If you're a real Adventure addict, you'll be overly
aware of the fact that you just can't afford to buy all the two hundred
or so Adventures available for the Atari. If you did buy them, you'd
soon be flat broke!
So how does the idea of free Adventures sound? Just
for a change, let's take a look at all those type-it-in-yourself
Adventure listings from magazines.
KIDNAPPED by Peter Kirsch (SoftSide July
You have been kidnapped! You awaken on the ninth
floor of a strange building to find that your kidnapper has left you
unattended. You must try to escape from the building one floor at a
time. Each floor is independent of the others. You cannot carry
items from one floor to another and you cannot return to a previous
floor. Everything you need to escape from a given floor can be found
on that floor! This makes you feel like you're playing nine
mini-Adventures rather than one big Adventure.
Kidnapped was originally written for the TRS-80. The
Atari version did not appear until some months later. The puzzles
and storyline are fairly simple and this leads me to believe that it
may have been one of Peter Kirsch's early attempts at an Adventure.
He later became a prolific Adventure writer and was responsible for
many of the excellent SoftSide 'Adventure of the Month' series.
These later Adventures show much greater depth and originality.
Nevertheless, Kidnapped is a lot of fun and is ideal for beginners.
THE CURSE OF THE PHARAOH by Peter Kirsch
(SoftSide March 1982):
A curse has been placed on the land following the
theft of the two rubies which served as the eyes of the Pharaoh
Ickabathan's mummy. You must attempt to break the curse by
recovering the lost rubies from within the Pharaoh's pyramid and
return them to the mummy.
The Curse of the Pharaoh is an illustrated
Adventure. It didn't actually appear as a printed listing in
SoftSide, but was included on the Atari Disk Version. Unlike
Kidnapped, it was written specifically for the Atari and appears to
be an experimental attempt at writing an Adventure with graphics.
Although the graphics are crude, it is the only illustrated
Adventure I have seen that resides completely in memory and does not
require any disk access. It's generally fairly easy and is again
suited to beginners.
ESCAPE FROM THE DUNGEON OF THE GODS by Ray
Sato (SoftSide #30):
As a member of a band of rebels planning to attack
the evil King Safuis II, you have been captured by the King's secret
police and thrown into the Dungeon of the Gods. Legends say that the
dungeon contains a special chest called the Chest of the Gods which
has the power to destroy the king and his forces. Your job is to
escape from your cell, find the Chest of the Gods and any other
treasures and ultimately escape from the dungeon so that the rebels
can use the power of the chest to overthrow the evil King.
Escape from the Dungeon of the Gods was originally
written for the TRS-80, but an Atari translation appeared in the
same issue. One noticeable feature was that all the string
assignments and DATA statements in the listings were encoded to
prevent giving away clues as the program was typed in. This was a
good idea, but it made typing a real headache and slowed the
adventure down during execution. This one will appeal to fantasy
OPERATION: SABOTAGE by Ray Sato (SoftSide
The aliens from the distant planet Zekloke have
established a large military complex on Mars which presents a great
threat to Earth. Your job is to sneak into the alien complex and
destroy it, but you must also find the plans for a powerful defence
shield which are known to be hidden in the complex.
Operation: Sabotage is another program written for
the TRS-80 with an Atari translation appearing in the same issue. It
was again encoded to prevent giving away clues when the program was
typed in and hence suffers the same disadvantages as Escape from the
Dungeon of the Gods. Nevertheless, it's worth typing in. This one
will appeal to the science fiction freaks, but don't expect anything
ADVENTURE IN THE FIFTH DIMENSION by Brian
Moriarty (A.N.A.L.O.G. Computing Issue 11):
The Declaration of Independence has been stolen from
its impenetrable display case by alien beings from the fifth
dimension. You are a top-notch private investigator who has been
hired by the government to retrieve the Declaration. You must search
the city of Washington for clues, find a way into the alien
universe, find the Declaration and return it to the police station.
Adventure in the Fifth Dimension is an all text
Adventure, but as it is written specifically for the Atari, it runs
much faster than the SoftSide Adventures. Moriarty has used a couple
of machine language routines to speed up execution and has also used
a sensible screen layout. I liked the way it changed colours for
different 'dimensions'. Very enjoyable.
