Keys of Kraal

15 June, 2011

This post is a short homage to my favourite Nascom game, Keys Of Kraal, by Program Power.

Nascom games are stored on cassette tape. Loading them is accompanied by this distinctive sound:

After an eternity has passed*, and provided all those checksums matched (. instead of ?) you get to play this excellent top-down adventure game.

Pressing 'down' at this point causes you to leave the castle emptyhanded and be mocked accordingly.

New Game

The idea is to find all ten of the keys (represented by white circles) and open all the locks (the ‘washing machine’ type character), while collecting treasure (from the hatched boxes).

The bat does actually fly across the screen, but I missed it.

The bat does actually fly across the screen, but I missed it.

Of course, there are monsters.

Sometimes you can outrun the spells.


And spider gods.

This happens a lot.

Spider god eats you!

And there are subtleties: the Anubis will resurrect you if you are carrying enough treasure, but treasure is heavy and depletes your strength, so you have to stop and rest, but there’s also a time limit. I never completed it. Games were hard when I were a lass 😉

Following some cunning data recovery**, a copy for the Nascom emulator should be available any year now. (Right Dad? ;))

EDIT: the program is now available from the Nascom Homepage.

* When you’re five years old, five minutes is an eternity.

** The first attempts at loading it failed, and I thought the game had been lost. My dad realised that the program had been recorded onto the cassette in stereo, and the two channels had different errors. By comparing and repairing the two versions of BASIC code, he was able to regenerate a working copy of this ~30 year old game.


  1. Wonderful – now I need to find the “Ducks crossing the road” game (possibly the first Nascom game ever!).

    • Ah yes, this legendary “Ducks crossing the road” game that I have never seen… 😉

  2. i spent my first two years programming on a nascom 2 – look what’s happened to me now – never thought I’d see these screens again. Iain

    • Heh, I wrote my first Hello World on it, and I feel much the same 😉 If you feel like a nostalgia kick, the Nascom Emulator is pretty good, and if you have any software or documentation there’s a Repository to collect it.

  3. Hi Thanks for this. I never played this game, but I’ll be sure to check it out.

    When I started the nascomhomepage.com back in prehistoric time, there
    where absolutely no Nascom related sites out there. These days there any
    a couple, but we now have well large collection from generous donators
    all over the world. I look forward to adding this to the collection.

    Tommy, nascomhomepage.com

  4. Had a Nascom for years and remember this game fondly. As far as I can remember when you found the keys you had to find the lock (a square block with a hole in it). You lost the key if it was too small and had to find it again. There was some trick in the order of the keys but I can’t quite rememer it (it was nearly thirty years ago). I always thought the spider god was a bit crap as it was just a random death sentance. I remenber finding it in the source code and remming it out so when the function was gosubbed it did nothing. Anther little cheat was to break out of the program (ctrl-break? cant remember) and then you could move the cursor around the screen removing block!. After that you ‘resumed’ and of you went with offending bit of wall no longer there. Ahhh, simpler times. The Nascom was a great learning experience. I still have mine. Tried powering it up a few years ago but no go. This winter’s project is to resurrect it.

  5. […] playing NASCOM games, I guessed that the first blip of noise was probably a header. The rest of the data doesn’t […]

  6. Shades of our first computer the TI99/4A. I typed in Froghopper from a magazine. Pages of data. . .

  7. I’m working on converting the Euphoric version to Nascom with little success. I have passed it on to Tommy Thorn. A copy of your tape would be GREAT!!


    • I’m planning to give this another try over Christmas. Watch this space…

      • I’ve waited till the 12th day before Christmas. Have you started on it yet? It’s Christmas, my kids tell me so! Load it up and then save it as an XBS file. Email it to the world. Then we can all have a go at gaming as it really was. None of this Battlefield Earth or whatever take on a Spidergod for christmas.

        My conversion is not going well. I need to be able to seed the Nascom xbasic random generator or nothings ever the same.

        Anyway happy Christmas!



  8. Thanks a million Rebecca. Now I can stop trying to convert the game and get round to playing (without cheating??)



  9. Thanks for doing this… I have long wanted to see Krall again, I have fond memories of watching a guy called Neil Mottershead playing it on his Nascom 2 – fairly badly, if truth be told – and us both thinking “You know, we could do better than this…” before going on to write Halls Of The Things…

  10. Becky, thanks for sharing this. I am a fellow NASCOM owner, see link http://nascom-uk.blogspot.co.uk/. Is your NASCOM working? Are you in the UK? Do let me know to howard at fairdene dot demon dot co dot uk

  11. […] the one about Keys of Kraal. […]

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