Catacomb 3D


Title screen

Catacomb 3D (also known as Catacomb 3-D: A New Dimension, Catacomb 3-D: The Descent, and Catacombs 3) is a first-person shooter created by id Software and published by Softdisk in November 1991. The game has a dark fantasy setting, akin to Heretic and Hexen. The player takes control of the high wizard Petton Everhail, descending into the catacombs of the Towne Cemetery to defeat the evil lich Nemesis and rescue his friend Grelminar.

id Software introduced several new concepts in Catacomb 3D, such as rendering walls with texture-mapping and showing the player's hand in the 3D view. Such concepts were further improved and extended in Wolfenstein 3D and Doom.


The origin of Catacomb 3D is Catacomb by John Carmack for the PC and Apple II. This was a 2D game utilizing a third-person view from above, released in 1989-1990. It was followed up with Catacomb II, which used the same game engine with new levels. The first release of Catacomb 3D was called Catacomb 3-D: A New Dimension, but it was later re-released as Catacomb 3-D: The Descent, as well as Catacombs 3 for a re-release as commercially packaged software (the earlier versions had been released by other means such as disk magazines and downloads). The game creators were John Carmack, John Romero, Jason Blochowiak (programmers), Tom Hall (creative director), Adrian Carmack (artist), and Robert Prince (musician).

Similarities with Doom engine games[edit]

Health potions in a hidden storage area
  • The player's health can be restored by collecting small blue potions, which resemble the health bonus in Doom.
  • The player has to collect red, yellow, blue and green keys to open doors with a matching color.
  • Level 9, Access Floor, connects in a nonlinear fashion to several other levels, similar to the hub maps in Hexen.
  • Level 14 is named The Warrens, while E3M9 of Doom is named Warrens.
  • Level 19, Halls of Blood, is set in a hellish environment with demons.
  • Uses the same pseudorandom number generator as found in the Doom source code.
  • Uses fake contrast to help accentuate the angles in the level's geometry. The game does this by using texture themes with matching lighter and darker versions of textures that can be assigned to the different faces of each cell. In Doom this effect is accomplished by applying a darker light level to walls oriented parallel to the east-west axis, while a brighter light level is applied to walls parallel to the north-south axis.


In 2018, a source port to OpenGL under the name CatacombGL was developed, enabling 3D acceleration support and other improvements. It requires the data files of the original games. Developed by ArnoAnsems, CatacombGL supports the entire Catacomb adventure series, having initially released with support for Catacomb Abyss as version 0.1.0. The next version, titled 0.2.0, brought in Catacomb Armaggeddon support and the inclusion of Catacomb Apocalypse followed in 0.3.0. Catacomb 3D was the last addition, introduced in 0.4.0. Currently, the latest version is 0.4.3.


CatacombGL has the following features:

  • Runs native on Windows 7/8/10
  • Hardware accelerated 3D rendering via OpenGL, supporting widescreen resolutions, a customizable field of view and an uncapped frame rate
  • Player, projectile and monster movement with floating point precision
  • Configurable mouse and keyboard controls
  • Supports all four Catacomb 3D games as included in the Catacombs Pack from
  • Supports The Catacomb Abyss version 1.13 (shareware)


  • This article incorporates text from the open-content Wikipedia online encyclopedia article Catacomb 3-D.

External links[edit]