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Crystal Maze, The

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A team of 6 battle out for a prize by playing 7 mental, physical, skill mystery games. In the process they earn crystals which will allow more time to gather tokens in the Crystal Dome. Originally hosted by Richard O'Brian and then Ed Tudor-Pole. Shown on Channel 4 and now repeated on Challenge TV.

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      12.07.2010 12:16
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      Awesome game show

      The Crystal Maze was a brilliant game show that appeared on our screens in February 1990. Fronted by the eccentric Richard O'Brien there was one series every year for five years. The game is set in "The Crystal Maze" and there are four game zones which are set throughout different periods of time. The concept of the game is for a team of six challengers to play games in each zone and win crystals to take through to the big end game to hopefully win a cracking prize! Each crystal equates to five seconds inside the crystal dome.

      The zones: Aztec - this was always my favourite zone, set in a desert village, with the sun blazing down (as richard o'brien always says with his hat and shades on!!)

      Futuristic - this zone is set on board a spaceship or space station and has a talking computer on board

      Medieval - this zone is set in a castle where the host is said to live with his mum (who he always refers to as mumsy)

      Industrial - this is set in an industrial chemical plant is it is said that this is where the games were all made.The industrial zone was later replaced by Ocean zone which was a sunken ship (S.S Atlantis).

      Each zone is connected by a short obstacled passage, there are balance beams, ladders and tunnels to go through to get to the next one.

      I always liked how the host would make up his little stories about the zones, it made it a little more fun as there was always plenty of humour in there.

      The team of six people, with a captain and vice captain would face a mini challenge to get into the Crystal Maze, and this could be canoeing into Aztec zone for example. Once inside the first zone, the captain will choose a team member to play a game, they can choose from physical, mental, skill or mystery. Each game lasts between two and three minutes depending on the game and some of them can be an automatic lock in, which can be if a foul is committed or if three mistakes are made. If the contestant successfully completes the game they will release a crystal (which is a golf ball sized swarovski crystal) and win five seconds of time in the crystal dome.
      If the contestant fails to make it out of the game room within the alloted time they will be locked in and the team will need to buy them out with a crystal - if they have enough!! The team will usually play three or four games per zone, depending on the length of the games.

      After all four zones have been played, and the crystals have been won, the team move onto the Crystal Dome which is a giant geometric acrylic glass "crystal" and face the final challenge. The object of the final game is to collect gold tokens in the dome - easier than it sounds as there are giant fans activated which blow all the tokens up in the air!! Along with the gold tokens there are silver tokens, and any silver ones collected are deducted from the gold total. The team need to collect 100 gold tokens in order to win the big prize which is usually a day out of their choice e.g driving a ferrari, pamper day etc. If they fail to collect enough tokens they receive the commemorative crystal with the engraving "I cracked the Crystal Maze" - most teams received this as it seemed to be quite rare that they actually won the big prize!

      Richard O'Brien is fantastic in this game show, in my opinion he really makes it worth watching with his little quips, humour and his bizarre harmonica playing! He was known for his saying at the end game where he would shout "Would you start the fans please!!" and i think whenever i think about the show that immediately comes to mind!
      I think the show turned for the worse when O'Brien left and the show was taken over by Ed Tudor-Pole, i couldn't take to him at all, found him very strange and not funny at all and i soon stopped watching as it didn't make for as good viewing anymore. It was only a year after that that the programme didn't have the contract renewed and so The Crystal Maze was to be no more! However, the series's are repeated on Challenge TV and even my little girl enjoys watching them, and she seems to like O'Brien and giggles at him quite often, usually followed by her calling him"silly man".

      I really loved the show in its early years, it was easy and fun watching and i used to enjoy trying to work out the games as the contestants were playing. It was a really brilliantly thought out show and there wasn't anything like it at the time.

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        20.05.2010 17:36
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        Great game show that was a good laugh to watch

        The Crystal Maze was a game show that was shown on Channel Four between 1990 and 1995 and the first four series were presented by Richard O'Brien and the final two by Ed Tudor-Pole. In my opinion I thought the former was the better host as he seemed to add a bit more excitement and energy to proceedings. Each show was about an hour long in total and I always found it was immense fun when I watched it. I know it sounds bad but I must admit I quite often found myself watching this show and found it more enjoyable when the players got locked in to the rooms when the time limit ran out as it made it more fun to watch.

