Monday, April 08, 2024

ZX81 Game: Minoss Knossoss

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ZX81 Game Minoss Knossoss, Screen shot  of Minoss Knossoss Title / attract screen

Having had Tut-Tut successfully ported to numerous 8-bit systems, it feels fitting to elevate the gaming experience by launching a sequel to the original tomb-raiding puzzle adventure in the form of 'Minoss Knossoss'.

Minoan Archaeology with the ZX81

Life on the ancient history speaking circuit had grown dull. Tired of recounting your successes at the tombs of Tut-Tut, you yearned for the exciting life of a practical archaeologist. Now, in 1924, after a month's journey by tramp steamers, you arrived in Crete at the Palace of Knossos.

Initially finding little, concrete leads began emerging from your excavations, presenting opportunities too good to pass up. Ancient tales of curses and the fabled Minotaur, along with the legendary workshops of Daedalus, beckon to the grand adventurer.

Here in Crete, where the labyrinth of the Minotaur lies, with mysteries and dangers aplenty, you'll cement your reputation as the greatest archaeologist of all time, or die trying.

ZX81 Game Minoss Knossoss, Screen shot of level 1 "kephala Naos"
Can you find your way into the labyrinths beneath Knossos?

Playing the Game

Minoss Knossoss is one part puzzle, two parts arcade action. The game comprises 20 levels, with the final level being the hidden workshops of the mythical craftsman Daedalus; accessible only to those who have mastered the labyrinths (accumulated 2500 points).

Collect gems, amulets, bracelets, keys, and hourglasses to earn points. Amulets freeze the player, while bracelets halt creatures. Hourglasses award you extra time to complete a level. Completing a level requires the player to collect keys, open doors, and move blocks before finding exits to lower labyrinthine levels, all while keeping an eye out for King Minos's mythical guardians.

Labyrinth Guardians

Strategically utilise hidden crevices to evade enemies, capitalising on the predatory instincts of Harpies and Minotaurs to distract them while you unravel the puzzles.

  • Serpents: Massive snakes roam the levels. They are timid, and while they won't actively hunt you down, be cautious—cornering them may provoke a strike.
  • Harpies: With the body of a bird and the visage of a human, these winged creatures embody an avian ferocity and supernatural penchant for vengeance.
  • Minotaurs: Renowned as the ultimate terror within the labyrinth, these formidable creatures relentlessly pursue their prey, turning the maze into a deadly game of survival.


  • Keys: ‘O’ left, ‘P’ right, ‘Q’ up, ‘A’ down, 'F' to pause and ‘R’ to reset the level (at a cost).
  • Joystick / Gamepad: A Kempston standard Joystick addaptor is supported.


  • AY Sound is supported via ZON-X sound cards and compatibles such as the ZXPand+

The Making of Minoss Knossoss

Minoss Knossoss stands as the direct sequel to Tut-Tut, a game I originally crafted for Paleotronic Magazine and the Sinclair ZX Spectrum. Following its initial release, Tut-Tut underwent widespread porting to various 8-bit platforms by a diverse array of developers. Notable among them are Dave Curran for the PET, myself and Dave for the Vic20, Sheila Dixon's adaptations for the RC2014 and MSX machines, and George Beckett's rendition for the Jupiter Ace.

Having played a role in each iteration of Tut-Tut's porting process, we seized the opportunity to introduce numerous enhancements with each development cycle. However, there inevitably comes a point where further improvements reach a natural limit, paving the way for a full-fledged sequel.

ZX81 Game Minoss Knossoss,  Screen shot of level  "Teucers Bow"
Deeper into the Labyrinth, Level Teucers Bow

In essence, the gameplay of Minoss Knossoss will feel familiar to fans of its predecessor. However, the sequel introduces additional monster types, including Serpents, Harpies (with movement similar to the mummies from Tut-Tut), and, of course, Minotaurs, each contributing an extra layer of challenge. And what would be the point of new monster types without the ability to have more of them on screen at one time? Furthermore, players will encounter a new item type in the form of hourglasses, which provide valuable extra time to navigate through certain levels.

Among the less conspicuous enhancements are newfound abilities to strategically trap monsters, sparing players from potentially frustrating level restarts. Also note that, players can now enjoy the long-awaited feature of pausing the game, particularly notable feature for ZX81 users. Additionally, the playing area has been expanded, offering a more immersive gaming experience.

Behind the scenes, I've implemented enhancements to optimize how levels are stored, Refined game timing to synchronize directly with the clock cycles of the ZX81/Z80, resulting in smoother gameplay. And, of course, I've finally integrated joystick support and rudimentary sound for those fortunate enough to be using ZON-X sound cards and Kempston Joystick adapters (or emulators).

Regrettably, the one feature omitted is the level code input option, allowing players to skip completed levels. Unfortunately, due to space constraints, this feature couldn't be included. However, rest assured that it will make a comeback in future ports for other 8-bit machines—just a hint of things to come.

With all of these features and more, I hope you enjoy Minoss Knossoss.

Uncover a Copy of Minoss Knossoss

ZX81 Version

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