Cave In - Atari 2600



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June 4th

Turns out it was true My team opened up a small area of jungle where we knew there was a cave mouth. We weren't expecting the level of clearly Mayan decoration and architecture surrounding it. My people kept it quiet and have, thankfully, left it undisturbed until I can get there. Doesn't sound like anyone's been down there for a while, although there's evidence of some ill-advised attempts at gold mining by the Spanish to the north, but that's a few hundred years old.

I'll reach the site tomorrow. It's going to be a hell of a day.

You're an adventurer who has set out to find an ancient lost crown. Legend says the crown broken into three pieces and hidden in an old abandoned mine. The crown can only be reassembled in the ancient throne room, which is also hidden in the mine. As you enter the mine, the entrance caves in and you realize that you're stuck - now you have two things on your mind, finding the lost crown and finding a way out of the mine!

Cave In is the first Atari 2600 homebrew we've published with additional on-board RAM, doubling the amount of RAM available to the game! This memory is Cave In uses the same "SuperChip" technology Atari developed for some of their more advanced games, including Crystal Castles, Jr. Pac-Man, and Stargate.

Developer's Proceeds to Charity

Autism SpeaksCave In developer Steve Engelhardt writes, "All of the developer's proceeds for Cave In will be donated to Autism Speaks. Autism is one of the fastest growing developmental disabilities in the US, with 1 in 91 children being diagnosed (as of October 2009). It knows no cultural or racial boundaries, and that number is increasing every year. My son was diagnosed with Autism at the age of two, 9 years ago. So much has been discovered and learned since then, but there is still no cure. By purchasing Cave In you're not just getting a great game for the Atari 2600, you're also contributing to a great cause that needs everyone's attention, and you're helping to fund research that will hopefully find a cure. Thank you for your support and your interest in Cave In, and for helping my wife and I support Autism Speaks."

Get a Cave-In Box!

Cave-In BoxCave-In Box

If you'd like a boxed copy of Cave-In, please select "Box Upgrade: Yes" at the top of the page before adding Cave-In to your cart. Our boxes are professionally printed and include a box insert to hold your Cave-In 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 2600 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.

Additional Information

Author Steve Engelhardt
Number of Players 1
Controller Joystick
Cartridge Size 32K
Label and Manual Design David Exton
StanJr on 12/26/2016 11:47am

Seriously. This game is 1000x better when you take the (enjoyable) time to map the entire cavern. With map in hand, it won't take you long to declare this one of the best adventure/exploration games for the VCS. Right up there with Dungeon and Ature, Cave In is the next level of adventure gaming for the VCS.

The cavern is huge and contains a wide variety of rooms to explore and challenges to overcome. The game also features three levels of difficulty, so when you master the introductory level (no small feat) there are even greater challenges awaiting you!

Cave In features many hours of engaging game play, and with the randomizing of key placement in the upper difficulty levels, no two games will be the same.

My only real quibbles are small. The game does feature a few tight spots where you character can get stuck and even glitch through the wall, sometimes with game ending results. My other quibble is with the manual. While I LOVE thematic manuals, this one could use a little more actual game instruction in addition to the awesome story that sets the scene for the action. The flip side of this is that the manual itself is also a bit of a puzzle. So if you like that sort of thing, this quibble is negligible.

Cave In gets highest marks from me and I can't wait to go play some more!
Nathan Strum on 12/15/2010 01:30pm
In Cave In, you take on the role of an adventurer/archaeologist in search of an ancient artifact. But finding it does you no good if you can't get it back out of the cave which has collapsed around you, threatening to trap you forever.

When I started playing Cave In for this review, I must admit to some frustration with it. I seemed to be just wandering aimlessly, and couldn't really find my way around. Then I realized the key to this game: if you're going to play it, you must make a map. Cave In is huge. There are over 160 rooms in the game, and a map is essential to keeping track of where you are, and equally important - where everything else is. How you map it out is going to be a matter of personal preference, but probably the simplest approach is to just write down the direction you need to go whenever you get to a particular intersection, for example, "go west, then south at the dark blue room to pick up the key", and so on. However you choose to do it, the sections of the caves are different colors, and the rooms within those sections vary as well, so after awhile you begin to get a feel for where you're at. There are also landmarks which can help you get your bearings (lava rooms, falling boulders, etc).

The goal of the game is to collect and assemble three pieces of a crown, then find the switch that reveals a secret exit, locate that exit and escape the cave. But to find the pieces of the crown, you must first find three keys. You can't see the keys when entering the rooms they're in - you have to bump along the edges of the wall for the keys to pop out. Fortunately the keys aren't too difficult to find, and in easier variations they're always in the same place each game. Along the way you'll encounter various creatures that will attack you, but they're easy enough to shoot with your trusty revolver (and unlimited ammo).

Once you have a key, you can open up a locked gate which ultimately leads to a crown piece. This is where the challenge of the game really comes in. When you're in these locked areas, whenever you shoot a creature, pieces of the ceiling start falling. This makes it a challenge not only to get the crown piece, but to get back out of that area alive. Rocks falling on you do far more damage than anything else in the game, so you have to be careful, or you can lose all of your health in a hurry. Fortunately, there's a room within the cave where you can have your health completely restored - if you can make it that far. You can also pick up medicine from time to time, but you can't rely on finding it when you need it.

Cave In really surprised me. Usually I don't care much for games where you wander around trying to find stuff, but Cave In is so well designed that I really enjoyed spending hours exploring and mapping its vast network of rooms. The graphics are generally first-rate, although the creatures would have benefitted from a little animation, and they really could have used some better artificial intelligence. As they are now, they just come floating straight at you, right through the walls. Having more intelligent creatures that stalked you and followed you from room to room would have added a welcomed element. The designs of all of the different rooms are amazing, and they not only help with the feeling of being underground in a massive cave, but also provide visual clues. There are rooms with traps to avoid, giant boulders to dodge, a mine car to ride, and secret areas to be found. Aside from your gunshots and the cave rumbling, there's not much sound in the game. Some echoey footsteps would have added to the atmosphere, but I'll admit that I didn't miss it much since I was so engrossed in exploring. A little celebratory music at the end would have been nice though.

One complaint I do have is with the manual. While it's a great-looking manual, the instructions are written from the perspective of an explorer's journal, and it doesn't succinctly tell you what you need to do. I had to look through the development forum for Cave In to find an earlier version of the manual which explained it more clearly. I can understand the desire to not give away too much, but I felt some critical information was left out that would have made my initial experiences with the game less frustrating.

That said, Cave In is a great game, if you don't mind doing the work of mapping it all out. In fact, that was one of the aspects about it that I really enjoyed, since it got me into the mindset of an explorer. (There are some maps in the development forum, if you need a head start). Even after finishing the map, there was a lot of good gameplay to be found here, and this game is just begging for a sequel.

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