        The format of the show was the same each week and the set was divided up into four distinct zones. I always remember from watching this show the Aztec zone, futuristic zone, medieval zone and industrial zone. At the centre of the maze was the Crystal Dome which was where the final game was played to win the game.

        Each week a team consisting of three men and three women would take on the challenge of the maze. They would play three of four different games in each zone before entering the crystal dome. The idea of the game was to collect as many crystals as possible as these would give them more time in the final game. To win the crystals they would have to take on varying challenges in different rooms within the zones. Each challenge was interesting and different and might be a mental or physical challenge. The physical ones were always my favourite when viewing as they were more exciting.

        In each room they would only get a few minutes to complete the challenge set and if they didn't complete it they would need to get out before the door was locked. If a player got locked in they would either have to be bought out using a crystal that had been won or left in there.

        Once they had amassed the crystals it was on to the crystal dome. Each crystal won would give them five more seconds to the time allowed. They would need to collect as many gold tokens as possible in the time limit and needed 100 or more to win. However, there was a catch and the first was that they were in the dome when the wind machines were turned on the the tokens would swirl about everywhere. As well as this there were silver tokens and if you collected these you would lose a gold token.

        So the show was interesting and challenging and very entertaining. You can't ask much more from a game show really and I really loved it in the days this used to be on.

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        17.11.2009 12:56
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        First class TV

        The crystal maze full review

        The Crystal Maze was a game show broadcast on channel 4 in the united kingdom from 1990 to 1995.

        The show was presented by Richard O'Brien and later Ed Tudor-Pole.

        The set was divided into four Zones (originally Aztec, Futuristic, Medieval and Industrial, later industrial zone was ditched and replaced with Ocean world!

        The idea of the show is simple, a team of 6 bomb around these zones and play games, mental, physical, skill or mystery! to try and earn a time crystal..each time crystal earns them 5 seconds inside the crystal dome..LOL

        the games are all timed and the player gets locked in if they dont get out in time and the team have to sacrifice one of their precious time crystals in order to get the muppet out! harsh but sadly true, but most of the time they just leave them behind because it gives the othrs more games to play! and if they were stupid enough to get locked in in the first place, they dont deserve to be released right?

        anyway, most of the games are pretty simple with the odd exception.

        Once they have played all the games they shoot off to the crystal dome! the heart of the maze, its basicly a big dome shaped like a crystal, they all head inside and some fans blast all these gold and silver coloured pieces of of paper around. the task in hand here is to collect as many gold 'tokens' as possible utilising the time they gained playing the afore mentioned games. once the time runs out thats it.

        The tokens are then counted and if they have 100 or more gold then they win, but wait, theres a twist! every silver token they collected nukes one of there gold tokens, crafty eh? so, they must have 100 gold tokens after the deductions to win.

        the prize is normaly a weekend retreat in france or somthing..LOL

        If they didnt win, they get a little crystal to take home, which reads..'i cracked the crystal maze' although they clearly didnt thats why they got that instead of the wonderful weekend retreat.

        It was a good show in its hay day, but now its even better, if only to laugh at the early 90's hair cuts or the stupidity of some of the contestants.

        Its shown on challenge at 4pm and challenge+1 at 5pm, i urge you to join the hilarity and tune in at these times.

        p.s The crystal is up there on the wall..LOL

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          29.10.2009 19:13
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          Crystal Maze is a challenge gameshow where a group of 6 people battle it out in a series of games based on mental, physical and skill challenges. Each challenge is completed by a chosen member of the team. Just before the challenge, the leader of the team decides who would be most suitable to complete that particular type of challenge. The challenge is timed, if the challenge is not completed within a certain amount of time and the team member doesn't leave the room before the time is up the team member is locked in. However if the challenge is completed on time the team are awarded with a crystal ball. Crystal balls can be exchanged for locked in team members or used to gain extra time on the last challenge of the game (Group Challenge).

          After all that hard work and challenges the contestants are locked into a huge glass chamber in the shape of a crystal and made to catch as many gold slips as they can in a short amount of time, mixed in with these is loads of silver slips (a majority) that if collected and put into the box where gold slips are meant to be placed points are deducted. To win the main prize the contestants have to collect a certain amount of gold slips which most of the time doesn't happen. So after loads of hard work and effort what is the consolation prize you may ask? A crystal ball, ironic huh? I find it extremely annoying after all that hard work and effort the contestants just win a souvenir that is probably worth next to nothing. But then again on other gameshows if the contestant doesn't complete the challenge objectives they can end up going home with nothing so I guess it's better than nothing.

