instructions. All I can go on is what's listed on this screen, and anything else I type that would make sense is spit back with a "Sorry, I can't Climb" or "Sorry, I can't Use Item."

One of the few Apple titles that's first-person with free-roaming. You can consider this Doom for your Apple IIe, only twice as scary. In fact, the only way this game could be made scarier is if we got some speakers wired in the maze and had them constantly pump out "DAT'S WUT I LIKE ABOUT YOOOO!! YA HOL' MAY TAIIIIIT!!!" over and over.

The first time I played Deathmaze, the first thing I did was turn right, then start walking down a very long hall, so long that the perspective made an X in the middle of the screen. Right in the middle, I got "THE INVISIBLE GUILLOTINE BEHEADS YOU!!" Who put that thing there? Game Over.

I started up again, and thought, maybe if I use the Charge command, I can run faster than the guillotine and make it to the end of the hall. I typed in CHARGE and zoomed toward the end, and got "THE INVISIBLE GUILLOTINE BEHEADS YOU!!" So much for that having a use. Game Over.
I sure hope they didn't put anything important beyond that hall. But they likely did.

There are many boxes just lying in your path in the Deathmaze; I typed "OPEN BOX" to get each item, such as the helpful one seen here. "LOOK DAGGER," I typed. "A CLOSE INSPECTION REVEALS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING OF VALUE!" the computer said, and said that for every single other item I asked to "look" at. "USE HAT," I typed. "Sorry, but I can't Use Hat," the computer said. "THROW BALL," I typed. "The ball magically sails around a nearby corner, and is eaten by the monster!" the computer said. "EAT HAT," I typed out of boredom. "YOU EAT THE HAT AND IT GIVES YOU HEARTBURN!" the computer said. "THROW FRISBEE," I wearily typed. "THE FRISBEE MAGICALLY SAILS AROUND A NEARBY CORNER. THE MONSTER GRABS IT, THROWS IT BACK AND IT SAWS YOUR HEAD OFF!!" Game Over.

I've never actually run into that monster even once. You throw the DAGGER and it sails around the same corner and he eats THAT, with no effects. Not even heartburn. But anyway, they say the levels are connected by "elevators, pits and science." I've seen no elevators or science, but there IS one pit. You'll know you've fallen into it when you see only a blank square no matter where you turn, and you get "To everything There is a season" on the bottom. "I typed 'Climb out of pit,' and I already covered that it doesn't understand Climb.

I obviously had to make full use of the clue to get out of there. And if its meaning doesn't become clear right now, if you stand in that pit long enough it'll yell at you "To everything, TURN TURN TURN!!" I turned around with X many times; nothing. I turned around with the Left and Right Arrows many times; still nothing. I typed, "TURN." "I'm sorry, but I can't Turn," I got back. So much for my clue.

I played this many times and used every item in the entire Level 1 in this pit, with no good reaction. By the way, you fall into this pit by trying to get another box; inside is a calculator.
"Turn Calculator" does nothing, but if you look at it, the computer tells you it displays the numbers 317. 317 upside-down is "Lie." I typed "Lie." "Sorry, but I can't Lie," the computer said. Well, you could start.
"Lie Down."
"Sorry, but I can't Lie Down."
"Lie Calculator."
"Sorry, but I can't Lie Calculator."
"Lie Down and Turn Calculator."
"Sorry, but I can't Lie Down and Turn Calculator."
"Lie Upside Down and Turn While Turning Calculator Lying Down Turning."
"Your stomach is rumbling!"

Here's the nail in the coffin of the whole thing. If you leave the game on long enough, or take too many steps, it'll say this, and then in a minute say "YOU DIED OF STARVATION!" Game Over. That's awfully quick to die of starvation, and eating none of the items helps it at all. And even if I could make this pit take me to Level 2, I wouldn't last long enough to do anything. Whose idea was this?

I'm not sure, but you can take solace in the fact that this is the only game I've seen the label "Med Systems Software" on. They were eaten by the monster.


UPDATE: The monster took its time chewing them up. A search for "Med Systems Software" revealed they released a few more games under a different company name before going under for good, most notably "The Institute." Listen to the description:

You are a mental patient, and your primary action in the game is to get out of your cell, lock yourself in the medicine closet, and repeatedly shoot up with all sorts of hallucinogenic drugs. You spent most of the game lying on the floor, stoned out of your gourd.

I'll be sure to let you all know when I find THAT one.