While Space Cavern can only really be considered an 'Average' game, I find that it's actually kinda good, at least for Apollo. It's nothing too special just a guy running around on a rather cool gradient floor shootin' monsters... Huh? What? those aren't monsters? they're... *picks up manual* Electrosauri... whose horns generate.. uh... electr-ro molecular charges capable of disintegrating you? Huh... Well, it seems that more effort was placed into writing the story and drawing the box art than was put into the game itself, but that's nothing new, Just look at Mythicon's 'games'.
Graphicswise the game is a mix of standard and stellar. The background is black, which is kind of disappointing, they could have gone with a star field or some mountains, or since this is a space CAVERN maybe some stalagmites or stalactites. Either way it's boring to look at. The enemies on the other hand are exquisite. The sprites are large and multicolored with eight or nine colors per sprite for the larger Electro.. ugh... Screw it I'm just calling them monsters for the rest of this. Eight or nine colors for the larger monsters, which is massively impressive while the smaller monsters that emerge later have three colors each. The little spaceman you control has only two colors but he has a neat little shadow kind of like Activision's Sky Jinks.
The game's sound is par for the Atari 2600, bleeps and bloops like usual, except when you get hit by the monsters horn discharge. The buzzing kshhhhh-ing sound is exactly what I imagine getting electrocuted to death sounds like. Morbid I know... but cool.
Gameplay is your standard Space Invaders/Gorf/Galaxian move-around-on-the-bottom-of-the-screen-and-shoot-things affair. Instead of having predictable or telegraphed attacks though, the enemies in this game move erratically and randomly while firing streams of 'discharge' at you but don't think it ends there... oh no... there are also the "Shaggy Marsupods" that will rush in from either side of the screen and attempt to maul and gore your poor stranded spaceman, you blast them by pulling up or down on the joystick. This introduces some much needed strategy to the game, otherwise it would get quite boring quite quickly, much like Apollo's snore fest Space Chase. The edges of the screen become a game of Russian Roulette... do you go over there to blast your foes and possibly get mauled by a giant space gorilla or do you wait for them to move back to the center of the screen where you can shoot them in relative safety and still possibly get mauled by a gorilla. The action gets more and more frantic as your score gets higher I cannot do the game justice with words, you'll have to play it yourself, I would recommend game 35 for the most crazy experience. I will include the spreadsheet that came in the manual, so you can find and play your preferred difficulty.
Needless to say I like this game. It takes the basic formula and shakes it up a little, Its even more impressive when you take into consideration that it was made by Apollo. These guys made and distributed SKEET SHOOT!! in my opinion the WORST game for the 2600.