          I really enjoy this show but think the lock in aspect of the game is a bit pointless. The mental challenges are really interesting because you can try to complete them from the luxury of your own home. I love to see which challenges the contestants take and to think about whether or not I think I would be able to complete the challenges myself. The presenter of the show is really motivational and always encouraging the contestants during the challenges I feel this helps to influence them to perform to a high standard.

          Overall I think this is a good classic gameshow but slightly annoying too. I find it to be one of the shows I watch only when there's nothing else on.

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            17.09.2009 08:46
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            Hapless contestants falling in water and getting locked in. With1980s hair.

            The Crystal Maze was a thoroughly entertaining 1980s game show, initially fronted by Richard O'Brien of Rocky Horror Picture Show fame and later by Ed Tudor-Pole, who did nowhere near as good a job. To be fair to him, he had a hell of a pair of shoes to fill, O'Brien was hilariously witty, mocking the poorer contestants while never stepping over the line.

            The rules were fairly simple: a team of six took a journey through four zones: Aztec, Medieval, Industrial and Futuristic (one of the latter two was later replaced by Ocean, but I can't remember which). Various one-person games in the genres physical, mental, skill and mystery, of a duration between two and three minutes, were played in each zone, with the team captain choosing the contestant and O'Brien choosing the game, and the object of each game was to win a crystal. The crystal represented five seconds of time, and failure to get out of the game room in the allotted time meant that the hapless contestant would be locked in, and the cost of release would be one of these crystals.

            The eventual point of the collection of crystals was time inside the Crystal Dome, a crystal-shaped plastic box full of wind machines and gold and silver tokens. The aim was to collect over 100 gold tokens after deductions, with each silver token counting as one minus point. Given the relative rarity of people actually winning the game, it was clearly harder than it looked.

            Aside from the joy of O'Brien's ad libbing, which is on a par with Terry Wogan's Eurovision commentary for cutting, the main enjoyment is one of schadenfreude - watching these absurd people making the mistakes that you know in your heart you'd never make it worth its weight in gold. Or crystal.

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              02.09.2009 13:19
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              I haven't seen this for years, but have just found it while channel surfing just now. This was a Cult TV programme in the 90's and think it was most popular in 1990. I'm sure that's when I got to watch it on Channel 4 at 9pm I think. That was pretty late for a 10 year old, but the show was great. You can now see it on the Satellite/Cable channel Challenge, which shows Game Show programmes. It is on at 11am, and repeated at 12pm on Challenge +1hour. The show lasts 1 hour with 3 ad breaks, so approx 44 minutes.

              There was 2 presenters on the show. Richard O Brian hosted the show for the majority of it's run. He was the best presenter, as he seemed a bit mad cap. After he gave it up Edward Tudor Pole took it over. He just seemed a bit wooden in my opinion, and although the show followed the same format, it just wasn't as good. Since the show ran for quite some time, was it just that the magic had worn off? Thinking bac I don't think that was the case.

              The show is about 6 members of a Team, doing challenges to win Crystals. There was a team captain and a vice captain to take over if anything happened to the Captain. The large studio where the show was set was split into 4 different worlds. They were Astec, Medievil, Futuristic and Industrial. The team stayed in the 1 world for a certain amount of time and then moved onto the next world.

              In each world there was games to play. The games varied from Skill, Mystery and so on, and the time to complete the game was between 2-3 minutes. 1 member of the team went into a room to play the game. The other team mates could watch what the person was doing and shout advise at them to help them along. If you won the game you got a Crystal, if you didn't then obviously you didn't get a Crystal. Most importantly you could keep playing to win the Crystal, but you had to exit the room before the time was up or you got locked in the room. The team and the host kept you updated with the time, so you could get out, but some people kept trying and trying and ended up getting stuck in. The options then were to leave your team mate in the room, or buy them out with a Crystal that you had one. If you hadn't won a Crystal by then, you would have to wait until you won 1 and then go back for them.

              At the end of the show, that's when the team get to go to the Crystal Maze. This was just a large open space in the shape of a Crystal and the team get into it by opening a door. Each Crystal they have won allows them 5 seconds of time in the Maze to collect Tokens. Once they are all in the Maze, that's when the wind machines start and blow all the Tokens all over the place. You had to collect old Tokens, which gave you points, but if you collected Silver Tokens then that deducted the Gold Tokens, so if you got 60 Gold, and 40 Silver, then you would only end up with 20 points.

