No, this is not a joke. This was really the Doom:3 of the
Atari System... or something like that.
How many of you remember this? Created by Warren
Robinett and released in 1982 (My year of birth!) and selling over A
MILLION copies, this game was also a revolutionary piece for the
gaming industry. It was the first to have screen/room changes, item
pickups/drops, a secret, and the game that coined the phrase 'Easter Egg';
as in programmed secrets... not the Easter Bunny Fuck Treats.
You control our Hero, a nameless green pixel.
The nameless king of your nameless kingdom has had his Enchanted
Chalice stolen by the nameless evil wizard of another nameless
kingdom. Gripping so far, isn't it? However the nameless lands are
perilous indeed! On the lookout for you are three Dragons (Bet you
forgot they had names) that look more like creatures you'd expect to see
being fed bread crumbs by retired one-toothed dotcom'ers. Also thrown in
the mix, is a bunch of items and keys, and a nameless bat. Right then, let
the pixelation begin, fear my cursor you quacks!
Okay. An Atari cartridge can hold about 4
Kilobytes... That's about the size of that Tiffany Amber Thieson 'exposed'
picture you got tucked away on your hard drive. Yet somehow, this guy was
able to get the entire game onto 4K with sprites, backgrounds and sounds.
So although remarkably horrid looking, it is actually rather respectable
for being such a large game. For those of you inept to math and cannot
comprehend how little 4K is, an N64 cartridge holds 8,000-12,000K or the
fact that your basic CDR holds 640,000-700,000K shows how tiny this
grandpa cartridge is.
Your mission, transverse the nameless lands to
obtain coloured keys in turn to open coloured nameless kingdoms, slay
dragons, and steal your enchanted chalice (which has a brilliantly
executed colour scrolling script) and bring it back to your golden
nameless kingdom. Alright now, I'm dying to do this, let's review the
sprites - :)
Hero - The mightiest pixel in the entire Atari
Key - Numerous variations to the colour, each opens
whatever castle matches it's colour.
Magnet - Draws whatever item is in the room
towards you. Usually used to get back items that are stuck in the
wall, however you're fucked if this is stuck in the wall.
Sword - Our hero's mighty blade...
Something's are already so funny, it's irrelevant to try to even
make it any funnier, so it's a fucking arrow, that's it, I just
can't make that any funnier.
Bridge - Two purple bars that let you walk
over/through the walls. Our hero is such a monster he has no problem
hauling around a fucking bridge, but in no way can he carry two keys
at once. I take the whole mighty hero thing back.
Enchanted Chalice - All this hassle for
this, uh, seizure inducing, demon head looking, cup.
Bat - Originally supposed to be named
Knuberrub, it was decided the name was 'too weird' and was instead,
like the rest of the story, left nameless. It picks up random
objects and brings them to you in exchange for what you have...
sometimes taking away your sword in exchange for a dragon.
Yorgle - Why is it the only things to be
named were the dragons? Well anyways, this is supposed to be the
yellow dragon. He's slow, and roams the nameless lands, steering
clear of the gold key for some reason.
Grindle - The smeary-green-snot coloured
dragon. Guards minor items or keys, and is also slow.
Rhindle - The bad ass red dragon. Yes, bad
ass. He guards more important stuff, like the seizure chalice, and
moves just as quickly as you, only with the ability to fly over
walls, which makes him highly annoying... and bad ass.
So what happens if you finally drag the
chalice back to your nameless castle? Why the castle walls start strobing
like the chalice! Wow. That was fun. As sad is it is to say, this game can
actually get pretty fuckin' hard. It's got three difficulty levels. Level
one being insanely easy, two being slightly more tedious, and then the
third... The items spawn randomly throughout the area, there are numerous
castles to open and physically impossible mazes to venture. There's even a
pitch black maze where you only have a small square of light around you, or
that damn bat that flies around swapping items or bringing dragons to you.
You kids think your games today are hard, prah!
As much as I would love to make fun of
this game, I actually like it too much to razz on it to the Nth degree.
Alas, you don't need snazzy graphics, catchy music, in depth title, or Tommy
Vercetti to have a fun or challenging game, and that's coming from a
complete FX whore like myself. Go down to Value Village, pick up an
Atari+games package for like, five bucks, or go download an emulator
and the game.
(For all your Atari needs, visit Atariage.)