The Great Escape (video game)

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This article is about the 1986 video game. For the 2003 game of the same name, see The Great Escape (2003 video game).
The Great Escape
Great escape c64 inlay.png
Box art
Developer(s) Denton Designs
Publisher(s) Ocean Software
Platform(s) Amstrad CPC by Trevor Inns, Commodore 64 by Trevor Inns, DOS, ZX Spectrum
Release date(s) 1986
Genre(s) Arcade adventure
Mode(s) Single-player

The Great Escape is a video game which shares a title and similar plot to the movie The Great Escape. It was programmed by Denton Designs, who went on to produce the similarly acclaimed Where Time Stood Still. It was published by Ocean in 1986 for the ZX Spectrum,[1] Commodore 64,[2] Amstrad CPC[3] and DOS.


The player controls an unnamed prisoner of war who has been interned in a P.O.W. camp somewhere in northern Germany in 1942. The camp itself is a small castle on a promontory surrounded on three sides by cliffs and the cold North Sea. The only "official" entry to the camp is by a narrow road through the gatehouse and anyone passing through this must be carrying the correct papers. Everywhere else the camp is surrounded by fences or walls with guard dogs used to patrol the perimeter and guards in observation towers with searchlights posted to watch for any prisoners trying to escape. Beneath the camp there is also a maze of underground tunnels and drains, although these are dangerous to enter without some kind of light. The player's task is to escape from the camp. There are a number of different ways in which this can be achieved.


The gaming environment is displayed in isometric 2.5D with the player's character initially in bed at the beginning of a day in the camp. The prisoner has a daily routine, along with all the other prisoners, which includes roll call, exercising, mealtimes and bedtime. The other prisoners will follow this routine and, if the player does not control the main character for a short period of time, their character will join in the routine. There are soldiers guarding the camp and they will attack the player if he is seen out of routine (prison guards only detect prisoners in their line of sight).[4]

Critical reaction[edit]

The ZX Spectrum version of The Great Escape was placed at number 23 in the Your Sinclair official top 100,[5] after originally being awarded 9 out of 10 in that magazine's January 1987 issue.[6] Both the tense atmosphere and the protagonist's 'automatic daily routine' were highlighted as excellent features.

The game won the awards for best arcade adventure, and best advert of the year according to the readers of Crash magazine,[7] as well as being the runner up for best game, and was also nominated in other categories, including best graphics.

A 2012 started reverse engineering project to create portable C source code from the game's binary reached in January 2016 compiling state.[8][9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Great Escape at
  2. ^ The Great Escape at Lemon64
  3. ^ The Great Escape at CPCZone
  4. ^ Retro Gamer issue 101, page 60
  5. ^ The YS Official Top 100 Part 4
  6. ^ The Great Escape review from Your Sinclair issue 13, at 'The Your Sinclair Rock 'n' Roll Years'
  8. ^ The-Great-Escape on
  9. ^ The Great Escape slides by David Thomas

External links[edit]