Dungeon Stalker - Atari 7800
Everyone knows The Dungeon, the last subterranean vestige of a long collapsed and long forgotten castle. The children of your village have always loved to scare each other with songs of skeletal warriors, a thousand years dead, that stalk its silent corridors. As children become adults and traditions grow, it has become the custom for boys on the verge of manhood to prove their worth, venturing into the darkness to retrieve some small trinket. Usually it's just a few old coins picked up near the entrance, along with a hastily concocted story of bravery and derring-do.
As your seventeenth birthday approached, it was clear that it was never going to be a straightforward cash grab for you. As eldest daughter of the chieftain, you always had a lot more to prove; always the best shot, the best sword, the fastest rider and the bravest warrior. That's why you're down here; shivering, terried and pointing a loaded arrow at anything that moves. And things are moving in the darkness. At first it was just the bats, but as you venture deeper, the unmistakable sound of footsteps echoes in the gloom - bone footsteps. The children's songs were right - the dead do stalk these halls!
Welcome to Dungeon Stalker. Get ready for an exciting arcade-style adventure; fighting monsters and collecting treasure as you journey ever deeper into the Dungeon!
Your task is collect treasure and fight enemies until you earn enough points to move to the next dungeon level and destroy its evil wizard. Your opponents are tough and intelligent and will do all they can to stop you. You will encounter a variety of creatures and obstacles along the way, including spiders, bats, snakes, skeleton warriors, and even demon bats! And, finally, when you have earned enough points to move to the next level, you must face the wizard! He has the ability to warp anywhere in the dungeon at a moment's notice and moves much faster than the other enemies in the game. You must kill him to advance!
To defeat these enemies, you must use your arrows sparingly! Once you deplete your quiver, another will be placed randomly in the dungeon. Retrieve it quickly while you are defenseless! A sword will sometimes appear in the dungeon, and collecting it will give you twenty seconds of invincibility. At the beginning of the game (below 37,500 points), you can use the bunker as a safe harbor from enemies. While you traverse the dungeon, make sure to collect the treasures that appear! Gather five of them and you will be rewarded with an extra life.
Dungeon Stalker has four skill settings, so you may increase the difficulty of the game as you master the dungeon.
Dungeon Stalker features high score saving to an AtariVox or SaveKey. Each of the 4 skill settings available has it's own Top 5 high score table and will save your scores automatically if an AtariVox is plugged in. Dungeon Stalker also has speech support for the AtariVox speech unit. The game has over three dozen speech phrases that are used at various points throughout the game.
Dungeon Stalker includes the game cartridge and four-page manual. Dungeon Stalker supports both NTSC and PAL television standards.
Get a Dungeon Stalker Box!
If you'd like a boxed copy of Dungeon Stalker, please select "Box Upgrade: Yes" at the top of the page before adding Dungeon Stalker to your cart. Our boxes are professionally printed and include a box insert to hold your Dungeon Stalker cartridge in place. We want you to play our games, so we have not sealed or shrinkwrapped the boxes in any way, allowing you easy access to the game cartridge and manual.
These boxes are the same size as boxes Atari produced for their games "back in the day". They look great sitting on a shelf with your other boxed homebrew games, or alongside games from the classic Atari library. We only have a limited number of boxes for each game, and there is no guarantee they will become available again once our supplies are exhausted. Click on the images to the right to see larger photos of the box.
|Number of Players||1|
|Programming||Steve Engelhardt and Mike Saarna|
|Label and Manual Design||David Exton|
I'm grateful the 7800 still gets some love after all these years.
From the opening screen you know you are in for a treat. A polished presentation providing atmosphere and ambience for a game in which you feel you are being drawn into the dark dungeons of danger. Several game play options allow players to start easy with unlimited ammo while those seeking the ultimate challenge can begin on a higher level where there is no place for protection and the offense of the enemies encounter is most deadly and fast. Providing a gambit of enemies coupled with different attack patterns as well as vulnerabilities, quickly one realizes that this is not just a run around and fire at things kind of game.
Will you go for the treasure, even when embedded in the huge spider web slowing down your player considerably? Should you take that extra shot at the enemy, or clear the newly created tiny web(s) of the terrorizing arachnid? Is now the opportunity when you should refill that quiver, or is the enemy to close, and you will likely be killed before being able to kill? Will the bats interfere and freeze or heroine or take a shot intended for a different enemy?
Once reaching certain scoring thresholds, you are invited for the ultimate stand-off against the all-powerful and agile wizard, including the wizard's ability to teleport and reappear in various parts of the maze. Is it Super Wizard and Wor, Dark Cavern Pro/Advance, or reminiscent of something else for the player? Fact of the matter is it borrows the best elements of those forerunners while providing a fresh, exciting, and challenging game for your 7800 ProSystem. Highly recommended!
There is a clever mix of unique creatures. Some enemies aren't deadly but temporarily stun you. Some shoot. Some creatures' shots disappear mid-screen if you kill them; but other creatures' shots keep going even if they are vanquished. Some are faster than others. The Spiders don't shoot, they are easy to hit. But they will stop and build little webs in the maze, which can significantly impede your ability to quickly traverse the maze and reach a safe corner! On the other hand, The Bats are tiny, your shots can miss them if you don't aim dead-center. These kinds of gameplay mechanics give the game endless chances at strategy and fun. The game even provides opportunities for extra treasure, lives, and invincibility if you can grab them. Fun stuff.
I enjoy how your shots are actually arrows, and you have to refill your quiver periodically. The creates even more judgment calls in gameplay. Should you spend 4 of your arrows to break up a spider web? Or just fight your way through the web (or take another maze path) to reach safety? If you play on Novice, you have no webs and unlimited arrows. That's fun for a while too, but you are missing a lot of the real game so I play on Standard or higher. My end-of-game rankings are getting better with each try!
Finally, I will mention the AtariVox. If you don't have it, you'll still enjoy Dungeon Stalker. The default game sounds create a suspenseful mood, with the "heart beat" sound increasing in volume when you run out of arrows. But include the AtariVox and you will be in retro gaming HEAVEN. Seriously! "Now Entering THEEE DUNGEON" the Vox announces at the beginning, and I get that goofy grin that only a (grown?) kid with a new game can get. Much work was put into the variety and amount of Vox voice phrases that you hear. Plus, the Vox saves your high scores which is awesome. The AtariVox makes Dungeon Stalker, a fun and fresh maze shooter, into an undeniably must-own experience!
When you power up the cart, you are treated to a cool main menu, where you choose the skill level and can see you’re current and best scores. If you remain on this menu, the game will go into attract mode which includes sounds and collisions, resembling actual game play.
All of the characters (Spider, Bats, Snake, Demon Bat and Skeleton Warrior) are rendered nicely and scroll smoothly. I love the animation of the Skeleton Warrior as well as the Wizard. The Wizard is a treat to watch, as he warps throughout the dungeon in an attempt to kill you. Killing him provides a nice explosion with sound effect.
This game is a real treat to play and listen to, as it supports AtariVox. I must say that out of all of my homebrews, this one by far, includes the greatest amount of speech that I have heard. It really keeps you engaged and makes an already great game, even better. If you’ve been waiting for an excuse to purchase an AtriVox, wait no more.
The games manual includes the awesome label art and does a great job at explaining the aim of the game, items and level progression. The last page includes a Strategy and Secrets section that requires you to hold it up to a mirror to read (a really nice touch in my opinion).
I wholeheartedly recommend this game and give it five out of five arrows!