The object of Atic Atac is very simple. All you have to do is escape from the castle. Easy? Not a bit of it! And that's why this neat game from 'Ultimate Play the Game' was hogging top position in the 1984 charts for so long.
To escape from the castle, you must discover the Golden Key of ACG - ACG stands for Ashby Computer Graphics, the company which owns Ultimate. To find the key, you have to explore the five floors of the castle which has almost 150 rooms!
You begin your adventure in the castle - taking the part of a serf, a knight or a wizard - on the ground floor. To get from one floor to another, you must use the staircases. But you could find yourself taking a quick trip to a lower floor via a trap-door. There are 11 of these around the castle and, although you may end up a bit bruised if you take a trip through one, the trap-doors generally lead you directly to the floor below. When you fall through a trap-door, you will always land on a rug.
There are doors which lead you from one room to another. These will open from time to time to allow you to go through them. However, if you come across a coloured door - red, blue, green or yellow - you will need to have a key of the corresponding colour in order to get through them. You'll find these keys hidden in the many rooms of the castle.
You can only carry three items at a time and, since there are four coloured keys, three parts of the Golden Key and various other objects dotted around the castle, you have to do a bit of forward thinking.
The coloured doors will remain open once you have found the keys and unlocked them, so it's better to go through the castle, opening as many doors as you can and then drop one of the coloured keys.
The Yellow Key can always be found in the basement, in the room where it is most useful (see map), and can only be reached by dropping through a certain trap-door on the ground floor. The other keys are placed randomly around the castle but the Red Key is always guarded by the Mummy!
If you bump into any of the monsters then the least that will happen is a drop in your food supply. This is shown as a Turkey which quickly turns to bones unless you top up your energy by eating regularly.
There are some lethal monsters which will sap your energy very very fast. You can repel them only if you are carrying the right object.
The lethal monsters are the Hunchback, Frankenstein, the Mummy, Dracula and the Devil. As I have already said, you can repel - but not kill - them with the right object. For instance, if you have the cross then Dracula will not appear. If you have the spanner and Frankenstein appears, you'll be able to get rid of him, presumably by loosening the bolt in his neck!
Secret passages are hidden behind the walls of the castle and you can gain entry to these by discovering the secret entrances. These are hidden behind clocks, barrels and bookcases. The passages will generally lead to another room on the same floor, except for the barrel on the ground floor which leads you to a room on the first floor. The passages can only be used by certain characters. Barrels only work for serfs, clocks work for knights and bookcases for wizards.
Now to the Golden Key. There are - as I've already mentioned - three parts to this key. They are hidden in various rooms in the castle. Two parts have the letters "A", "C" or "G" on them - the remaining part is the ring-shaped end.
There is always one part of this key in the attic and usually one in the caverns. The third is placed randomly in the castle. When you discover a section of the Golden Key, you must take it back to the room where the main doors are, drop it and go off in search of the other parts.
When you have found all the parts, you have to arrange them in the correct order on your "scroll" on the right hand side of the screen so they become the entire Golden Key. Then you simply walk through the main doors to find the surprise that awaits you!
The main thing to bear in mind about the Atic Atac nasties is that there are some you can kill and some you can't. This also depends on which character you are at any particular time.
Most of the nasties including witches, monks, ghosts, ghouls and hungry monsters can be kill by throwing your weapon at them - serf has a sword, knight an axe and the wizard casts spells, but others, like Frankenstein, the Mummy, Dracula and the Devil can only be repelled.
One thing worth remembering is that the idea of the game is not to kill nasties but to get out of the castle. Newcomers to the game will therefore have to exercise restraint in nasty-bashing.
Don't be unnecessarily chivalrous - remember you are trying to escape, not become a hero.