              I can't remember how many Tokens you needed for the top prize, but I think it was quite a lot, but i've seen a good few teams getting the prizes which were always adventure type prizes such as Parachuting, White Water Rafting and so on. If you didn't get the top prize, then you just got a kind of trophy and a few other merchandise odds and sods.

              A good game show which is watchable even thesedays.

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                06.06.2009 14:47
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                Blows all other gameshows out of the water

                Whilst channel surfing recently, I was delighted to stumble upon The Crystal Maze on Challenge. This timeless classic was a true favourite of mine as a kid, and I was immediately taken back to my youth!

                I can remember looking forward to this hour long show every week, and was always gutted when the series ended. I loved it so much that I once applied to be on the children's Christmas special, but I was devastated when I got the rejection letter!

                This has been rated as the greatest UK game show of all time, and I can see how. Originally presented by the charismatic Richard O'Brien (of Rocky Horror fame), a team of six contestants - typically three men and three women - were led through a series of zones by their captain, playing different games in order to win precious crystals which were converted into time to be used in the Crystal Dome, where they had to collect gold tokens in order to win a prize.

                The four zones were Aztec, medieval, futuristic and industrial - this zone was changed to the Ocean zone in the later series. Aztec was a bright desert type setting, and was probably my favourite. There was a lot of water in this zone, and the contestants invariably got wet! Contestants outside could watch and help the player inside the cell through windows on the door and walls, as they could also in medieval. The medieval zone was dark, dingy and cobwebby. When Richard O'Brien was the host, he claimed that this was his home and his "Mumsie" lived here (she turned up in one of the games, asking questions in a gypsy style in return for a crystal). Futuristic was a very computerised zone, and the games were often technical and the rest of the team had to watch on monitors outside the cell. Industrial always felt a bit grubby and well....industrial, so I'm not surprised that it was changed to Ocean, which was set in a grand sunken ship. This opened up the possibility for a whole new range of games, both in and out of the water.

                The games lasted between 2-3 minutes, and were divided into mental, physical, mystery and skill. The captain chose the contestant and the type of game to be played. It was often extremely frustrating watching them playing the games, and you just wanted to shout at the screen, even more frustrating were all of the other contestants outside who all shouted instructions at once, so you couldn't hear anything. They were locked in if they didn't get out in time (no excuse when their team mates were screaming Get Out!) or could also be locked in if the game was an "automatic lock-in"; usually for setting off an alarm three times or for putting their foot on the floor. Some of these contestants made themselves look really stupid, but it really did provide great entertainment, and is part of the charm of the show (sorry if you are one of them!)

                When the team had moved through all four zones, they went onto the Crystal Dome. One crystal gave them 5 seconds of time. I think the record is 11 (55 seconds) and the worst I have seen is one! In the Dome, there was a mixture of gold and silver tokens being blown around by a fan, and they had to collect over 100 (was over 50 in the first series) gold in order to win a prize - each silver they collected was taken away from the total, but most teams didn't take account of this, so shoved them into the letter box anyway - totally dopey! They very rarely won the prize, which was usually some kind of adventure weekend, but I guess that in this case, it really was the taking part that mattered. If they didn't win, they were presented with a crystal with the motto "I cracked the Crystal Maze" on it. I wonder if anyone still has theirs?

                Richard O'Brien left after the fourth series which was a massive shame, as he was fantastic and filled outstandingly when the games got a little dull. The Maze belonged to him so when Ed Tudor-Pole took over for the fifth series it was never the same for me. He annoyed me by trying to copy the brilliant O'Brien, but that was impossible and he only lasted two series before it ended forever. Boo hoo!

                Incidentally, I have spotted Michael Underwood on a childrens christmas special aged 15; it was his first TV appearance!

                I have introduced my children to this show after rediscovering it, and they love it. My husband on the other hand, finds it utterly frustrating and so can't stand it. Love it or hate it, I for one am glad that its back on TV, and I would love nothing more for a new series to be made, lets start a campaign!

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                  17.04.2009 12:29
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                  The crystal maze could have been a theme park and made loads of money!

                  The Crystal Maze is a programme that used to be shown on Channel 4 and is no longer made, with repeats shown on Challenge TV.

                  The programme is the Krypton Factor meets Indiana Jones with a team of six people going through a "maze" and completing various tasks. One person is appointed captain and chooses who will play each game.

                  The maze is divided into four different time zones; ancient, medieval, futuristic and a water zone that looks set on the Titanic. The team were able to choose the type of challenge they wanted for each game selecting from a mental, skill, physical or mystery game.

