To play Poltergeist, you’ll need:
A TRS-80 16K Color Computer
A set of TRS-80 Joysticks
To load Poltergeist, follow these simple steps:
1 . Make sure your Color Computer is correctly connected to the television and the set is tuned to channel 3 or 4.
2. Insert the Poltergeist Program PakTM into the slot on the right side of the computer.
3. Turn on the computer, then the television. Adjust the television volume to a comfortable level.
4 . Make sure that a Joystick is securely inserted into the left Joystick connection at the rear of the computer.
At the beginning of the game, the screen will ask: CAN YOU GATHER THE THINGS YOU NEED TO RESCUE CAROL ANNE? When you press the Joystick button again to enter Level 1, you’ll see the Westhaven development, divided into blocks by connecting streets.
Notice that there are “driveways” to every house and cars roaming through the streets. In some of the houses, small black dots appear. These represent the five items you’ll need to continue the game.
Use the Joystick to maneuver your man through the streets to the houses containing necessary equipment. You can dodge the oncoming cars by slipping your man into a driveway as a car drives by. To pick up an item, move your man into the driveway and press the Joystick button.
At the bottom of the screen, your running score will appear. Along the right side of the screen, you’ll see three stick figures. These are your men for the game. During this level, this area will show the number of men you have left, including the one who is now playing.
You have 30 “units” of time to complete the first part of your mission. Work as quickly as possible. The more time you have left at the end of a level, the higher your score will be.
Each item you gather is worth 15 points. Above the score, you’ll see which item you’ve just acquired. If you get hit by a car, the neighborhood will be redrawn, and you’ll have to start over, with one less man. Watch out for heavy traffic!
A flashing dot is also in the neighborhood—this is the poltergeist, already trying to stop you from rescuing Carol Anne. It moves from house to house every few seconds. You never know where it will turn up next! You can get the poltergeist only after you have collected all your equipment. You must get to a house where it appears and press the Joystick button to defeat it.
If you manage to defeat the poltergeist in Level 1, the screen will show your score. You’ll receive bonus points, which are counted up in this way:
Bonus = Number of Time Units Left x 10 times the number of Men Left.
At the bottom of the screen, this question will appear: CAN YOU GET PAST THE STAIRS? Press the Joystick button to start Level 2.
A staircase will appear on the screen. There are several obstacles moving back and forth on each step. You are represented by a pair of footprints at the bottom of the staircase.
Try to move up the stairs without being caught by one of the moving barriers. This looks simple, until you see the poltergeist up to its old tricks again. The poltergeist appears on the staircase, moving not only from side to side, but up and down the stairs as well, trying to annihilate you! If it catches you, you’ll have to return to Westhaven and collect the needed equipment again, with one less man. As in Level 1, you have 30 time units to finish this level.
If you reach the top of the staircase, you’ll see the score screen again. Your score for Level 2 depends on the number of time units you have left after reaching the top. In other words, this level is for bonus points only. The bonus is added up in the same way as it was in Level 1. At the bottom of the screen, you are asked: CAN YOU HELP CAROL ANNE ESCAPE? Press the Joystick button to start Level 3, the final level in Poltergeist.
In this level which lasts 30 time units, you control the gunsight on the screen. Somewhere inside the energy field, a figure will appear, move toward you, back away, and finally disappear. To rescue Carol Anne, you must destroy the poltergeist eight times (poltergeists tend to travel in groups). You destroy the poltergeist by moving the gunsight directly on top of it and pressing the Joystick button. Each poltergeist you destroy is worth 15 points.
Be careful—don’t forget that Carol Anne is also in the energy field. She occasionally appears, waiting for you to help her escape. You must decide if the figure on the screen is the poltergeist or Carol Anne. Carol Anne is a stick figure, and the poltergeist is a hideous face.
If you accidentally hit Carol Anne, or if you fire at the poltergeist and miss, you’ll have to start over in Westhaven with one less man.
If you are able to rescue Carol Anne, your score will appear with your bonus. You’ll receive 60 extra time units (used in figuring your bonus) for successfully rescuing Carol Anne. At the bottom of the screen, you’ll see: This house is clean. You’ll also see the total number of time units you used throughout the entire game.
If you run out of men before you’ve rescued Carol Anne, your total score and time used will appear, but you won’t receive the 60 extra time units. Start over and try again.
To start a new game, press the R key. The title screen will appear. Press the Joystick button twice to start at Level 1 with three new men.
Good luck, and remember that Carol Anne is depending on you for her life!
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