Classic Computer Magazine Archive START VOL. 4 NO. 2 / SEPTEMBER 1989

The Seven Skulls

New Version of a Classic Puzzle


Your goal in The Seven Skulls is simple: solve the puzzle or spend the rest of your life imprisoned by a tribe of savages. Sounds like an easy choice, doesn't it? But the choice is a lot easier than the puzzle. Written in GFA BASIC 3.0, The Seven Skulls works in low resolution only.

Can you solve the puzzle of the Seven Skulls? File SKULLS.ARC on your START disk.

The Seven Skulls is a stategy game in which you are the captive of an ancient tribe with just one chance to escape. You must solve the puzzle of the Seven Skulls by aligning all the skulls in the upright position. If you turn a skull, it will rotate clockwise 90 degrees, but so will the skulls on either side of it. The Seven Skulls also has seven levels and each level becomes harder as you progress. To be freed, you must complete all seven levels, otherwise you earn a rank in the tribe and will remain there performing your new (and certainly unpleasant) duties.

Seven Skulls, was written in GFA BASIC 3.0. Since GFA 3.0 does not yet have a compiler, we've included the run-only version of the language on this issue's disk. Copy SKULLS.ARC and ARCX.TTP onto a blank, formatted disk and un-ARC the file following the Disk Instructions elsewhere in this issue. Set your computer to low resolution and double-click on GFABASRO.PRG. In the item selector that comes up, select SKULLS.GFA. The file DUNGEON.P11 must be in the same directory.

Practice Makes Perfect
The game presents two options: Practice or Normal. Practice sessions give you up to 1,000 moves to complete the puzzle; Normal allows 30 moves per level. Using either a joystick or the mouse, move the pointer to the skull you want to move, then press the trigger or mouse button to rotate the skulls. There is a counter on the screen which shows the number of moves you've taken so far and the current level. Press [Escape] to quit, continue with the current game or restart the current level.

The puzzle of the Seven Skulls looks a lot easier
to solve than it is. If the challenge proves too great
for you, read the last paragraph of the article for hints.

Some Hints
(Editors note: if you want to figure Seven Skulls out by yourself, stop reading here.)

First, rid the screen of any skulls facing sideways. On the first level there will usually only be one (if it's not upside down). Click on the sideways skull, then move one position to the right and click again, then continue moving toward the right, clicking on each skull, regardless of position, until you have six skulls facing sideways. Now go to the center of each set of three and rotate them once. You now have seven skulls in either the right-side-up or upside-down positions. Now, either the skulls will be positioned in a manner that is obviously easy to solve or you must manipulate them to attain six upside-down skulls and one right-side-up skull. Again, move to the center of each set of three and rotate them into place. Be careful not to get any skulls sideways! Always rotate twice, once you have rid the screen of sideways skulls, so you don't get them back!

Michael Allen is a staff sergeant in the US. Air Force and works as a satellite repair technician. This is his first publication in START