                  The team are led through the maze by the keeper of the maze who gives them time deadlines, usually no more than a few minutes, to complete each task. Originally this maze keeper was Richard O'Brian and then Ed Tudor-Pole. Richard O'Brian was hilarious and would entertain the camera during the challenges if they became a bit boring. He would play a harmonica and tell us stories of his "mumsy" who was also incorporated into a game herself. (She was a palm reader and after crossing her palm with silver she would ask the challenger three questions. Only one correct answer was needed and then she would give them the crystal from under her crystal ball). O'Brien was also bald and wore tight riding-style trousers and leopard-print jackets. He was really entertaining on his own.

                  He was later replaced by Ed Tudor-Pole who was quite posh but tried hard to be wacky like O'Brien- but he was unsuccessful and looked fake. Poor guy though; you have to feel sorry for him, he had some big boots to fill!

                  The aim of each game is to obtain a crystal. These fit in the palm of your hand and were multi-faceted little beauties. These are usually either located in a difficult place and effort is required to reach it or it is locked in a small cage which will only open once the task has been completed.

                  If they failed to complete the task in time and didn't get out of the room quickly enough they would be locked in. This would mean they were out for the rest of the game unless a team used a crystal to "buy" them out.
                  The team did have the option of carrying on without the locked in person and buying them out later, or leaving them in there, which I always thought was a bit mean because it meant they missed out the finale. Some games also had conditions that could result in an automatic lock-in.

                  The finale involved entering the Crystal Dome itself. Each crystal the team collected from the four zones were worth five seconds of time inside this huge dome. The team members (minus any lock-ins) would cross a draw bridge suspended over water and hold on to the rail inside the dome. O'Brien and Tudor-Pole would shout "will you start the fans please!" Fans would start inside the dome causing hundreds of gold and silver tickets to fly around. The aim was to catch as many gold tickets as possible, winning the game by getting over 100 golden tickets. But as the gold and silver tickets were mixed in together silver tickets would often end up in the collection too. For each silver ticket they accidentally collected one golden ticket would be deducted from their total.

                  Once all of the tickets were collected they would be counted and usually the teams would manage to get 100 gold tickets at least- but then over 100 silver resulting in minus figures! I've rarely seen anyone win a prize, which would vary from sky diving to days out.

                  Each person, whether they won or lost, would receive a crystal with 'I cracked the crystal maze' on it. It would be exactly like the ones the team had to collect during the game and I always wanted one!

                  ***My Opinion***
                  This was a brilliant programme. The maze was full of never-ending fun. Some of the games looked so interesting I wanted to play them myself! The way everyone works together as a team is great and all of their skills were put to the test. I still watch it watch it now and again when it comes on challenge and I recently saw an episode where children formed the team traversing the maze.

                  I am rating this show 5/5 as it's fun, watchable and great for the whole family. I just wish they were still making it and I wonder what ever happened to the "Maze" and the hosts? I also wish I could have a go!

                  One of the best games I remember is one where you had three half-pipes resting on wooden beams. At the end of the pipes (which could be moved left and right) were three stone Incas whose mouths would open and close. The aim of the game was to roll balls down the pipe and into the mouths of the three Incas. As their mouths were opening and then closing and the pipes were long, the timing of releasing each ball had to be perfect. Sounds harder than you think and I want to have a go myself!

                  Watch this if you never have it's excellent.

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                    16.04.2009 11:12
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                    A highly watchable gameshow with a brilliant format.

                    The Crystal Maze was a game show which is no longer being shown on mainstream TV (it was on Channel 4) but is regularly repeated on digital channel Challenge TV.

                    It was first hosted by Richard O'Brian and then by Ed Tudor-Pole. I think that Richard O'Brian was by far the best host as he was quite wacky and very entertaining where as I think that Ed Tudor-Pole really does have to try too hard to appear wacky and this just seems very over acted and fake.

                    The aim of the show was fairly simple. A team of 6 have to travel through four different 'time zones' and then take part in challenges which could involve using mental abilities, skill, physical abilities or even a mystery challenge. They would have a set amount of time in which to complete the specific task that that team member has been set and if they fail to complete it in time they need to get back to the door and out of the challenge room before the time expires or they will be locked in and then the team will have to use one crystal if they want to release them (they can always carry out without them and then decide near the end what they want to do). There were also some challenges where if you got it wrong three times or touched the floor three times or whatever you could get automatically locked in before your time has even expired. Some of the challenges were very imaginative indeed and this always drew me in to watching the show as I would be shouting at the screen how they should be doing it if they want to win!

