Escape from Cnossus is a roguelike for the ZX Spectrum, made with Boriel's ZXBasic compiler. It's a minimalist coffeebreak game; I can finish it in about 40 minutes if I counted correctly.

You can play the game online courtesy of the JSSpeccy emulator. DOS edition via the Warajevo emulator. Code and assets available on GitHub.

It's relatively slow on older machines.


This is a survival game! Some monsters, generally the mundane creatures, drop useful items when killed, but most give you no benefit. It's best to avoid them unless fighting is the only way to reach the stairs. Even then, remember that monsters fear light: light a torch or what have you and they'll either become confused and attack less, or even run away entirely. Good luck!


From Indie Retro News, 2015.

Desktop port

As of autumn 2017, you can buy a desktop port with redone graphics and other improvements.


ZX Spectrum tape file 22 kB
Source code 39 kB
DOS program 45 kB

Install instructions

You'll need an emulator for the ZX Spectrum 48K to play the TZX file; FUSE works well, but there are many others out there. The DOS edition was built and tested under DOSBox, but it might just run natively on Windows XP and older. Use F10 to quit. And thanks for getting this far!

Development log


Log in with to leave a comment.

I played the ZX Spectrum version a bit.

Nice game! You use the limited possibilities of the hardware really well.

The game is very easy to get started but becomes really difficult fast. So far I did not manage to come deeper then level 5.

Could you tell me please if the statues and fountains you enconter from time to time have any meaning or are purely decorative?

P.S.: The link to the BASIC compiler you've used is broken. I'd love to have a look into this as well.

Thanks for the nice words! Sorry you found the difficulty too high. It felt right to me... And no, the statues and fountains are purely decorative in this game. It was a while ago and I had less experience. Also, not much room to work with (the game barely fits in RAM). As for the link, thanks again! I had updated it on the game's homepage, but not here. Good catch!


It's not too hard. I'd say its perfect for an RL. I just causaly played a little before I went to bed yesterday, so don't worry.

The movement speed and the waiting before you can start walking again kinda killed this.

Try running it in a sped-up emulator? I can't provide the option in the browser-embedded version, and it's slower than a desktop emulator in the first place.

I ran it on dosbox and still the stopping for several seconds every couple of steps was annoying. I think that's what kinda kills it most. I wanted to like it but it was just too slow : /

Oh, all right. Unfortunately the DOS build can't be sped up. Sorry about that.