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Lady Tut (Apple II) artwork

Lady Tut (Apple II) review


"I believe Lady Tut is the first game I ever solved, and it was worth it. Three-level deals that wiped me out with a roided-up version of the first level after one loop don't count. Neither do games that repeat at the highest difficulty. LT is a series of nine mazes with exotic monsters and turnstile doors that flip ninety degrees so you can alter the maze. Pick up one key and open a lock to the next level--or, later, go get another key way on the other side of the maze, to open the SECOND..."



I believe Lady Tut is the first game I ever solved, and it was worth it. Three-level deals that wiped me out with a roided-up version of the first level after one loop don't count. Neither do games that repeat at the highest difficulty. LT is a series of nine mazes with exotic monsters and turnstile doors that flip ninety degrees so you can alter the maze. Pick up one key and open a lock to the next level--or, later, go get another key way on the other side of the maze, to open the SECOND lock.

I remember my first experiences with LT. Hearing a speedy techno version made up for my confusion. Figuring how to run into walls to stay still and wondering WHY the rings I picked up gave me shots but didn't let me fire. Solving the first mystery eased my weaving through skeleton heads, bugs and snakes. I passed the next level--green walls, blue doors, with clever stitchy details. Then another red wall/orange door level.

Where I found the GUN. Caps are necessary here! Once I'd gotten enough bullets, the word itself appeared in glorious low-resolution graphical letters on the screen, white/gray/black on a gold background. It scared me. I didn't settle down, either, using both joystick buttons to make sure which fired left, which right. Vertical firing, as in Tutankham, was out. My poor walking cash register of an explorer, ammo gone, succumbed to orange-toupeed frogs on leaving the safe-areas where rings or keys once lay.

Eventually I learned patience. Flipping a door and blasting minimal enemies to make a break for the next key or ring or lock was clearly the heart of LT's strategy. My ten bullets gained per level couldn't kill ALL the randomly bobbing monsters, so I created largely impenetrable door fortresses, then planned to build the next a few squares down. Still, I had to make runs through several segments. Then at level five, an affair without walls--tough, as monsters dropped in a lot--I opened the vault to Tut's tomb. I had won!

Or had I? Level six was level one, but the wrong colors. Still easy. Then level seven--a new maze! The monsters blinked in and out of visibility. This made for a memory game, one where I might have to shoot on flipping a door. And this is where bullets started to count. One mistake would be fatal, or at least very annoying--I'd get kicked back to the start, working through more enemies bumping around. Two invisible ones patrolling the same area made things nearly impossible. Each level held a maximum number of enemies, but they could reappear anywhere.

The increased waiting from this arbitrary randomness, though, never grated, because LT's nine levels weren't enough to drag. It's a great riff on Tutankham, allowing you to wait for the right moment because it doesn't need to gobble your quarters. It taught me patience, in its own way, beyond wedging an admittedly cool speed-techno version of "Hall of the Mountain King" before each game. Once I'd learned adequately, I solved level nine, a ridiculous grid with four keys, each in its own dead-end. The game told me I was awesome. I respected its authority. It promised me a sequel. It lied. Replaying years later, I forgave it quickly.

Rating: 8/10

aschultz's avatar
Community review by aschultz (January 24, 2010)

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bloomer posted January 29, 2010:

Wow, your game ended? Mine looped. I think I noted in my review how many times I played through the loop. But it shows that when you're dealing with pirated software, you often don't know what's the real version and what's the hack. Because with this game, I don't know.
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aschultz posted January 29, 2010:

Yeah...on asimov there are a lot of different versions of a game. Ultima (I) has a ton, itself. I know Type Attack doesn't work because it went to the file-based disks, and they forgot to transfer the data files.

Some hackers were definitely more showy than others. It is cool to read posts of a cracker I remember from a screen--lots in textfiles.com about old apple newsgroups.

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