                    Once they have played through the four zones they will then go on to the Crystal Dome itself. Each crystal is worth five seconds of time and the team members would cross the draw bridge and hold on to the rail inside the crystal and wait for the whistle to blow. The fans are started and there are gold and silver tickets flying around inside. The aim is to catch as many gold tickets as possible and win the game by getting over 100 golden tickets. The twist was that for each silver ticket they accidentally collected they would be deducted one golden ticket from their total and more often than not teams would lose because of this.

                    The prizes on offer were always great days out such as parachuting, skydiving, learning to play polo etc and I was always jealous as I wanted one of those prizes (even though I probably would have been too scared really!). Each participant would receive a crystal saying 'I cracked the crystal maze' and the parent of a friend of my partners actually has one and it's often talked about when we see The Crystal Maze on challenge!

                    I think the concept of the show is fantastic and I enjoyed the variety of challenges from week to week rather than just doing the same things over and over! The contestants always had a bit of banter too and would shout through the windows to try and help each other.

                    I am rating this show 4/5 as it's a great show, brilliant format and it never got boring. The only downside for me was when Ed Tudor-Pole joined and he just wasn't very wacky or very funny and these are quite often the episodes that are repeated on Challenge TV so I miss seeing Richard O'Brian!

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                      14.04.2009 14:50
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                      If you've never watched the Crystal Maze before, you have missed out in my opinion...

                      In my childhood days, back in the early 1990s, there was always one evening programme that I looked forward for each week, that programme was called The Crystal Maze!

                      The aim of the game was for a team of 6 contestants to collect as many crystals as possible. To win a crystal, a member of the team had to complete a game in a certain time period (usually anything between 2 to 5 minutes). There were games to test various areas, including Skill, Mental, Physical or Mystery. Games were carried out in rooms, and if the contestant failed to get out of the room in the time limit, then they were locked in. For some games, the contestant could receive an automatic lock in if, for example, their feet touched the floor. If a contestant is locked in, then the only way to release them is by paying with a crystal.

                      There were 4 zones that games were played. These zones were called Medieval, Aztec, Industrial (later replaced by Ocean) and Futuristic. Typically, 4 or 5 games were played in each zone.

                      At the end of the programme, all of the remaining contestants had to enter a massive crystal dome. The aim here was to collect 100 gold credits, though if they collected any silver credits, these were deducted from the gold. The amount of crystals won during the programme determined the time in the crystal dome. Each crystal won earned the team 5 seconds in the dome. It used to be quite amusing when the team only had 5 seconds in the dome - this did happen a few times!

                      The original host of the Crystal Maze was Richard O'Brien. He used to be an excellent host, with his great wit and charm. Richard was later replaced by Ed Tudor-Pole, a good host, but not as good as Richard in my opinion.

                      It would be great if the Crystal Maze returned to British TV one day. Last year, I did rewatch some of the original episodes on digital TV, and was again hooked as I used to be all of those years ago.

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                        12.04.2009 16:48
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                        Top show from the 90's

                        The Crystal Maze is a game show which ran for a number of years through the 1990's. It consisted of a team of 6 people who've never met playing a series of games (either mental, physical, skill or mystery) trying to win crystals. Each crystal won gave the team 5 seconds in the 'Crystal Dome', where the players have to catch gold paper tokens blown about by fans to win prizes.

                        The show was originally hosted by Richard O'Brien (the guy from the Rocky Horror Picture Show) and then later by Ed Tudor Pole (don't know where he's from). O'Brien was a really entertaining genial host who always had good banter with the contestants, however Tudor Pole wasn't so convincing. He always seemed to be trying too hard to be wacky. I always felt the show was on it's way out once Richard O'Brien left the show.

                        The show always had a slight 'team building weekend' feel to it, with people over eagerly wanting to succeed and cheer each other on. The prizes won were in keeping with this, like an abseiling adventure in Milton Keynes, or quad biking in Swindon.

                        The games the contestants had to play were always time limited, and if the player didn't get out of the game room with or without the crystal before the time ran out they'd be locked in the room and wouldn't be able to go to the crsytal dome. However the team captian (normally a middle management geek from Norwich) always had the option to 'buy out' a locked in player, but at the cost of 1 crystal.

                        Overall the show was highly entertaining. Yes, we knew the prizes were rubbish, the contestants were geeks and the sets weren't overly stable, but it was just good honest fun with some great games!

