Instructions for

The Sentinel

Firebird, 1987

Written by Chris Owen, HTML'd by Arnt Gulbrandsen.


Keyboard, Cursor, Kempston

NOTE: It is strongly recommended that you play this game at a speed setting of at least 150% of the Spectrum.

Aim of the game

The object of the game is to absorb the Sentinel and replace him as ruler of the landscape. Once achieved, you may hyperspace into a new world to begin the struggle afresh.

Game play

Once you have loaded the game, the title screen will be displayed. Press any key and you will be asked to input a landscape number from 0000 to 9999. After you have entered the landscape number and hit return, you will be prompted for an 8-digit secret entry code, unless you choose landscape 0000, which does not require an entry code. After a short delay you will be shown an aerial view of the selected landscape which shows the relative positions of the Sentinel (standing on the tower - he may be a little difficult to spot, owing to the monochrome graphics!) and the Sentries, if any. Pressing any key will take you onto the landscape's surface. The Sentinel and sentries will be inactive until you expend or absorb energy. This allows you to have a look around and plan your assault on the Sentinel.

ABSORPTION: Once activated, the Sentinel and Sentries slowly rotate, scanning the landscape for squares which contain more than 1 unit of energy. This means you! The various objects contain different amounts of energy:

The last three will not be absorbed by Sentinel/Sentry.

If they can see a square with more than 1 unit of energy, the Sentinel or Sentry will reduce the energy to 1 unit by absorbing 1 unit at a time and creating a Tree at some random point on the landscape. Therefore a Robot will be reduced to a Boulder, and a Boulder to a Tree.

The total amount of energy in a landscape remains constant, so if a unit of your energy is absorbed, a Tree will be randomly place on the landscape.

CREATION: You can also absorb and create objects. You do this by turning on your sights and centering them on the square surface below the object to be absorbed or created. Boulders, however, act as an extension of the square surface and the sights should thus be aimed at the side of the Boulder. Boulders can be stacked and have things placed on top of them. This means that you can gain height by creating a stack of Boulders with a Robot on top, and then transferring yourself to that Robot. (See moving, below). From those high vantage points, you can absorb the Sentries and maybe even the Sentinel himself.

The amount of energy you have is shown at the top left of the screen in the form of Robot, Boulder and Tree icons. A coloured (non-blue) Robot icon is worth 15 energy units.

MOVING: To move around the landscape, you must create a Robot and then, with the sights still on, press the transfer key. You will now be in the new Robot, facing your old Robot, which you can now absorb.

WARNING: The indicator on the top right of the screen is the scan warning. If a Sentinel or Sentry spots you, this indicator will be filled with specks and you will hear a warning buzz. You have about 5 seconds to move out of view before your energy is drained 1 point at a time. Once all of your energy has been drained, then you have been absorbed and the game ends.

If the warning indicator is only half-filled with specks, this means that the Sentinel or Sentry can see you but cannot see the square that you are stading on, which means that it cannot absorb your energy. In this situation, it looks for a Tree near you and turns it into a Meanie.

The Meanies' job is to flush you out, which it does by forcing you to Hyperspace. The Meanie rotates quickly, making a low clicking sound, until it can see you. You will then Hyperspace to a new location.

HYPERSPACING: Hyperspacing effectively wastes 3 units of energy, so try to avoid using it. It creates a new Robot in a random position and automatically transfers you to it, leaving your old Robot behind. You will end up at the same height or lower but never on your original square. If you Hyperspace will less than 3 units of energy, you are destroyed.

Once the Sentinel has been absorbed, you can no longer absorb energy, although you can still create objects and transfer to other Robots. When you Hyperspace while standing on the Sentinel's tower, you will be given the 8-digit entry code for a new landscape. Which one it is depends on the equation: Landscape given = present landscape number + energy left


"Highly playable and addictive, The Sentinel is one of those rare games that makes owning a computer a delight."


97% (CRASH #40, May 1987)


Still a brilliant game, THE SENTINEL did appear briefly in a rather garish 16-bit incarnation on the ST and Amiga. An updated version with ULTIMA UNDERWORLD-like texture mapping would be an awesome game!


Pan left        - S
Pan right       - D
Pan up          - K
Pan down        - M
Create Tree     - T
Create Boulder  - B
Create Robot    - R
Sights on/off   - SPACE
Hyperspace      - H
U-turn          - U
Absorb          - A
Transfer        - Q
Quit            - BREAK
Pause           - P
Unpause         - ENTER
Music on/off    - Z

Nettverksgruppa, 10/9-94,