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Dolphin - Activision - Atari 2600     HTML Manual   

Dolphin Decoder


Listen!  An endangered dolphin is calling you!  Only by learning the dolphin's
sonic language can you guide her through schools of seahorses, battling a 
monstrous squid, to gain magic powers from and elusive seagull.  Hurry!  Lend 
an ear...

1.  Hook up your video game system.  Follow manufacturer's instructions.

2.  With power OFF, plug in the game cartridge.

3.  Turn power ON.  If no picture appears, check connection of your game system
    to TV, then repeat steps 1-3.

4.  Plug in Joystick Controller/s (solo player uses left Joystick).

5.  Difficulty Switches.  Set both difficulty switches to b to begin.  With
    the switches in this position, your dolphin will have 4 seconds to touch
    the squid after intercepting a seagull.  In position a, she'll have only 2
    seconds to do so (see "Seagull" under "How to Decode").

[Note to owners of Sears Tele-Games Video Arcade.  Difficulty is called skill:
a is expert and b is novice]

6.  Game variations.  There are eight game variations.  Games 1, 3, 5, and 7
    are for one player.  Games 2, 4, 6, and 8 are for two players.  Level of
    difficulty rises accordingly, with games 1 and 2 being the easiest.  At
    higher levels, the squid will be smarter and quicker.

7.  To start, press game reset switch.  The action will begin as soon as you
    press the red button.

8.  The Joystick Controller is held with the red button in the upper left 
    position.  Push your Joystick forward, and your dolphin will rise.  Pull
    your Joystick back, and your dolphin will dive.  Push the Joystick left or
    right and your dolphin will swim in that direction.

9.  Bonus Dolphins.  You start the game with one active dolphin and a school of
    four on reserve.  For every 20,000 points you score, a bonus dolphin will
    be added to your reserves.

You will guide your dolphin through openings in the seahorse schools by
listening to sonic tones and catching waves (see "Cues" and "Currents" under
"Special Features").  Pay attention to the following:

^  The Seagull.  Periodically, a seagull will fly overhead.  You'll know he's 
   coming when the squid changes color.  Have your dolphin leap up, touch the 
   seagull and then quickly turn and chase the squid.  This is the best way to 
   gain points.  Also, the game resets at the next difficulty level putting
   distance between your dolphin and the squid.

^  The Slip.  Another great way to outsmart the squid is by giving him "the 
   slip".  If the squid is right on your tail, wait until he catches a good 
   wave.  Then, reverse your dolphin's direction and swim under him
   immediately.  As long as the squid's good wave remains on the screen, he 
   won't be able to reverse and catch you.

^  Scoring.  Points are earned in a variety of ways.  Every time your dolphin
   touches a seagull, or a squid, you score points.  The number of points
   depends on the color of the squid (see "Increasing Difficulty" under
   "Special Features").  Scoring peaks at 800 per seagull and 8000 per squid.

   Also, you'll score 100 points each time your dolphin catches a good wave or
   each time you run the squid into a bad wave.  And, when your dolphin swims
   through the seahorses, you'll score 0 to 50 points, depending on your degree
   of accuracy in getting her through the opening.

Sonic Cues.  The dolphins are communicating with you!  The higher the tone, 
the higher up the opening will be in the upcoming school of seahorses.  A lower
tone means that the next opening will be lower on your screen.  Let your ears
guide you!  Each time your dolphin doesn't swim perfectly through the opening,
she will be slowed down.

          Audio Chart for Dolphin by Activision

           Sound                     Indication
           -----                     ----------
           Sonic Echoes              five different frequencies indicate
                                     specific openings in the seahorse schools.
           Seagull's Cry             Seagull is flying overhead.

           Danger Claxxon            Dolphin's energy charge is dwindling.

           Thud                      Dolphin has bumped into seahorses.

           Series of Dings           Dolphin has successfully swum through

           Low Rumble                Squid has caught a good wave OR dolphin
                                     has caught a bad wave.

           High Frequency Beep       Dolphin has caught a good wave OR squid
                                     has caught a bad wave.
Ocean Currents.  Catch a good wave!  'Good' waves are arrows moving in the
same direction as your dolphin.  They'll increase her speed.  'Bad' waves are
the arrows moving head-on into your Dolphin.  They'll slow her down.  Avoid
hitting bad waves, but try to lead the squid into them to increase your
dolphin's lead.

Increasing Difficulty.  The longer you play, the tougher the chase becomes.  
Each time the squid changes color, he's getting smarter, tracking your
dolphin's every move with greater speed and accuracy.  So, it gets much tougher
to give him "the slip".  Meanwhile, the Seagull flies by faster and bad waves
more so quickly you'll think you're swimming upstream. 

As you'll learn, the ocean is full of unique sights and sounds.  At first, just
keep listening to the dolphin's sonic tones to learn which opening matches each
tone.  Also, practive catching good waves and leading the squid into bad waves.
Don't get frustrated!  With practice, you can really develop these necessary

Since dolphins don't fly, you can't hold them in the air when a seagull flies
by.  So get used to timing her leaps our of the ocean with the speed and 
position of the seagull.  And remember, the squid changes color just before the
seagull appears.

Can you reach a score of 80,000 points?  If so, you will be eligible to join 
the ranks of "Friends of Dolphins" and wear their patch.

Then, there is that handful of you who will reach the ultimate.  A certain very
high score (the amount is secret, but it is under 500,000) will cause the score
to be replaced by a secret word.  This is the requirement for initiation into
the Secret Society of Dolphins."  The ultimate in deep sea dedication and

Just send us a photograph of your TV screen, with your name and address and
you'll receive the appropriate patch.

Tursiops Truncatus

Brains:  First class - same order of complexity as that of humans.

Respiration:  Must surface for air - breathes through blowhole.

Hearing:  Ears receive sonic emmisions for underwater scanning.

Maximum Velocity:  30 knots / 35 mph

Speech:  Complex click and whistle system with ability to mimic human speech.

Sonar:  Computes size, shape, speed and distance of far away objects.

Dolphins have amazing abilities, and have often used them to help people,
saving swimmers and boats in distress.  Find out more at your library!

Tips from Matthew Hubbard, designer of Dolphin.

     Matthew Hubbard is full of surprises.  Besides designing top-notch
     video games, he's a member of a new wave band!  Matt also knows a
     lot about dolphins, and we're pleased to introduce them in his first
     work on behalf of Activision.

"The best tip I can give you is this: 'He who hesitates is lunch.'  But, for 
the record, here are a few more pointers.

"At first, don't completely rely on the 'slip'.  Instead, become an expert at
decoding sonar.  Work with one tone at a time until you can easily predict the
exact location of each opening.  Notice, too, that there is never an opening
at the very bottom or very top of the schools.

"Another thing to notice is that a bad wave often follows each opening.  So,
after your Dolphin swims through, be ready to make a quick move.

"Dolphins are truly amazing, and I hope my work will inspire you to find out
more about these great mammals.  If you read any interesting facts, or would
like to discuss the game, send me a note.  I look forward to hearing from you."

[Matthew Hubbard]

We'd like to get to know you.  If you have questions about our games or clubs,
or want to get on our mailing list, drop us a note or call the "Game Hotline"
toll-free at (800)227-9757/8 (in California call (415)960-0410 ext 5245).

Activision, Inc., Drawer No. 7287
Mountain View, CA 94039

(c) 1983 Activision AX-024-03

-------------------Atari 2600 Instructions Archive-------------------

This document obtained from the History of Home Video Games Homepage, �1997-1998 by Greg Chance