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                        18.03.2009 10:31
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                        A bit of escapism for an hour

                        This was another of my must watch programmes on TV - when Channel 4 was in its infancy it was really keen to commission some programmes which were very different to any of the programmes which were being shown at the time and this was another of them.

                        The programme consisted of a team of six people - who would already know each other and they would have to work through four different zones - medieval, Aztec, industrial (replaced by Ocean in the later series) and futuristic, and in each of these zones they would have a series of challenges to complete in order to win a "Crystal". These challenges were mental - a puzzle, physical - moving something heavy, skill - often driving remote control cars and mystery which could a combination of the others or something off the wall like solving a riddle.

                        The competitors had between 2 or three minutes to play the game - if they suceeded they won the crystal, if they failed but got out of the romm in time then they just didn't get a crystal but if they didn't get out of the room in time they would be locked in and the only way they could be released was to pay the fine of a crystal.

                        The crystals represented 5 seconds in the dome at the end of the show when you had to try and collect as many gold tokens (bits of shiny gold paper) as you could which were being blown around - if you got enough tokens then you would win a prize. the prizes were chosen by the contestants before going on air and were usually something quite adventurous like white water rafting etc.

                        The show was originally hosted by Richard O'Brian - of Rocky Horror fame - and he really injected his personality into the show which gave it its appeal. The show was repeated recently on Ftn - or Dave and whilst it did look low budget and spwcial effects have moved along way in 20 years it was still an entertaining programme and still fun to see people struggle, get thrown in the water and generally make fools of themselves.

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                          06.01.2009 08:17
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                          Much missed adventure game

                          This was a groundbreaking adventure quiz show from the early 1990s that featured a lot of business executives in shiny shell suits running through varied "zones". The show was simply, fantastic, knocking the slots off similar quiz shoes of the time; not least, The Krypton Factor, which paled in comparison - both in terms of perceived budget and the actual watchability factor.

                          This show had it all. Big-budget adventure challenges, thumping soundtrack, dumb contestants, an effervescent, slightly camp and slightly quirky presenter, as well as big prizes (usually quad-biking in Leicestershire or white-water rafting in Nort Wales).

                          It was engaging and awe-inspiring, with a certain cult status. A primetime quiz that occupied a 9pm slot Channel 4 on Thursdays was a brave move by the channel...but it worked. Richard O' Brian presented the show initally, though the less said about Ed Tudor Pole, the better - though, no a bad presenter per-se, he simply didnt caputure the magic eccentricity of O'Brian.

                          Be warned, this was no Countdown or 15-1, this was new, exciting and dangerous TV - the likes of which had not been seen on TV, since....It's A Knockout. It is a much-missed and much-imitated show which is sadly missed, and with the right presenter, could easily be brought back. It was engaging and a defining show of the 1990s.

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                          26.08.2008 17:14
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                          The crystal maze was fab!

                          The Crystal Maze!

                          Wow I loved this game show and always insisted that I was going to go on one day. That day has never came!

                          The crystal maze was shown on Channel 4 between 1990 and 1995 and lasted for a hour.

                          The idea of the game was to collect as many crystals throughout the show, these were then converted into time in the large crystal dome where the contestants had to collect money.

                          The contestants entered the game as a group and are lead by one person of the group.

                          The game show has four sections, each had its own colour on the map and had a different theme; Industrial was purple, Aztec was yellow, futuristic was blue and medieval was green.

                          Within these zones were many games rooms, the leader had to pick out of his group who was going to compelte the task in the specified time. If the contestant did not get out of the room before the timer run out then they were stuck in there - unless the other contestants felt the need to get them out by sacraficing one of their crystals!!

                          The contestant did have the choice to leave the room but a lot tried to go for the crystal regardless!

                          The game is fun to watch and I imagine was great fun to be on, shame it is not around anymore!!

                          You may find repeats of this game show on Challenge Tv channel now and again but if you are anything like me you will have seen them all ten times over!!!

                          Great viewing - I miss it!!! :(

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                            30.07.2008 14:55
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                            Watch adults make fools of themselves!

                            Introduction -

                            The Crystal Maze was a programme I personally grew up on, it was aired during the 90's and was a show held in high acclaim by many and it cans till be seen on Challenge even now, I have to say I occasionally have a watch. The presenter was Richard O'Brian (after series 4 Edward Tudor-pole hosted it), a bald headed man with enough get up and go to even tire me out as I sat there watching him. His quirky and upbeat ways were the backbone of the show and made it a joy to watch.

