It’s no fun being a minion — all that scampering around after a tireless master, very tedious. Poor old Berk the chef! Shut away in the bowels of a damp and gloomy castle, his sole vocation in life is to wait on his hungry master’s every whim.

The castle is very messy as well as being very damp and cold. With only Berk to tidy things up and lots of minor minions scampering around untidying it, the place soon becomes very disorganised. Berk must move around the rooms in the castle collecting the objects he needs to feed the boss. He can move left and right and in and out of the screen — much as the central character in Don Priestley’s previous games, Popeye and Benny Hill’s Madcap Chase moved around the playing area.

Berk’s master is a very impatient sort of fellow. At the bottom of the screen an Angry Meter monitors Thing’s mood — when the hungry one gets really furious on account of the delay, it cancels the order and demands something else.

A large trapdoor nestles in the start location, and all sorts of nasty beasties lurk in the dank region below it. Berk needs a specific trapdoor monster to complete each task. Apart from the useful objects and creatures, there are a lot of pests beneath the trapdoor.... Every time Berk opens the portal he has no way of telling what might leap out — it’s just a question of opening the hatch quickly and slamming it shut pronto if an undesirable beastie shoots out. Ghosts say Boo and startle Berk so much that he jumps to another room in the castle — they only go away if they’re fed. Watch out for the flame thrower monster because he’s very unkind to our Minion.

Cooking utensils and useful objects are scattered around the castle. Most are cunningly hidden inside other objects and Berk must pick things up and tilt them to get at hidden items. By using his small blue brain he must use objects and trapdoor monsters to produce the correct meal for Thing.

If Berk loses a vital object by dropping it down the trapdoor then his task cannot be completed, and he has to commit suicide by throwing himself into the void below the trapdoor...

Apart from the foes in them thar vaults, Berk does have some friends. Boni the skull is quite intelligent for a bodyless bag of bones. If Berk picks him up he usually says something useful and gives Berk a clue, but each bit of advice costs points. Drutt is a yellow spider that spends its time eating worms and generally being a pest. Other monsters and creatures wriggle and squirm their way around the castle, and some of them are ingredients!

At the end of the week, if Berk has correctly completed all his chores then he gets paid. Unfortunately, Thing is not a very trusting soul, and Berk’s wages are sent down in a fortified safe. If Berk wants to get at the money and have a wild night on the town with other Berks, then he must find out how to get inside the safe and claim his loot.

Berk starts out life in the castle as a trainee minion. If you choose the Superberk option them all manner of nasties leap out and make life incredibly miserable.

There’s just no pleasing some Grumpy Things.


“With the immense, bright, colourful characters, Trapdoor is one of those games that grabs you immediately. Even though the game gets a lil’ bit monotonous after a few long sessions, you can always sit back and admire the terrific animation and amazing lack of colour clash. Most of the problems are relatively easy, providing you don’t mistake any objects for others. This can, and often does happen, and when it does, is very frustrating. Basically, Trapdoor is a very playable and addictive excellent game, with great graphics and fantastic colour.”

“To begin with, I must say that Trapdoor is not the game for serious people! The whole look of the game is extremely colourful, and Berk’s animation is excellent and smooth. The game is very simple in its layout, but very well drawn with lots of other squiggly colourful characters to follow you around and get in the way. The game seemed to me to be aimed at the same market as the TV series due to be broadcast this Autumn — young. It’s a pity really, as the idea of the game is very good but doesn’t involve any in depth thinking. I can’t really say that I went wild over Trapdoor, but the game is very smart in all aspects, including a cute tune. A game for the young and young at heart.”

“What a great game Trapdoor is! It is based on a very original idea and presented in an entertaining way, which makes it very playable and quite compelling. The graphics are astoundingly large and well defined: the characters move around agreeably and the backgrounds are detailed. The sound is on a par with the graphics — there are only a few spot effects during the game but the tune on the title screen is fantastic. The game at first is very easy... on the learner Berk level there are no nasties to kill you so you can have a good old stomp around the castle looking around and learning the layout of the rooms. I enjoyed playing Trapdoor as it is a playable and original game.”


Control keys: definable: left, right, forward, back, drop, pick up, tip
Joystick: Kempston, Cursor, Interface 2
Keyboard play: good, responsive
Use of colour: excellent
Graphics: superb big characters, and great animation
Sound: very good title tune, with some nice in game effects
Skill levels: two: learner berk and super berk
Screens: 6
General rating: A very neat and original game with endearing graphics

Use of computer89%
Getting started89%
Addictive qualities85%
Value for money86%