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Adventure Review

Developer: Atari Publisher: Atari
Release Date: 1980 Also On: None

I still have memories of a computer freeware game that I used to play many years ago called Block-man. That game was aptly named since the guy tried to pile blocks up to get through the levels. But, before its release, there was another game that could just as easily have been called Block Man, one of the first adventure games ever released, Adventure for the Atari 2600. Although the game is widely hailed by many as among the best games on the Atari 2600, I must confess that I personally don’t see what the big deal is.

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The concept of Adventure is simple enough. The Golden Chalice has been stolen from the Golden Castle. Our protagonist, who, of course, is a block since this game was released in 1980, must find it and return it to its rightful place. He does this by finding keys to get into other castles, which he does by wandering through the kingdom. Attempting to stop him are up to three dragons and possibly a bat depending on the skill level being played.

Aesthetically, this game is not among Atari’s best work, but for 1980, it passes muster as average. There are very few sound effects to be found in this game, although what few there are are done okay. The graphics are blocky for the most part, using fairly large blocks, although the keys and the dragons use pixels that are reasonably small. The color scheme isn’t particularly diverse on any single screen either. Overall, there’s nothing overly impressive about the graphics, but they aren’t atrociously bad either, and, in this era, that was the most important thing. My main complaint would be the fact that no effort was made to make the protagonist look like something more than a block.

In terms of gameplay, this game controls well certainly. The protagonist can move in all eight directions. Like Legend of Zelda after it, Adventure does not use scrolling screens but rather switches screens when the protagonist reaches the edge of one. Sometimes the screens don’t seem to be consistent in their order, but maybe that’s just me. Some areas are easy to get lost in, but that just makes the game more interesting.

What isn’t interesting is the fact that there are not many enemies in this game. Rather, only the three dragons pose any death threat to you. And if you get the sword, you can kill them by jabbing the sword into them. The sword looks more like an arrow than a sword, but oh well, maybe this guy’s kingdom uses weapons that look like that. The main thrust of the game is using keys to enter other castles to find the chalice, and, to that end, there is some exploration aspect to the game since you have to find the keys before you use them.

Among the other items to be found in the game are a bridge that can be used to climb over walls and a magnet that can be used to attract items that can’t otherwise be gotten to. The protagonist will pick up an item when he runs into it automatically unless he’s already carrying another item, in which case you’ll have to press the button to release the item you’re already carrying so you can grab the other one. The only time this is truly a problem is if you have to discard the sword before you’ve killed all of the dragons.

There are three skill levels in this game. For the first two, the locations of everything are the same every time, but, for those people who are truly looking for a challenge, the third skill level randomizes the locations of everything, making matters more interesting. Thus, for those people who are truly into this game, there is some replay value to be had here. I, however, personally don’t think that this game is that great (it isn’t bad), and think that it pales in comparison to many other Atari 2600 games that could be played. So, reader, read what I’ve said and make up your own mind whether this game is worth your time.

Graphics: 7
Sound: 6
Gameplay: 6
Creativity: 8
Replay Value/Game Length: 6
Final: 6.5
Written by Martin Review Guide