                            The Maze as it was called cost around £250,000 to build and was the largest maze in the world, although it wasn't really a maze.

                            The maze consisted of 4 zones, Aztec (sandy desert), Futuristic (Space station), medieval (A castle) and Industrial (A wasteland of dirty metal doors and barrels). In later series Industrial was replaced with Ocean, based on a sunken ship.

                            The Show -

                            In each show 6 new bushy haired contestants (usually 3 male and 3 female) are guided through the maze by Richard O'Brian and stop off in each zone for a period of time. During that time they aim to complete 3 or 4 tasks within a time limit of usually between 2 or 3 minutes. Although the programme is a team thing each game is played by one member of the team only, the rest of the team have to stay outside the room and look in. Although they can't physically help the contestant they can shout help from the windows to aid the player.

                            If the contestant does not complete the task they are not awarded a crystal, if they do complete it they are. If they do not get out of the room in time, or fail to adhere to the specific rules of the individual games they are locked in. In order to buy the player out the remaining team members must give back one of the crystals they have already won, they can choose not to if they feel they do not need the player.

                            Each crystal the team has at the end of the game gives them 5 seconds inside the crystal dome which I will explain more about later, this is where they win the prizes.

                            Games -

                            Before a game is played the captain of the team chooses one of the six players to play a game and the type of game it will be. There are 4 types of game named below:

                            Physical - To do with strength and agility
                            Mental - Word and Maths skills
                            Skill - Dexterity and marksmanship
                            Mystery - Could be anything.

                            Some of the games may have an automatic lock in rule where if a player does not complete a specified task or performs an illegal act such as 'Touching the floor' they are locked in. This is where the Captain (if the captain is locked in the vice captain decides) decides whether or not he wishes to give up a crystal in return for the player, if they choose to one of the remaining players must return back to the room where the contestant got locked in with one of the crystals and leave it on the floor in the room where the player got locked in.

                            Apparently 40% of viewers were aged under 16, it was thought the main reason was because kids enjoyed watching parents make idiots of themselves, I have to say this was one of the reasons I watched it, I loved seeing them either falling over, not seeing the most obvious things that even me at the ages of 10 could spot, but more importantly some of their crazy hair styles.

                            As I mentioned before, 3 or 4 games are played in each zone, and each game is designed to fit in with the surrounding zone, for example in the Ocean zone there could be games where the player is dressed as a scuba diver, in the Aztec zone they may have to direct balls into a totem poles mouth so in that respect it was quite realistic.

                            At the end of the 4 zones, after around 14 games had been played the number of crystals was counted and off the team went to 'The Crystal Dome'.

                            The Dome -

                            Now the dome is by far the most entertaining bit of them all. Every crystal the team won bought them 5 seconds of time inside the crystal dome. The dome is filled with hundreds of gold and silver tokens that the contestants must catch. In order to win the main prize the team must collect 100 tokens. As you can imagine there is a weigh up between buying out a player for the sake of 5 seconds, or having 5 seconds more where the entire team can collect. Now it sounds fairly easy but I assure you it isn't, the team cross a small bridge that rises out of the small moat that surrounds the 15 foot dome (shaped like a crystal) and through a small door. They hold onto the rail that goes around the edge of the crystal and wait for Richard to shout 'Start the fans please'.

                            At that point all of the hundreds of tokens are flung into the air circling the dome, soon after Richard blows his whistle and they begin collecting. They must put the tokens they have collected through a small letter box, any they have collected that they are still holding are rejected.

                            After the time is up the number of gold and silver tokens are counted, the number of silver tokens is subtracted from the number of gold and a total number is made, if that number is higher than 100 then the team wins, but if not they lose. 90% of the time the team lost and received their prize of one of the crystals they have been collecting during the show to prove they had been on the show. If they won they would receive a much better prize, it was usually something like hand gliding.

                            Note: In the first season there were 3 prize groups (below), but in season two the 50 rule was scrapped.

                            0-50 - A crystal
                            51-99 - A day out somewhere
                            100+ - A holiday

                            Overall the programme was great entertainment and always had me and my family glued to the seat ready to see another team lose after so much hard work. There is some humour and Richard O'Brian has a skill of improvisation if something went wrong. He was a joy to watch, and in comparison his replacement Edward Tudor-pole was a bit tame and boring.

                            Score -

                            Originality - 8/10
                            Sound - 8/10
                            Addictability - 8/10
                            Hosting - 9/10 (Richard)

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