Cratermaze (TurboGrafx 16)


I’m a sucker for arcade games. Games like Mappy, Dig Dug and countless others always caught my attention. I guess you can say I preferred the “High Score” era of arcades rather than the super loud fighters and shooters. Don’t get me wrong, those are fun as well but the older arcade games are more for me. Home ports of these “High Score” type games usually converted pretty well. I know this blog isn’t about arcade games but Cratermaze sure felt like one to me and it’s such a fun but easy game.

The story is simple and basic which is fine for these type of games. Basically you and four friends are bored and decide to go through time in your magic carpet ship. After awhile the evil ZenZombie appears and takes your friends! Yeah you can see where this is going. Time to rescue your friends buy collecting treasure and burying baddies!

Cratermaze Screen grab

Game play takes place in a maze as if that wasn’t obvious by the name of the game. You complete a stage by collecting all 16 treasure chests, finding the green key and proceeding to the exit. Simple enough. That’s why I like these games. Easy to grasp and then shoot for that high score! You only use one button which is used for attacking and of course you control your character with the d pad. Your basic attack is digging a hole and waiting until an enemy falls in. Bury the enemy for bonus points. A buried enemy is marked by a cross on the ground and is worth 1000 bonus points after a level. Be warned: where there’s a grave you won’t be able to dig another hole there. Some levels have springs and or portals to help add to the challenge.

Of course there are other power ups but all of them are limited by a timer. You’ll want to keep an eye out for shovels, blue shoes, and roller skates. Both the shoes and skates increase your speed which is a huge advantage over your enemies. Shovels increase how many holes you can dig at a time. If you die you lose the speed and shovels which is hard to get used to if you’ve had super speed for awhile. There are numerous other power ups to help you out. A couple examples are a yoyo which insta kills enemies and a clock that freezes them. Cratermaze has 60 levels and every 15 level you rescue one of your friends. You don’t actually do anything, it just happens in a cut scene.

Reunited and it feels so good!

Reunited and it feels so good!

As I was playing I kept wondering if there was ever going to be a boss of some kind. On Round 30 I got that answer even though it wasn’t much of a boss fight. Instead of being in a maze you are in a big open area. Your goal is the same: get the 16 treasure chests and get to the exit. The boss just floats around aimlessly so you really shouldn’t have a problem avoiding him. Upon collecting the 16th chest the boss just crumbles. You fight the same type of boss on level 60 as well .Honestly the game is really easy. Granted I did play the game on normal, but it felt the normal mode could have been more difficult. I never had to use a continue, that is if continues exist. I played all 60 rounds and probably died 12 times, but that’s subjective. It all depends on personal skill!

One thing I thought was neat was the cast of odd characters that create each round. At the start of every round a group of guys run in lines across the screen leaving behind the level. Who are these folks? I couldn’t tell you. I thought after you rescued a friend maybe you could play as them. It would have been neat to be able to do this and have each friend have a different way of attacking. Sadly this isn’t the case. You’re stuck as the “Mega Man reject”.

Cratermaze (USA)-003

Who are these guys?

I feel like I’ve said way too much about Cratermaze. I mean after all, it’s just a simple fun arcade game. I guess it’s because I really enjoyed it. It’s a shame this isn’t a 2 player game. Cratermaze is the perfect game to grab a friend and go at it! I say the game is worth a shot. Even if you are a little curious try it out, you might be surprised! For those who are up for a “Just for fun Challenge”, I’ll post my final high score for Cratermaze. I did complete the game and it was on normal difficulty. Post your scores and screen shots if possible in the comments!

Final Verdict:

  • Fun arcade game play
  • easy to learn
  • cute graphics and nice music
  • low difficulty-fun for all ages
  • should be a 2 player game

Score: 4/5

Cratermazr Highscore

Final High Score: 1,890.000






5 thoughts on “Cratermaze (TurboGrafx 16)

    • Wow, that’s pretty neat! Thanks for that info. That makes sense though as Cratermaze kept giving me arcade vibes. I might have to emulate the arcade version soon!

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