CRASH DIVE! by Brian Moriarty (A.N.A.L.O.G.
Computing Issue 18):
You are a crewman aboard the USS Sea Moss – a Navy
submarine patrolling the North Atlantic – when a routine maintenance
job in the forward escape tube saves your life. While locked in the
airtight tube, a saboteur gasses the remainder of the crew. It's
obvious that someone wants to steal the sub – perhaps for the
experimental sonar-jammer that makes the sub 'invisible' to enemy
sensors. Your job is to prevent the sub from falling into enemy
hands. This entails finding a way to survive the poisoned
atmosphere, getting the submarine underwater so that the enemy can't
board it and finally destroying it!
Crash Dive! is unique amongst the Adventures
reviewed here in that it is written in machine language. It is a
great program in every sense – execution speed, playability and
display. The latter is very imaginative, though simple, and uses
some of the Atari's special features.
HOUSE OF SECRETS by David Blease (Page 6
You have inherited an old mansion which is rumoured
to be built on the remains of a much older building used by an evil
warlock. Legend also says that the warlock owned a fortune in gold.
Your job is to explore the mansion and attempt to find the gold.
House of Secrets needs no introduction to regular
Page 6 readers. It was the giant program from the special Adventure
issue and was voted second in the last annual readers' poll. The
Adventure itself is a lot of fun, but is let down by words being
split in half at the end of lines and some nasty punctuation. XL
owners beware! You'll need a translator disk for House of Secrets to
run properly because the scrolling routine doesn't work with the
XL's display handler. (There is a small bug but it is still
playable on the XL and XE. Ed)
ADVENT X-5 by J.D. Casten (Antic November
You are the sole crew member aboard the Advent X-5,
a space ship designed to transport small animals. On the way to
Klybex-6, a meteor storm forces you to crash land on Klybex-7. You
must get to the emergency shuttle and blast off for the nearest
J.D. Casten is the author of a couple of Antic's
most popular arcade games including the excellent Risky Rescue and
its sequel Escape from Epsilon. The arcade games are very good, but
I can't vouch for the Adventure as I haven't had a chance to play it
ADVENTURE AT VANDENBERG A.F.B. by Tom Hudson
(A.N.A.LO.G. Computing Issue 27):
As a reporter for the 'Daily Babble', it is your job
to follow up on a hot story. In doing so, you overhear some
terrorists discussing a plot to destroy the Air Force's newest space
shuttle. A bomb has been placed somewhere on the Air Force base and
it is set to go off at 9 o'clock – just seconds before the launch.
When you report this to the local police station, they won't believe
you. (They must have read your stories about Bigfoot being an
alien.) So it's up to you to save the space shuttle all by yourself!
Tom Hudson is a long time staff member of
A.N.A.L.O.G. and has built up an almost cult following with his
numerous tutorials, programmer's aids and especially his machine
language arcade games. He was never thrilled about Adventures until
he played Brian Moriarty's Crash Dive! He enjoyed it so much that he
went back and played Adventure in the Fifth Dimension. He was
hooked. Writing an Adventure was obviously the next step and
Adventure at Vandenberg A.F.B. is the result. It is based around the
same structure as Brian Moriarty's Adventure in the Fifth Dimension
and was inspired by the space shuttle complex at Vandenberg Air
Force Base. This one's quite hard in the early stages. Be prepared
to die a lot!
PORTRAIT DUNGEON by Paul Coppins (Computer &
Video Games April 1985):
I haven't played Portrait Dungeon yet.
Unfortunately, I can't even tell you what it's about, because I lent
the magazine to a friend who promised to type it in. I assume that
the author is the same Paul Coppins who assists with Computer &
Video Game's Adventure columns, so it should be interesting to see
what he comes up with.
Of the ten Adventures I've come across and reviewed
here, I've played eight and found them all to rate somewhere between
good and excellent. You may have trouble finding the old issues of
SoftSide (as they've gone out of business), but try your utmost to
get all the rest – especially the A.N.A.L.O.G. ones because they're
I realise there's probably a few more Atari
Adventures in other magazines. If you know of any, please send me a
copy of the article and program listing. Or better still, send a
copy of the program on disk and I'll send you some of the above
Adventures in exchange (4 Adventures per disk). Also feel free to
write to me about the column. I'd appreciate the feedback.